On the Ranch...

On the Ranch
The Gypsy Star
Poem by Cris Paravicini.
Artwork by Teresa Shenefelt

Gypsy Star
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by Cris Paravicini

She was sold by a band of vagabonds to a cow boss along the trail.
Always in need of a good horse, she found a home at the BV Bar.
The crew called her the devil's mistress from the look they saw in her eye.
Had a patch of white on a black velvet skull, so they named her the Gypsy Star.

The gang gathered 'round that fateful day, to inspect the brand-new horse.
They sized her up, looked her over, and cracked a few good jokes.
From their seasoned view and experienced thought, the mare stood not a chance.
Concluded they, "Why she's made for old dudes, and not a seasoned cowpoke."

There, in the distant corner of the old, rocky, barnyard corral,
Stood the newly purchased lady with the shiny, coal-black hide.
She calmly dozed, halfway to sleep, nosed a fly from her big, broad chest.
With a hind hoof cocked and a bottom lip hung, she mysteriously hid her pride.

She stood there alone, just the way she liked, oblivious to talk all about,
The size of her knees, the shape of her eyes, and the sway in her old, long back.
But out of the edge of a half-sleepy eye, aware of the race and the noise,
She saw a flurry of men, make a break for the barn, and therein they gathered some tack.

The first one back threw his saddle up, astride of the ebony gal,
Quickly pulled the cinch just a few good holes, then grabbed for a pair of reins.
And swinging aboard and kicking her out, off-center he hoped to go.
The mare showed ol' Hank how the West was won; she showed him the name of the game.

The slack in the cinch, the holes left unused, was Hank's first, big mistake.
The second, of course, right from the start, were the reins - those loose, hangin' leathers.
It didn't take long 'fore he realized the task that he'd undertaken.
'Cause the problem I mentioned signaled the man, don't count on landin' in feathers.

Her plan was very effective - suck back, rear up, then make a final jump.
But the saddle and the poor ol' cowboy had long since hit the ground.
Then lifting him up from where he lay on his spot in the choking dust,
They patted his back, and chuckled a bit, at the sight of his forlorn frown.

The next one up to try her spit snuff through snags of broken teeth,
Slapped his saddle down, squinted his eyes, pulled over his ears, his hat.
In a matter of painful seconds and several off-beat thuds,
Old Sid swiftly floated skyward then he, too, hit the mat.

Now, it sure became apparent that the bronc within their midst,
Was, indeed, a little hellcat; they had no knowledge of her breed.
For even though at this time, no cowboy set upon her back,
She pitched around the barnyard, stirrups cracked above the steed.

Reluctant as they aptly were, each cowboy took his turn.
For this is as the law book reads if you won't be called a dude.
But, it seems that as the boys all tried and thusly bit the dirt,
The mare reached in her bag of tricks, addin' to the somber mood.

Her demonic style of torture wasn't analyzed in any books.
Like the sting of thighs a poundin' and the flesh she chose to beat.
As with a screamin' cyclone, she cut an ugly swathe,
Thrashed the body part of cowboys, of which we can't repeat.

With nostrils flared a sunset red, she sulked near the old, corral fence.
Then goosed and ran, bucked and squalled, and threw in a little squeal.
But, as is the case with cowboys, they'll not abandon ship.
They decided they would just hang fire, even miss their evening meal.

Now, as I heard the story, here's how the saga goes...
From atop the fence a voice arose, "Let me take a sittin' at 'er, boys."
"Why, it's the big-hearted boy a makin' noise!"  Shorty roared and slapped his knee.
"Son, go to the house and knit with the girls or play with your Tonka toys!"

But, Sam stepped down, spoke not a word, then steadily strode away,
To corner the mare and give her a pat on a hot and lathered neck.
He set his gear down real smooth, kept his eye on the Gypsy Star, 
And fixed the blind, cheeked the gal, then prepared for a possible wreck.

Sam stepped on, rocked forward and back; screwed himself down into his rig.
A damned, deep seat, and an average rein would help him start out right.
If he just could get in time with her, squeeze the swells, spur from point to cantle;
He planned to ride the devil's miss when she hits with all her might.

Sid pulled the blindfold from her head and stepped quickly out of the way.
And Sam yelled out, "Come on, ol' mare.  Let's rock and roll, baby!"
White-eyed she turned and walked on eggs; 'twas the calm before the squall.
Then broke in half, turned belly up; Oh, she's surely not a lady.

For Sam the view was something that he'd not seen in quite some time.
The corral was just a dizzy swirl in a cloud of dark, brown dust.
Each jump displayed the rooftops and the ranch beyond the barn.
With toes turned out, still in time, he prayed and then he cussed.

The hands still talk about the ride that young Sammy fit that day.
And how impressive was the silhouette of the action 'gainst the moon.
They knew he had the black one rode when he fanned her with his hat.
And they'll not be pokin' fun at Sam just any time real soon.

And the cow boss chuckles to himself, 'bout the little trick he played,
Upon the cocky cowboys ridin' for the BV Bar.
Bought a ten-year-old, broncy mare, left unshod and no white withers.
She was split-earred from the many muggin's and called the Gypsy Star.

The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles northwest of Daniel, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: cowgirl@wyoming.com.

Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted, Cris Paravicini, 2001. No part may be reproduced without permission of the author/photographer. Drawing by Teresa Shenefelt. Page graphics by Pinedale Online, 2001.

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