A halfway kind of being in a nowhere kind of town.
In all my wild imaginings I never dreamed that I
Would end up as this desk-bound, mortgaged, soft suburban guy.
And so I let my thoughts take off and float like thistledown
Across the great grey ocean, hazy plain and mountain crest
To where my dreams lie hidden
In the west.
No mansion waits there for me: just a strong, plain house of wood
And river-stone. A saddle barn and round corrals outside
And from the porch an eagle’s view across the Great Divide;
A life I was not born to, but I’d learn it if I could
For my heart’s surely bidden
By the west
I saw it, touched and tasted it so many years ago;
Life called me back, but something deep dug in, and stayed out there.
What happened to that younger self, who walked without a care?
A man I half recall, but if I met I’d scarcely know,
Whose path and mine diverged in ways I never could have guessed.
Were those my finest hours
In the west?
One day I’ll pack a suitcase, buy a ticket, catch a plane
Cross sea and seven time-zones, leave this unplanned place behind,
Saddle up the buckskin pony who’s been waiting in my mind
And take the lonely trail. Down in the dust I’ll leave my pain
And from all my endless striving I will find a lasting rest
In green grass and fair flowers
In the west.
I’ve been reading Robert Service’s Songs of a Sourdough and wanted to try writing something in similar vein. In particular, I wanted to play around with a refrain line, even though it sounds a bit quaint these days. I enjoy finding the space within strict rhyme and metrical schemes: another symptom of my need for boundaries, and even stronger urge to kick against them! N.