Twila Sharpe: “Seas of Grass”

Used by kind permission. 2004 (c) Twila Sharpe.


.“Seas of Grass”

Ah drive ’em down to drink, and up to feed
Ah watch ’em waller eye to eye, horn to horn
Ah gallop wide, mah fangers sorely bleed
Ah know’d horses since ‘fore I been born.
Ah ride by moon; chew tasajo* at dawn
Ah sleep in seas of grass whilst leather dries
Ah mend the toughest posts that cain’t be sawn;
Ah cain’t be warshin’ dust whilst swattin’ flies.

Ah lost mah saddle crossin’ near the Llano:
Ah shucked abalone* pert nigh a week;
Ah scooped bucket after bucket o’ arrow.
Ah seen Shawnee, Konawa, Tyner’s Creek.
Ah rode by light o’ many a pile*
Ah weren’t lookin’ for no bone war…
Ah lets ’em shoot at me a while:
Ah plum did git mah hat a tore!
Ah reckon months ‘fore I see ya’ll…
Ah’ll be down, ‘fore too long, ta Anson…
Ah’ll see ya’ll… at The Cowboy Christmas Ball.
Ah dream ’bout The Star*…and gals a dancin’!

Twila, c. 2004



.* Tasajo (ta saw ho) is buffalo jerky, a dried meat.  This cowpoke would pronounce it:     “Tass-a-joe.”

*Abalone, a shellfish, was common in Central and West Texas rivers; the shells were collected and sold to the button factories which sprang up alongside the railroad lines.  The former Indian campgrounds were a source for arrowheads which were highly prized and sold to Eastern tourists.

*Buffalo bones were also collected for the purpose of making buttons, fertilizers, household implements, and even furniture–it was a big industry in Texas, where some six million buffalo or more used to roam the grasslands before 1879.  The bones were piled up on “bone roads”–because of their calcium content, at night, they glowed like phospher.  This is what some Texas cowboys did when they got down and out.

** The Star Hotel, in Anson, Texas, where in 1885, the first Christmas Ball was held.

Twila, c. 2004.