Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TEXAS, by AMY LOWELL



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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TEXAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I went a-riding, a-riding
Last Line: Beyond, beyond, my bridle-rein.
Subject(s): Horseback Riding; Texas


I went a-riding, a-riding,
Over a great long plain,
And the plain went a-sliding, a-sliding
Away from my bridle-rein.
Fields of cotton, and fields of wheat,
Thunder-blue gentians by a wire fence,
Standing cypress, red and tense,
Holding its flower rigid like a gun,
Dressed for parade by the running wheat,
By the little bouncing cotton. Terribly sweet
The cardinals sing in the live-oak trees,
And the long plain breeze,
The prairie breeze,
Blows across from swell to swell
With a ginger smell.
Just ahead where the road curves round,
A long-eared rabbit makes a bound
Into a wheat-field, into a cotton-field,
His track glitters after him and goes still again
Over to the left of my bridle-rein.

But over to the right is a glare -- glare -- glare --
Of sharp glass windows,
A narrow square of brick jerks thickly up above the cotton plants,
A raucous mercantile thing flaring the sun from thirty-six windows,
Brazenly declaring itself to the lovely fields.
Tram-cars run like worms about the feet of this thing,
The coffins of cotton-bales feed it,
The threshed wheat is its golden blood.
But here it has no feet,
It has only the steep ironic grin of its thirty-six windows,
Only its basilisk eyes counting the fields,
Doing sums or how many buildings to a city, all day and all night.

Once they went a-riding, a-riding,
Over the great long plain,
Cowboys singing to their dogey steers,
Cowboys perched on forty-dollar saddles,
Riding to the North, six months to get there,
Six months to reach Wyoming,
"Hold up, paint horse, herd the little dogies,
Over the lone prairie."
Bones of dead steers,
Bones of cowboys,
Under the wheat, maybe.

The sky-scraper sings another way,
A tune of steel, of wheels, of gold.
And the ginger breeze blows all day
Tanged with flowers and mold.
And the Texas sky whirls down, whirls down,
Taking long looks at the fussy town.
An old sky and a long plain
Beyond, beyond, my bridle-rein.





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