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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)

TITLE: Eight Everlastin' Seconds
By Ann Grover
03/16/11


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I’ve been to many sermons and heard the preacher tell
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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This article has been read 1028 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood03/17/11
This was PERFECT - absolutely wonderful! I loved the "voice" throughout and the flashes of humor. And I especially like how you wrapped up the ending. Wonderful, wonderful writing!
Henry Clemmons03/18/11
I'd like to stick a ribbon on this. One of my favorites. All of my sense were involved. Great job!!!!!!!!!!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/18/11
This was wonderful! I enjoyed every word and could vividly picture the entire event.
Carol Penhorwood 03/19/11
Well done indeed! Truly creative!
Margaret Kearley 03/19/11
Absolutely fantastic! Wonderful rhyming and rhythm, such realistic descriptions, and what a lesson! Brilliant.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/19/11
Great fun...marvelous detail...even a special message at the end. This is an excellent poem.
Rachel Phelps03/19/11
Awesome. You always put such a distinct voice in your pieces, it's a pleasure to read. Excellent.
Mona Purvis03/20/11
How great is this! Fresh and fun to read and with such a delightful take on 'eternity'. This one gets my vote.
Charla Diehl 03/20/11
Your title enticed me because I truly enjoy rodeos and feel for all those sore cowboys at the end of the day. I, too loved the voice of the MC, the perfectly chosen words to describe each scene and the rhythm of the whole piece. Yeah, I agree, this one is a winner!
Sarah Elisabeth 03/22/11
My favorite for the week! Love, love, love. Of course for me, anything cowboy is great, but the message you wove into this piece...awesome. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!
Virgil Youngblood 03/23/11
Delightful, with an authentic feel and a message worth pondering.
Amanda Brogan03/24/11
Big congrats on your well-deserved win! This one had me chucklin' and rootin' for the cowboy all through!
Loren T. Lowery03/24/11
I think I rode that horse once. Loved it. Certainly it's been written by someone who has sat a saddle a time or two. Congratulations.
Lillian Rhoades 03/24/11
So original! Congratulations.
Yvonne Blake 03/24/11
Congratulations! What a wild ride!
Allison Egley 03/24/11
Oh, this is great. I loved how you tied it all together in the last stanza. :)
Nancy Bucca 03/24/11
This is priceless. I was almost there riding the colt with you. Congratulations on your 1st place win.
Cheryl Thompson03/25/11
This was absolutely PRICELESS! My nephew rides broncs bareback. This piece made me feel as if I were right there with him, watching it all unfold in person! LOVED IT!!
Sydney Avey03/26/11
Heavenly perfection. I will read this to my grandchildren! Wonderfully visual way to make the point.