Bruce Kiskaddon Poems >>
The Bronco Twister's Prayer

It was a little grave yard
  on the rolling foot hill plains:
That was bleached by the sun in summer,
  swept by winter's snows and rains;
There a little bunch of settlers
  gathered on an autumn day
'Round a home made lumber coffin,
  with their last respects to pay.

Weary men that wrung their living
  from that hard and arid land,
And beside them stood their women;
  faded wives with toil worn hands.
But among us stood one figure
  that was wiry, straight and trim.
Every one among us know him.
  'Twas the broncho twister, Jim.

Just a bunch of hardened muscle
  tempered with a savage grit,
And he had the reputation
  of a man that never quit.
He had helped to build the coffin,
  he had helped to dig the grave;
And his instinct seemed to teach him
  how he really should behave.

Well, we didn't have a preacher,
  and the crowd was mighty slim.
Just two women with weak voices
  sang an old time funeral hymn.
That was all we had for service.
  The old wife was sobbing there.
For her husband of a life time,
  laid away without prayer.

She looked at the broncho twister,
  then she walked right up to him.
Put one trembling arm around him and said,
  "Pray. Please won't you Jim?"
You could see his figure straighten,
  and a look of quick surprise
Flashed across his swarthy features,
  and his hard dare devil eyes.

He could handle any broncho,
  and he never dodged a fight.
'Twas the first time any body ever saw
  his face turn white.
But he took his big sombrero
  off his rough and shaggy head,
How I wish I could remember what
  that broncho peeler said.

No, he wasn't educated.
  On the range his youth was spent.
But the maker of creation
  know exactly what he meant.
He looked over toward the mountains
  where the driftin' shadows played.
Silence must have reined in heaven
  when they heard the way Jim prayed.

Years have passed since that small funeral
  in that lonely grave yard lot.
But it gave us all a memory, and a lot
  of food for thought.
As we stood beside the coffin,
  and the freshly broken sod,
With that reckless broncho breaker
  talkin' heart to heart with God.

When the prayer at last was over,
  and the grave had all been filled,
On his rough, half broken pony,
  he rode off toward the hills.
Yes, we stood there in amazement
  as we watched him ride away,
For no words could ever thank him.
  There was nothing we could say.
Since we gathered in that grave yard,
  it's been nearly fifty years.
With their joys and with their sorrows,
  with their hopes and with their fears.
But I hope when I have finished,
  and they lay me with the dead,
Some one says a prayer above me,
  like that broncho twister said.