photo © 2015, John Michael Reedy; request permission for any use
MY FATHER’S HORSES
by DW Groethe
It must’ve been a day
for peace an’ reverie
When my father took a pencil in his hand
an’ scribed upon his notebook,
all the horses that he’d had
when growin’ up in West Dakota land.
I can see him sittin’, thoughtful,
soft smile in his eyes,
As the ponies pranced before him, once again.
Then he jotted each one down,
with a slow an’ careful hand.
Sometimes, horses, can count right up with kin.
Tobe, Frank an’ Muggins,
Daisy I an’ Daisy II,
(his mem’ry felt a breeze that stirred their manes.)
Charlie, Chub an’ Pearl
found their way up to the front
an’ back once more upon the dusty plains.
Prince I an’ II an’ Mike
come lopin’ lightly into view,
he penned their mem’ries, gentle on the page…
a-waitin’ an’ a thinkin’,
he was missin’…just a few
when Queen an’ May neared, nickerin’ thru the sage.
An’ finally, down the draw,
come Thunder, Buck an’ Bill
a’flyin’ like the wind an’ they was one.
then he eased back in his chair,
contemplatin’ all that’s there,
his gatherin’ of the old bunch was all done.
Yeah…it must’ve been a day
of peace an’ reverie,
in his office, at a desk of metal gray,
when the ol’ man made a tally
a-gatherin’ up his cavvy,
One last time, a-fore they slipped away.
© 2007, DW Groethe, used with permission
Happy Father’s Day.
Eastern Montana ranch hand, poet, and picker DW Groethe told us about this popular poem’s inspiration, “Among the many things I inherited from my father was a box of items from his office desk. In it there was a handful of pens and pencils and a small pocket notebook…On the first page he’d written the names of sixteen horses…the horses he’d grown up with back in the twenties and thirties. I wish I could remember all the stories he had about them. As it is, all I have is a page in an old worn notebook and a poem to honor their memories.”
DW performs his poetry and music at venues small and large. He’s appeared many times at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and has been invited to the the National Council for the Traditional Arts’ National Folk Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Library of Congress, and other places.
He’s working on a new book of poetry. Find more about DW Groethe and his books and recordings at CowboyPoetry.com.
This striking 2015 photograph of “Roper” is by John Michael Reedy, Montana photographer, songwriter, musician, poet, and father of the delightfully talented Brigid and Johnny Reedy.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and image with this post, but please request permission for other uses.)