May 23, 2008

Of Kith and Kin

It is Memorial Day weekend, so I thought this poem might be appropriate. A while ago, a fellow named Clayton Mascaro wrote and asked me to write a poem for his deceased father, Joe. The Mascaro family was a very prominent ranching and rodeo stock family in the Salt Lake valley for many years. Clayton's uncle Jim, who recently passed away as well ran the rodeo stock, to include bucking horses. I remember one afternoon, I was out in Herriman looking to buy horses and stopped in at the Mascaros'. I noticed a corral full of well tended healthy and very athletic horses that quite simply - caught my eye. I just had to stop out of curiosity and spent the next twenty minutes or so with Jim Mascaro just talking about his horses, their bucking talent and rodeo. A nicer more affable cowboy you could never meet. I was honored when Clayton responded to my poetry and asked me to write something for his Dad. This is what he wrote:

My name is Clayton Mascaro. I have been reading your poems and thought they were very good. My father passed away in January of this year. He was born in 1933 in and grew up in Rose Canyon, in Herriman, Utah. This was a family ranch that raised cattle, goats, and rodeo stock. He owned his own trucking business for 42 yrs. He ran a large herd of sheep. He farmed and loved his family. He was my employer, friend, confidant, and father for 55 years. We rode horses together, ran the trucks together, repaired them together. Chased horses, sheep, etc. together. His passing has left a great void in my life. He is greatly missed.

Would it be possible to write a poem about Joe Mascaro for me to be displayed at his grave site every year in lieu of flowers? How much would the cost be to do such a thing? There is no intention of publishing it for any reason. I just think that he would appreciate such a jester as this, being so personal, just for him, one of a kind.

Thank you for your consideration.
Clayton Mascaro

This is the resulting poem in honor of Joe Mascaro.

Of Kith and Kin
In Memorium - Joe Mascaro
By Paul Kern

I know that you're not down there,
In the willows of the Yellow Fork,
In the shallows of the Canyon of the Rose -
Where quakies stand and trails there bend and twist,
As they snake up to the air.

The long years flew on by somewhere,
In the squinting of a sunburned eye,
In hearts of kin who knew both horse and tack,
Where we ranched and rode and rattlers hissed,
And our mounts kicked up the air.

I know you know that it’s still here,
Your kith and kin and your old ways,
You passed them on before you passed away -
Where we roped and rode and rodeoed,
And the sand blew in our hair.

The years went drifting by somewhere,
In the sifting dust of my mind’s eye,
In souls of kith and kin who can’t forget,
Where cowboys go beyond the great divide,
As they ride off in thin air.

It seems at times that you're still up there,
In the cedars of the grease-rock rim,
In the sagebrush of the Canyon of the Rose -
Where it’s slick and steep I feel you by my side,
And it trails me out somewhere.

Thank you very much for the poem. I really do like it and appreciate it very much. It fits him perfectly. If there is anything that I can do for you don't hesitate to call on me. Again, thank you. (There was no charge.)

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