Tom Sheehan ~ Before the Clock Stands Still for Me (A Cowboy’s Lament)

Before the clock stands still for me,
when Earth wields heavy gravity,
I’ve an errand to yet complete
before I leave my bounden feet;
this odd assignment long I’ve known
before interring each my bone,

before my form will alter thus,
begins to change imponderous,
begins that flight to meet again
beneath a patch of grass and grain
those before me, calamitous,
where all are grabbed, infectious.

Let me advance my promised vow
to make of coming, here and now,
star-field or moon-walk I’ll pursue
friends and comrades once so true,
engage upon a holy road
where Earth releases precious load.

Spirits take up no earthen ranks,
property’s left in friendly thanks,
where men are men, women’s leisure,
in the skies of shadowed ether,
each lost soul on its fatal date
where I seek such ignoble fate.

Mark the day, the hour of note
when I step there, beyond the moat,
leaving loves here, not gone beyond,
to make their credits, targets warned,
to have their lives, think once of me
plowing ruts through Eternity.

For I will trade the chances due,
not swap places with alien crew,
but earn my keep in broken clay
the stretch I did here every day,
love and energy do apprise
all means measured in my eyes.

Before I’m looking up at grass,
locked up secrets from worn-out lass,
warriors downed by battle’s rage
or elements left on lonely page,
free one look in reflecting glass
before I’m looking up at grass.

The top-side look for horse and me
in a western locality,
says days of yore, saddle-hung,
were spent free and wildly young,
were marked by trails left by herds,
collected here by tongue and words;

Ride your horse so far and wide,
keep water ever at his side,
let him have all covering grass
regardless of what comes to pass,
one more fire when herd’s at rest,
know this pair has done its best.


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Tom Sheehan has published three poetry books: “Ah, Devon Unbowed”; “The Saugus Book”; and “Reflections from Vinegar Hill.” He is Co-editor of the sold-out 2,000 copy issue of “A Gathering of Memories, Saugus 1900 – 2000,” for which $60,000 was borrowed for printing and paid off four weeks after books were received from the printer.

Tom served in the 31st Infantry, Korea 1951-52, and graduated Boston College in 1956. His books are Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; Collection of Friends; From the Quickening; The Saugus Book; Ah, Devon Unbowed; Reflections from Vinegar Hill; This Rare Earth & Other He has published 28 books, which include the western collections The NationsWhere Skies Grow Wide and Cross Trails published by Pocol Press, and Six Guns, Inc., by Nazar Look and three titles issued in 2016, The Cowboys, Swan River Daisy and Jehrico. He has multiple work in following publications: Rosebud, Literally Stories, DM du Jour, Danse Macabre, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Eclectica, Copperfield Review, La Joie Magazine, Soundings East, Vermont Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Indiana Voices Journal, Frontier Tales, Western Online Magazine, Provo Canyon Review, Vine Leaves Journal, Nazar Look, Eastlit, Rope & Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, Green Silk Journal, Fiction on the Web, The Path, Faith-Hope and Fiction, The Cenacle, etc.

He has 30 Pushcart nominations, and five Best of the Net nominations (and one winner) and short story awards from Nazar Look for 2012- 2015, and a Georges Simenon Fiction Award. He was Danse Macabre’s 2016 Writer-in-Residence.

The latest Harry Krisman Mystery Vigilantes East is now available exclusively on His poetry collection, To Athens from Third Base, is forthcoming in 2017 from Hammer & Anvil Books.

Read more of Tom’s classic American storytelling in
DM 107 ~ Saugus, a, um
Found in the Archiv


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