Baxter Black: Second Time Around

We must sell it, I told Mother, for we really have no other choice.
The price is much too dear to harbor any doubt.
And though I know we’ll miss it the time has come to kiss it
goodbye and find another place a little further out.

When the Indians sold Manhattan to a Dutch aristocrat
in fancy breeches for a blanket and a twenty dollar bill
It presaged a corrosion, an urban sprawl erosion
that covets all the fertile ground and overruns us still.

It’s not givin’ up, I told her, just that we are getting older
and besides, the country’s really not the country anymore.
We’re surrounded by construction that has zoned the mass destruction
of our pastures and our neighbors and our never lockin’ door.

Why, just at that horizon where we watched the sun arisin?
after milkin’ on those mornin’s when the air was clear and still.
Now the houses clone each other, everyday, it seems another,
as they creep a little closer like a stain upon the hill.

But there’s no way we can change it. There’s no way to rearrange it that
would suit us ’cause the truth is, they’d plow us underground.
So we take the offer made us, be thankful that they paid us
enough to make a better start the second time around.

And we’ll find a place less crowded, where the air is still unclouded,
where the country still is friendly to our kind of pioneers.
Though the homeplace still might beckon, they will ravage her, I reckon,
so we’re better off just movin’ while we’ve got a few good years . . .
And are able to think clearly and can still hold back the tears.

For more from this cowboy poet, visit

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