From Gainesville To Amarillo - Poem by Bill Galvin
Traveling west from north central Texas
On secondary roads,
Through throwback western town stereotypes
With old, some abandoned, brick box buildings;
Closed general stores, saloons, diners, shops,
From a simpler, not necessarily better, era.
Between towns speed limits rise from 30 to 75
On two lane, some four lane, roads,
Running parallel with 100-car-long freight trains
Of coal-filled hoppers or truck trailers on flatbeds.
Early on is cattle country, with Longhorn herds,
But mostly Black Angus, and some Red Angus.
Horses in herds also graze green grass
On thousands of fenced-in acres.
Watering holes and ponds are filled
After winter rains, and before summer heat.
Here and there, a black pumpjack can be seen
Bobbing for oil in a field, looking like
A rocking horse or a nodding T-Rex;
And totally ignored by nearby livestock.
Rising ever so slowly toward mountain country
Far off in New Mexico, pastureland of low hills
Gives way to cultivated flat farmland;
Some fields green already, perhaps winter rye;
Some with post-harvest white cotton balls
On short winter-dried gray, bushy stalks,
Waiting to be turned under before next crop.
Every few miles, side roads of red dirt run straight
To each horizon; a cloud of red dust in the far off
Shows where a lone rancher drives.
Occasional desert scrubland holds firm,
Keeping farmer and rancher at bay
With colonies of prickly pear cactus.
Mesquite trees dominate all ignored lands.
The constant prairie winds supply the energy
For the large wind turbine farms in the distance.
Here I saw my first roadrunner scurry to safety
As I drove down a two lane roadway.
So many trips to the Southwest,
And never had we seen a roadrunner.
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