Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

About Laurene Winkler



First Cut

the fields now buzz-cut
green perfume like no other
dotted donuts of next winter’s feed
wrapped for take-out
equipment stowed along fences
awaiting the next blessing of ceremony

in adjoining pastures,
animals,  relieved with the promise

men with burned faces under ball caps
arms scarred black with grease
flecks of hay seed on eyelashes, in ears

(take off those boots and pants before you come in the house!)

sweet sacred time of year
like no other
green perfume,  intoxicating sacristan
wagons rolling like old peasant women up the hill
at dusk

© 2010, Laurene Winkler
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Anvil

the day crackles,
breath visible in air
heavy footed the horses march into the stable
to have their feet done

one by one, the smith attends their need
to be shaped, rebalanced,
to carry their majesty with ease and grace
the heavy burden of their weight
driven to ground on a hoof that’s
the size of a fist

I stand, huddled in toque and mitts,
knowing that by day’s end, my back will be stiff from it
and the bones so chilled not even a warm fire will perform its magic.

it’s the same process abiding in me
to hear the anvil ring and beat out the nothingness
into emptiness
to forge my soul with hammered blows

the anvil, its bull-horn to shape upon,
the sweat & muscle of each ring reverberating
red-hot both shoe and heart are fired
one mighty stroke, another again ,
look at the result
lift it to the light of day

then toughen it in the bucket of reality
and finally
try it on for size

the rest is easy
tap, tap, to get the finishing just right
do you know the horse’s foot actually will conform to the new shape
that within the hour
the shoe will fit?

would that it were as confluent
with what I am forging

© 2010, Laurene Winkler
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Laurene comments, "I have spent many afternoons—a rhythmic cycle through the yearsholding horses for my treasured blacksmith Henry Ellenberger. On the family farm, we had both draft and riding horses and we had a total of 11 foals. Henry always said: 'Look at the feet first!'

"Those days, especially in winter, were hard on the back even though he was doing the work. Since my husband died and it became necessary for me to sell the farm, the spiritual upheaval has shaken my soul to its roots. Loss not only of my partner, best friend and loving husband but also the landscape, the animals, the cycle of seasons, the frustrations of creating when Mother Nature is not always the most willing partner. Horses have taught me so much about searching inside to the soul. And I thought it an apt metaphor to reflect on that very physical business of having their feet done while I stand watching. Because getting through these past years did involve a lot of patient watching."



    About Laurene Winkler:

Although a small-town girl, she moved to a 200-acre farm near Stirling, Ontario and worked the land with her husband until his death in 2007. The crop was organic hay and livestock included a Scottish Highland beef herd, milking goats, assorted poultry and of course horses. A professional musician, her passion is long distance riding, a challenge that connects her deeply with both the land and the horse.




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