Barbed wires on rusted nails can’t hold
lone bulls at home when they smell pasture.
They thrust their bone skulls under barbs,
tongues quivering for a taste of strange
and shove until the post gives way. Days later,
we find wires sagging, reset the post,
and tighten bent wires like a fiddle
and rope the worn-out bull,
wishing there was only a fence
between us and our heart’s desire.
But something with spurs and a rope
would find us, cursing and yelling on horseback,
cutting us from escape down arroyos,
dragging us frothing and wild-eyed
back to the sun-bleached yellow range,
the same whirlpool of buzzards.
– “Riding Herd” by Walter McDonald
O the days gone by! O the days gone by!
The apples in the orchard, and the pathway through the rye;
The chirrup of the robin, and the whistle of the quail
As he piped across the meadows sweet as any nightingale;
When the bloom was on the clover, and the blue was in the sky,
And my happy heart brimmed over in the days gone by.
– Excerpt from “The Days Gone By” by James Whitcomb Riley
Gone, gone again,
May, June, July,
And August gone,
Again gone by,
Save that I saw them go,
As past the empty quays
The rivers flow.
And now again,
In the harvest rain,
The Blenheim oranges
Fall grubby from the trees
As when I was young
And when the lost one was here
And when the war began
To turn young men to dung.
Look at the old house,
Dark and untenanted,
With grass growing instead
Of the footsteps of life,
The friendliness, the strife;
In its beds have lain
Youth. love, age, and pain:
I am something like that;
Only I am not dead,
Still breathing and interested
In the house that is not dark:–
I am something like that:
Not one pane to reflect the sun,
For the schoolboys to throw at–
They have broken every one.
– “Gone, Gone Again” by Edward Thomas