The Land of My Birth
The wind blows wild on western land,
upending stories told of yore,
lays bare the tales of daring men—
now lend your ear, I share this lore.
The West was lawless, savage, free
to those who braved a lonely life,
who claimed God-given destiny,
their right, their will—soon gained by strife.
Those cowboys, miners, pioneers—
some pillaged peoples, raped the earth—,
they forged their way to new frontiers
lay bare such pain, bled forth rebirth.
The cowboys, gathered round a fire,
exhausted, aching, often cold,
they drank their whisky, shared their cares,
slept ‘neath the stars when night grew old.
The miners dreamt of wealth and gold,
they panned and dug, hoping to find
a vein of ore, the mother lode,
they lost their hope, often their minds.
Brave families crossed the barren plains,
leaving their homes and all they knew.
So many perished on the way.
Danger was great, successes few.
The Native peoples fared not well,
forced from the places they called home.
within they wept for their death knell,
confined–no more just free to roam.
Now, wildlife suffers loss of space,
The desert shrinks, gives way to man
who fouls the waters, laying waste,
and here am I, let’s not pretend.
And so the land I love today
once known for pristine purity,
though beautiful has known decay
protect her for posterity.
Today, at dVerse Poetics, Stacey is guest hosting and invites us to write Folk Poetry. Although my home is in Nevada, I’ve never written a cowboy poem. Each year, Elko, NV hosts a huge Cowboy Poetry Fest. Originally, I’d intended to write such a poem, but as it played out, it became more of an expression of concern for the unstoppable growth in NV and here in the SoCal desert where I also spend time. As an example, I used to see many Roadrunners when we visited the desert. This year I have only seen one. I also address the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” the belief that God intended the West for newcomers with the result that the Native Americans were displaced, relegated to Reservations.
This poem is a rough draft written as a Quatrain with the rhyme scheme ABAB, CDCD etc. I’ve attempted to use Iambic Tetrameter. If you notice anything not quite right, please let me know–the same if anything doesn’t make sense.