Monday, April 9, 2007

Chivalry is Not Dead

Chivalry is not dead.
It lives on in those who think
There is truly a cowboy way.
It resides in a land of ma'am and sir.
It is the removed hat.
It is opening the door for the ladies.
It is almost humorous in its expression sometimes
Because it is filled with myth
And with a feigned humility
That cover a pride that holds
Little toleration for those
Who would be pretenders.
It is a club with initiation rites
As intricate as the most arcane
Fraternity rituals.
It is a seeming backwardness
Steeped in knowledge gained
Through a lifetime of learning
By watching the old hands
And from the hard knocks of
"Been there, done that."
It echoes the sounds of the deepest Ozarks,
The Texas Plains,
And the feedlots of Kansas.
It is at home in the fastness
Of a high mountain valley
Or on a western Indian Reservation.
It is heard in Elko, Billings, Brush,
Dodge, Kearney, Muleshoe,
Snowflake, Socorro, Gonzales,
And a thousand other towns and cities
Interrupting the landscape from the Mississippi
To the Pacific and from
The Valley to the Canadian North.
It lives on in all of its confused
And colorful expression, in the hearts
More than the mannerisms, of the
Modern mounted warriors
Who cling to the mistaken idea
That toughness is shown only
In physical endurance,
Hard drinking, and extreme living.
The contradictions abound.