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Wagon Train

By John I. Blair

By wagon train my grandfather went
From Nebraska to Oklahoma in 1886.

I once imagined white canvas tops,
As bright as schooner sails,
Brave men, the women strong,
Striding beside fat cattle,
Bearing civilization along
Into the new land.

Well, they had cattle, sure enough,
And bawling calves, flies, ticks.
Weary, filthy from the endless dust,
They might sicken, die young.
The roads, just holes, rocks, mud,
Were crude tracks.
Wagons, soaked in streams, baked
In the sun, fell apart from shaking.
How they made it I do not know.

And the civilization they wrought?
Well, Iíve often thought about
How that turned out.

But they brought me into being
Just by hauling all their dreams,
Inevitably, inexorably, down
Those rough trails into the present.

©2003 John I. Blair  

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