RIDE OFF ANY HORIZON Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall where it may-- on the hot wheat, on the dark yellow fields of wild mustard, the fields of bad farmers, on the river, on the dirty river full of boys and on the throbbing powerhouse and the low dam of cheap cement and rocks boiling with white water, and on the cows and their powerful bulls, the heavy tracks filling with liquid at the edge of the narrow prairie river running steadily away. * Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall where it may-- among the piles of bones that dot the prairie in vision and history (the buffalo and deer, dead indians, dead settlers, the frames of lost houses left behind in the dust of the depression, dry and profound, that will come again in the land and in the spirit, the land shifting and the minds blown dry and empty-- I have not seen it! Except in pictures and talk-- but there is the fence covered with dust, laden, the wrecked house stupidly empty)-- here is a picture for your wallet, of the beaten farmer and his wife leaning toward each other-- sadly smiling, and emptied of desire. * Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall where it may-- off the edge of the black prairie as you thought you could fall, a boy at sunset not watching the sun set but watching the black earth, never-ending they said in school, round: but you saw it ending, finished, definite, precise-- visible only miles away. * Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall where it may-- on a hot night the town is in the streets-- the boys and girls are practicing against each other, the men talk and eye the girls-- the women talk and eye each other, the indians play pool: eye on the ball. * Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall where it may-- and damn the troops, the horsemen are wheeling in the sunshine, the cree, practicing for their deaths: mr poundmaker, gentle sweet mr big bear, it is not unfortunately quite enough to be innocent, it is not enough merely not to offend-- at times to be born is enough, to be in the way is too much-- some colonel otter, some major-general middleton will get you, you-- indian. It is no god to say, I would rather die at once than be in that place-- though you love that land more, you will go where they take you. * Ride off any horizon and let the measure fall-- where it may; it doesn't have to be the prairie. It could be the cold soul of the cities blown empty by commerce and desiring commerce to fill up the emptiness. The streets are full of people. It is night, the lights are on; the wind blows as far as it may. The streets are dark and full of people. Their eyes are fixed as far as they can see beyond each other-- to the concrete horizon, definite, tall against the mountains, stopping vision visibly.
John Newlove Index
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