ART SPUR “Just for the Fun of It,” Winter-Christmas 2018

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Photo by Carol M. Highsmith; Gates Frontiers Fund Wyoming Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

WINTER ART SPUR

Our 49th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Winter/Christmas Art Spur, a 2016 photograph by contemporary photographer, author, and publisher Carol M. Highsmith, titled, “A horse rolls in the snow, apparently just for the fun of it, as others head out for a winter romp at the Midland Ranch, in the shadow of the Wind River Range of the Northern Rockies in remote Sweetwater County, Wyoming.”

The photographer explains, “The closest town, Farson, is 26 miles away. The ranch, whose first cabins served as a Pony Express remount station in 1860, was homesteaded in the 1890s and settled by French Basque immigrant John Arambel, the patriarch of the current owner, in 1909….” Find more at The Library of Congress.

You are welcome to make your Winter Art Spur poem Christmas-themed. All Christmas poems (Art Spur or not) were welcome through Thursday, December 20, 2018. Winter-themed Art Spur poems are welcome through Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

The photograph is included in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive at The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The collection description notes that, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Find more about Carol Highsmith and her work at carolhighsmith.com and on Facebook at Carol M. Highsmith’s America.

POEMS

“Savior,” by Mark Munzert
“A Sack of Tobac,” by Jean Mathisen Haugen

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SAVIOR
by Mark Munzert

A special foal was born that eve beneath stars above the shed.
Hoof drops melted frosty ground trailing towards a straw cast bed.
The Mare’d been quietly pacing. Three dogs were huddled near.
The Sire shaking off the snow, as sentry, quelling fear.
T’was an uncanny silent night, no sound from cows or sheep.
A babe was born, stood and fed, whence nourished, fell asleep.

Those three wise dogs blocked the wind, sheep laid woolen cover warm.
Moonlit parts of dust and dew revealed angelic form.
Donkey’s bray cracked the night to tell the world of this One.
To Sire, Mare and all soulful there was born anointed Son.
Awakened to life’s melodies by softly cooing dove,
Astute and strong he grew with God’s abundant love.

Meadows he paced sharing goodness, kindness, and light.
Modeling forgiveness, salvation, and ample crucial might.
Lone survivor of rebellion, conqueror of demise.
Truly humble of all beings, steadfast faith in his eyes.
It seems his mission was to curry all living being’s favor,
It’s only fitting, for this horse, to have the name of SAVIOR.

© 2018, Mark Munzert
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission.

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A SACK OF TOBAC
by Jean Mathisen Haugen

I’m pondering on
a time long ago,
just around Christmas,
when the winds began to blow.

It was cold out there and covered
the grass in way that was strange,
for we had never fed hay
out on the Sweetwater range.

Not back in those days,
when the drifts piled up high,
and the cattle died in droves,
‘neath a fearsome snowing sky.

Lige and I were out there,
checking on the stock.
It would nearly break your heart,
to see them frozen in blocks.

We finally took refuge in a cabin
out there in the Sweetwater Rocks,
didn’t have much food on hand
and sure couldn’t thaw those cattle blocks!

Then the hoar frost came down–
the Paiutes called it “The White Death”.
Yep, it’s kind of pretty to see,
but it sure takes your breath.

Two weeks at that leaking cabin
and supplies were mighty low,
we scratched the days on a log,
while those winds continued to blow.

One day it dawned upon me
that Christmas was right near–
Lije said, “What’s the difference,
we’re still stuck out here!”

I dug around in my duffle bag
and mainly saw the lack
of something I could give to Lije,
just a partial sack of tobac.

He figured out what I was up to
and he took out a mouth harp,
played a raggedy Christmas tune
and we jigged a bit in the dark.

We hauled in a big sagebrush,
and hung some empty cans,
here and there all around it
and I banged on a pan.

We had shot a jack rabbit
that we cooked on the stove.
He was tough and not too tasty
and we had no bread or loaves.

We crawled into our old soogans
we used as our beds,
and soon went off to sleep–
and then something struck our heads!

The sun was purely shining,
it was a glorious dawn,
with hoar frost on the aspen,
though soon it was all gone.

That winter still goes down
and one in the history books,
1886-1887, a disaster
and so by the looks,

of what all of us went through,
you’d think we’d like to forget
that cold and snowy windy time,
but we really don’t regret.

Heck, at least we survived,
with jackrabbit and a sack
of roll-your-owns we shared
that little bit of warming tobac!

© 2018, Jean Mathisen Haugen
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission.

 

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SUBMISSIONS

Submissions are welcome from all. Christmas-themed poems and lyrics had a deadline of Thursday, December 20, 2018. Winter-themed submissions have a deadline of Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

Poets and songwriters are invited to be inspired by the photograph; a literal representation of the art is not expected.

• Please follow our regular guidelines for content.

• You may submit one poem, either Christmas- or winter-themed.

• Send your poem to poems@cowboypoetry.com and note “Art Spur” in the subject line.

Selected poems will be posted.

Find previous Art Spur subjects here and at CowboyPoetry.com.

(This photograph is in the public domain.)