Roll a Smoke

The colt just stood and trembled, as sweat began to soak,
Then wisely said the cowboy, “It’s time to roll a smoke.”
I puzzled at his meaning and of the works he said,
I never knew tobacco rings to curl about his head.
But as the calm invaded the pen that we were in,
That colt eased up and joined us, not spooky like he’d been.

For action without thinking is embers you can’t stoke,
Wisdom’s often just the time it takes to roll a smoke.

Was back in 1936, the eastern slopes were fire,
The cowboy, a young buckaroo range ridin’ out for hire.
The castle valley filled with smoke, the kid thought he would choke,
But with him, wise ole Callie Jenkins paused to roll a smoke.
Then planned to bet the reaper’s tally filled with souls to seek,
They snuck right past the bowels of hell and rode to Pincher Creek.

For action without thinking is embers you can’t stoke,
Wisdom’s often just the time it takes to roll a smoke.

Well, now that colt is gentle and with me, blazing trails,
The wisdom of that cowboy is wind upon my sails.
For whether workin’ horses or findin’ way to cope,
When I am short on savvy, those words provide me hope.
For they’re not ‘bout tobacco, there more to do with time,
Intention never pondered is never worth a dime.

For action without thinking is embers you can’t stoke,
Wisdom’s often just the time it takes to roll a smoke.

Roll a Smoke was excerpted from A Saddle Tramp Soliloquy by BJ Smith.

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