March 28, 2008

A Pinto a Paint and a Palomino

As long as we are on the subject of Idaho and her rivers (Previous posts have been about the Salmon River) - let's talk about the Snake. This river, one of the most important rivers of the west derives its name from the Shoshone Indians who inhabited most of the area around the river. The Shoshones were also called the "Snake" Indians owing to their fabled zig-zag patterns of moving through the brush and trees during inter-tribal warfare. The Snake River could also be called the Shoshone River with just as much accuracy. In a very real way, I grew up on the banks of the Snake River as it coursed through Idaho Falls. We fished, swam, kayaked and waded in its waters. We knew of of unlucky children who broke through its ice and were never to be found again. We camped along her shore and lazed in the cottonwoods where we once found an old dugout canoe.

From Fort Hall west, the Snake River provided water to immigrants on the Oregon trail. It was our nations lifeline to manifest destiny in the Pacific Northwest. It helped define America, the West and Idaho. It flows at its own pace and in a way is one of nature's timepieces. Along the river time is measured not by a clock, but by the flow of the river and the sky that it mirrors, which in turn reflects alternating sunrises and sunsets with their multi-colored hues.

The Idaho skyscape is a mosaic of ever-changing moods. I have tried to capture some of the magnificence of the overhead realm in these verses. The photo is of the Snake River at sunset. I wrote this poem using three horses I have owned or currently own as subject matter in a metaphorical way. The preceeding post shows registration papers for my pinto, paint and palomino.

A Pinto a Paint and a Palomino
by Paul Kern

The morning hues of red, orange and white,
All run together trailing the night,
It’s an overo daybreak as the minutes fly,
Then tobiano patterns lighten up the sky.

A pinto and a paint gallop over the hills,
East of the Snake just where she spills,
Thundering foam over a precipice,
Where seagulls dive and the rattlers hiss.

As the river courses on to the sea,
Like clockwork it flows away from me,
Rushing away as the sun climbs high,
The river reflects a big mountain sky.

The horses of color trot off on their way
As a palomino sun bursts in for the day,
Rearing up high right about noon,
As fast as it came it’ll be gone soon.

The palomino charges away on its course,
Its gallop is swift for an old aging horse,
To the horizon through the dust of the day,
It’ll return tomorrow a while for to stay.

There as the sun sinks into the west,
The sunset glows in her colorful best,
Vespers blaze bright in that old by and by,
The pinto and paint color back up the sky.

The evening hues of red, orange and white,
All flow together to awe and delight,
It’s a tobiano sunset as eight seconds fly,
Then overo patterns darken up the sky.

At dawn and dusk with horses so bold,
To the palomino as the day grows old,
As the day came, let the day go,
With a pinto, a paint and a palomino.

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