Cowboy poetry has a long tradition in the American West. Like most things the poetry has tall tales about how it became such a tradition. Like the “bards” of Europe it became a way to tell history, deal with deep thoughts and humorous takes.
For Sunday we thought we would give wild horses a moment in this Western tradition.
When I die…
“When I die take me to the Sheldon range” I’d say. Prop me up facing East near the waterhole on that day.
Leave a cup o Joe and a smoke in my hands. I’ll watch each sunrise forever in that beautiful land.
Each mornin’ the wild horses that I love… Will bring a blessing from the great man above.
Heaven would be complete for me on that spot. To many it might not seem like I’m askin’ alot.
But things have changed and man has had his way. It makes my heart ache to have to say:
No more shall the wild horses run free. They say they are a pest and that aint fine with me.
The soul of this place will be lost in the dust. But those with the power keep sayin they “must.”
So I guess I need to stay around a little bit longer. I must continue to toil and keep getting stronger.
Power brings greed and a loss of heart. To see the error of their ways, now that would be a real start.
But if I die before my work is done. Burn my body then lay those ashes in the sun.
Say a prayer before you scatter them across these wide open plains… that from each speck of my dust that miracle might remain.
May the souls of each betrayed wild horse… Those wild spirits removed and those killed of course…
Rise up from my ashes and fill every valley and every hillside… with eyes of fire that can tear a mans mind open wide.
Don’t come near them if you carry evil in your soul, not one stallion, one mare, one tiny little foal…
You will fall to your knees for the deeds you have sown, the weight of all the anguish will be yours to be known.
You will rise up forever a changed man. Only goodness and kind deeds will come from your hand.
As I Ride the Western range, with the grit and the dust… one things for sure, all things die, they must.
This old body has trapped my still working mind… yet all things change in their allotted time.
Maybe heaven is no longer a place for rest? Maybe heaven is where we get a chance to become our best?
So forget the smoke and the cup o Joe… Scatter my ashes and put up a sign so all will know.
Write in big red letters if you please, the kind people make to create some unease,
“Beware to those that travel this way, seeds of change were planted this day.”
(Note from Laura Leigh: I went into Sheldon over the last few days. I can not begin to describe how painful it is to travel the roads I have travelled so often. Each turn brings a memory and they all meld into one. Ask anyone that has gone with me and they will tell you that place is what drew me to wild horses, my “heaven on earth,” and I did say it is where I wanted to go when I die. My first legal action was to try to protect the Sheldon Mustangs from slaughter. Hopefully our last action, and the attention is has brought, may actually accomplish that one goal; protection from slaughter as this chapter of our American history closes on our “War Horse.” But bringing public attention to Sheldon, as it is not a “celebrity herd” and was not managed by the BLM, was extremely difficult. Every year the attention has grown and grown and finally reached a large National audience last year. But “other issues” took priority for many with better resources than we had, but we did our best. But it has come too little too late to save them on the range… but we might have stopped the shipping directly into the line of slaughter. We will know very soon…. But let this herd be a lesson to us all…. we can lose our horses forever… it can happen and it will happen… if the all we can give is “too little too late.”)
Latest update on the dropping of J&S as a contractor, but the fight goes on: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2014/07/01/breaking-news-sheldon-litigation-ended-but-fight-to-protect-wild-horses-not-over/
To learn about the Sheldon, and to join the action list if we need fast responses if Sheldon’s are slatted again to go to questionable places: http://sheldonhorses.wordpress.com/
To learn about the work we are doing (we need your support) go to: http://wildhorseeducation.org/
We are devoted to gaining protection from abuse, slaughter and extinction for our wild horses and burros across our American West. Please join us today, before it’s too late for those we have left.