February 22, 2007

Children of the Mustang Range

This poem was written in response to the proposed sale of the Mickelsen 7-Bar Ranch in Island Park, Idaho. It is being marketed under the name "Sawtell Ranch" which is a misnomer, since that name was used previously by the original Sawtell Ranch on the shores of Henry's Lake. There are approximately 1,300 acres of deeded land, prime grazing land for cattle. The proposed development will include high-end condos, a golf course and other amenities of a luxury resort. It has been said that a golf course is a horrible waste of pasture, and I could not agree more in this case. This planet does not need another golf course, especially in the Henry's Lake and Henry's Fork of the Snake River drainage. Phase one of the development involves the deeded acreage. Phase two involves an expansion where they would buy my land for a land swap. That won't happen as long as I have breath.

Many of my early memories are of this ranch. It is a landmark soon to be subdivided and destroyed if the developers have their way.

Children of the Mustang Range
by Paul Kern

Oh ye sons of the western soil,
Ye children of the mustang range,
You'll always recall - just can’t forget
The words of those old refrains.

Of mountains high and a clear blue sky -
Where the intrinsic worth of a man,
Sprung from the toil of an honest day,
Deep in the heart of a goodly land.

Of birthright and the glorious dawn -
Where you once heard the deserts sing,
Of the rock our fathers planted -
In the hills where the mountains ring.

When was it you last raised a blister,
With sweat dripping all through your hair?
When did you last eat a thistle,
As a coyote yapped through the air?

When did you last throw a saddle,
And ride through the day until dark?
How long’s it been since some cattle,
Grazed there - where now there’s a park?

Oh ye sons of the western soil,
Ye children of the mustang range,
You’ve subdivided, platted and sold
The very dust from whence you sprang.

Will your children’s children’s children,
Have half a chance to know,
The intrinsic worth of a man,
From the lessons of that dim long ago?

Those are things that will last forever,
It’s you - not them that have changed,
Oh ye sons of the western soil,
Ye children of the mustang range!

Children of the Mustang Range

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