Horses Are Therapy

i enter the barn at the end of the day
worries and stress squeezing my shoulders
scrunching my brow
and hitching my breath

halter on and brushes out
i tie the lead rope and pull back my hair …
and i’m angry.

but i can’t let her feel my stress
or she’ll bolt faster than light before my foot hits the stirrup
so i curry in slow circles
over her neck and shoulder and haunches
hearing her sigh and stomp and swish
and i let the rhythm lull me

i can’t let her feel my anger
or i’ll eat dirt faster than i can say giddy-up
so i brush in soft flicks
watching the dust curl in the rays peeking in
smelling the hay and grain and wood
and i let the tranquility calm me

i can’t let her feel that stab of sadness
or she’ll go where she wants despite my commands
so i brush her face with the softest touch
and she closes her eyes and leans into the bristles
i feel the tickle of her mane on my skin
and i let the serenity cheer me

and i brush and pamper ‘til her red coat gleams
and i rub her mane and tail with sheen
she’s beautiful, shiny, no dust to be seen
and all that dirt is on my face and my jeans …
and i’m happy.

dedicated to Bailey

The Ballad of Arthur Warner

In winter nineteen-thirty-two
On humble Makwa plains
Born to Julia and Walter
Art Warner was his name.

He dug for gold when he was eight,
Went trapping after school,
He learned to fly, and ride, and boat,
And live by his own rules.

He pioneered a company,
He hunted, fished, and snared.
He worked, he farmed, and once – no lie –
He fought a grizzly bear.

To four he was a loyal Dad
And husband to their mother,
To eight he was a caring Umpa,
To others, son and brother.

Now this cowboy reunites
With Doc, his trusty steed.
He rounds up cattle, gallops on,
And lives that cowboy creed.

Although he’s passed beyond this life,
His spirit still lives strong
Within our memories and hearts
For that’s where it belongs.

His love and life are worth the tears
We shed for this great man,
So if we had to live once more
We’d do it all again.

So on the shining BC coast
This great man he became.
Admired, adored, and full of life,
Art Warner was his name.

Arthur Oswald Warner