KARL A. WILLIAMS
About Karl A. Williams
When yesterday I rode in, trailin' gathered calves
My thoughts'd turned to time, and what of it I have,
I crossed the flat below the pens and closed the gate behind
And stood there for a minute lookin down that old fence line.
Standin’ here in winter’s cold I look out there and see
A thousand weathered fence posts staring back at me.
Each one is like the next, each weathered and alone.
Some are bent with the wind, some stand up straight and strong.
And like those posts, all my yesterdays look about the same.
They’re incidents and places; pictures with no name.
The ones I see most clearly are the ones which stand upright,
Holding on to rusted wire through countless days and night.
All that wire is like the friends and family I have known,
Tied together to the days and places where I’ve roamed.
Each of them has held me to the events of my life.
The ones right here before me are my children and my wife.
Tied in to them I can see my dear and belov’d Mother
And there just beside her are my Sister and my Brother,
And just the same are new ones, who have come along of late
All of them a part of that which makes a lifetime great.
The babies and grandchildren like woven strands of steel.
Give strength to all the old wire, through all the love they feel.
Another strand runs through us, the family that is gone.
Brother, Sister, Father, Mother; make up what we’ve become.
And down the line so it goes, dear family and friends;
An everlasting fence line, with no place that it ends.
I went out and set the posts; lived with what would transpire,
But you were there, my friends, to help me string the wire
© 2008, Karl A. Williams
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Karl told us, "I wrote 'Fence Lines' after helping with inoculating, tagging and sorting calves while at the Saucer 5 in Central, Utah, owned by Mary and Bob Houston. My outfit had a nice shade of green after that escapade. I was tending a wire gate at the edge of the last pasture, and while waiting for the cattle, looked down the fence line at the end of a long day and reflected on my life."
About Karl A. Williams:
My grandmother's father on my Dad's side settled in Glenwood Springs, Colorado on Divide Creek in the 1880's. He was one of the men who guided Teddy Roosevelt when he hunted elk and bear there. My Dad grew up on a farm in Oregon. In WW II he trained to fly in Victoria, Texas where he met my Mom, who grew up on a farm there. I've always been close to the land. I still own an interest in the farm in Victoria. I've lived my life in the southwest. Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Houston.
When my Grandmother's mother died during the failed birth of a sibling, her father went with his brother Arthur and sister Sarah (Sadie) to the Yukon to seek his fortune (about 1905). My Grandmother was raised by her aunts until in her early teens she went with one of them to Oregon and married. The Yukon story ended with a 1958 letter from the Commissioner of Coal Creek, Alaska relating that Uncle Art, in his eighties was found dead on the trail after making the 12 mile trek from his cabin to town to pick up his mail.
My cowboying was done in southern Utah, but now I'm saddled to a desk in Houston, and only see Utah when I make a hunting trip there. There's nothing better than watching the face of the mountain turn from gray to rose as the sun drops in the west, and the stars of the milky way start lighting up the valley.
This photo was taken on a summer day when my pard, Jim Heaton, and I took a little ride up on Pine Valley Mountain in southwest Utah. My place was in Pine Valley, below the mountain. It sits at 7500 feet and the mountain goes up to about 10,000 feet. The the early settlers milled the logs from the mountain and used the lumber to build the organ in their Temple in Salt Lake City. The little chapel in the Valley was designed and built by Ebenezer Bryce. It's the oldest LDS chapel in continuous use.
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