At midnight, when the cattle are sleeping,
On my saddle I pillow my head,
And up at the heavens lie peeping
From out of my cold grassy bed;–
Often and often I wondered,
At night when lying alone,
If every bright star up yonder
Is a big peopled world like our own.
Are they worlds with their ranges and ranches?
Do they ring with rough rider refrains?
Do the cowboys scrap there with Comanches
And other Red Men of the plains?
Are the hills covered over with cattle
In those mystic worlds far, far away?
Do the ranch-houses ring with the prattle
Of sweet little children at play?
At night, in the bright starts up yonder,
Do the cowboys lie down to their rest?
Do they gaze at this old world and wonder
If rough riders dash over its breast?
Do they list to the wolves in the canyons?
Do they watch the night owl in its flight,
With their horses their only companions
While guarding the herd through the night?
Sometimes, when a bright star is twinkling
Like a diamond set in the sky,
I find myself lying and thinking,
It may be God’s heaven is nigh.
I wonder if there I shall meet her,
My mother whom God took away;
If in the star-heavens I’ll greet her
At the round-up that’s on the Last Day.
In the east the great daylight is breaking,
And into my saddle I spring;
The cattle from sleep are awakening,
The heaven-thoughts from me take wing;
The eyes of my broncho are flashing,
Impatient he pulls at the reins,
And off round the herd I go dashing,
A reckless cowboy of the plains.