In a Sow’s Ear 1-2-12 |

In a Sow’s Ear 1-2-12

History and tradition – namely cowboy history and tradition – is the legacy of the west. Way back in 1987, I wrote a poem describing the way cowboys bunch up around a pickup bed. It’s the location of choice for discussing land, livestock, the neighbor’s peccadilloes, politics and weather. You might say it’s an historical tradition …

Pickup Palaverin’

Now it has often puzzled folks

Why cowboys like to stand

A leanin’ on a pickup truck

Discussing points at hand.

They gather ’round a pickup’s rear

Regardless of the name –

A Ford, a Chev or Chrysler truck –

They’re really all the same.

For lookin’ in a pickup’s bed

As if there’s something rare

Concealed beneath old string and cans;

Cowboys ponder as they stare.

Some boys cross their arms and lean

Against the tailgate’s back;

And other sag against the sides,

Their posture gone all slack.

Still others face away to view

The far horizon while

They speak of calves and market price

Or how their life’s a trial.

And some rest forearms on the edge

And let their hands swing loose

For tossing pebbles in a can

While chewing on some snoose.

Now this palaverin’ makes it rough

On cowboys who like to chew;

Tucked away in lip or cheek –

To spit, they’re overdue.

They kick the dirt and raise the dust

And aim upon a spot

Between their boots down on the turf

And fire a juicy shot.

And without a pause they recommence

A-jawing while they stare

Into that pickup’s cluttered bed

And study what is there.

They fix their eyes upon a lamb

With flies a buzzing ’round;

Though dead awhile ago it waits

Interment in the ground.

So should you see a pickup parked

In barnyard, street or road

And groups of cowboys clustered there

In pensive thoughtful mode.

And wish to join these philosophers

Just pick a vacant place

Along the pickup’s side or rear

Where you can rest your face.

Then take a dip and fill your lip

And so you won’t offend,

Never spit into the wind

While palaverin’ with yer friends.

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