In a Sow’s Ear 7-27-09
Reports have it that Mars has soil and water (in the form of ice). Earthlings are intrepid and unstoppable explorers. Sooner or later, mankind will figure a way to establish a settlement on that globe. Like the Mayflower pioneers, the settlers will have to find a way to exist on a strange planet. They’ll need to work out what might grow – plant-wise. They’ll need plenty of protein to withstand the stresses of a thin atmosphere and inhospitable environment. Will the Martian colonists import cows? And will there be Martian cowboys riding herd on Martian steers? Will cowboys sit around Martian campfires singing cowboy songs and reciting cowboy poetry?
Works for me. Maybe they’ll have Martian Cowboy Poetry Gatherings. If so, Debra Coppinger Hill will probably be there. Debra lives and works the cowboy life in rural Oklahoma. Of Cherokee ancestry, she raises cutting and ranch-work horses on the family 4DH ranch. If that’s not enough action, she also writes a syndicated column, “Riding Drag,” writes tons of cowboy poetry and songs and travels around the world sharing her stories. This amazing woman caused the Oklahoma to recognize cowboy poetry as a legitimate form of literature. How did she do that? Well, by gathering up cowboy and cowgirl friends and reciting poetry on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The reps were so impressed, they awarded her a citation.
Resting on laurels is not something Debra does. Along with cowboy poet and songwriter Robert Beene, Debra has put together a poetry book titled: “Once a Cowboy …” The book is organized into sections: Cowboys, Cowgirls, Horses, Cowboy Faith and Lessons Learned. The reader can dip into any portion and come up with a gem. Photos by Angela Beene boost the reading pleasure.
An opening poem goes like this:
The day is short and I have chores to do
No time to write but a line or two,
But please know this, when the day is through
In this world there still are Cowboys.
So if you wonder if we’re still alive,
As you work at your ‘nine to five’,
Just know this … we do survive –
Because we are still Cowboys.
We’re the ones who wear no labels,
As we work hard doing what we’re able
To make sure you have food on your table –
Yes, you can thank the Cowboys.
We’re Men and Women who still recall
Those Cowboys of yesterday who started it all;
Who pick up their companions when they fall –
It’s the creed of the Cowboys.
And just like in those Days of Old,
We share our opinion and we get bold,
We may adjust but we’ll never fold –
Because we are still Cowboys.
It’s our choice and we’re honored to be,
Still riding the prairie from sea to sea,
Living in a country where we are free –
To be Forever Cowboys.
~ Debra Coppinger Hill, Oldyellowslicker@yahoo.com
And here’s a piece of philosophy from Debra’s co-writer/poet, Robert Beene:
“I cannot explain why anyone would want to be a cowboy; but I do not understand anyone who wouldn’t.”
Way to go, Debra and Robert! When are you leaving for Mars?
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