Tom and the Mustang
by Hilma (Volcano) Volk
This happened fifty years ago
When the West wasn't quite so tame
To a young man, I'll call him Tom,
Cause, well, that was his name.
Tom fared himself to be a cowboy
Though he was just fifteen.
But when it came to roppin',
He was the worst you'd ever seen.
He couldn't rope a wooden post
When he was standin' on his feet
Let alone some movin' critter
That might be swift and fleet.
One day he rode out with others
Who for profit and for fun
Were chasing wild mustangs
Above John Day, Oregon.
Down the hill came a wild herd
In the sunlight their bodies shone,
In this dry, dry land of sagebrush,
Dust and rock and ancient bone.
One of the yearlings caught Tom's eye
Man, he was as pretty as they come
Tom wanted that colt for his own.
Oh he sure would be a plum.
The mount Tom rode was a big 'un
That'd been trained for ropin' cows.
Tom might've been wet behind the ears
But that horse knew the whats and hows.
Somehow Tom got out ahead
(And I know this sounds absurd)
But there he was on that big cow horse
Ridin' with the wild herd.
The ropin' horse and that pretty colt
Were striding nose to nose.
Tom merely had to lift his loop
And over the head it goes.
The mustang saw the hand come up
And lit into double overdrive
The end of the rope stopped him cold
Like hittin' concrete from a high dive.
Tom leaped off in record time
As his mount pulled back the slack
And he tied the legs of the pretty colt
Then patted himself on the back.
The other men rode upon the scene
Young Tom was puffed with pride
That pretty mustang now was his
Laying there upon it's side.
Said one, "You made yourself a catch,
But still the question begs
As to why you even bothered
To tie up a dead horse's legs."
The colt had died of a broken neck.
Word spread throughout the town.
But now I've told the tale in rhyme,
Tom ain't never gonn'a live this down.
Copyright © 1998, Hilma Volk. All rights