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V. JUNE BLEVINS COLLINS
Yreka, California
About
V. June Blevins Collins
V. June Blevins Collins' web site

 
photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, Elko, 2008

1916-2010

We were sad to learn of the death of poet and great friend of the BAR-D, V. June Collins, age 94, on October 2, 2010.

An obituary here tells, "...Born May 31, 1916 in Prineville, Ore. to Awilda Josephine and Lee Edward Blevins, she grew up on a ranch in the Ochaco, about 20 miles east of Prineville...On July 1, 1940 she married Gerald Jefferson “Jerry” Collins of Grants Pass in Reno, Nev. They had saved $19 in dimes so they could get married. She and her new husband moved that same year to Yreka [California]. June has written poetry much of her life. She published a book called Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse. She and Jerry attended the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., culminating 20 years of attendance."

Also from the obituary:

Graveside services will be held at noon on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 at the Little Shasta Cemetery.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Little Shasta Church, 10115 Swigart Rd., Montague, CA 96064; Siskiyou Writers Scholarship, 11200 Pyrite Ct., Montague, CA 96064; Madrone Hospice House, 255 Collier Way, Yreka, CA 96097; Rose Brown Fund of GSSC, 912 S. Main St., Yreka, CA 96097; or Siskiyou County Museum, 910 S. Main St., Yreka, CA 96097.

Girdner Funeral Chapel at 842-3434 is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.girdnerfuneralchapel.com.

 

 

Barn Sour
(When horses are Ol’ Coots)

Might sound to you like a smelly place
But your first look, not always facts.
Yes, most people that like horses 
Don't even resent the smell of tracks.

Horse smells seem to grow with you
Wet saddle blankets prove a point.
It takes scads of them on each horse
To smooth out gaits, and style anoint.

If separated for a time, from ol' Coots,
That open barn door smells quite good.
That is, if you really do like horses
Like most folks working horses, should.

Today, ol' Coot pushed my buttons
Like a few do, this time of year.
Winter was an especially long one.
Have not yet got 'em into gear.

To ride him away from his old barn
Which has sheltered him so well,
Again, has been one up hill battle.
Shall take a bit of time to tell.

 My legs, they're sure getting tired
Trying to keep his course straight.
Leggin' right, and left, I'm determined
Will get him on a past that gate.

His head is most like it's on a spring,
And is anchored hard to that old barn.
His mind is one-way, and all made up.
This good horse has lost his charm!

He, like some others, just got renamed
While name seems to fit and suit.
Today, he got my favorite old one,
“That danged old stubborn, Coot!"

I've finally got him to the hills,
Though near pooped, and feel a mess.
He's still dreamin' of yonder barn
It will look good to me too, I confess.

Today, he's a barn sour, old s. o. b. 
Why, my thoughts could almost kill.
'Cause I know, when we get start back
He'll turn eager, like it's all down hill.

Will then, be as hard to hold him back
As it was to push him, to ride away.
Sometimes it almost breaks my spirit.
But today, Ol' COOT!  Is not the day!

I've had a bit of practice, trial, and error.
Some's bound to stick, when live this long.
Though for some, it takes a lot more time.
Seldom is law of averages, all found wrong.

His barn, sure will end up a place of work.
For him, it might turn into a joy to leave.
Ol' Coot, don't know the practices planned,
For weaning him from the barn, 
I have up my sleeve!

© 2005, V. June Blevins Collins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

One-Sided, Treasured Friendships
  

This is to all you cowboy poets, out there
Off the stage, and behind the microphone.
You fit a mold, cherished since childhood
Together, "Cowboy manners," stand alone.

We had hove to, again, for another gathering
With a gladness, which comes from our heart.
Much like close neighbors, we're so glad to see,
For throughout year, we all live quite far apart.

Yes, it is why I question, and often ponder,
As the wanderings of my mind, tend to stray.
 In review of personalities, and special poets,
Which have entertained us, along the way.

In my minds eye, you have become an acquaintance,
As thru years, we've chosen among you, to dwell.
In presence of your gritty voices, and smiling faces,
We've heard you unravel stories, loudly talk, and tell.

It is hard to remember, its a one sided friendship,
One that's only, registered partially, upon your brain.
For in our visions, we reminisce, picture, and cherish.
In your thinking, we may have become quite a strain.
 
Its difficult to visualize, we're strangers to most of you,
When on other hand, we feel, nearly as close as kin.
But some times we sense, that almost agitation,
Like your space is being damaged, beneath the skin.
 
However, there does seems to be, another equation,
Which might  be used sometimes, for more thought.
Would you have endured the years, of push, and shove,
If none of us gave a hang, cared about or knew you not.
 
If suddenly, you all became invisible to us,
And only, your lone voices could we hear.
Would you? Could you? Stand its wear and tear,
'Cause some of your voices sound, not so clear.
 
We could not be glad to see you, if we'd never seen you,
For the unknown, has a way of putting us all under attack.
Might some voice, and unknown face, sound blamed empty?
Would it then take some fine tuning, and honing, to attract.
 
But maybe! With all that digital stuff, floating around out there,,
We too, just might be made attracted to any kind of old voice.
If some tiny artificial friendship letters, somehow  got imbedded?
FOR WE ARE ALL DREAMERS!-But, "Thanks to God!"
Your real, COWBOY POETRY-- STILL IS OUR CHOICE!

© 2005, V. June Blevins Collins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

This poem is included with our Poems About Cowboy Poetry

 

Homeward Bound


Yes, sun nudged me, made me notice
That in its rays we might melt.
A ridin' along real steady
My hat pulled down of felt.

Could feel sweat band on hat.
Wind sifting through my sleeve.
The passing ground a shrinkin',
As his strides reached into eve.

He so smoothly drifts along,
In his swinging gaited walk.
Communion felt between us,
Left no need to speak or talk.

Mind's on reaching home base
And of chow 'n bed 'n such.
Would end another weary day,
Near feel its soft caring touch.

Old saddle still a squeakin'
In its steady rhythms beat.
Shadows soon start coolin'.
Glad to leave today's heat.

Another day turns to evening,
Daylight vanishes into dark.
Lights occasionally speaking
From hoof beats' fiery spark.

We topped that final distance
On trail leading down to ranch.
Along the creek that tumbled
O'er boulders of its branch.

Been ridin' for the home place
On my horse's radar beam.
In confidence, astraddle
Of my ground-covering machine.

He's sure bent on eating distance,
In his determined aggressive way.
Corral gate looms out of darkness--
He's more than earned our pay.

© 2006, V. June Blevins Collins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

MIKE
(A Clydesdale)


Summer's haying had come to end
Teams now, had earned their rest.
Some grazed out in pastures,
Others turned to hills with zest.

During days they made their rounds.
As they came in sight we noted tally.
Sometimes on steep terrain, far away.
Other times, down near the valley.

That day arrived, one horse missing.
Granddad, and I saddle up our horse.
With need to check this water-shed,
Each ridge, and slope of course.

Found Mike absent, it aroused a dread.
We rode along with a peeled eye.
The day wore on, sun bearing hot...
Chicken Hawks circled in the sky.

At Box Springs stopped for drink.
Took a sandwich from our sack.
Ate, still felt uneasy like...
Soon back on horse's back.

Around two, we topped final ridge.
Soon arrived at drift fence gate.
Mike stood near, front feet in wire.
We shuddered, had arrived too late.

Mike whinnied as he heard us coming,
With welcome thoughts. Alas, helps came!
Though too late now. He'd never know.
Beyond our grasp, our sadness reigned.

He was standing on back of pasterns.
Had worried and sawed them through.
His tendons snapped and severed...
Beyond, freedoms frantic efforts, view.

His long struggling tries, so apparent.
The ground between posts were plowed.
With barb-wire's wicked, stubborn way...
His escape from grasp was not allowed.

He now stood patient, 'til each foot
Was lifted out and again, set free.
His eyes said, "All would be well."
But that could never, never, be!

Why taken so early to Horse Heaven?
Leaving others that habits gall.
Why an honest work horse so chosen?
Mike pulled willingly 'n gave his all.

Tears filled both our eyes.
Dread now filled our wills.
Rifle taken down from scabbard.
A shot rang out through hills.

The ride back home was only silent.
A special friend destroyed, now gone.
This Gentle Giant was no more.
Still, a deed meant right, felt wrong.



© V. June Blevins Collins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


V. June Blevins Collins told us about this poem:

This poem is of a happening in my early life, during the time when loose hay was stacked with teams of horses, both into barns and in stacks, not baled

Mike was part of my life. He was one of the bumps in the road of my life time. Each accumulated, and added in, helped make me the person I turned out to be...Mike was raised as a foal, on my Grandparents Isaac and Coe Blevins' Ochoco ranch, in Central Oregon. He was out of a solid black Percheron mare, and a by a Clydesdale stallion... Mike was bay in color, with one hind foot only, having a shallow white pastern.

I started driving Mike with a mare named Fly as a team, to the dump rake, when I turned 9 years of age, and continued to do so each summer haying season, for another three years. I then graduated to the much looked forward job, of driving the team on thee buck rake. However, I got to run it for one season only, as it too, become obsolete. Mike, was a kind, and willing horse, one which left his special mark on us,  for life. This was also, one of those happenings when doing what had to be done, could not be brushed aside. Though it would weigh heavy  on both my Granddad, and my heart.. We understood—

In our silence—
It could never be forgotten—
As I write!

Many years passed—
Still. tears came—

Etched in my memory—
"Mike" was set to verse.—

Maybe for a glimpse—
Or  the whole load?

Today, as I re-read—
Emotion still stir.
From out of the corral, in life's history!

© V. June Blevins Collins
 

V. June Blevins Collins notes that "Mike" has been previously published in (ABRA) Buckskin Horse Journal; 1992, by Siskiyou Writing Club, in The Collected Works of Siskiyou Poets; 1999, in Songs Of The Siskiyou’s, by Living Gold Press; and 2004, in her book Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse.

 

 

                 

 

CURRIE

This story is full of spice,
"CURRIE"  TO BE EXACT!
Yet, many Curries make the list.
Even rambles on, in fact.

 We have curry brushes, ‘n curry combs
And curry powder, comes to mind.
Some mild, and others quite hot...
Which leave a few ties, that bind.

We've heard it told in some descriptions
Some characters, are almost like a disease.
Even wild 'n wooly, and full of fleas,
and never curried below the knees.

But this CURRIE, I have in mind
Can drop a catchin' loop.
At times, every thing is dandy.
Other times, seems all in the soup.

This Friend of mine SONNY CURRIE,
Dabs his lasso rope, real fine.
His story may sound exaggerated—
While he spins both his rope 'n line.

CURRIE, drives truck five days a week,
To put beans upon their table.
The rest of week, come Friday eve,
It is neither a big yarn or fable.

He then rides, and ropes real hard
To fill his hours with pleasure.
They gather stock and practice skills
For neighbors, friends, and leisure.

He's covered lots of miles in hills.
Upon Klamath Reaches, he is an old hand.
Riding, rolling brushy hillsides—
In scrub oak, and over soap-brush land.

Gathers up stragglers, into the fall.
Gives CURRIE, and his horse much joy.
Cows full of grass, are most content,
Won't leave for man, horse, or boy.

Doggies settled down, deep in thickets,
Quiet—Are trying hard not to be seen.
'Til one day, CURRIE, riding COOLEY,
Found that heifer, like radar beam.

They sure caught her by surprise.
Quick like, he dabbed his rope.
That old gal had escape in mind
As CURRIE dallied up his rope.

She hit the end, and COOLEY-grunted!
Old saddle, whined ‘n creaked!
This old gal gave it all she had—
While the dally smoked 'n squeaked.

It flew right on off his horn.
Soon was, flapping in the breeze.
COOLEY leaped out in hot pursuit—
From CURRIE’S jabs, 'n squeeze.

They stay real close behind her
As she rounds hill, down to the lake.
Where campers, and some boaters,
In relaxing pleasures, here partake.

Bovines usually give such a camp
A wide birth, in an attempt to disappear.
But this Old Gal, had other ideas.
She was now, wild-eyed with fear!

She dashed right through their camp.
Gave little time for human flight.
When a bikini-clad young lady
Appeared, in her line of sight.

She was standing on the boat dock
Where a boat also, there was tied.
She quickly jumped, and scrambled
From this line of traffic spied.

Old Heifer, was headed for boat-dock
As she straightened out from bend.
Her eyes fastened like gunner sights,
To that far side—open-gated, end.

Looked like someone had left the gate open.
To her, would sure now be escape.
She heisted her tail, in burst of speed,
Right on off, into the depth of lake.

To have that brute get plum away—
From CURRIE, was hard to take.
But to see his lasso, wave goodbye,
Made his hackles rise, and shake.

He bounded right off, and on the run!
Fairly spinning of his wheels.
His spurs, were wildly jangling,
And hanging on for life, to his heels.

 Old heifer now had plunged in deep,
Swimming for freedom's other shore.
CURRIE threw his reins to bikini gal.
Into the boat, they took off with a roar.

Bikini's husband overtook the heifer,
With the lasso trailing out behind.
Soon, CURRIE took her in tow—
While he gathered up his line.

They circled 'n headed back to dock
With old bovine, paddling along behind.
She's was beached in breathless fashion,
And lay on shore, a puffin', on end of line.

CURRIE quickly got back on COOLEY.
Snuggly, dallied up his wet rope.
Soon Old COOLEY was diggin’ up dirt!
As he fetched her along the slope.

Now this for sure, is one true story—
ABOUT A HALF-BRAHMA, SWIMMIN' COW
And how CURRIE wets his dally rope—
WHEN HE CATCHES A WILEY COW!

                   

            © 1991, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

V. June Blevins Collins told us: I wrote this poem shortly after hearing Sunny Currie's story, his true happenings as told, which took place up on the Klamath River, North, and-East of Yreka, California, across the lake from where Camp Creek empties into Iron Gate Reservoir above the dam. Here summer cattle rangeland abounds, and also, many recreational boating, and swimming activities are enjoyed along its shores, in mixed combinations. My long-time, close friend Sunny Currie was an active participant in this unusual turn of events. Though it started out in a serious vein, it soon turned humorous, and for me not to have written up this story in poetry, my conscience, indeed, would have charged me with dereliction of duty.

 

Branding Time


GRASSES greenin' in the pastures.
Yet, old wind is cool 'n sharp.
BRANDIN' FIRE NOW HEATIN' UP
With wood 'n smoke 'n spark.

HOT IRONS WAITING, in relay,
To cut sharp the burning hair.
ANOTHER YEAR'S crop of calves.
Familiar smells fill the air.

AN ANNUAL, COMMON CUSTOM
Is a Western Heritage and deed.
Happens each spring like ritual—
Same as growing of the seed.

MOURNFUL BAWLS from mother cows,
All with worry for their young.
Calves answering back, EXCITED!
Like all other branding, has begun.

SEEMS ALWAYS to be an incident,
Some happening, to bring a smile.
As things don't go as scheduled
While some ropes MISS A MILE.

DOGS THINK oysters are a treat.
CHARLEY kept getting in the way.
Scolded to stay outside the fence.
Seems back inside, did stray.

GRANDMA COE finally had enough.
She grabbed rope to tie up this cur,
To keep him outside the fence.
Was one good thought, as it were.

ALL'S WELL, for quite some time.
Then he through the fence did jump.
With not much rope to venture,
He sat in an anxious, whining, lump.

Then a mad mother cow, WADED IN—
Started cleaning out the crew.
She did not stop after scatter
'Til She darn well, WAS THROUGH.

Charley used his DEEP LOUD BARK
To help each one reach their perch.
They nimbly, jumped for safety sake—
For ALTITUDES, all in speedy lurch.

Charley now, WAS NEXT IN LINE
Though he didn't know it, right then.
With this— gol-darned old rope,
It soon would do him in.

HE TRIED FAST, To leave the country!
Old rope stopped him. real fast.
OLD COW was baring down on him,
Was her chance to do him in, AT LAST!

SHE BAWLED 'N snuffed, LOUD!
Put that fur ball in rotation.
She was really one mad old cow—
BLOWED SNOT all over creation.

His mind said, "GO WEST MY BOY!"
As the rope again, came to sudden end.
Old cow was right behind him,
To his rear end, SHE DID ATTEND.

She gave a heave, TOSSED HIM HIGH!
Into the air he was turning loop.
YELPIN' LOUD from her tussle—
Missing hide he could not recoup.

Again, she circled the branding fire.
Caught old Charley, and his rope.
HE SAILED ABOVE HER HEAD A BIT.
While at her mercy— he tried to cope.

When he came to that ropes end,
Out from under him, she dashed.
And again, he started back to earth,
HOLLERIN' LOUDLY AS HE CRASHED!

The rope had reached its limit.
LIKE A SLING SHOT COMING DOWN.
Right into the burning embers—.
We sat watching, all around.

As gravity then took over,
Heading down, CAME MIGHTY FAST.
Was not to be a three point landing.
HIS DOOM WAS THEREBY CAST.

He landed in the branding fire.
The WOOD 'N COALS DID SCATTER!
HIS LEGS WERE SPINNING CIRCLES!
For he did not stay long, for chatter.

HE SCRAMBLED OVERTHE TOP OF FENCE!
Was sure head 'n for his escape.
Our message he had plum ignored—
'TIL OLD BOSSY CHANGED HIS SHAPE!

She circled again, around the fence,
Checking all those upon their roost.
Showed that she's was plum willing—
TO GIVE EACH ANOTHER BOOST!

After ALL THE DUST HAD SETTLED
And the crew climbed down from fence,
They rekindled the fire, just a bit,
Heaved a sigh from all suspense.

Then we again had another laugh
At OLD CHARLEY DOG'S expense.
For he, the rest of day, stayed put,
Outside that branding fence.

THROUGH YEARS, he’s not forgotten.
In our conversations, he didn't tire.
His notoriety made the rounds, of how—
"OLD CHARLEY STOKED THE FIRE!"
 

        

            © 2007, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

We asked about the inspiration for this poem, and V. June Blevins Collins told us: This happening took place at my Grandparents Isaac and Coe (Miller) Blevins ranch on the Upper Ochoco, east of Prineville, Oregon, one spring during branding time. I was about 12 years of age. She added:

Life’s happenings, has filled my mind with memories.
Through time, its fuel has warmed my heart, as I age.
While this poetry in my soul, begs for documentation—
Written in closet, and upon the lighted page.

When a calf is roped out of the herd for branding, mother cows’ soon come to the rescue, anxious, worried, and menacing. The hot branding iron is applied to her calf, and he bawls, she often, turns hostile, in vengeance charges any thing that moves.

At this branding, two fellows working the calf on the ground by the fire, on seeing the cow’s intentions, dashed, and climb up the side of corral fence.
Granddad, scrambled up boards of shoot on opposite side of corral, as cow snuffed each of their heels as they climbed.

Charley dog couldn’t keep his mouth shut, so she turned her anger onto doing him in, While I watched proceedings unfold— sitting high, and dry on the top rail of the corral fence.

 

 

Taken from an episode in my busy life, about 1974.



Pink's Day


Severns’ sent word to us, “Moon's right."
Would be marking calves 'n cattle.
So readied Saturday's trailer load
Of horses, blankets, gear 'n saddle.

Now, my mare has a goofy name.
"Poco Dinky Dean," Registry reads.
I soon dubbed her PINK, for short,
A Red Dun line-back, of sturdy seeds.

Gathered Pink 'n Ben in stall
And gave 'em a curry comb rush.
Their long winter hair, so shaggy,
Looked little better after brush.

Found mud balls where cinch went
So pulled 'n cut away.
Finally got most of them off...
Out of path of old cinch's play.

Decided that, those few now left,
Would fit behind girth just fine.
So fed 'em both their evening meal
Now would be ready most any time.

Drove out about 15 miles in valley
To good friends Severns' little spread.
Unloaded our two Dun, wooly beasts,
While others, saddled up and lead.

Sun was up, 'n morning rather cool,
What a great day to work 'n ride.
Soon, all ambling along down lane
Like fresh water following tide.

Again both Ben 'n Pink, feeling oats,
As usual, first ride in spring.
Neither cared to be told what to do.
Their bit champing, did fairly ring.

Pink has her days, 'n I have mine,
When she hardly ever breaks a rule.
Then I brag unto myself to have found
This rare and precious Jewel.

Today our communication, plum nil
All morning, we were buttin' heads.
I wanted her to stop the jazz!
While she rejected offer, dead!

Pink continued getting higher still.
Refused to think of settling down.
I rode her up 'n down the slopes,
Yet, hump in her back stayed around.

Were a few stragglers, low in field,
In dobby mud, plum soft 'n deep.
I offered to ride out after them,
To try 'n slow mare's prancing feet.

Lather foamed on her long hair.
She still gave me, "No! You never mind!"
Finally ended drag back to corral.
Would soon dismount 'n rest my mind.

Cattle were slowly passing through
Yon open, last corral gate.
Now we riders, gathered 'n gabbin',
Would tie up 'n work 'n wait.

Well PINK you'll say, had my number.
Had sized up situation, well 'n fine.
She thought time had sure arrived
To sit that old gal, upon her dime!

She gave one quick, high jumping leap!
All four feet left that thar ground.
I grabbed for that safety strap!
Started sucking myself, tightly down.

On the third jump that old bitch
Sure had unhooked both my boots.
Out of stirrups they came flying back!
I thought, you crazy old Dun coot!

My feet kept gaining altitude! I hung on!
Soon were headed back over to the ground.
Fist now near buried into collar bone
That showed knuckle imprint, I later found.

My feet hit kerplunk! In front of mare.
She stopped! Then appeared quite amazed!
I had kept my head from hitting first.
She looked at me, just sorta gazed.

My death grip then, wrenched from grasp!
The rest of me sagged down in wad!
I slowly got up onto my feet
Like an old mad cow that's on the prod!

I gave her a few sound kicks in the slats!
Then started to clamber aboard, back on.
But quickly had another, pregnant thought.
Maybe those mud balls had done me wrong?

I now unloosened cinch, 'n sure enough!
Those balls had worked back underneath.
Was much like burrs under saddle blanket.
She had been hurting, beyond relief.

With pocket knife, I again whittled away,
Cut 'n pulled those rascals out!
Because, after marking 'n lunch time,
Would follow 'em back, out same route.

Maybe her belly yet still tender
When, in evening, mounted back up.
She still again had hump in back.
Could feel her muscles bunch 'n cup.

Each time she felt I'd relaxed,
She'd think, I'll try that again!
I'd sideways jerk her head to side
And gouge her sides into a spin!

She'd stumble round, near fall down!
Act dizzy, for just a minute.
Then she'd travel good a while.
Soon I'd see, her heart not in it.

Though straightened out for a time,
As to say, "That didn't work."
In a little while, old way returned.
I could feel her smile 'n smirk!

Back to barn in time, unsaddled.
Bid our friends a fond adieu.
All agree'd, had a busy day,
Plus enjoyable 'n true.

We loaded up 'n hauled 'em home,
Still disgusted with her stubborn way.
Bedded down for night, I was sorta puny
From jerks she'd put on display.

Next day we're to drive whole herd
About ten miles on to another pasture.
So awakened with a will, for sure!
But my way, sure felt no rapture.

My mind thought must come awake!
So early, but body would not get up.
I gave another poor excuse to rise!
Nothing worked! Must have frozen up!

I finally said to Jerry,--- Please!
As I stuggled 'n tried to sit up in bed.
You'll have to give me a gentle shove,
Cause I can now barely move my head!

I felt Ouch! Oh! So very tender.
All from hanging on, to not hit ground.
Not missed a spot! Even eye balls sore!
Couldn't bend! Solidified by pound!

Yes, I'm still vain, though not so proud
When it comes to tanglin' with the dirt!
At my age, have no qualms for sure.
Will pull leather to not get hurt.

In my younger days, to grab the horn
Sure took a lot of razz 'n guff!
I was a great deal more agile too.
A Ranch Jewel, carved out of rough!
 

  

            © 2007, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

*Moon's right: When altering livestock, according to the light or dark of the moon, they bleed less.
 

We asked about the inspiration for this poem, and V. June Blevins Collins told us: This true happening gave me a wallop, which I would not soon, forget.  Its impact stayed around to remind me of my bruises. For she had bucked me off! – This plainly, was Pinks Day!  Pink finally had accomplished what she had wanted to do, many times before.

I paid close attention to her signals, and silent sign language. She often, had more to say than I really wanted to listen to. I also, understood my temper was the last thing I wanted to loose. Alerted, time worked though these near tantrums.

Her upper lip would start to rotate in a tight circle, her inner resentment seeming about to boil over, not always from something I had asked her to do, but something not to her liking. A behavior which often surfaced during our many years together of give, and take, and push, and shove— This day I had let my guard down, while she still carried a full head of steam. In other words I had left my gate open—and she rightfully took timely advantage. 

After “Pinks Day” arrived, her story, like other happenings, was soon tied up onto my long list of pages of stories, poems, and happenings—All in wait, to be written.

Here each happening listed— nudged, and struggled, for my time
Time, out of my life— filled full of years, months, and days.
Its with luck of the draw— who sees the light of day, next—
“Pinks Day” was written much later, off of my list, on pastures they graze.

 

 

Pink's Call

Many years, I've had a Case Loader
It stands fair to middlin' tall.
Have gotten lots of use from it.
Helped me clean up in every stall.

It's rather chuffy, about 4 feet,
With its bucket, it scoops a bite.
We through doorways, then nudge.
Sometimes worked far into night.

We trundled off to the dump bank.
Using separate place each year.
Just so we don't transplant worms,
Onto pastures, should you fear.

Where it sets, for another season,
Before as fertilizer, it's put onto grass
That way are not planting worms into...
Our horses bellies, quite so fast.

One day I was cleaning up by hand
Around the edges of the stall.
Pink, just every little while,
Would whinny, and to me would call.

She's a rather independent mare.
Will turn her head, most in disgust,
Many times when I wish to pet her,
Almost saying, "Okay! If I must."

I talked to her through the wall,
Called her lunch mouth. It's not time.
Still, she softly nickered to me,
Didn't make much sense or rhyme.

I finally lay fork up into the corner,
Must talk to her, just face to face.
Was so surprised, as I greeted her.
I felt guilty, lowly, in disgrace.

On something sharp, she'd rubbed head.
Top eye lid hung down limp as string.
Across an open staring eyeball,
Eyelashes hung, like feathered wing.

That sad open eye was begging me.
Its white shone a circle all around.
Blood ran down across her lovely face,
Dripped off her nose, and onto ground.

Now for about a half an hour or so,
Had delayed attention, this I knew.
I swallowed hard, in sad remorse,
Still felt her asking, "Help me too."

Often times then, was home alone.
The sun nearing time of going down.
I knew something quick must be done.
Had to call the Vet, quite far from town.

Started in backing up rig to trailer.
For he too, had not yet got home.
Loaded Pink, for journey to doctor.
Left our message upon Vet's phone.

Was nearly dark by time we arrived.
Doc brought cord, and light to use.
Would have to lay her down on lawn,
And make her take a little snooze.

Attached some ropes in preparation
For sweet dreams, gave her a shot.
Quite soon her knees began to buckle.
We eased her down onto grassy plot.

She lay there in prostration.
His attention now was most deep.
I held the light, he stitched away.
He sewed speedily while she's asleep.

Dr. Paul may not be a seamstress,
But man, he sure did one swell job.
Those stitches put her lashes back
Above her eye, like kernels on a cob.

She soon stirred, and lifted self,
Upon each wobbly, unsteady limb.
I reloaded her with a thankful heart.
Things did not now feel so grim.

Hauled her back home to the orchard,
With fresh water, filled her tub.
Stuffed a hay-net full of leafy hay.
Cross-tied her, so she couldn't rub.

Here in shade she'd spend some time,
Anchored between trailer, and a tree.
So could not scratch her stitches,
On water tub or bended knee.

Don't know if she ever figured out
Why not allowed to eat from ground.
She could neither reach the tree,
Or corner of trailer to rub around.

All things it seemed were off limits.
For a brisk rub or soothing swipe.
Not one easy thing to accomplish,
Was almost hog-tied, in her plight.

Yes her eyelid grew back smoothly
Only a few white hairs told her tale.
There to remind me of a happening,
From my saddle mare's history trail.

This spring, Pink turns 34 years.
'Tis like 102, on humans' chart.
Enjoy her in barn, and out in pasture.
Still God allowing us not to part.

Two more years slipped by- soft, and quiet,
Death called in 2002's summer  year.
On the 7th day of June, to be exact—
Pink found no longer, could adhere.

She was Thirty six years of Age
Equal to 108 in our years of time.
While she got skinny, and very slow,
Our memories reach back, to tally up—
For it's always hard to let go, you know.
 

 

            © 1996, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Stan's Stone Boatin' Steer
 

A train heading' up the SISKIYOUS
Soon found it had run amuck,
With a box car full of doggies—
MEXICAN STEERS, were now in luck.

They scattered, off into the hills.
FREEDOM was within their reach.
It was that cold kind of winter weather,
Not some sunny southern beach.

STAN COOLEY, and his CRONIES
Started rounding up, each steer.
In this smart, wild, wily bunch—
Were many cunning, like a deer.

THEIR MEMORIES STAY OUTSTANDING
Like a hole remembered, in the fence.
Waiting until their need arises,
Then their radar tracks, don't mince.

HIDE 'n SEEK became their game.
They had to singly, dislodge each stray.
Felt at times, they'd been greased,
So quickly they'd get away.

Finally they got them, over on the ranch,
Out near AGER, where they would stay.
This would be their home for awhile,
Be it for a year, a month, or day.

Appetites are good, are about content,
Except for one, that's ailing some.
Most were gladly munching chow.
Still, this old laggard, wouldn't come.

This old steer sure now was sick.
And to barn, we'd just have to bring.
So hitched onto that old stone boat—
And would drag in, that DING-A-LING.

In desperation he was loaded on
Much like, DISHWATER from a pan.
A lifeless sort of lump, there lay,
Waiting, for the wish of man.

He was dragged on inside the corral
And CLOSED behind him, the GATE.
This Old Steer, lay aboard uncaring,
He was just waiting, for his fate.

Stan poked a few needles, in his hide.
And that get well serum, did the job!
He soon, started in to acting perky,
From that wad of hair, 'n glob.

STAN forked hay near his head.
Put a pail of water, within his reach.
Stan said, “Steer sure thought it was his pulpit.”
AND IF A PREACHER, HE WOULD PREACH.

Each day, that steer got a little better.
Not far from STONE BOAT, did he roam.
Feeding' time, he'd climb back aboard.
He showed appreciation, for his throne.

His groceries sure did come easy.
It's was like heaven, doing well.
Sure beat ranging' wild, BY THUNDER!
He thinks, he’ll just stick around a spell.

Yes, he's one smart BOVINE HOMBRE.
He was plum clever from the start.
He got his hay, served up on a platter—
ON A SPECIAL— STONE BOAT KIND OF CART!
 

 

            © 1996, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Be Happy, Buck-Appy

Was busy visiting in a corral full
Of my many old equine friends.
Each horse I call by name 'n chat,
Inwrought in joyous memory blends.

While many of these horses
That went drifting through my dream
Were different breeds and colors
And one was half a team.

Learned to ride on Nellie Big.
Was wide as she was tall.
I'd kick 'n kick to make her trot.
Unconcerned, she'd walk was all.

When finally was able to sit aboard
And on her, head a cow,
Graduated to another horse
With more speed and cow know-how.

Nellie finally quit babysitting kids
Yet thoughts of her are kind.
She was building-block of riding,
As I started bareback on behind.

Horses filed a past and milled about,
Glad to have me around again.
Me, I'm elated to be so chosen
And feel likened to as kin.

Yet, all the time I spent conversing,
Was casting eyes about.
For a special horse was looking.
Would appear without a doubt.

I'm Buckskin raised and Buckskin bred
Deep down within my soul.
But also find have a hollow spot
Left there dangling on my pole.

 I fish around and yank it out.
What do you guess is found?
Appaloosa fits nick so clear.
They're seen dancing all around.

 Have had a yen for many years
To own a Buckskin-Appy Horse.
With yellow coat upon back.
Black spots on rump, of course.

But kind of smile, feel warm inside,
My eyes caress this dream.
Hordes of horses fill 'em up. Cast
Reflections on hides' glossy sheen. 

When I awoke, felt almost cheated.
Still could feel soft coats on hand.
But soon glad this chance was given
By those milling herds and band. 

They're still corralled upon my memory
As by name they pass review.
Some old friends of yesteryears.
Of course, a few of them were new.

They were all there to greet me,
Strangely, with nary a push or shove.
Could it be the spirit of Christmas
With her circling, peaceful dove?

There was Nellie, Jim and Brownie,
Mike, Dock, Red and Fox.
Yellow Merry legs, my sister's horse,
With black mane, tail and hocks.

Monte, Midnight, Blaze, Burns and Fly,
With Big, my fathers horse.
Dustem, Buck, Peanuts and Jungles.
She was my first very own, of course.

Tango was my special mare.
Was around for 22 years to love.
A Buckskin gal that did her chores
Without one push or shove.

 Buckskin, Whisper, filled a void.
Was perfection through her years.
When heart gave out, joined others.
Was hard to see through tears.

 Along came Breeze, Sra 'n Song.
All cream frosting on a cake.
Dispositions with manners mild
That followed in the wake.

Now others own Buckskins, Topaz,
Nugget, Govina, Splash and Rye.
Short was stay, sad, so fleeting,
Of foals Fandango, Shadow and Pye.

While Sann, our Buckskin broodmare,
Keeps stamping buckskins out,
Ben, Jerry's buckskin gelding,
Is still a joy on any route.

A fetching wench is filly Tro,
A classy weanling, Dun.
She runs, shows her speed,
While yearling Dally joins the fun.

Now Pink is my new, Red Dun mare.
Have had her nigh unto a year.
She's up and carved herself a notch,
Pretty nearly close to dear.

Shore, we raised up through her years
'Til finally turning three.
My saddle horse with hopes destined
And quite special to me be

Her spots are faint, rather sparce
But surely fills the bill.
She's the only one in the barn
That tips her manger out to fill.

She's a light Dun-Appy filly.
Wears black frosting as a trim.
Striped hooves, mottled mouth,
On eyes and ears black edges rim.

I take the time to keep this pair 
A trackin' and a trailin'.
Climb aboard with grunt 'n groan,
Sure keeps my spirits sailin'.

Guess I'm horse crazy. I've heard
It used quite loosely when—
One speaks of little girls
And some old horse tradin' men.

But a world without a horse, it seems,
Would be not a world at all.
So they're still kept out in pasture
And cooped up in the stall.

 

            © 2009, V. June Blevins Collins
          
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

V. June Collins comments on the poem's inspiration: "One morning I awoke from an especially realistic dream, so plain in my mind, I could hardly wait until breakfast was over with— I was being urged, and compelled to sit down to write. The following emerged quickly, without much effort on my part, from a God given visit, that my pencil tallied. I was at the old home place corral and pasture, visiting from one horse to another with much love, joy, and communication between us. Many of the horses had been gone for years yet, they were so unbelievably real. They all appeared to be as glad to see me as I was of them."

 

Read B. June Collins' Night Before Christmas, posted with other 2008 Christmas poems

 


 

   About V. June Blevins Collins:

I was born in Prineville, Oregon, daughter of Lee Edward Blevins and Awilda Josephine (O'Kelley) Blevins, and raised on Upper Ochoco. Much time was spent at my grandparents Isaac M. and Cora J. (Miller) Blevins ranch, (near where we lived) at Ochoco Ranger Station. 

I helped with usual ranch work, irrigating, milking, feeding, stacking and hauling hay. Winter months, I fed it back to cattle. In spring, I helped in branding, driving cattle to summer range, horse-back trips to check cattle, trips with pack horses for salting. In fall helped gathering the herd, driving it back to ranch. 

I received my own horse at age of ten, having graduated from good cow horse, (teacher) that knew far more than I. I went to a one room, all grade, country school near the ranch and to high school in Prineville. I graduated from high school in Grants Pass, Oregon and Pacific School of Beauty Culture, Portland, Oregon with a gold seal on my diploma, signifying grades above ninety five.

I married G. J. (Jerry) Collins in Reno, Nevada  I've spent all of my married life in Siskiyou County, in Yreka and Dunsmuir, California. I have two sons, Mike (deceased) & Lael. 

I raised, bred, trained and showed Buckskin horses for twenty-six years. I was actively involved in the first Buckskin horse show in the nation, held at Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds in Yreka. I supplied much active footwork for twenty five years thereafter at these events. I designed the insignia and logo for the American Buckskin Registry,  which is used worldwide. 

I have ridden horseback fifteen hundred miles on The Chief Joseph Trail Ride, on the same horse, Blue, from Wallowa, Oregon through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, back into Montana, to within thirty miles of the Canadian Border. 

I retired from raising horses in 1989. I've been involved for years in rock hounding and geology study, gathering, cutting, and polishing many mineral varieties.  I'm a compiler of genealogy. I have accumulated more than forty four-inch binders of material on my husband's and my own lines. 

I have written poetry much of my life and had a number of poems published nationally. For thirty years, I used poetry for Christmas cards. I'm a member of the National Writers Association, Siskiyou Writers Club, Yreka Trail Riders, Genealogical Society of Siskiyou County, and a Rotary Ann. I'm a Life member of American Buckskin Registry Association, the Crook County Historical Society, and the Siskiyou County Historical Society.  

I have recited poetry at our local Community Theatre at a Cowboy Poetry fundraiser since 1990.


Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse


IBSN: 0-9748755-0-3

V. June Blevins Collins' book, Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse, contains both Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse. It's 288 pages, in large print, with more than 80 photographs, and illustrations by the author (the cover is also designed by her).

Available for $32 postpaid from: 

COLLINS PUBLISHING
1934 Fairlane Rd.,
Yreka, CA 96097
orders@barnsourverse.com

Read more and find additional order information at V. June Blevins Collins' web site.


photo by Jerry Collins

Visit V. June Blevins Collins' web site:

www.barnsourverse.com

 

 

 

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