Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)
TITLE: Eight Everlastin' Seconds
By Ann Grover
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Of bliss to last forever and the endless flames of hell.
I don’t mean no disrespectin’ if the preacher I negate,
For the way I sees eternity is a matter of debate.
The boys and me were jawin’ over plates of ham and beans,
Ol’ Jim says, “Drink yer coffee, lads, and tighten up yer jeans.
There’s a colt out in the paddock, that ain’t been broken yet.
Two bucks on the cowboy.” And each man placed a bet.
The colt, a flashy sorrel, stood sixteen hands, at least.
His nostrils flared, he kicked the rails, while Jim says, “Meet The Beast.”
Hank, he drew the shortest straw, so he was first to mount,
But, he come crawlin’ back to us, too short a time to count.
So followed Bert and Russ and Clay, a’climbin’ on his back,
One by one, they swallered dust. They didn’t have the knack.
It fell to me to do the deed, my turn to try the colt.
Could it really be so hard to cling through every jolt?
I spurred him hard, I spurred him deep, to rustle up some force.
A genteel mosey wouldn’t do, if I would ride this horse.
He bared his teeth and pinned his ears, just to show his ire.
His hind hooves whistled past my ears, his front feet risin’ higher.
I think this might be tougher than I earlier had thought.
My backside slapped the saddle; my jeans were scorching hot.
“Jus’ keep a leg on either side.” Ol’ Jim bawled sage advice.
My noggin rattled back and forth, shaken up like dice.
A slimy arc of slobber was whipped across my maw,
My chaps were flappin’, wild-like; my hands were red and raw.
Surely I’d been tossed around, from mornin’ till the night,
But, naw, it’d been two seconds since I first commenced the fight.
He lunged and plunged and spun around, kickin’ up the dust,
I choked on dirt, I couldn’t breathe, but hang on, boy, or bust.
And through the filthy cloud I seen, my pa, my darling wife.
I was seein’ glimpses of the story of my life.
“Holy cow,” I’m thinkin’, gettin’ bruised about the rump,
I was headin’ into Glory, I could hear the Final Trump.
“Take me, Lord, I’m comin’.” No earthly pain no more.
Bert shouted, “Keep a’goin’, son.” Seconds: only four.
The Beast is just a’warmin’ up to his evil chore.
He amplified his buckin’. My arms and legs were sore.
A’twistin’ and a’spinnin’, he chomped a chunk of heaven.
I can’t stick this everlastin’ ride. The boys yelled, “Now, seven!”
Sweat were runnin’ in my eyeballs; my cheeks were lather-flecked.
My bones were feelin’ shattered; my joints were surely wrecked,
And through the dusty billows, I could see the Pearly Gate.
Praise God, the boys were shoutin’, “Time’s up. You made yer eight!”
“It’s over, lad, you licked ‘im. You rode the wicked Beast,
And here’s yer seven dollars, have yerself a feast.”
I dusted off my trousers and fetched my crumpled hat,
Shook hands with all the fellas, grinning like a cat.
If yer wrestlin’ with a hardship that is sure to knock you low,
And time comes to a standstill while the clock is tickin’ slow,
Yer gaspin’ and a’graspin’ and clingin’ to each second,
Eternity is shorter than the eons you had reckoned.
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