To Foxy

by Kay Kelley Nowell

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To Foxy

Sweet mare, if all I did was watch
As you run and buck and play,
Marveled at your thund’ring power
When you charge and whirl away,
If I just observed your beauty,
Ballerina grace, and how
The sun dances on your bay coat
While you’re cutting out a cow.

Just watching you gives me pleasure,
And I’d feed you just for that.

If all I had was just the feel
Of your warm breath on my cheek,
The touch of your soft, velvet nose
Or your satin hide so sleek,
The companionship we share while
I’m untangling your mane,
The joy of your instant response
To a slight brush of the rein.

If all I had was how you felt,
Well, I’d feed you just for that.

If all I had was what I heard—
The contented munch of hay,
The steady beating of your hooves
As the miles just melt away.
Just to hear your eager nicker
When I catch you for a ride,
Those deep snorts on frosty mornings
As we head for the backside.

If all I had were those sweet sounds,
Oh, I’d feed you just for that.

I’ve felt your courage in the brush
When a wild one makes her run,
And I know I’m sure “a-horseback”
When there’s cow work to be done.
Yes, Fox, you do so many things
That fill my heart with pride,
Just to know I’ve got a partner
Wrapped up in your red-gold hide.

Long as I’ve got one bale of hay
I’ll make sure that you stay fat!

© 1961, Kay Kelley

KAY KELLY NOWELL has raised and trained quarter horses for most of her life. Her poems come from her experiences of breaking colts, working cattle, and the cowboys she has known in New Mexico, Texas and beyond. Her work has been published in several anthologies, and in 1989 she recited one of her poems on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” She also enjoys reciting the classics by her favorite poets. Along with her husband, Gene Nowell, she owns Hilltop Livestock, a pre-conditioning and custom feeding operation and a pipe and steel business near Alpine, Texas.