Poetry by Casey Beckett

The Confirmation

By Casey Beckett

I was out ridin’ fences on the Double JY
The day was perfect, not a cloud in the sky
I was sittin’ on the back of my favorite roan
And we was mindin’ our business, workin’ on our own

Then off at the horizon I saw a dark shape
It got darker and bigger and it hung like a drape
The roan stopped a-walkin’ and I started lookin’
It seemed that one heck of a storm was cookin’

Black clouds moved over me with swiftness and force
I stared at the sky and so did my horse
The wind started howlin’ and a-whippin’ the dust
Right quick it got cold in one mighty gust

Then a light was upon me, out of the west
The air became charged and it tightened my chest
A blue bolt of lightnin’ then a harsh clap of thunder
I thought for sure that the Great Spirit had called my number

I was close to blinded by that light from on high
But I couldn’t turn away ‘cause it held my eye
From somewhere I heard a rustlin’ of wings
The light slowly faded and then the strangest of things

The clouds moved apart and an eagle came down
He circled me once, and twice more went around
He landed to my right on top of a rock
And I tell you, my friends, I had me a shock

‘Cause that bird started talkin’, plain as day
And I swear it’s the truth, here’s what he did say
“Now listen range rider, and listen to me well
I’ve a story here about a cowboy to tell

“Seems this ‘poke has been gamblin’ and drinkin’ and such
He’s been cavortin’ with night ladies way too much
He’s a drifter, an outcast, a vagrant, a tramp
He wouldn’t know a church if it was right in his camp

“There’s still time for this sinner to mend his wicked ways
If he takes heed to my story it might take only days”
And the eagle was finished, he had stated his case
He stood still on that rock and he stared at my face

Now it didn’t take much thinkin’, I’m sure you’ll agree
To know that this eagle was talkin’ about me
For I’ve done a few things that might not be right
I’ve spent some time with ladies of the night

Yeah, I’ve blown my coin on liquor and cards
I tend to get wild when I’m in town with my pards
As for driftin’, well yes, I’ve roamed here and there
I like new places and I’ll work anywhere

It’s true I ain’t been no church-goin’ soul
But gettin’ religious on schedules just ain’t my goal
So I thought for a spell with that eagle close by
When I was ready to speak I looked him in the eye

“Now I know why you’re here and who sent you, I believe
So I’ll tell you the truth and I won’t deceive
Them things you was sayin’ about my past and me
They’re surely correct, but only half true, you see

“I got reasons for actin’ like a fool and a cuss
Sometimes I can’t help not raisin’ a fuss
It’s the life that I lead out here with the land
And I’m not the only one marked with this brand

“There’s a lot of us cowboys from Alberta to Texas
But the life is the same in the way it affects us
Bein’ alone for long times will take its toll
So you blow into town and you go on a roll

“You drop your cash on ladies and whiskey
And when the night’s over you’re still feelin’ frisky
So you do it again, and again once more
‘Til your money is gone and you head out the door

“Eagle, I won’t be changin’ my course as you say
‘Cause it’s in my blood, and it’s in there to stay
But there’s somethin’ else with a place in my heart
It’s sure enough religious and that sets it apart

“Here in this country the Great Spirit made wide
A holiness prevails, I couldn’t miss it if I tried
I don’t need to be one of them church-goin’ people
The mountain is my altar and the sky is my steeple

“The dawn brings inspiration to start me on my day
The sunlight gives me strength I can use along the way
Clouds and birds and grass are everywhere I look
Each of these, and many more, is a page of scripture book

“Each new foal and calf I see is a blessed revelation
A hymn is played by the wind in the trees, and the rain, it brings salvation
I see the fury and feel the power when a summer storm blows through
And I know there’s mercy and forgiveness when the sky again turns blue

“The campfire is a communion, with sacraments to share
Later on, the reflective thoughts can surely pass for prayer
With the settin’ sun a peace unfolds in the slowly fadin’ light
And I always think of eternity when I see the stars at night

“Now eagle, if that don’t land me in line for the Gates
You can condemn me to hell, along with my mates”
I’d finished my say and I looked at that bird
He stared at me closely, not sayin’ a word

Then I swear it seemed a smile crossed his beak
His noble head raised and he started to speak
“Pard, condemmin’ ain’t needed, we’re just confirmin’ with you
All those things that you told me, well, He knows them too”

Copyright ©2000 by Paul James Zack

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One response to “Poetry by Casey Beckett

  1. Brings a smile….and sounds like the storms that brew up here in southern Iowa.

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