Willa Sibert Cather

(1873-1947 / United States)

Spanish Johnny - Poem by Willa Sibert Cather

The old West, the old time,
The old wind singing through
The red, red grass a thousand miles -
And Spanish Johnny, you!
He'd sit beside the water ditch
When all his herd was in,
And never mind a child, but sing
To his mandolin.

The big stars, the blue night,
The moon-enchanted lane;
The olive man who never spoke,
But sang the songs of Spain.
His speech with men was wicked talk -
To hear it was a sin;
But those were golden things he said
To his mandolin.

The gold songs, the gold stars,
The world so golden then;
And the hand so tender to a child -
Had killed so many men.
He died a hard death long ago
Before the Road came in -
The night before he swung, he sang
To his mandolin.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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