Epilogue – A Ponder

by Buck Ramsey

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A Ponder

And was I real or was I dreaming?
Was I that boy, “so good of face”?
Were we so good, or are we scheming
To forge a role that garners grace?
We rode our horses ‘cross the grasses
In flight from Babel’s huddled masses.
We were the offside of the coin;
We didn’t care to court or join
The mad pursuit of pelf or puissance;
We left our money on the bar–
A crude disdain, perhaps, but far
Contrary to the crass insistence
On hierarchy’s servility
That passes for civility.

We didn’t spend much time defining
Our role, but were we to define:
“To do what’s right with careful timing,
To be the right place the right time,”
Would pretty well sum up our duties.
We learned by look and feel, not studies–
Unless it was the moves of pards
Ahorseback, eloquent as bards.
It was a spark, and we would fan it
While riding favored by good winds
With favored ancients, proper ends.
The owners merely mined the granite;
We were sculptors of the herd.
Yes, ours the poetry; theirs the word.

The Goddess handed me the bridle
That tamed my horse’s summer heart.
Then, by the spring and standing idle,
He took my saddle, took his part
In works of rounds I would be keeping.
In consecrating moonlight meeting
I joined myself to Mother Earth
And put in order first things first.
I pledged my heart; I made my promise
To love her faithfully till death
Despite enigmas, even with
The burdens of those moods that harm us.
I joined to her in mortal cord
To tender thought and work and word.

We toil so hard in sun, we’re abler
By light of moon to know our part.
So things that I would take from labor
I’d carry only in my heart.
The death millenniums behind me,
Lift up the stone and you will find me.
The true man dwelling in the dream,
I listen and remember when
Each thing was sung into existence
And carried yet its proper name.
The Moon might bring that time again
If it can calm the Sun’s resistance.
Beyond the din of dusty day
There is no closed place I must stay.

When thought is clear, things fall in place,
We’ll grasp the mood of Nature’s face,
We’ll know the texture of real grace.

© 1993, Buck Ramsey, All Rights Reserved

BUCK RAMSEY was born in Lubbock County, Texas, in 1939 and attended a two-room school house north of the Canadian River. Ramsey attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where his favorite subject was literature, but dropped out to work as a cowboy. Injured in a horse wreck in 1963, he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. With cowboying no longer an option, he turned to writing; his epic poem Grass and Notes for a Novel are considered some of the finest western literature ever written. In 1995 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship for both his poetry and his singing of traditional cowboy songs. He died in 1998.

Portrait Sponsor

The Department of Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language at Great Basin College



National Endowment for the Arts
Nevada Arts Council
NV Energy Foundation