Signs of Drought

by Jack Walther

read poem
Signs of Drought

The signs of drouth are everywhere; no one’s seen a drop,
But nowhere is it more evident than in my old ranch shop.
You see, I have a tradition; I don’t suppose I’ll ever change—
The only time I clean my shop is on the days it rains.

Well, the shop is a mess, it would make a strong man blanch,
But I’m not gonna change my traditions, not on the Walther Ranch.
It’s full of precious treasures, like broken doors and such,
One-wheeled carts and harness parts, and stuff we don’t use much.

It’s filled to overflowing, it’s a junk collector’s heaven
I haven’t seen my work bench since back in, oh, ’97.
Sort of, it resembles the landfill, the stuff’s piled everywhere,
I don’t let my neighbors see it, or they’ll start dumping there.

Now, when storm clouds gather, I’m ready with the broom and such,
But these little one-tenth showers, they don’t leave time much.
Well, I did get inside the door on a half-inch back in June,
Thought maybe I could just find my welder, but the sun came out too soon.

Now, this is the facts, I don’t mean to jest,
Even the wood rats that have a nest there are starting to protest.
But I know the drouth will end someday, so I don’t want to complain
But what my shop needs is about, oh, three weeks’ steady rain.

© Jack Walther

JACK WALTHER, born in Elko in 1919, broke his first horse at the age of eight and spent most of his life ranching within a long day’s ride of his hometown. Highly respected for his talent with horses, Walther managed the 71 Ranch for many years. He began writing poetry in the 1950s but kept it quiet, only stepping into the limelight at Elko events like the inaugural Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1985. Walther recited traditional and original poems, gravitating to humorous stories and cautionary tales that echoed themes from everyday ranch life. He published several editions of Ruby Mountain Rhymes, illustrated by his wife and true ranching partner, Irene. Walther passed away in 2016.

Portrait Sponsor

Blohm Jewelers


National Endowment for the Arts
Nevada Arts Council
NV Energy Foundation