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Casper, Wyoming
About Lauren McCluskey




Morning Ride

Dawn breaks orange over this land
As dew on alfalfa and timothy glistens
Like a million shining diamonds,
I rein up my pony and listen.
A meadowlark trills his anthem
Across the unbreaking plain
Where day and night kiss
In sweet parting pain.
Down by the crick I ride,
A coyote visited during the night.
The same old nuisance has ranged here for years,
A crooked hind track says I'm right.
A soporific peace settles on my shoulders
As the sun stretches his arms across the sky
Warming my chinks and thawing my heart
So I can just let go and fly.
I escape my walls of worry
And the one time my life seems clear
Is when I ride out here alone,
The world framed by a horse's ears.
A golden eagle power dives above me
Taking flight a moment before he hits the ground.
His own wings are his salvation in that last second
When there's no other savior to be found.
I knee my pony up toward the aspen stand
And he strains against the trot.
He's young and feeling frisky this morning,
Like me, wanting more than he's got.
Finally I throw my cares to the wind
And turn him loose in a stretch of pasture.
Hereford cows look on, amused I suppose,
As we push each other to go faster.
Stampede strings save my hat
And my wild rag whips my cheeks
Where the wind is bringing on tears now
But there's no stopping, stretched out and sleek.
A war whoop merits a startled look
From a doe grazing at the tree line,
But I'm in my own dimension now
And for once I feel just fine.
If we could run like this forever
You can bet we probably would,
But running never gets you anywhere
If you're not doing what you should.
My little palomino glows golden in this light
As we slow, both breathing hard,
Lathered up and quivering,
Our wild batteries recharged.
The sun is fully up now
And I've got fence to ride
But there's no feeling in this world
Like a new day caressing my hide.

2005, Lauren McCluskey
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About Lauren McCluskey:

I began writing cowboy poetry in junior high after a teacher asked me to submit some of my poetry to a contest. I went to my first gathering as a result and got to perform as one of the "Top 10 Future Cowboy Poets of Wyoming" and fell in love with the art. I've been writing, reciting, and performing ever since and published a book at 16 called Barbed Wire & Poetry: What Cowgirls Are Made Of.  I am currently a college student studying Range Management, specializing in Livestock Production and I hope to one day raise horses on the beautiful plains of Wyoming, the lush fields of Nebraska, or the rolling green of Kentucky.  I was inspired to write this poem after a stressful day when I wanted to just get away from it all. I figure a morning ride is the best way to do that and start your day on the right foot. (Or hoof.)



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