Rail

I ain’t much on frills; ain’t no conchas on my saddle.
More than once I’ve been up the crick without no paddle.
When I first set out to cowboy I didn’t know come here from sic’em,
Bought a twenty dollar devil horse; boy, I sure knew how to pick ‘em.
Old Rail didn’t look like much but he was what I could afford.
Man that sold him said he once belonged to an English lord.
Probably hadn’t been the same since Columbus brought him over;
But I bought a bag a grain and hobbled him on clover.
Rail ate from can to can’t, started filling out his frame.
I was giving some thought to the changing of his name.
He had been some horseman’s mount, didn’t need bit or bridle,
A touch with a knee, left or right: no touch meant idle.
Grip both knees and he would trot; to gallop grab his mane.
He had it all down pat till one day we met a train.
Rail went plumb to pieces like he’d been fed loco weed.
He plunged in all directions though I kneed and kneed and kneed.
He was whirling roun’ and roun’ like he’s caught up in a pool.
I’d drawed my knees up on the skirt, was blue blessing the old fool.
When that engine give a blast, a tremulous, mournful, wail.
Rail went into running like there was a rocket up his tail.
We was zipping cross the prairie, putting distance to the track.
I’d tried left knee, right knee, no knee, and for my final act,
I’d pulled out my forty four; I’d put a stop to this mad run.
Just as I pulled back the hammer my saddle come undone.
The old girth band had snapped and dumped me on the ground.
When I hit I pulled the trigger; Rail stopped cold at the sound.
Came back to where I was lying, nudged me to see if I was dead.
I was getting to my feet to put a bullet through his head.
But rail was grinning ear to ear; I know that sounds insane.
Then I figured it out; Rail thought I’d killed that train.
Next time we met one Rail was just like any other horse.
He didn’t like ‘em much; he’d shudder and tremble some of course;
But no more panic, no more whirling, no more going plumb insane.
I’d just draw my gun and hold it, pointing it toward the train.

Rail~PKA’s Advocate~February/March 2011

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