Bruce Kiskaddon Poems >>
The Balky Hoss

The pleasant recollections if the ones
  that mostly last,
But there's sometimes other memories
  come a creepin' from the past.
How you lost your summer's wages,
  on a horse you thought could run.
How a big buck stood and watched
  you when you didn't have a gun.
Then one evening at a shindig,
  you thought you was doin' fine
Till some people come and told you
  you was gittin' out of line.
You rode ten miles to a dance once.
  When you got there you was sore.
You had got your dates all tangled.
  It had been the night before.

You have got some recollections
  of some gal that let you down,
But remember when your hoss balked
  on the main street right in town.
Yes, you had a sneaky feelin'
  that you mebby wasn't boss
When he turned around and throwed
  his head across the other hoss.
You would like to took a rifle and
  have downed him with some slugs.
He was lookin' at you pig eyed
  standin' crosswise in the tugs.
You hated the old critter
  till you wisht that he was dead.
You would like to took a hammer
  and just knocked him in the head.

Then the crowd all gathered round
  you fer to git in on the show.
Every one of them could tell you
  what to do to make him go.
There was some that said he'd ort
  to be jest tickled with a switch.
Some said beat him with a stay chain,
  others said to git a twitch.
Some said to git a jocky stick
  and that would help perhaps
While others said to put one ear
  inside the head stall straps.
Some said punch him in the belly.
  Others said pick up his feet.
And one allowed he ort to
   have a little bite to eat.

The tough guys said to choke him
  and to shut off all his wind.
Or mebbyso to knock him down
  and let him up ag'in.
One said that he could start him
  with some paper and a match.
Or put a rope behind his knees
  and saw to make him stretch.
Oh yes, there was a hundred things
  they wanted you to try.
One was to take tobacker juice
  and squirt it in his eye.
You tried to keep your temper.
  You was shakin', you was pale.
Every now and then some wise guy
  asked you if he was fer sale.

But it wasn't no use tryin'
  and your temper got plum lost
When some feller on the side walk
  yelled and asked how much he cost.
And when you got to hatin'
  every body in your heart,
The hoss got tired waitin',
  straightened out and made a start.
It surely was a big relief
  to git out on the road.
Got some cuss words off your stummick;
  eased your mind quite a load.
You swore to God you'd never drive
  that hoss to town ag'in.
You swapped him to another man.
  You thought he didn't know.
But he hadn't any trouble gittin'
  that old hoss to go.
It sort of set you thinkin'
 and the idee come to you,
That there might be balky hosses,
  but there's balky drivers too.