“The Passing of the Present”

September 2, 2006 by Carole L. Mercer

The present passed this summer.
Old man Gerry Black died.
His library of knowledge
Burned down with his death.
I studied under his harsh, knowing, ways with horses.
He was old- then – maybe-
Only ten years older than I now am.
I was his legs and his arms with the horses.
He was my will.
And the law as he softly shouted
Instructions about how to handle
The wild 2000 pound horse in the small corral.“Get over.” He softly called.
“Get over now! You’ll be crushed if you don’t learn where to be.”
Gerry trained my mare Birdie.
Harsh .Firm.
Too harsh for her one day as she turned and struck him.
She broke his ribs.
He saw the fire in her eyes and never again was so rough with her.
They both died this summer.
Gerry, old, died in a retirement home.
Past his prime by years and years.
Birdie died of colic in the vet’s clinic.
She died without out pain-
With the magic of kindness.
They both left me this fall.
They left me with memories.
And with the sadness of knowing
Their greatness that is gone.
They went to join in a heaven-
If there is a heaven-
To be a team again.
Driver and horse now pulling the stars across firmaments.
My daughter is there in the wagon with them.
Grudgingly riding , for my sake.
She would rather be reading,
But this night she rides in the wagon
For old times sake and for Gerry and
Birdie and for me because the wagon
Ride is important for me.
And Sarah is a good daughter.
My old dog, Dolly and the other dead dog, Popsie,
Lying in the back –Their tails softly wagging.
Glad for the ride.
I’m sure my dear, dead, friend Mymy
Sits on the seat with them,
Or she is riding Billy Buckskin -shotgun.
Fred is there –
watching cattle for missed brands.
They are all laughing across the skies.
The wind is their laughter.
The thunder the hooves.
The rain my tears.

6 Responses to “The Passing of the Present”

  1. Christopher says:

    Carole is great with telling a story how it is and with so much emotion, but emotion put forth in terms of poetry. Carole you are fantastic, keep up the good work.

  2. kad says:

    Amazingly moving. Sad but comforting at the same time.

  3. dear Carole,
    you are one of the best persons in the world!!! Life is often to hard to good people, you got now a new small part of a family here in Austria and one day you will drive with your Sarah and you will have lots of fun.

  4. Jeff Wilding says:

    I too knew Mr. Black. Not very well but had the occassion a few times to meet him and talk over the fence. Thanks for the memory.

  5. ramonabrave1 says:

    Ypu left tears in my eyes with this one, Carole.

    No, I did not know Gerry Black, but had a real Cowboy mentor.

    No, I did not know Sarah, but did have a son, Jim and a grandson, Conrad.

    Thank you,

    Marjorie Hazelwood

  6. Daniel Millard says:

    Carole-

    THIS IS AMAZING! IT MADE ME SMILE, LAUGH, AND CRY! THIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PIECE THAT I HAVE READ SO FAR… I AM SO HAPPY THAT YOU EXPRESS THESE THINGS AND SHARE THEM WITH US ALL…

    P.S. I KNOW THAT THERE IS A HEAVEN AND I HOPE THEY SAVE A SEAT FOR ME IN THAT WAGON!!!

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