While waiting to haul my scars to the afterlife
I remember Prince and Dan
a team of Percherons who could
haul anything anywhere over
any kind of country.
never hitching them to anything
they can’t pull. Put that in
their brain, that they can pull
anything.” My grandfather said.
worked the ranch with them, so did
my father, and me after. They
could pull a loaded hay sled across
a paved road, leaving a shower of sparks
from the steel runners
because they knew they could.
That, my friend, is real power.
in a shadowed barn that smelled like
a hundred years of horseshit and work.
In the winter, you always warmed their
bits in your hand before you put them
in their mouths. It’s a simple kindness.
Prince, a bay, pulled on the right and
stepped over the tongue confidently.
That is how they worked, Prince
on the right, Dan on the left and
that is how they went through life.
something they couldn’t pull.
Consequently, they pulled everything.
lived. Walking to water, grazing in
knee-deep timothy and fescue,
Prince on the right
and Dan on the left.
Prince stood to the right of the
carcass, not eating. He
did that for days, trampling the grass
around Dan. Not leaving. Missing
I guess, the work and the love.
in a pickup, a rifle beside me. The sun
hid its face behind clouds. My heart
remembered my grandfather, and his
words, “Never hitch them to something
that they can’t pull.”
Rod Miller worked in the Wyoming governor's office for a decade, shepherding wolf reintroduction to the Rockies. A former bookstore owner and Nature Conservancy representative, he ran against Liz Cheney for the Republican nomination for Wyoming's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Farewell Ride :: Beck
Horses : Rickie Lee Jones
Mother Country : John Stewart
(for the story in the second verse….)