Tom J. Mariani

Rookie (January 1948 / San Francisco, CA)

It May Not Seem Fair - Poem by Tom J. Mariani

She was part
Of what held
This family together

When it didn't want or
Didn't think it needed
To be held

Now she tells me
Of growing up on the ranch
In the early nineteen hundreds

Why their father left
Coming by with money
Putting in a couple days of work

Then heading back out
As the held together
Four young girls and their mother

On a ranch
Needing at least
Two stong men

Just to hold the horses
Horses that were halter broke
Yet still needed to learn

To repond
To the bridles
Givin instructions

They needed
To be taught
But never question way

They would turn
Trot canter pause
Cut gallop or stop short

When they felt
The pull in their mouths
The slap on their flanks

Expected to be saddled
Carry pull
And be ridden

For the rest of
Their lives
Working a ranch

Herding a small
String of beef cattle
And milk cows

Guess he was not ready for that
He drove his six horse team
Trained to haul heavy loads

Logs - railroad ties - or
With high sideboards
Loads of tanbark

The girls had turkeys and pigs
To raise
Cows to milk

Chickens to feed
Kill pluck and clean
Eggs to collect candle and sell

Deer they shot
Needed to be dressed out
Venison jerky seasoned hung to dry

Tall green stalks of corn to grow
Apples to pick and put up
Pots to clean

A garden to tend
Vegetables to sell or barter
For flour salt coffee fabric

Lanterns to trim and light
Clothes to mend and wash by hand
And then hang to dry

All by hand
Without his
He was in town or

Out of town on the road
In the winter he drove
The mail coach

Three day drive north to Eureka
Overnight stops for supper
Fresh horses

After meals for passengers and locals
Playing his fiddle for dancing
Drinks for the driver

The trip in a car now takes
Only about an hour
Up the Redwood Highway

Not a fair race
We don't go by the way of
Briceland Ettersburg

Redway Garberville
Out Bells Springs Road
To pick up and deliver mail

On to Harris Alderpoint Fort Steward
And in between
Laying up overnight

Back to Phillipsville
Through Miranda Meyers Flat
Shively Pepperwood

Stafford Scotia Rio Dell
and Alton before again
Overnight in Fortuna

I have been shown where the coach stop was
Fresh horses more dancing
An early start on to Eureka

She has told me
More stories
As I listened this morning

She tells me of things
From my parents to her grandparents
Living on the South Fork of the Eel River

She has outlived
Her three sisters
She is the last

Now giving me
An explanation of why
Their father left

A wife to run a ranch and raise
Four young daughters by herself
On her mother's family homestead


Comments about It May Not Seem Fair by Tom J. Mariani

  • (11/12/2007 6:25:00 PM)


    Tom: This one strikes a chord. I wonder how much of this shared adversity (paying attention to both words in that phrase) contributed to the development of the character of the time, and whether true character and integrity can be milled separately from that adversity and that sharing. You've captured both here, BTW. Thanks!

    -G
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Monday, November 12, 2007

Poem Edited: Sunday, April 24, 2011


[Report Error]