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Jerusalem

This poem comes from Autumn Leaves:

 

She sits on a battle-scarred hill,

Standing quietly like a lone sentinel,

Waiting through clear, starlit nights

For history to turn yet another page.

 

Resting against an ancient olive tree,

From Gethsemane, I gaze across the valley.

She looks like a dull jewel

In desperate need of a good polishing.

 

War, tears, bloodshed and misery

Have been seen often by her.

She wears them like every day apparel.

Peace is not found within her walls.

 

Yet it’s written that a child was born

In a village known as Bethlehem

That’s just south of where I rest,

Just as the prophecy foretold.

 

Born in the bloodline of David,

Root and stem of Jesse,

Born to die, yet live again

And live forevermore. Amen!

 

His house was over there

Across the little valley.

All that’s left of it now

Is the Wailing Wall.

 

The mind boggles at the battles fought,

At the endless bloodshed,

The lives and dramas played out

And history that touches lives untold.

 

Here on this dry,

Barren landscape…

Where water and not gold

Molds the lives of the people.

 

The bride to be

Patiently awaits her groom

To dazzle the whole world

On her wedding day.

 

The Cowboy

This poem comes from Autumn Leaves:

 

At the age of sixteen,

He was tall, hard and lean

As he began his long-dreamed-of quest.

 

On an old swayback nag,

He’d push, pull or drag.

He followed the setting sun west.

 

By a lightning-bolt chance,

He found work on a ranch

Where he grew into a man.

 

He worked hard every day

For very little pay,

But always he rode for the brand.

 

He worked for thirty and found,

As he glanced around town,

And strolled into the Lady Luck Saloon.

 

He ordered Rot-Gut-Red,

You know the fiery kind

That has to be sipped from a spoon.

 

When he was right,

He wouldn’t back down,

Never a question of budgin’.

 

If a man disagreed,

He could go for his gun —

Old Sam Colt would do the judgin’!

 

He learned to live by his word

As he helped round up the herd —

A cowboy’s life is sure tough!

 

He learned about whiskey,

Women and cards  —

Why, he even learned to dip snuff!

 

On a north-bound trail,

Headed towards Kansas rail,

They sweated and worked without rest.

 

The deck was stacked

When the redskins attacked,

And he heard their loud, piercing yells.

 

O’er noise of bawling cattle,

Came sounds of the battle.

He clutched an arrow buried deep in his chest.

 

They found a six-gun by his hand,

His blood mixed with the land —

His dying words, “Tell ’em I done my best!”

 

Where the buffalo roam,

The young cowboy makes home,

A cross by a small bubbling stream.

 

He’s rode his last hoss,

And he’s roped his last steer,

But he’s fulfilled both his quest and dream!

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