THE RANCHER

by Saskatchewan poet Roy Lobb

I drove into a little town
one chilly autumn day;
I knew a friends who lived close by
so called around his way.
A sick man–whom my friend knew well–
by death was called away,
so we went to the funeral
our last respects to pay.

He had been sick for many weeks;
they lived on meagre fare
and few indeed were those who called
their heavy load to share.
And when the man was laid to rest
the crowd that gathered near
would grasp the saddened widow’s hand
and speak a word of cheer.

The widow and her little child
their sorrow bravely bore;
her troubled, tired, kindly face
each person did adore.
And there were some who wpt aloud
who still were standing by,
but some who made the loudest noise
no tear bedimmed their eye.

A rancher riding down the road
had met the cortege there;
in truly reverent prairie style
he paused and waited there.
He had a haggard looking face
and style somewhat uncouth,
but often this world’s rarest jewels
unnoticed are in youth.

The rancher left his saddle horse
stand out along the way.
He walked to where the widow stood
and this I heard him say:
“It’s not my style to make a fun,
but I wish you to know
I truly sympathize with you
in this, your time of woe.”

He neatly placed within her hand
a hundred dollar bill.
When flowers fade and tears are dry
his deed will live on still.
None seemed to notice what he did,
as little did he say.
He went back to his faithful horse;
the rancher rode away.

From his book Plain Folks
published in 1961.

 

 

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