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Old Spookses' Pass, Malcolm's Katie, and other poems   By: (1850-1887)

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OLD SPOOKSES' PASS MALCOLM'S KATIE, AND OTHER POEMS,

BY

ISABELLA VALANCY CRAWFORD.

AUTHOR OF A LITTLE BACCHANTE, OR SOME BLACK SHEEP, ETC., ETC., ETC.

TO JOHN IRWIN CRAWFORD, ESQ., M. D., R. N. THIS VOLUME IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY HIS NIECE ISABELLA VALANCY CRAWFORD.

OLD SPOOKSES' PASS.

I.

We'd camp'd that night on Yaller Bull Flat Thar was Possum Billy, an' Tom, an' me. Right smart at throwin' a lariat Was them two fellers, as ever I see; An' for ridin' a broncho, or argyin' squar With the devil roll'd up in the hide of a mule, Them two fellers that camp'd with me thar Would hev made an' or'nary feller a fool.

II.

Fur argyfyin' in any way, Thet hed to be argy'd with sinew an' bone, I never see'd fellers could argy like them; But just right har I will hev to own Thet whar brains come in in the game of life, They held the poorest keerds in the lot; An' when hands was shown, some other chap Rak'd in the hull of the blam'd old pot!

III.

We was short of hands, the herd was large, An' watch an' watch we divided the night; We could hear the coyotes howl an' whine, But the darn'd critters kept out of sight Of the camp fire blazin'; an' now an' then Thar come a rustle an' sort of rush, A rattle a sneakin' away from the blaze, Thro' the rattlin', cracklin' grey sage bush.

IV.

We'd chanc'd that night on a pootyish lot, With a tol'ble show of tall, sweet grass We was takin' Speredo's drove across The Rockies, by way of "Old Spookses' Pass" An' a mite of a creek went crinklin' down, Like a "pocket" bust in the rocks overhead, Consid'able shrunk, by the summer drought, To a silver streak in its gravelly bed.

V.

'Twas a fairish spot fur to camp a' night; An' chipper I felt, tho' sort of skeer'd That them two cowboys with only me, Couldn't boss three thousand head of a herd. I took the fust of the watch myself; An' as the red sun down the mountains sprang, I roll'd a fresh quid, an' got on the back Of my peart leetle chunk of a tough mustang.

VI.

An' Possum Billy was sleepin' sound, Es only a cowboy knows how to sleep; An' Tommy's snores would hev made a old Buffalo bull feel kind o' cheap. Wal, pard, I reckin' thar's no sech time For dwind'lin' a chap in his own conceit, Es when them mountains an' awful stars, Jest hark to the tramp of his mustang's feet.

VII.

It 'pears to me that them solemn hills Beckin' them stars so big an' calm, An' whisper, "Make tracks this way, my friends, We've ring'd in here a specimen man; He's here alone, so we'll take a look Thro' his ganzy an' vest, an' his blood an' bone, An post ourselves as to whether his heart Is flesh , or a rotten, made up stone!"

VIII.

An' it's often seemed, on a midnight watch, When the mountains blacken'd the dry, brown sod, That a chap, if he shut his eyes, might grip The great kind hand of his Father God. I rode round the herd at a sort of walk The shadders come stealin' thick an' black; I'd jest got to leave tew that thar chunk Of a mustang tew keep in the proper track.

IX.

Ever see'd a herd ring'd in at night? Wal, it's sort of cur'us, the watchin' sky, The howl of coyotes a great black mass, With thar an' thar the gleam of a eye An' the white of a horn an', now an' then, An' old bull liftin' his shaggy head, With a beller like a broke up thunder growl An' the summer lightnin', quick an' red,

X.

Twistin' an' turnin' amid the stars, Silent as snakes at play in the grass, An' plungin' thar fangs in the bare old skulls Of the mountains, frownin' above the Pass. An' all so still, that the leetle creek, Twinklin' an crinklin' from stone to stone, Grows louder an' louder, an' fills the air With a cur'us sort of a singin' tone. It ain't no matter wharever ye be, (I'll 'low it's a cur'us sort of case) Whar thar's runnin' water, it's sure to speak Of folks tew home an' the old home place;

XI.

An' yer bound tew listen an' hear it talk, Es yer mustang crunches the dry, bald sod; Fur I reckin' the hills, an' stars, an' creek Are all of 'em preachers sent by God... Continue reading book >>




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