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About Bill Davies
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The Long Day

(from a shelter of stillness)

When the day is long
the day dreams a song
in the wind it calls
to those who would listen

Songs about living
songs that stretch
over a green sea of sagebrush
songs that spring from
the short grass where
the Spanish mustang grazed

Songs of a day the Comanche
tracked and hunted them
into their solitary fortress
on high plains and mesas and

When wild horses raised their heads
from dreams of sweet grasses
it was too late
for they were caught by those
who sprang from the stillness

Not by bit of metal
but rope of hide
steady hand, soft touch
and strong hoof —
man and horse were bound together

In time they rode south and became
one song—
a song that was carried into battle
in defense of the wild open
—the land that dreams—

In battles whether won or lost
great spirits still dream
they sing in a whisper of wind
in the rustling of sweet grasses
and purple sage
that stretch across the land

© 2008, W.T. (Bill) Davies
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill comments:  I was inspired to write "The Long Day" after hearing the great Canadian song writer Ian Tyson talk about wild horses at a concert, which brought to mind my own experiences when traveling the Southwest.


Now all you young men
you better take warning
if you think you can tame
this horse they call morning
He'll lean on the sky
sunfish and dive
this moonrakin cayuse
who makes the boys cry


this horse they call morning
who makes the boys cry
He watches and measures
his left from your right
So pull down your cover your flyin tonight
He's long and he's lean
and he'll make it all seem
like you stepped on the moon
fore you fall back again


He might let you borrow
his strength and his speed
but know you can't own him
he's not yours to keep
for he grazed on the short grass
way up on the mesas
he holds it inside him
those high wild places


© 2008, W.T. (Bill) Davies
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill comments: Some Sundays when the week's work finished we would get in the pickup and travel 40 to 80 miles on dirt roads to get to the highway. Every little town would have their day of traveling demolition derby, carnival or rodeo. I guess I tried to capture the spirit and tradition of those small town rodeos when I wrote the song "Morning," but mostly its just for fun.



In a meadow filled with dew the random ring of bells mark the location of the graze.
The man tumbles out of his bedroll and walks to the creek where he draws a pot through the icy cold stream.
As embers are stirred the smell of coffee and bacon fills the moist morning air.
He knows he must soon pack the mules for the ride up the switchbacks they call
the golden staircase before the ridge above gets to hot.
But for now he sits patiently sipping his coffee, listening,—
waiting for the sun to rise above the rocky wall.
He gazes out across the meadow where his livestock and deer graze peacefully together.
Content now as the scene before him unfolds. He decides to celebrate with one more cup—
So he pokes again at the embers , sits back on a stump,—listening
to the coffee pot come to life and the stream singing behind him.
He watches as the sun descends down the rim of sheer granite and black water-stained walls
etching a masterpiece that envelopes this world around him.
Finally it shines across the frosty meadow turning every dewy blade into a million small diamonds.
Then from every waking roost and tree top perch—the rushing song declares the glory of the new day—
and he knows now why they call this valley—paradise.

© 2011, W.T. (Bill) Davies
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill comments:

Paradise is a valley located half way up a trail system in the remote northwest corner of Yosemite National Park. The trail begins at 3,500 ft and branches out, up and over the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There is a leased land-use pack horse concession based out of Mather, California operated by two generations of the Barnes family from Oakdale. When I was young, I was lucky enough to meet Joe Barnes, an old Arizona cowboy, who was wily enough to keep the old dying cowboy lifestyle and working tradition alive. For forty years he sat a horse and shared with everyone the simple, unpretentious knowledge of a centuries-old mode of travel bonded by flesh and blood between the four and two legged. Visitors from around the world could escape into the timeless spirit of the wilderness for as many days as they allowed themselves.

Much has been changed in the veiled restraint of so called modern life. My hope is that not much has changed on the trails from Mather to Bridgeport since I was last there. I do know that Joe's son Jay continues to operate his father's concession at Mather and hopefully can still access that wonderful high country.

A think maybe a little bit of Paradise can go a long way.



A storm is coming in fast
and–well—You waited too long to get off that mountain.
You put the singletree on a stump, hook up Bogey's traces
and your off to the races.
All you can think about is that little airstream in that grove of quakies
with a nice warm fire in the stove
So you cut across the switchbacks
Its a shortcut you think your takin
It's not more than a mile to the bottom
But that last mile can be a mover and a shaker
a down right widow maker
The wind is cutting deep into you
and the grounds already frozen.
The snow just wont stop falling
Now he slips when he steps
He's nervous and he's balking
You can't go sideways and
you can't get down and walk him
You better turn straight to the bottom
and hope your both not falling
So thats what you do –and
you hit the road with a sigh and a snort
A sigh from you who should of knowed it!
A snort from him who already did!

© 2013, W.T. (Bill) Davies
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill comments:

In the late 1960s, for a period of 10 years or more, I worked at Lawrence Larson's saw mill near the source of the Frying Pan river above Thomasville, Colorado. We cut lumber, house logs, mine timbers, and fence poles. The operation was small and the crew was usually between four and seven men.

The saw was run by a seven-foot-tall Allis Chalmers 4-cylinder engine that came off a road grader used in 1926 on the Alcan highway. Lars had a Clydesdale Quarter-horse mix by the name of Bogey that I worked with above the mill at 9600'. On that particular winter of this poem there was not much snow (ideal for skidding). I was living in an old Airstream trailer traveling by horse every day above to skid and stock pile logs.

There are many stories I have of my experience working with Bogey. This poem is just one of them, about a young fellow who learned a lesson of balance from one who knew the day and the ground more than that young fellow who thought he did.


   About Bill Davies:

I am a poet, songwriter, photographer, and bluegrass musician.

As a youth I spent my summers in eastern Montana working on my uncle's farm/ranch outside of Lindsey, Montana. I worked 15 years skidding logs with horses in Colorado working and living in a sawmill. I also worked as an independent contractor thinning trees for the Colorado State Forestry on Denver Mountain parks. I raised two children and managed a ski lodge on Donner Summit, California.

I am currently semiretired and doing part-time construction down on the flats and out of the snow, but look forward to getting on higher ground before the water rises. 



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