Thursday, June 2, 2011

Will Rogers (1935)

Will Rogers  (1935)

Think of bullhide boots left in the rain.
Or a lonely valley.  Will Rogers loved speed.
Nothing quite matched riding Soapsuds
off a moving flatcar, getting it perfect
on a first take.  There were other horses:
Dopey, Black Iron, and Seven Squash.
Think of a single engine plane failing
to gain altitude over an Alaskan lake.
The abyss smells like burning rope.
Rogers made us laugh with the truth.
Think of an Eskimo boy running for help,
his shadow lit by aviation fuel flames
until there is no shadow, only the crackle
of a lariat snaring the northern sun.

This poem is extracted from a Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, Brief Lives.

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