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A Trail-Dust Thirst

Updated on December 15, 2014
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By: Wayne Brown


That old water canteen is runnin’ mighty low

Nothin’ in sight; miles and miles yet to go

Water-holes are rare in this hard-scrabble land

No much here but rattlesnakes and miles of sand


My pony, Dan, sips some water from my hand

I have to keep him up to get across this land

The sun is baking both of us a little by the minute

This place is an oven and we’re both cookin’ in it


Centipedes and sand lizards scurrying all around

Stinging Scorpions and Sand Fleas seem to abound

This ain’t no place for the livin;’ no good place to die

We gotta get out of this hard country, my pony and I


I quit riding my pony and let him follow along behind

I can’t bear to wear him down just to get me out of a bind

He’s been a might good horse, a loyal one and true

If I save my neck, I’ll save his too; it’s the least I can do


The water is all gone now and the sun is hotter still

I’d like to rest but I must move while I have the will

It can’t be too much farther; we’ve come all this way

Surely we’ll find the lights of town by the end of day


My throat is dry; my mouth is caked with desert dust

Ol’ Dan follows along behind me; I still have his trust

The sun is setting, day is done; night’s chill to the bone

The pony and me, we can’t stop, we keep trudging on


My pony snorts; the smells water nearby somewhere

A glow over the next ridge, could a town be out there?

We quicken our step; head for the glow driven by thirst

Dan and I might just make it if we don’t drop dead first


From up the ridge we see the town; my thirsty pony nickers

Light of the coal-oil fueled lamps against the night sky flickers

We struggle to run that final short distance, my pony and me

To get to the water in that wood trough by the old Oak tree


We reach the trough and drink from it deep, me and my roan

Lots of curious folks gather about wonderin’ what’s going on

I get up off my knees and wipe the excess water from my chin

Look back at the trough and for a moment think of divin’ in


I say nothing; the folks all stare, like they ain’t seen thirst before

I rein Ol’ Dan and head him in the direction of the livery door

We’ll bed down for the night and get some much needed rest

Then tomorrow we’ll gather our wits and keep on headin’ west


©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.


19 April 2012


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    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      An interesting short story in form of verse... Amazing imagery used... felt Like I was walkin in the Desert alongside Ol'Dan!

      Amazing story telling! Hat's off!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Enjoyed this one to no end. Voted up and awesome, Joyce.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      A wonderful narrative poem. I really like these that you do. This tells such a wonderful story. I have been out there but I made sure to take gallons of water when I went.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This story poem is wonderful and I love the ending very much. This cowboy is loyal, committed and determined. That is my kind of man.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @rahul0324...Glad I could conjure up those images for you. I love writing of the old west when I can find a new angle. Thanks much for the great comments. WB

      @writer20..Thanks much, Joyce. So glad you enjoyed it. WB

      @Becky Katz...The cowboy and the old west are my favorite subjects...I love when i can find an angle to write about. Thanks so much. WB

      @Hypenbird...I didn't want to leave that cowboy and Ol' Dan out there for the buzzards...too cruel! Thanks much. WB

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. You got me so hot and thirsty following you out there in the desert.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Gypsy Rose Lee...This is one that requires a nice cool glass of iced tea near at hand! Thanks much! WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Had to stop reading in the middle of your poem, Wayne, while I went and fetched a cold, cold drink. Man, you made me thirsty. Maybe you coul get a cola company or a beer producer to finance this poem as a commercial. Just wonderin'.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You painted a good picture through words of how it must feel out in the desert. Water is something that you don't really think about until you are in such a place as this. I am drinking a cool glass of water right now. The song Cash sings is one I used to hear as a child. I think the Sons of The Pioneers sung this, I think. Thanks for the great read on the west.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...You called it right, Doc...a nice Mint Julip while you enjoy the pain. I really hope your dreams come true and they contact me! LOL! WB

      @teaches12345...So glad you could pick up on the imagery. I love writing about the old west but I want it to be as real as I can make it. Thanks much for the great comments. Cash is one of my Icons! Yes, it was the Sons of The Pioneers...I almost used their version. WB

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      This is awesome. Your poetry is so spontaneous and you paint a vivid picture. It was like watching a movie. Love the way you write. Awesome. Voted up.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Vellur...When A subject line comes to me, it normally comes pretty quickly from there on. I just let it flow and do not tinker with it too much. So glad you liked it. WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Wayne - If you ever wrote anything less than an "A" I might have to administer you a teaspoon of wine. LMBO

      The Frog

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      I swear you are the ultimate cowboy. Up and awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      The Frog Prince...Make that a half-gallon Jim and you got a deal! LOL! Thanks much! WB

      @breakfastpop....Thank ya, thank ya very much! WB

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Senoritaa 5 years ago

      Simply brilliant! You've got your way with words Wayne. I felt the maddening thirst with every verse!!

    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      What a beautiful expressive poem! I swear, I can hear music while reading it, it's like a song!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Senoritaa...Thank you...glad that I can paint the imagery to entertain you with my words. WB

      @BeyondMax...Thanks much...I'll try humming it for you! LOL! Glad you liked it. WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Oh Boy! That was brilliant. The cowboy and his horse... best friends.... So glad they reached water in time.

      Lovely poem, the imagery was vivid.. Thank you so much. I loved this ..

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      @Dim Flaxenwick...This one was fun to write and a bit tedious to register the strife and still find a likeable ending for the characters. So glad you liked it. Thanks so much. WB

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