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Category: Funny Satire Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems using irony, exaggeration and ridicule, to expose and criticize stupidity and vices.

  THAT TEXAN CATTLE MAN  

We rode the tawny Texan hills,
    A bearded cattle man and I;
Below us laughed the blossomed rills,
    Above the dappled clouds blew by.
We talked. The topic? Guess. Why, sir,
    Three-fourths of man's whole time he keeps
To talk, to think, to be of |HER|;
    The other fourth he sleeps.

To learn what he might know of love,
    I laughed all constancy to scorn.
"Behold yon happy, changeful dove!
    Behold this day, all storm at morn,
Yet now 't is changed to cloud and sun.
    Yea, all things change--the heart, the head,
Behold on earth there is not one
    That changeth not," I said.

He drew a glass as if to scan
    The plain for steers; raised it and sighed.
He craned his neck, this cattle man,
    Then drove the cork home and replied:
"For twenty years (forgive these tears)--
    For twenty years no word of strife--
I have not known for twenty years
    One folly from my wife."

I looked that Texan in the face--
    That dark-browed, bearded cattle man,
He pulled his beard, then dropped in place
    A broad right hand, all scarred and tan,
And toyed with something shining there
    From out his holster, keen and small.
I was convinced. I did not care
    To argue it at all.

But rest I could not. Know I must
    The story of my Texan guide;
His dauntless love, enduring trust;
    His blessed, immortal bride.
I wondered, marvelled, marvelled much.
    Was she of Texan growth? Was she
Of Saxon blood, that boasted such
    Eternal constancy?

I could not rest until I knew--
    "Now twenty years, my man," said I,
"Is a long time." He turned and drew
    A pistol forth, also a sigh.
"'Tis twenty years or more," said he,
    "Nay, nay, my honest man, I vow
I do not doubt that this may be;
    But tell, oh! tell me how.

"'Twould make a poem true and grand;
    All time should note it near and far;
And thy fair, virgin Texan land
    Should stand out like a Winter star.
America should heed. And then
    The doubtful French beyond the sea--
'T would make them truer, nobler men.
    To know how this may be."

"It's twenty years or more," urged he,
    "Nay, that I know, good guide of mine;
But lead me where this wife may be,
    And I a pilgrim at a shrine.
And kneeling, as a pilgrim true"--
    He, scowling, shouted in my ear;
"I cannot show my wife to you;
    She's dead this twenty year."

                            Joaquin Miller.


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