Charles Badger Clark

(1883 - 1957 / Albia, Iowa)

Hawse Work - Poem by Charles Badger Clark

Stop! there's the wild bunch to right of the trail,
Heads up and ears up and ready to sail,
Led by a mare with the green in her eyes,
Mean as the devil and nearly as wise.
Circle 'em, boys, and the pass is the place;
Settle your heels for a rowelin' race.

Oh, hawse work! the sweep and the drift of it!
Hawse work! the leap and the lift of it!
Who wants to fly in the empty blue sky
When he kin ride on the hawse work!

Hi! and they're off in a whirlwind. So!
Straight in the line we don't want 'em to go;
Light-footed, wild-hearted, look at 'em flit!
Head 'em, now! rowel, and turn loose the bit!
Whee! and the rip and the rush and the beat,
Rattlin' rocks and the whippin' mesquit!

Oh, hawse work! the swing and the swell of it!
Hawse work! the sing and the yell of it!
Holler goodbye to the dull and the dry;
Leave 'em behind on the hawse work.

Shorty is down with his hawse in a heap;
Might have pulled in for a gully so deep.
Reddy he rides like he's tired of his life;
Ought to be thinkin' he's got a wife—
Shrinkin' and thinkin' of bones that may crunch?
No! Yip! we've headed the mare and her bunch!

Oh, hawse work! the rip and the tear of it!
Hawse work! the dip and the dare of it!
Life flutters high when you're lookin' to die;
That is the fun of the hawse work.

Hi! and you're foolish for once, old lass,
Streakin' it straight for the trap in the pass.
Into the canyon the hoof-thunder drums—
Where is that holdup? Hump! there he comes,
Crow-hoppin' down from the bluff—too late!
Damn! and they're gone for a tour of the State!

Oh, hawse work, the rant and the fuss of it!
Hawse work! the pant and the cuss of it!
Yet when I sigh and the world is a lie
Give me a day on the hawse work!


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 9, 2016



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