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

About Nancie McCormish



Hay Fever

They cut and run
     from sun to sun,

Leaving little green mountains
     where once there were none.

Loafy green packages
     all in a row...

Once succulent soldiers
     now slain by the mow.

Mechanical ants
     chewing hay off the fields,

Slicing up summer
     for winter’s cold meals.

© 2009, Nancie McCormish
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Nancie told us:  I wrote this poem last summer in honor of my friends, Larry and Lynn Richmond, who are hay producers here in the Yampa Valley in NW Colorado. I was helping them bale as they are typically short-handed. They work hard, like every mom and pop small business. Great folks!

See more photos from that day here in Picture the West.



Ode to Busted Stuff

The broken blade that bit hard dust
The ancient axe all rotted with rust,
A shoelace pulled a bit too tight,
Those lenses scratched, preventing sight.

The shovel that's seen better days,
The duct tape patch so worn it frays,
That coffee cup you hide from friends,
A favorite shirt you just can't mend...

Just one good rein when you need two,
The missing nail that lost the shoe,
The broken heart that no one knows,
(the one that every mirror shows)...

The fallen fence, the orphan tire,
And... who needs all that baling wire?
The tin can full of odds and ends,
Buttons, bolts, and nails with bends...

The bolt cutters that won't again,
That wooden door the wind kicked in,
A ragged rope that just gets shorter,
That pretty pail that won't hold water...

The dead car sinking in the yard,
That old boyfriend’s calling card…
Photos of your dear old dog,
Shards of last year’s splitting log…

When nothing stands but fanciful fences
You've got to come back to your senses!
When baling twine is your best friend,
Sister, I tell ya, ALL THINGS MUST END!

© 2011 Nancie McCormish
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Nancie told us about the inspiration for the poem:

I have to say, this was written halfway through a never-ending winter here. We are still getting snow more or less daily and reached nearly 500 inches on the mountain just above the ranch. Most of the things listed in the poem are true things I experienced first hand. Most especially was the bolt cutter incident...

I think it was late in January, I fired up the snowblower to open up a route down the hill from the barn a few hundred yards. It was nearly dark and I wanted to clear it again before it drifted under again overnight. I was almost done when one last pass forward along the elk panels brought the snowblower to a halt. I had somehow snagged the white electric fence tape which had drifted over in the snow to a place it shouldn't have been!

Well, the blades reeled the wire in, then the stomp-in Gallagher electric fence post, and spun it around the axle about 3.5 times, killing the engine.

Of course I had just filled the gas tank, so when I tipped the snowblower up for a look, gas started pouring out into the snow.

I couldn't get the post unwound, so called a neighbor to see if I could borrow his bolt cutters. Didn't reach him but the sun was making a hasty exit so I hiked back to the barn, fired up my truck and drove over to his barn to borrow the cutters.

Back to the snowblower, I crouched down, got a hold of the corkscrewed post in the blades, and parked one of the cutter handles at the top of my thigh and pulled hard on the other one.

Nothing happened.

Tried it several times, by now my insulated carhartts were so frozen they wouldn't let me bend my knees, so I leaned over and gave the cutters a mighty squeeze.

A "tink" is all I got. When I pulled them out to re-seat them and take a look at the damage I had (hopefully) done to the post, I noticed the bolt cutter BLADES had broken! It looked like someone shot a bullet right through the middle of them.

Well, long story short, it took about half a dozen Sawzall blades and two Sawzalls to cut that blasted post off the snowblower axle. Along with a select assortment of words I shall not repeat here.

Long after dark the snowblower roared back to life but the auger held in place, refusing to try again against this bear of a winter. It has retired to a corner of the barn, facing the wall in a perpetual sulk.

I replaced the bolt cutters with a new pair for my neighbor, admired the overwhelming strength of the electric fence post ( is it made of Titanium or what??? ), and patted myself on the back for being tough enough to break a pair of bolt cutters!

Thus the seed of a poem was born in the stupefying cold around the haystack one night.




About Nancie McCormish

 I'm a horseback riding instructor, helping horses with their people and guiding people horseback over the Rockies.



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