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SALLY LEARNED ANTRAM
Ojai, California
About Sally Learned Antram

 

 

Sagebrush in Your Veins

Get along shadows, farewell ol' sun!
Hear those coyotes yippin' yowls --
Yippin' off key with high abandon
As saddle creaks tune t' jingling rowels.

Chipalees ears prick at canyons brink
Soft clicks on stones sure plainly speak
Wiley mustangs mosey in to drink!
Down by bent cottonwoods shade-dappled creek.

Now covey of quail takes sudden flight!
Scares white-tail deer that soundlessly bound
Into dense chaparral out of sight
In brush little critters scurry around.

Beyond dusk-shadowed hills cattle browse
Out on open ranges sweeping plains
While stalking bobcat scouts game to rouse
'Squito hums: 'You've got sagebrush in your veins!'

On meadows slope over-looking view,
Unsaddling, tether ol' Chip to graze.
Build campfire, chew on venison stew
From saddle-pillow now roundabout gaze.

Sunsets radiance dances: a show!
As crickets sing chorus rounds
Foothills waves of silver-sage flows
Darkness rises: reborn from dusty ground!

Fills low-laying arroyos washes
Then climbs hills to rugged peaks afar
Eagerly free -- sky-bound she dashes
To enfold luminous low evening star.

Far ranging Night -- circling galaxies:
Magically melds natures spaces
Then shepherds daybreak cross those seas
Rekindling natures heart-stretching places.

Get along ol' shadows: good mornin' Sun!
Put darkness to bed and ride on high--
Shake slack from your rope, works to be done:
Cosmic cowboy, lay your loop round God's sky.

2002, Sally Leaned Antram
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission. 


Sally writes: This poem grew out of reminiscing about "feeling part of life" in open country -- in the "back of the beyond." Ranch life, as I knew it, as a dust-laden teenager who was spending summers on the Hollister's 28,000 acre ocean-front "Big Ranch" at Gaviota, California. It was an extraordinary experience of personal freedom, coupled with plenty of ranch work. There was always the dust, cussing, laughter, with cattle bawling during brandings, with the aroma of steaks on the barbecue, baked beans cooking, salads and enchiladas to feed the hands and neighboring ranchers, who came from miles around. The smell of sage was ever-present. And there's just nothing like the feel of a good sure-footed, honest horse, to give real pleasure. It seems to me that there's a magic in nature, especially at night.


About Sally Learned Antram:

I'm a native of Santa Barbara, California. I got my first pony when I was two, when 'Tommy' was twenty-nine. He took good care of me and we covered many miles together. Next came a series of ever-graduating mounts in size, spirit and ability: one at a time, with the onus on me to sell the one I had, in order to buy my next. Riding fun included: swimming our horses in the ocean; playing broom-baseball on donkeys, having match races, teaching our horses tricks, and competing in gymkanas, horse shows and hunter trials. I broke and trained my first horse at twelve; at fifteen I competed in the three-day event zone finals, for the Olympic Tryouts. Soon after my family moved to the Winchester canyon Hollister cattle ranch, where I helped tend stock and rode on gathers. In 1958 we bought a shoreline eighty acre ranch on Denman Island, BC Canada, where we raised Welsh Mountain ponies, Quarter horses, and Anglo-Arabs, in conjunction with operating a co-ed children's summer riding camp for twelve years. After returning to California, I bred two Thoroughbred mares for the yearling market: one produced the 4.5 f world-record holder: (50:2/5ths) Foxen Canyon, -- which spurred my interest in the Thoroughbred industry.

In Lexington, Ky, I worked in pedigree research and marketing, before becoming a bloodstock agent at Santa Anita: taking yearlings to auction for clients, and buying 3 - 4 weanlings at a time at Eastern Thoroughbred sales, then shipping them to the coast to fit and resell at California auctions. Over the years I've enjoyed riding on ranches in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, California, and British Columbia: and have an abiding love for country and ranch life. In 1982, my daughter Cyndi was injured on a working holiday in New Zealand. While caring for her there, I met my husband, Ken Antram. After marrying, we lived three years in New Zealand, where I worked with Thoroughbreds and teaching riding. On returning to the States, Ken and I became antique and western art dealers at Antique Shows and operated our own auction firm. We now reside in Ojai, Cal. Last year, recuperating from a broken leg, I began writing poetry. I also enjoy painting in oils and acrylics. My three children have blessed us with eight healthy grandchildren to love.

 

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