Old Wooden Gate
"Go shut the gate," they said. The thin boy swung
Across the tail chain to the wagon's course.
He skipped the weeds to where a long gate hung
In patience--like a heavy headed horse--
Which, being still a boy,he liked to ride.
As slackly hinged as he, the gate would coast
Across the wheel tracks with the boy astride
And slap its weathered post.
"Come back," they said. So he would quickly loop
The ring wire round the gate post, which it fit
Loosely, like overalls. To please the group,
He hurried to the wagon, leaped on it;
A breathless boy and happy, he would toss
His brown locks back and gratefully inhale
The sage-spiced air while rumbling off across
The bumpy wagon trail.
Years made him grow from those who said, "Come back,"
Until he drove with hope clutched in his hands
To find the welcome gate, the weedy track.
On rubber tires, he crossed the cactus sands
But new barbed fences told him he was late.
Like wagons rumbling on a desert rut,
His thoughts arrived in longing at his gate
But found that it was shut.
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