the Plains way

“I am safe in calling this a single herd,
but it is impossible to approximate the
millions that composed it. It took me
six days on horseback to ride through it.”
	—George Anderson in an 1871 letter

Over the sod,
They trod, they trod.
Over the sod, they trod.

Huge buffalo herds
By the hundreds of thousands,
Over the sod, they trod.

Vast buffalo herds
Of a million or more,
Over the sod, they trod.

Hard buffalo hooves—
How many millions?—
Wearing away the sod.

Hard buffalo hooves
Wearing a way
Over the sod they trod.

Poem title from chapter 29 of poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge.


To see a buffalo herd like that–how amazing would that be? And now for the last of my poems for Monty Vern’s Silver Lining June collaboration, in which the last words of each line are the key words, in order, of the given quote. Peace to our s!


[“The day is done, and the darkness / Falls from the wings of Night, / As a feather is wafted downward / From an eagle in his flight“ from “The Day is Done” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Something New Under the Sun

~after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Again a demoralizing day:
Dearheart, will you never be done
Fraternizing with darkness,
Letting stumbles lapse into falls,
“Forgetting” you have wings—
A goose in the noose of Night?

Dearheart, dust off your feathers!
The next time temptation wafts
Your way, enticing you downward,
Soar up swiftly, like the eagle.
Again and again—take flight!

“20/20”

Although I’m not much of a TV watcher or music listener, I discovered last year that I like podcasts; they’re the perfect companions to washing dishes, folding laundry, and crocheting. I bought myself some wireless bone-conduction headphones (love, love, love them) and am slowly working my way through The History Chicks, Revisionist History, Hidden Brain, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

In one of the early Happier podcasts, Gretchen and her sister and co-host Elizabeth recommend choosing a word or short phrase as a theme for the year. My theme for 2020 is restraint, as I struggle with discipline in certain areas of my life. I resolve and break my resolve and re-resolve so much, I’ve probably used up a thousand and one second chances. Thank goodness each morning provides another opportunity to renew my efforts. There’s comfort, too, in Samuel Beckett’s observation: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Happy New Year! Peace to your ♥ !

  20/20

  I want 2020 to be the year
  My resolutions remain firm,
  But given my past track record, I fear
  Success will be sadly short-term.

  I hope to look back and say with due pride
  That I kept up a year-long streak,
  But it’s far more likely I’ll start to slide
  By the end of a single week.

  I see myself clearly on New Year’s Eve
  Doing each of the things I should,
  But always in hindsight I’m proven naïve: 
  My vision has never been good.

  © Stephanie Malley