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 MacDiff, Montana 1868-1889.
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Passions in Poetry

MacDiff, Montana 1868-1889.

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H. Arlequin
since 08-23-99
Posts 211

0 posted 06-01-2000 09:13 AM       View Profile for H. Arlequin   Email H. Arlequin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit H. Arlequin's Home Page   View IP for H. Arlequin

        MacDiff, Montana 1868-1889.

Tied modestly beneath a protruding chin,
an impeccably pressed feed sack poke bonnet,
meticulously stitched and starched stiff,
shut out the distractions around her; within,
tumult raged. She focused her mind on it,
twisting, dissecting, churning it as if
from a constant motion, emulsion's kin
could solidify into an inspired sonnet,
musing's restoration for Angus MacDiff.
A never-say-die warrior without armor,
one wife, quieted her heart at its clamor.

The neighbor's buckboard bounced her to attention
as he gently hastened the return to camp
or what remained after the pre-storm stampede
had left behind a mangled intervention
in the routine of the roundup, whose revamp
would be ruinous. Impossible to impede
without risking the others by prevention
of the drive's leaving before snow should clamp
the pass closed till Spring. She knew the urgent need
for every available hour from all hands,
no time for the dead, or the dying's demands.

One of twelve, eight kids under ten and three wives,
depended on him, the ranch and a fall drive
to sustain their existence. "What if he dies?
Or if he lives, how can a man who derives
his livelihood from punching cattle, still thrive
if crippled, despite how valiantly he tries?
Alone, can those left behind sustain their lives?"
Though harnessed to hard work, it's luck to survive
as one of the diligent, fate purifies.
When the horses stopped, she could tell he was gone,
they were restless to bury him and move on.

As the first wife, they expected her to lead,
to hire and fire the hands, to accept the role
of the man, protector, provider and head
of the clan. With all the hungry mouths to feed,
longer days, anxious nights demanding their toll,
perfection's young face grew worry lines in dread.
The months flew and when the conjoined years decreed
the tads become young men eager to cajole
destiny that on life's mysteries they be fed,
first mother addressed the axiomatic,
"Survival bonds", the rest, anticlimactic.

Had that first winter been like many others,
despite frantic hours of endless exertion,
they would not have survived. The four oldest boys,
a cook, one broken-down drifter, three mothers  
had made it despite a blizzard's assertion
to the contrary. Incessant work, few joys,
yet they persisted. If she'd had her druthers
she'd have quit, many times died, but desertion
of duty was more alien to her than the noise
of conscience. A bounteous year for calving
had made life infinitely more worth having.

Years flew, the first far the worst, and yet some were
harsher in climate.  Experience had taught
them how to endure together, and that tie
sustained with velvet chains, never to demur.
The clan, a matriarchate providing Ought
its power and taboos, etched until they die,
announced their being's reason. Who'd not prefer
the paps proffering peace and plan? MacDiff bought
the land extending farther than meets the eye,
married three for family, yet left with fate
and mother love his future to perpetuate.

             --H. Arlequin
Poems From the Goober Tree

[This message has been edited by H. Arlequin (edited 06-01-2000).]
© Copyright 2000 H. Arlequin - All Rights Reserved
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart

1 posted 06-01-2000 10:42 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

This likes me very much - a true story!
Member Elite
since 07-23-99
Posts 3654
Boot+Kitty=Poetry in motion

2 posted 06-01-2000 10:47 AM       View Profile for LngJhnAg   Email LngJhnAg   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LngJhnAg

H - what a great read, and a terrific way of putting the story together.  This really rocks - Louis Lamour would have been pleased with this tale.
Jana Tovey
since 05-30-2000
Posts 257

3 posted 06-01-2000 11:21 AM       View Profile for Jana Tovey   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jana Tovey

Quite an epic...great characters.  I really enjoyed it.
Poet deVine
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley

4 posted 06-01-2000 12:09 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Great story! I enjoyed this very much.  
Member Ascendant
since 10-28-1999
Posts 5247
state of confusion

5 posted 06-01-2000 12:13 PM       View Profile for Corinne   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Corinne

Wonderful!  I love poems of historic nature, this one is very well done!

Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

6 posted 06-02-2000 12:55 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Excellently written, H.A.! I enjoyed this very much!

Member Elite
since 06-19-99
Posts 2528

7 posted 06-03-2000 09:55 AM       View Profile for Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mike

I look forward to each of your posts.  Have yet to be disappointed.  The effort you expend in creating your poetry is amply rewarded in the exceptional quality of your poems.  If you missed my drift, I enjoyed this poem a lot.
Senior Member
since 02-28-2000
Posts 1827

8 posted 06-03-2000 10:38 AM       View Profile for Alle'cram   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alle'cram

H.A.; I enjoy reading your work. Instead of quickly running over it, I would love the piece, sitting outside with my first cup of coffee. Truly enjoy your work.

(Sunshine, hehe.) I have to ask, when you start on a piece like this, do you know the ending, or write as the scenes unfold? marcy
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