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Sheepherder's Wagon

by Tom Dickson

Standing still, under the trees
Dogs are gone, nothing but fleas
More than one slept inside
Hiding from the night, as a mother cried

The man spoke Basque, a curious tongue
Tending his sheep up high among
The mountain meadows hidden above
A different world, like spring-time love

One big day, we came on down
They dressed us up to see the town
Ribbons and bows…bunting and blue
We prettified nice…the dog came too

We rode in a line, flags waving high
A polo man spoke, then rode on by
A Senator they said, though he looked quite small
The words that he said, not much, don’t recall

We are now too old to make the trek
The world has changed, God lost the bet
Our way is gone or so they say
Feed-lots are better,…cheaper than hay

Crusted in snow, it bends into sleep
Alfalfa and antlers, all covered in deep
The sun is dogged by a barkless bite
And the cold now warms me throughout the night

I am the canyon, through the years I have flowed
With the cougars and chipmunks o’er the rivers we rode
With the little Basque man and the dogs growing old
And the moon rings its brightness to keep out the cold

And now I sit in Gerry’s glenn,
Rusty rims, carrying rusty men
Standing still, in the shade of the tree
Hitch me up old man, and set us free

Avalanche Lilly whispers from her mountain cool
Calling me higher, slow down, you old fool;
The music calls too, it sings from the sky
My wheels start to turn, the dog hears the cry