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Diane and Diego
Diane and Diego

Brewster, Massachusetts
About Diane Harper

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of



The Daydream

I'm not much of a cowboy, I work behind walls
the window is open and the outside breeze calls
to be on my horse, loping the trails
Is the daydream that cheers me and just never fails

To make me wonder how I ended up here
Instead of out west, wrangling a steer
Was it parents or geography that dealt me this blow
Or just cause I chose it, I may never know

Life has a strange way of having two sides
One that says work, the other says ride
And so I struggle with my day to day battle
Filing my papers as I dream about cattle

And wide open spaces that I so long to see
While I'm loping along with my horse under me
The phone blasts it's ring and the dream is cut short
I lift the receiver and speak my retort

All at once I am back in the real world I know
Instead of the dreamworld I've come to love so
The cattle, the horses, wide open spaces will wait
Until I dream on at some other date.

Diane Harper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



The New Pup

It's been two years since my old dog died
For fifteen years, Champ was by my side.
He's buried out back by the old oak tree,
I had a feeling that's where he'd want to be.
So I grieved and I moped, and I cried at night,
Until my daughter put things right.
She dragged me down to the local pound,
Said, "You're not leaving without a hound."
I said I wasn't ready, no not yet,
I really didn't want another pet.
As she placed the black puppy in my arms,
I gave in to her puppy charms.
We named her Raven, and I began to heal
But maybe a bit guilty I began to feel.
But she was so different than dear old Champ,
He was a saint, and she was a scamp!
She chewed and shredded everything she could.
Shoes and tapes, socks and wood.
Her name was constantly on our lips
Raven! do that, No not this!
As she got older and healed my heart,
I trained and trained and did my part.
She in turn tried and tried hard,
to be her own self and still my pard.
So after two years of tug of war,
I don't know who loves who more.
The memory of Champ is still strong and dear,
But I sure love this dog that's sleeping near.

Diane Harper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


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Midnight Cowboy

We signed up for the cattle drive, my city friends and I
A week of herding cattle, under the big Montana sky.
They called us dudes behind our backs,
And snickered as they loaded the packs.
It's true we weren't real cowboys, and didn't even come near.
But we longed to see the place of antelope and deer.
For we had grown up with the cowboys on screen,
We longed for adventure, I think you know what I mean.
So we herded the cows, worked hard for long days.
And at night in sleeping bags, under the stars we lay.
One night I awoke before my time was due,
Across the fire sat a man, all dressed in shabby blue
"Who are you?" I asked, sounding a little afraid,
"It's all right, I'm Lou, here's some coffee I made."
He handed me a cup, with fingers that were bony,
They match his horse I thought, as I looked over at his pony.
"I've been here before," he said, "a long time ago
Something just told me, that you would want to know.
I looked at the stars, and gazed off to those hills."
As he spoke of their beauty, he gave me the chills.
He spoke of the war, and his drifting life.
How very sad he was, since he lost his wife.
How the world had changed and now he had no place.
As he spoke, I studied the sad lines of his tired face.
He finished his coffee and got up to leave
Why I didn't stop him, I cannot conceive.
I never spoke of my Midnight friend,
But the next day the trail took a northeast bend.
I noticed some rocks piled with a cross,
Something pulled me and I turned my horse.
There on the cross, held up with a stone,
Read "Here lies Lou Black, he died all alone."                                                    

2001 Diane Harper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


The Ride

He slowly walked into the barn before the dawn had broke.
It had been half a century since he was a young cowpoke
His gentle horse stood quietly as he carefully saddled up
And then stood oh so patiently as he searched for the stirrup.
They walked out silently as the dawn began to crack
He'd brought along a small canteen, and a midday snack
The doctor told him not to ride, "too dangerous" he said
You have to take it easy, and spend some time in bed.
But not to ride is just the same as being damn near dead
And the hope that he would ride again had never left his head.
And so they rode on happily, the man and horse content
Enjoying every sight and sound, and every mile they went.
They rode fences made of memories, crossed rivers of regret
And when the sun had reached its peak, they rested while he et.
He remembered his adventures, some big and some were small.
But sitting in the midday sun, he treasured one and all
He wasn't meant to die that way, surrounded by four walls
He was meant to take this ride, and sit the saddle tall.
It was dusk when he came home, he'd caused a bit of fear.
His old friend Jake came hobbling out with a smile from ear to ear.
The old cowboy slept well that night with dreams of long ago
And of the beauty of a land that only cowboys know.

2002 Diane Harper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Cow Called Hope
     For John and Patrick Whitney 

She was a present for my son, a shaggy Highland cow.
He said he would take care of her and I knew that he knew how
But it wasn't long after she came and he went to feed her hay
That she was gone, on the run, and we began to say

"I hope we find her soon Dad"  "I hope that she's Okay"
"Don't worry son, we'll look for her, after work today"

The days turned into couples, and then into a week
We'd roam the fields at midnight, sometimes without a peek.
Then someone would call who spotted her, a little to the north
Our hopes would soar and after work we'd gamely venture forth

"I hope we find her soon Dad" "Do you think that she's alright?"
"We'd better find her soon son, I can't look another night!"

We traveled every night it seems for lots of useless miles
But my son and I grew closer, and shared a lot of smiles.
Sometimes we'd chase her with the truck; sometimes we'd lay a trap
Sometimes Pat would take the watch and I would try to nap.

"Do you think we'll catch that stupid cow?" "I hope we do!" I said.
But in my mind I'm thinking, "I wish she'd just drop dead"

She found a home not far away, with a farmer and his cows
He called and said they'd caught her, we said we'd come right down
We gazed at her angelic face, they asked if she could stay
We thought that would be all right, we could visit any day

"I hope that cow stays put this time!" I said, "I hope you're right"
"So Dad," he said kind of low "Where can we go tonight?"

  2002 Diane Harper
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Diane says "John was telling me this story about a "gift cow" and I couldn't stop laughing at how the cow outwitted them night after night.  Neighbors and family all joined the search every weekend, but the cow would hide in deep brush and literally disappear.  Hope the Cow is still living in her new home. John's son Pat has gone to college and all that remains is a great family story about the adventure.


About Diane Harper:

I was born in a small coastal village on Cape Cod, Mass and started dreaming about horses right away.   It took me 37 years to finally own my own horse, but I have loved every minute of it since then.  In 1995 I was able to buy this great paint horse "Diego" and he is truly the stuff dreams are made of.   We especially like riding the trails and relaxing together afterwards.



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