|They said he was a 'breaker';
this rider from the North,
Who'd slipped down south; when things got warm.
Just jumped the train; and with his horse,
He'd come our way; our lives
Described a 'Camp drafter': his gelding dun and fleet,
Read the mind of any steer; and propped and turned to meet.
He set camp in the tack room; a nearby stable where,
I came each day to worship horse; and lend a hand with care.
The stable boss proclaimed with pride; the rider's many skills,
And owners came from miles around; a sore need to fulfil.
The rider rose to any task; to gentle and instil,
Good manners in a young one's mount; confidence reveal.
Prodigious feats with rope and whip; graceful seat so sure,
Gently persuade; to achieve; instant horse rapport.
Broken tack restored to life; before my very eyes,
Concoctions clean ; harness; saddles now shine bright.
I followed him with fervent awe; much to Dad's disgust,
At night could talk of little else; relate successful tasks.
Wild one floated from the hills; and ridden in a day.
Sick one doctored; oils and leaves; soon trotting all around.
But then the rider bought a car; an old one I'll admit,
And we rode far around the town; while he his interests slaked.
He then revealed another love; Archery no less,
Then slowly revealed to me; the skills required in this.
While I could pull but forty pound; on a special lighter bow,
A 'real man' managed much much more; onetwenty pound at least.
His party trick he showed me oft; go out in to that field,
Place handkerchief on the ground; washed by Mum last week.
Then aiming high into the sky; this wizard spread his feet,
Dropped four arrows one by one; each corner nice and neat.
I don't know how I explained to Mum; the moth holes 'clout' shot in,
To every corner of the cloth; as it lay there in the field.
About this time; my life a change; began to undergo,
Each day of summer; flashing past ; began once more to drag.
My bursting bubbling spirits; again; began to flag,
I looked about me with surprise; how could life meld so fast?
I still went daily; brushed his horse; led him round the ring,
But found at once my boyish heart; could no longer sing.
I saw them one day flying past; to her place up the road,
He'd found the local beauty; applied the wanderer's code.
I came one day; an empty stall; a gruff faced stable boss,
His friend; my friend; nowhere found; like fleeing summer dust.
No more his stories; rang my ears; and tingled in my spine
Stockmen's proverbs; ever wise; no more to nurture mine.
It took me years to see the sum; of wisdom he'd impart,
His message full of life and thought; still tugging at my heart.
A boy must have his hero; to paint the desert gold,
But when the mentor chooses; must ease back to the fold.