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    Wallace McRae, a rancher from Forsyth, Montana, is know through out the West as an activist for agricultural concerns. Though just written in 1980, this poem is already considered to be a classic.


    Wallace McRae

    "What does reincarnation mean?"

    A cowpoke asked his friend.

    His pal replied, "It happens when

    yer life has reached its end.

    They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,

    And clean yer fingernails,

    And lay you in a padded box

    Away from life's travails.

    "The box and you goes in a hole,

    That's been dug into the ground.

    Reincarnation starts in when

    Yore planted 'neath a mound.

    Them clods melt down, just like yer box,

    and you who is inside.

    And then yore just begginin' on

    Yer transformation ride.

    "In a while the grass'll grow

    Upon yer rendered mound.

    Till some day on yer moldered grave

    A lonely flower is found.

    And say a hoss should wander by

    And graze upon this flower

    That once wuz you, but now's become

    Yer vegatative bower.

    "The posey that the hoss done ate

    Up, with his other feed,

    Makes bone, and fat, and muscle

    Essential to the steed.

    But some is left that he can't use

    And so it passes through,

    And finally lays upon the ground.

    This thing that once wuz you.

    "Then say, by chance, I wonders by

    And sees this upon the ground,

    And I ponders and I wonders at,

    This object that I found.

    I thinks of reincarnation,

    Of life, and death, and such,

    And come away concludin': Slim,

    You ain't changed, all that much."

    Wallace McRae, Cowboy Poetry, Edited by Hal Cannon, Salt Lake City: Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., 1985.