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Henry Herbert Knibbs.

Saddle songs and other verse online

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used to eat."

Then he found a bead, a turquoise bead, blue bright on the
littered sand,

And he pictured a dusky Hopi girl, a beauty of Hopi Land,

When the long-dry canon river-bed was cool with a crystal
flow,

And she swayed to the brimming olla s weight on the foot
worn trail below.

What if the puncher went to sleep in the shade of the ruin

wall,
While his pony dozed in the noonday sun with the blue

sky over all?
What if he saw the Hopi folk do a primitive rain-prayer

dance,
With symbol of turtle, snake and gourd and the lightning s

broken lance?

Then the far hills shouldered a thunder-head, the light
grew dim and strange,
95



Saddle Songs

A shaft of blue went hurtling through and echoed from
range to range;

The puncher opened his sleepy eyes and gazed at the dis
tant plain,

A storm-black line on the desert rim, and the welcome tang
of rain.

He thought of his homestead down the creek and the

cracked and thirsty earth,
He thought of his cattle, gaunt and weak in the season s

drought and dearth;
The withered truck in his garden-patch that fought with

the summer heat,
As he sniffed the rain, the saving rain, and its smell was

cool and sweet.

Snug in his shack he made a fire, had supper and rolled a

smoke,
Doorway open he viewed the storm and visioned the Hopi

folk . . .
Searched his pockets to find a match and found in his hand

instead,
The thin, blue ring of a turquoise bead and a jet-black

arrowhead.



HERMIT S HOME

ON the crest of a far-seen range where heaven s arch swings

low,

Above the shouldering clouds in a land that few men know,
Where the great rams tread the height, where the dawn s

first arrow gleams,
There in the winds of day and night I builded my house of

dreams.

To the world I pay my debt of toil in the valley field,
Taking a dole for my little need of the red earth s autumn

yield,

I earn the right to live, though my years be brief or long,
And I earn the fair delight to give myself to the world in

song.

Because I do not yearn for an empire dim and far,

But leave the last to the laws that be for earth and sun and

star,

I know a brave content while the mountain seasons run,
In the stride of the rounding firmament, in work to do, and

done.

I have looked in the sun and it does not blind my eyes,
For nevermore shall I fear the Flame I have flown where
the eagle flies;

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Saddle Songs



My soul is bequeathed to space, my heart to my fellow

men;
I know my worth and I know my place as the stars return

again.

My worth a grain of dust that the wind shall blow away,
My place wherever the dust may fall and that no man may

say,
Perchance on some argent shore, perchance in abysms

hurled,
To spin in the void for evermore, an atom, a star, a world.



98



SOXG OF THE GRAY STALLION

MY dam was a mustang white and proud,

My sire was as black as a thunder-cloud;

I was foaled on the mesas cold and high,

Where the strong ones live and the weak ones die,

And the mountain-lion steals:

Hid in the brush I knew no fear,
With a milk-white mustang grazing near;
When the grass grew green in the summer sun,
I learned to dodge and I learned to run,
And I learned to use my heels.

Sleek and strong and a stallion grown,

I took no pace that was not my own;

I fought for life in the winter storm,

And I fought for pride when the sun grew warm,

And the mares ran, calling shrill;

Then hot with the pride of my young desire,
I drove from the band my fighting sire;
My flanks dripped red but my crest was high,
For the young must live and the old must die,
Over hollow land and hill:
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Saddle Songs

So if you think to down my pride,
Build a swift loop, cowboy, build it wide,
For I m hard to catch and hard to tame,
I bear no brand, but I Ve earned my name,
The wild horse, stallion gray.

The mesa wind blows high and free,
But no wind that blows can outrun me;
You can sink your rowels out of sight,
And quirt your horse till his eye rolls white,
But I 11 be far away.



100



DRIXK DEEP

NEVER twice in the world you find,

A lad whose heart is the gold you spend,

And his free hand of your heart, in kind,
When the joy of each is to give, not lend :

Yet one shall tarry and one shall sleep,

So while you stand in the sun, drink deep.

Soon, too soon shall the sunlight pass,
And one shall mourn in the starless night,

As he snaps the stem of an empty glass,
That brimmed of old with a brave delight:

And one of you twain must the vigil keep,

So while you stand in the sun, drink deep.



THE END



101



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JUL 15 1941
AUG & 1941



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JUL 27 1946
MAY 12 1948

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY





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Online LibraryHenry Herbert KnibbsSaddle songs and other verse → online text (page 4 of 4)