John C. H. Grabill [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At Noon

Quiet or quick off the mark,
it’s your draw now, cowboy!
At the trough
a whinnow mane
shakes desert dust.
A shutter creaks and midday wanes.
Brass badges rust out here.


This poem has divided audiences. You can read here about early readers’ objections to and compliments about the uses of artistic license. “At noon” was later included in Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.

If the spirit of the above captured your imagination, you might also enjoy “Wild Horses Don’t Break.”  From the archives there is also this poem set in the desert.

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