Virginia Bennett Gathers With Other Cowboy Poets to Celebrate Life on the Range

BY NewsHour Poetry Series  March 14, 2006 at 12:20 AM EDT

Cowboy poets gather at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada to share stories in verse by and about the women and men who still live the western life of rodeos and ranching.

Read the full transcript here.

Virginia Bennett is an regularly featured performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. She has recited at the Smithsonian Institute and been featured on PBS and NPR specials. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies. The author of Legacy of the Land, Canyon of the Forgotten, and In the Company of Horses, Virginia is also the editor of Cowgirl Poetry: 100 Years of Ridin’ and Rhymin’ and Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion, both for Gibbs Smith Publisher. Virginia has worked on western ranches since 1971, alongside her ranch-manager husband, Pete. She has trained horses for the public, shown hunter/jumpers, driven draft teams and drawn cowboy wages.

The Truth of the Matter by Virginia Bennett

I run for the complete joy of living
Hindered neither by human weight nor reins
I shift and spin and almost fly
As unleashed adrenaline throbs through my veins.

With rider aboard, I might stumble or fall.
I might be made to quit before I am through.
But alone, no obstacle stands in my way
My hooves lay claim to all within my view.

I leap when I should and I land when it’s right
No one judges me or tells me I’m wrong.
Some spirit takes hold of my muscles and bones.
Don’t blink, ’cause in a moment, I’m gone!

I am like a searing lightning bolt.
You only think you’ve harnessed my essence.
Yet, without you, I swap leads, collect and depart.
You “train” me to make up for your presence.

I might take a liking to your companionship,
If not, you couldn’t catch me when day is done.
You believe all I need is a job to perform…
But I’m a horse, and God made me to run.