Motes and Beams
We rode, one summer afternoon last year,
through waving wheat fields; three of us had come
and it was perfect, hot sun and cold beer,
except my horse kept edging back for home,
and I hate riding with a heavy hand.
Well, he’d already tossed his head around
and pranced about as much as I could stand
when, on my last sip, he lunged and I half-drowned,
so I tightened my grip, threw down my empty can,
turned his big head around, gave him a taste
of spurs and leather reins. Oh! how he ran,
bucking and rearing, but I was firmly braced,
insteps to oxbow stirrups; there wasn’t much
he could do but stop and heave his lathered sides.
I rode back reining with a feather touch,
and that was the first of many long, calm rides.
I thought of it again last night, when I
was hounded and harried by things I hadn’t planned,
till finally I stopped and grumbled, Why?,
and thought I heard, Do you not yet understand?
I don’t like leading with a heavy hand.