The Long Ride

by Bob Schild

read poem
The Long Ride

I was horseback on the Blackfoot
When a flutter turned my eye
To the curious contortions
Of a form up in the sky.
Then a twirling apparition
Angled upward on the fly.
I was rendered cold and breathless
And my mouth turned powder dry.
First the sunlight bobbed and flickered,
Like its bulb was burning out.
Then it cast an eerie shadow,
Though there were no clouds about.
In that swirling, whirling madness
I could bare restrain a shout.
Though the day looked warm and cheery,
I could feel the goose-bumps sprout.
My old horse’s nostrils quivered
Then he whistled blasts of air,
While a frenzy of emotion
Seemed to leap from everywhere;
In an atmosphere so heavy
I could almost chew the air.
Though it ain’t this cowboy’s custom —
I knelt in silent prayer.
Then that cyclone of confusion
Seemed to melt into the sun;
While the day turned sudden Pleasant —
As before this all was done.
When my pulse returned to normal
I had lost the urge to run;
But my mind still raced on blindly
As a bullet from a gun!
When I heard the story later
Why I bowed my head and cried;
While weird tangles of emotion
Pricked like brambles ‘neath my hide.
It was not a dusty hillside,
Where you made your final ride;
But upwards to the heavens,
For I saw you pass inside.

© Bob Schild, from Pure Bull — Well Organized

BOB SCHILD was born in Idaho at the height of the Great Depression and was raised on a farm and ranch on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. He worked as a professional rodeo cowboy for many years, then in 1961 opened a saddle shop in Blackfoot, Idaho. Though he began reciting poetry on the long drives between rodeos, he shared that between March 1961 and the fall of 1984 he wrote only a single poem, “The Old Dunn Mare.” His poems were drawn from his experiences with ranch, livestock, spoiled horses, rodeo and saddlery. Schild brought his poetry to the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985.  He wrote two books of poetry and released one CD, “Lazy SB Poetry.” He died in January, 2020.


National Endowment for the Arts
Nevada Arts Council
NV Energy Foundation