Flint and Feather

by Emily Pauline Johnson


 

THE CATTLE COUNTRY


 

Up the dusk-enfolded prairie,
    Foot-falls, soft and sly,
Velvet cushioned, wild and wary,
    Then—the coyote’s cry.

Rush of hoofs, and roar and rattle,
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    Beasts of blood and breed,
Twenty thousand frightened cattle,
    Then—the wild stampede.

Pliant lasso circling wider
    In the frenzied flight—
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Loping horse and cursing rider,
    Plunging through the night.

Rim of dawn the darkness losing
    Trail of blackened soil;
Perfume of the sage brush oozing
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    On the air like oil.

Foothills to the Rockies lifting
    Brown, and blue, and green,
Warm Alberta sunlight drifting
    Over leagues between.
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That’s the country of the ranges,
    Plain and prairie land,
And the God who never changes
    Holds it in His hand. [Page 138]