Old Dayton’s Memories

I’d asked him about the war.
He sat quietly sipping black  coffee  as his
eye’s took on a distant look.
He tilted his head  sideways,  squinted one eye
and said, “Of course I remember the war , how could a old man
forget all that and still be alive?”
His eye’s took on a new look.
I knew I’d asked the wrong thing.
“The blood in that beach sand  looked
just as red as a setting sun.”
And then he went silent for
a long time.
Then he said as if to silence himself,
“But that’s just an old man memory.”

The other day he told me about the
troop trains. “I sat at the window  and
as that black smoke moved by
the windows , those damned horses ran along
side the train for oh’ , two miles or so.
I cried just then like
a damned baby. ”  And  just then
his voice broke  as
I looked down at
my boots.  And then he continued,
“Ya know , I guess I wouldna’ changed
nothin’ though”.
And he smiled  a knowing smile.

“When I bought this ranch  from old John Simms
he told me , “Son , you’ll go broke here  but
you sure will die looking at  some
damned fine scenery.”” And then he smiled
quietly as he watched me throw hay fletches
broken from  a dry bale .
And the mustangs moved in to feed.
“Ya’ know”, he said ,” I don’t think I’da
done much differently .”
But then , it was his turn to look down
at his boots and he did it
for some time .

“Now,  I live my whole life for these mustangs
I want to save them from all that man can
plan on doing to them. ” He bent down just then
and picked up on the horse’s front  hoof.
I stood for a moment looking down at the river
a mile away , twisting along a silvery valley
reflecting the sun  on
it’s silvery water .
“You know that river flows in all four
directions the Indians
around here tell me. ”

“This morning I looked out over the mists lying
low across the hay fields
as the mustangs graze peacefully.
And a revelation came to me .
That there are no finer things on this green earth
than the rumble of the mustangs hooves ,
or the soft whinnying of  a young colt
and the silvery splash of wet
legs as they cross the river .
And Dayton said , “And just when you think that
life is quieting down  a thunderstorm
comes visiting  , starting over there in
the west usually  passing
across the ridge there, ”
drawing  his arm across his sky..

“A lot of cowboys become poets,” he said
and then he recited in a old man’s voice a poem as soft
as a child’s hug , more tender than a woman’s touch
and I realized just then,
That no one else was listening to this poem.
This gentle man’s voice.
No one but me and  in just that moment
I knew, I just knew,
There aren’t many times in life
that I have felt true love
unpolluted by the hand
of a man or a machine.
And  now, I too am haunted by
old Dayton’s dreams .

Dedicated to the dreams of Dayton Hyde
and the Black Hills  Wild Horse Sanctuary .

Old man
Wild Horses
Latest posts by EdF (see all)


Sometime in my life, I started to write about my life journey, in poetry, in story perhaps to sort them out and enter them into a place of safekeeping. The soul of the writer is perhaps best described in their words, emotions and thoughts. If these poems or stories touch something inside you then maybe I have succeeded in sharing. I will not write about my self in profile, because self isn't so important in writing. Only the journey in words and the sharing are important. Why would we say "Now about me!"... I'd rather write about life, nature, serenity ...

5 thoughts on “Old Dayton’s Memories

  • June 9, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    What a wonderful read and tribute to Dayton Hyde’s dreams. Nice work, Ed.

  • June 9, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    A lovely tribute to a kind and thoughtful soul. It was so calming just reading this Ed, and warm and comforting and in a way life-affirming; dreams are so vivid but in a way, if they are never realized it doesn’t matter, as the dreams themselves are more important. Such a gentle and emotive write. Great work.

  • June 10, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    Loved this and taking the poetic journey and hearing about Dayton’s memories and dreams.

  • September 15, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    Ed we have a community of wild horses that roam the Washoe Hills that I call home. I would say about 30-40 counting the young-ons that survived this season.

    Beautiful creatures I feel that Old Dayton would have loved.

    Great poem. Jamie


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

Our cookie settings are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. By continuing to browse this website you are accepting our cookie policy.