You’re rolling in at sunset with a truck of restless dogs
And the whistling wind comes, sounding rather scary.
Unlock and open camp, then light the lanterns and the stove.
And we’ll face another summer on the prairie.
Tomorrow we will cull them. And you’ll say your string’s the worst,
But, of course, it’s far from extraordinary.
Some mornings on the check-cord and some hunting of young chicks,
And they’ll carry all their days the mark of “Prairie.”
You’ll wrench an arm—and bounce—when your brainless nag departs
After dropping you kerplunk—(you were unwary)
A skunk gets you from one side and a porcupine the other
If you dismount haplessly upon the prairie.
Your best dogs point them, too, and there’s little you can do
To correct their “varmint finds”—unnecessary.
If hail and twisters lay and you find the birds today,
You may still get something done out on the prairie.
The summer speeds away and you feel you’ve come to naught.
Then your dogs show form that’s due next January.
When the money trials come up, you don’t place a single pup,
So you fold your camp and vow to shun the prairie.
But, dreaming, longing nightly for the blue flax fields in bloom,
When your Junetime state-side life is sedentary,
You’ll jam the truck with gear and set your wheels for northern roads,
Toward the hopes, dreams—and mirages—of the prairie.