About Brad McClain
I caught a glimpse of him as he flew,
Down off the ridge and then I knew,
He was just gonna be one of those steers,
That we had tried for and missed many years.
My guess is seven or eight years old,
Could be the one that last year they sold.
But he broke the ropes with which he was tied,
And slipped away to the canyons to hide.
Because of the spots that covered his hide,
They named his Speck, no one really tried,
To go and catch him, just too much to do,
With all the livestock and horses, it’s true.
No one had seen him in a whole year,
Some even wondered if he was still here.
Thought maybe the wolves or a cat brought him down,
Then there he was and without a sound,
Gone and then off to some brushy hide-out,
Unless we find him, without a doubt,
We might not ever see him again,
Just so well-hid, who knows where he’s been?
I thought that I’d go and take a look-see,
The cow boss okayed it and mentioned that he,
Thought maybe the best way was lay my bed-roll,
Near that old spring that was his water hole.
‘Cause all of God’s creatures both great and small,
Have to drink water, if they live at all.
Got off the grid and made me a fire,
Warmed up some beans before I retired.
Made a day’s ride when it got light,
Rode into the canyon, got set for the night.
Hobbled old Dan with the spring nearby,
Thought I’d watch close and give it a try,
Kept my rope handy to throw if he came,
Dally off to a post oak if true was my aim.
And sure enough after the moon had its rise,
There were some cattle and to my surprise,
A giant steer with ‘em, all spotted with red,
One broken horn on the side of his head.
Yes, he was the one we were trying to get,
And so I waited for him to get wet.
Then just as gently and quiet as I could,
I lifted my lasso and moved where he stood,
In knee-deep water he drank so deep,
He did not smell me or hear my creep.
In a split second I let my loop fly,
Over his horn and neck it did lie,
And just as fast I took a quick wrap,
Round a stout post oak and that was that!
I whooped and hollered, old Speck was caught,
I was the one who’d caught him, I thought.
But then as I watched I was amazed,
Speck kicked up his heels, lay down in a daze.
The rope it was cutting off all of his wind,
He was a goner unless I loosed him.
I cut my rope, a new one it’s true,
Old Speck just stood there, didn’t know what to do.
Then off he trotted and I shook my head,
Just got in my bedroll and went on to bed.
Guess he’s still out there, I don’t really know.
But if you ask me it’s better to show,
Mercy to one who’s there in a bind,
Than be the one who wins every time.
And it’s not just critters I’m talking about,
But people who get caught and have no way out.
Maybe we give them just one more chance,
To find forgiveness and join the dance.
I’d rather be known for the mercy I give,
The grace that I offer by the way that I live.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy...” (Matt. 5:7)
© 2015, Brad McClaine
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Brad McClain comments, "
'Speck' is based on many personal adventures of searching for and roping wild cattle. There were always steers that managed to get away from us in the fall of the year, and became almost as elusive as deer. They were hard to find, and if you could, even harder to rope and bring in. Even so, I’ve seen many a cowboy cut a rope to avoid a wreck or save an animal’s life. There seems to be a good life lesson there.
About Brad McClain:
Raised in the cattle business and horseback all his life, Brad McClain’s cowboy poetry springs from personal experience. Brad is a pastor on the gulf coast of Alabama, where he often leads Cowboy Church services and has a Facebook page for Christian outreach in a cowboy package called “
.” This page has reached people from forty-five countries, and has currently attracted 46,000-plus likes.
Wild Horse Press, based in Fort Worth, Texas, published his first book of poems,
Horseback Gospel Poems and Prayers, available at Amazon.com and in other outlets. The poem “Speck” is one of sixty poems in the book, along with twenty conversations between a cowboy and God.
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