THE MIGHTY MC, by A.K. Moss

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THE MIGHTY MC
by A.K. Moss

Within the wind a whisper. Can you hear the cattle bawl?
Can you hear the cavvy coming? The cowboys’ yips and call?
Of history in the desert, a million acre spread.
Nineteen thousand head of cattle with one iron, it’s been said
They were hands of twisted fate, in lonesome company.
They have stood here at the gate of the mighty MC.

Cowboys rode her country, the gunsel and buckaroo,
The vaquero, the misfits, and the top hands in the crew,
Such as Cahill, Betsinger, Hill, Gooch and Black,
Names now forgotten, empty saddles on the rack.
Ole Dixon, Nicol, Gunderson, Rupp, and Read,
The last who tell the stories of the hide and tallow breed.
Of the vastness, the hardship, of boys turned to men,
Of the ghosts and legends, stories told without a pen.
They rode on big boned broncs and snorty horses on the bit,
Pulling leather, horn and rawhide, all made of desert grit.

I feel the sand bite as it whips across my face,
I hear them riding in as they quietly take their place.
I stand within its boundaries, where cattle came to drink,
The skeleton of ribbed rails makes me stop and think,
While in the distance I hear the haunting cattle bawl.
I hear the cavvy coming, the cowboys yips and call
As they gather in my heart, no place I’d rather be.
I bear witness in the corrals at the mighty MC.

Most carried a snaffle or bosal, others finished in the spade,
Big circles that they traveled, no tougher horse made.
From a hand, the twist of the wrist, with the silence of a stocker
They cast a Houlihan, the Scoop Trap, or they toss a Johnny Blocker,
A school house of tradition, where no walls or books explain
The art of feel and timing, beyond singed hair, hoof and mane.

In Oregon history, in the sea of sage and sand,
No trace just mystery, no scars upon the land,
Of characters who rode before, just stories now told,
Of the horses and the legacy all prior to being sold.

Within the wind a whisper. Can you hear the cattle bawl?
Can you hear the cavvy coming? The cowboys’ yips and call?
Of history in the desert, a million acres spread.
Nineteen thousand head of cattle with one iron, it’s been said.
They were hands of twisted fate, in lonesome company.
They have stood here at the gate of the mighty MC.

© 2018, A.K. Moss
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Go right to the impressive YouTube collection of photographs of the MC Ranch and its buckaroos and cowboys that Oregon’s Kathy Moss created along with her recitation of this poem.

Oregon’s Kathy Moss comments:

“The Mighty MC” was written about the famous MC Ranch and corrals out of Adel, Oregon, which many know from the song by Ian Tyson, “MC Horses.”

In 2004 we liquidated 83 head of horses from an old friend who passed away. We sold them out of the old MC Corrals. Billie Flick, wife of Leon Flick, had spearheaded the sale. It had been overcast all day with a storm silently brewing into the evening. When we had finished loading the last horse, a silence, a stillness, seemed to have stopped time.

In that stillness I started to think of the history those old corrals had held, the cattle, the cavvy and the boys who rode those raw-boned horses of the desert. The rails, brittle from hard winters and desert sun, told a silent story that only a mystic imagination could picture.

In the dark, a lone cricket lost in the weigh shack started to chirp its evening tune. Billie and I were the last ones to stand in the silence, only for a moment of a very long day, when in that stillness came a sudden gust of wind that blew ghosts through the rails. I could almost hear the place come alive with all that had been.

As varied as her own background—horsewoman, cowboy, poet, novelist, and more—Kathy Moss’s unique recent CD, The Truth, presents diverse voices and moods in poems that speak of authentic experience and pay tribute to important influences in her life and work.

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Listen to a clips from the album at CDBaby. Find more about the CD here on this blog, where you can also find Rick Huff’s “Best of the West” review. Visit A.K. Moss Books on Facebook and her site, akmossbooks.com.

Find Kathy Moss this coming weekend at Colorado’s 31st annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, October 3rd – 7th, 2019. Evening performers include Trinity Seely, Ross Knox, Brooke Turner, Margaret Wilhelm, Greg Hager, Bill Lowman, and Mary Kaye. Daytime performers include Jarle Kvale, Kathy Moss, Paul Larson, Almeda Bradshaw, Tom Swearingen, Thatch Elmer, Ol’ Jim Cathey, Nolan King, Emelia Knaphus, Chris Isaacs, Two Bit Pete, Allora Leonard, Carol Markstrom, Dan McCorison, Slim McWilliams, Dave Munsick, Sam Noble, Jonathan Odermann, Don Schauda, The Sawyer Family, Lindy Simmons, Kacey and Jenna Thunborg, Cora Rose Wood, and Laurie Wood. Find more at durangocowboypoetrygathering.org.

Kathy Moss has been nominated as top female poet by the International Western Music Association. Follow her on Facebook for her upcoming events and more, facebook.com/kathy.moss.585.

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2019 National Day of the Cowboy in Prairie City Oregon, from  left , Billie Flick, Brenn Hill, Joni Harms, A.K. Moss, Andy Nelson

The photo at the top of the page of Don Hill at the MC at sunrise is courtesy of John Langmore.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photograph with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)