Posted by: jackslife | May 15, 2009

New Friday Feature – Poems of Place

I’ve decided to replace my moments of clarity with a weekly poem that features a strong sense of place, or commentary about our placelessness.  I may still post my moments of clarity as I have them, but I won’t try to force one every Friday anymore. 🙂

This week’s poem is one that my good friend and Cowboy/Folk singer extraordinaire Andy Hedges submitted in a comment on my last poem post.

Things of Intrinsic Worth
written by Wallace McRae

Remember that sandrock on Emmells Crick
Where Dad carved his name in ‘thirteen?
It’s been blasted down into rubble
And interred by their dragline machine.
Where Fadhls lived, at the old Milar Place,
Where us kids stole melons at night?
They ‘dozed it up in a funeral pyre
Then torched it. It’s gone alright.
The “C” on the hill, and the water tanks
Are now classified, “reclaimed land.”
They’re thinking of building a golf course
Out there, so I understand.
The old Egan Homestead’s an ash pond
That they say is eighty feet deep.
The branding corral at the Douglas Camp
Is underneath a spoil heap.
And across the crick is a tipple, now,
Where they load coal onto a train,
The Mae West Rock on Hay Coulee?
Just black and white snapshots remain.
There’s a railroad loop and a coal storage shed
Where the bison kill site used to be.
The Guy Place is gone; Ambrose’s too.
Beulah Farley’s a ranch refugee.

But things are booming. We’ve got this new school
That’s envied across the whole state.
When folks up and ask, “How’s things goin’ down there?”
I grin like a fool and say, “Great!”
Great God, how we’re doin’! We’re rollin’ in dough,
As they tear and they ravage The Earth.
And nobody knows…or nobody cares…
About things of intrinsic worth.

This poem was copied here from westernfolklife.org.

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Responses

  1. I like the idea for a feature.

    Here’s a short film on youtube of Wally reciting this poem on his ranch in Montana:


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