Carol Heuchan: Three poems

cheuchan

photo by Pauline Fredericks

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POEMS

The Magic of the Horse
Curly, Larry, and …Just a Mo
The Dude Ranch Horse

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THE MAGIC OF THE HORSE
Carol Heuchan

Have you ever owned a creature that could thrill you to the bone?
One once distant and defiant, yet whose soul becomes your own?

Felt the power of the panther and the lightness of a bird.
Known a silent, secret language more effective than a word?

Felt the drift of acquiescence at the flexing of a muscle.
Known the pleasure of a lifestyle free from city rush and bustle.

Or the thrills of reckless riding ‘cross a country wild and free,
with a kindred spirit’s pounding heart, right there beneath your knee.

Have you criticised or cursed some deed or action that’s been shown?
Then been humbled by the knowledge that the fault was all your own.

Have you tasted satisfaction of successes, large or small?
Then you must have done the hard yards to deserve them one and all.

Has your livelihood depended on a daunting job to do?
And thanked God for His creation of a partner tried and true?

Have you heard a gentle nicker, had him nuzzle through your hair?
Have you felt as if you’re flying, up where eagles only dare?

Known the fear and found the courage, known you had to see it through.
Learned life’s lessons from a being with a different point of view?

Had a friend who keeps on listening when you never say a word—
never grudges, never judges, just as if he hasn’t heard.

If you’ve never tasted freedom, rode the range or cleared the course,
put your hand on living velvet and had comfort from its source,

Then you’ve never known the magic of the horse…

© 2016, Carol Heuchan
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

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“CURLY, LARRY AND…JUST A MO”
by Carol Heuchan

The three of us were always close.
We stuck like super glue.
We were saddle tramps and rovers.
We were cowboys, through and through.

We’d lived this way for fifty years,
No changes were we wishing
Then Mo announced (God help him),
he’d decided to go…fishing.

Fishing!! But we’re Bushies, mate!
You can’t live on the coast!
No Campdrafts and no Rodeos?
You’ll soon give up the ghost.

And sure enough, that’s what he did.
He upped and blooming carked it!
And he left us his directions
to dispense with plot and casket.

No burial, no cemetery,
no farewell drinking bashes—
just one big urn and we two mates
were named to cast the ashes.

And if that wasn’t bad enough,
he’d made a stern decree
for us to take his last remains
and scatter them…at sea!!!

Now me and Curly stood transfixed,
could not believe our ears.
This thing that Mo had asked of us,
beyond our wildest fears.

We’d ridden feral bucking bulls,
been stomped and broke and battered
and done it time and time again
just like it never mattered.

We’d faced horses that’d kill you
if given half a chance,
and we’d laid our swag with spiders, snakes
and fearsome, bighting ants.

Wild boars we’d taken lightly
and we’d bashed up bikie gangs
and we’d sometimes picked up women
who looked like orang-utans.

I reckon we would still be cool
with tigers what’s in Burma,
so long as all the while we had
our feet on Terra Firma.

We don’t do lake; we don’t do sea.
We’re not too keen on rivers.
Hell! A bathtub is enough to give
the pair of us the shivers.

See, we’re country. We’re the Outback.
We’ll handle what we oughta.
But as sure as God made apples,
we will draw the line at water.

So complying with our mate’s request
to put him in the sea,
caused at least some consternation
for the likes of Curl and me.

A fishing fella’s little boat
was offered for the job.
He’d row us out a mile or two
to give the urn a lob.

Not on your blooming Nelly,
was the look our faces said.
Get in a boat with Tanglefoot?
We’d rather we were dead.

“We’ll be right, thanks all the same.
We’ll do our duty here.”
and to each other whispered
“We’ll just find the nearest pier.”

But nearly two hours later
and miles along the shore,
there was not one possibility.
Just water—nothing more.

“Back a ways, I saw a shelf—
a rock shelf—that will do.
We’ll roll up duds and wade a bit,
then toss and tooteloo.

Our legs were skinny, white and stark,
and manly hairs? Oh, no.
From years of rubbing leather,
not a single hair would grow.

But we shed our boots and socks and rolled
our jeans above our knees
and gingerly, on tippy toes,
set out to brave the seas.

Now, every inch that we crept forward,
every inch got deeper, too.
“That’s far enough!” (in unison)
“It’s gonna have to do.”

We said some words, uncapped the urn,
prepared to beat the rumour.
But alas, we hadn’t factored on
King Neptune’s sense of humour.

Precisely when we tipped the lot,
in action brave and bold,
he raised a little tidal wave
and sent it back tenfold.

Well Mo was now all over us!
And covered head to toe.
There simply wasn’t part of us
that wasn’t part of Mo!

We coughed and squawked and choked and spat
and high-tailed back to shore
a’muttering words we reckoned that
we’d never said before.

Those ashes found their way up into
every nook and cranny
and places where they were not stuck,
I’m sure there were not any.

We tried to wash him off one leg—
he flew onto the other.
We looked like two great lamingtons,
home made by someone’s mother.

Our mincing gait along the beach
had onlookers in stitches
and left them not in slightest doubt,
we’d also wet our britches.

Right then and there, we made a pact.
BE BURIED! Somehow, sorta!
And never, ever, ever go
not even close….to water.

© 2019, Carol Heuchan
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

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THE DUDE RANCH HORSE
by Carol Heuchan

There’s stories told of horses bold and brave and smart and strong
and legends of the rodeo in tale and verse and song.
Each wondrous feat that’s never beat, a million times before
you’ve listened to in rapture and they’ve held you all in awe.

It’s guaranteed some single deed has earned your admiration
and that has grown and had them known and gained a reputation.
They’ve stood the test ’cause they’re the best and singers sing their song.
I’m here today to have my say and tell you—it’s all wrong!

Now someone ought to write a song or poem just for me
’cause I’m the unsung hero. I’m a Dude Ranch Horse, that’s me.

You’ve heard, I’m sure, of ‘Man o’ War’, the speedster of the track.
I’m slow, I know, when setting out but wait till I turn back!
Then place your dough and watch me go (and listen to the screams).
‘Seabiscuit’ and that ‘Pharlap’, well they’re only in your dreams.

You all have seen on silver screen those scenes that make me bristle –
heroes brag as faithful nag comes runnin’ to a whistle.
They’re puppets! Dopey muppets! Yeah, and I can beat ’em all,
’cause I’m the one that’s really smart. I don’t come when they call!

Now I might look as if I took some chloroform, it’s true.
That’s my disguise ’cause I’m real wise at foolin’ folks like you.
‘Doc’s Spinifex’ and ‘Peppy San’, well neither one could match me
’cause I ignite like dynamite if someone tries to catch me.

Now someone ought to write a song or poem just for me
’cause I’m the unsung hero. I’m a Dude Ranch Horse, that’s me.

I’ve got lop ears and great big feet and head like cardboard box
but it contains a heap of brains. Yeah I’ll outfox a fox.
You all endorse a circus horse for doin’ clever tricks—
I’m way ahead. Yeah I play dead. I do it just for kicks.

And Rodeo, well that’s the go for outlaws tried and true.
Eight seconds they turn inside out to get a bloke askew.
I want a rider off my back, well I can take the crown.
I simply find a sandy patch and then I just…lie down.

I hide my mirth and puff my girth in sheer one-upmanship
and in a while, I start to smile and feel the saddle slip.
Now nothin’ you could ever do could make me work real hard.
If you can’t ride, then step aside. I’ve got a Union Card.

Now someone ought to write a song or poem just for me
’cause I’m the unsung hero. I’m a Dude Ranch Horse, that’s me.

I will go ’neath branches low and squeeze through gateways thin
and take a short cut through the scrub where no man’s ever bin.
Olympic horses? Nah, they’d find my feats beyond compare,
for I can jump a great big stump that isn’t even there!

I’m tough and rough and good at bluff and they can’t hold a candle.
I’m brilliant at a ton of things no other horse can handle.
In my defence, there ain’t a fence can keep me in my place.
But I’ll be back at suppertime and smilin’ in your face.

I can raid the feed shed, even when the door is shut,
and eat real quick and not get sick. I got a cast iron gut.
The things I do for folks like you are cunning if not kind.
I’ve often grinned as I’ve passed wind when people walk behind.

Now someone ought to write a song or poem just for me
’cause I’m the unsung hero. I’m a Dude Ranch Horse, that’s me.

Yes, history pales in telling tales; it’s time to get it right.
Those poets and those lyricists, they really ain’t too bright.
I’m telling you that I can do what famous nags can do
and do it even better and it’s on the quiet, too.

I’ve dealt more blows and squashed more toes than you could ever count
and coped with more stupidity than any other mount.
So stop regaling horses that are not a patch on me
and fix the wrong and write a song about a horse…like me.

Yeah, someone ought to write a song or poem just for me
’cause I’m the unsung hero. I’m a Dude Ranch Horse, that’s me.

© 2010, Carol Heuchan
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

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Both SIdes CD front 400w

Both Sides of Carol Heuchan (2019) includes 24 tracks of Bush and cowboy poetry with music by  Ernie Martinez. Cover photo by Pauline Fredericks.

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Friends and fans love Australian horsewoman and poet Carol Heuchan, a popular participant in U.S. gatherings. And she loves them back. She told us:

On a personal level, I cannot tell you what the connection to cowboy poetry and coming over to gatherings means to me. Aside from the fact that I am deeply a part of “the land” and horses in Australia, the iconic American Cowboy scenario has always held me in its awe and to be even a small part of that is so amazing. Of course performing is my work now. But perhaps even more valued is the incredible camaraderie and support I have received in the U.S. It is something I have not encountered in Australia (or anywhere in the world) and it is more heart-warming to me than you could imagine.

Her bio (below) tells that she “spent the best years of her life on a sheep and cattle property in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales.”

Carol is featured at the Western Folklife Center’s 36th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, January 27 – February 1, 2020.

From Elko, she’ll head to the 28th annual Cochise Cowboy Gathering in Sierra Vista, Arizona, February 7-8, 2020.

The photo above of the eye of a beautiful young Australian Stock horse was taken by Carol at a friend’s place just a week or so ago.

Find more about Carol on Facebook  and visit her site, carolpoet.com.au.
(Album cover photo by Pauline Fredericks.)

Official bio, provided January, 2020:

Carol Heuchan, twice Australian Bush Poetry Champion and nine times Laureate winner and winner of the richest prize in poetry history—a Case JX55, thirty four thousand dollar tractor!

She has fifteen professional performance tours of U.S. and Canada under her belt, (including Kamloops, B.C., Canada’s National Cowboy Gathering and Elko, Nevada, U.S. National Cowboy Gathering) and has been nominated as amongst the top five poets in U.S.—yet she lives in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia!

Carol is a fair dinkum Aussie horsewoman, International horse judge, horse events commentator and acknowledged as the cream of Australian Bush Poetry.

She spent the best years of her life on a sheep and cattle property in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales.

Five books and six CDs—the newest is an exciting double album of Cowboy Poetry and Australian Bush Poetry with musical touches by IWMA’s Instrumentalist of the Year, Ernie Martinez.

Carol’s writing runs the gamut—from side splittingly hilarious to utterly gut wrenching! Not to be missed.

carolpoet.com.au

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