Tall Men Riding


This is the song that the night birds sing
As the phantom herds trail by,
Horn by horn where the long plains fling
Flat miles to the Texas sky.

Oh, the high hawk knows where the rabbit goes,
And the buzzard marks the kill,
But few there be with eyes to see
The Tall Men riding still.

They hark in vain on the speeding train
For an echo of hoofbeat thunder,
And the yellow wheat is a winding sheet
For cattle trails plowed under.

Hoof dust flies at the low moon’s rise,
And the bullbat’s lonesome whir
Is an echoed note from a longhorn throat
Of a steer, in the days that were.

Inch by inch time draws the cinch,
Till the saddle will creak no more,
And they who were lords of the cattle hordes
Have tallied their final score.

This is the song that the night birds wail
Where the Texas plains lie wide,
Watching the dust of a ghostly trail,
Where the phantom Tall Men ride!

S. (Squire) Omar Barker (1895–1985) (he signed his letters Lazy SOB) lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico and was a prodigious freelance writer, Spanish teacher, statesman, novelist and most importantly to the cowboy poetry world, was the author of five books of poetry (Winds of the Mountains, 1922; Buckaroo Ballads, 1929; Sunlight Through the Trees, 1954; Songs of the Saddleman, 1954; and Rawhide Rhymes, 1968)