Today as I let go, a hoola hand into the dawn
Among silhouetted horse heads, held by a rope corral
But then, that day was many winters ago
To good horses you are drawn
I have asked that you ride the best
Of beautiful words to create images
Of life’s reflections filled with feelings of reality
Winters many may you ride the best.
As sunlight moved in the wind
Among the shadow of an ash tree
I gave the sweat lodge a drink
In the absence of memory
An ole’ feeling sprouts
In the charred remains of life
It is customary
That I have no doubts
Wishful thoughts and prayers through dreams strive
For peace in our souls
May you ride the best
Through the four different grounds
Upon our sacred mother earth.
* * * * * * *
Henry Real Bird is Montana's current, and third, poet laureate. In 1996, he won the Western Heritage Award for the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 2002, he and Stephanie Davis performed her song, “Why the Cowboy Sings” at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Arts Festival. He also performs annually at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Real Bird has had six anthologies, five poetry collections and twelve children’s books published, along with many other articles, tapes and CDs. Find out more about him and read more of his poems at the Montana Arts Council Web site.