When I was thirteen, I wanted to be a cowboy. I immersed myself in the wonderful books about Montana cowboys and wild horses that were written and illustrated by Will James. One afternoon when I was supposed to be working on algebra, I was seized by inspiration, and I wrote a poem. My mother showed it to a friend, who copied it and sent it to her friend. It was published in The Bit and Spur magazine in November 1952 as:

Saga of the Desert

I sat there in the saddle, and slowly thought it through.
If what I was a-doin' was the thing I ought to do.
The little star was a-settin' there, a shinin' in the sun,
And kinda seemed to plead with me, as I slowly raised my gun.
The sights went up--and up--and up, then seemed to rest a spell,
On that little star a-shinin' there, and then I muttered: “Hell!”
I lowered the gun down to my side, and cussed me for a dolt,
Cause the little star a-shinin' there ... was on the forehead of a colt.

His mammy had been wild, and raised upon the plain;
His pappy would have snorted at the very thought of grain.
But now his mammy's layin' there, so still upon the ground,
The breath of life gone from her, the buzzards circlin' round.
The little feller couldn't live, without his mammy's aid,
And soon he wouldn't rise no more from the ground on which he laid.

But the goin' would be painful, and slow until he died;
I couldn't leave him to that fate, and still have kept my pride.
Again the sights went up--and up, and pointed with the gun,
At the little star a settin' there, a-shinin' in the sun.
The echo rolled around the hills, and drifted o'er the plain;
And all at once I was mighty glad, he died without no pain.

by Brian Bryans, at age 13

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