“Appalachian Spring”



The night resigns upon the barren plains,
Twinkling firelight brims wide
Happy yarns of toiled morns.

Wrinkles so deep, speak untold stories.
Cracked smiles break burly brazenness.
“These, my Brothers Cowboy.”

author’s notes

Appalachian Spring literally poured out of me one night. I was listening to my most favorite American composers, Aaron Copland. My favorite piece of his is the immutable “Appalachian Spring,” from which this poem gets both its title and inspiration.

The beginning of the song and the very end are very similar. It didn’t occur to me until now that this really symbolized the day in a life of a Western Cowboy, that almost mythical beast to modern man.

The quietness of those two movements, the alpha and omega if you will, are like the morning and the evening calm. The day in between is nothing but extremely hard work, toil, and strife. It isn’t until the evening that the cowboys are able to appreciate it because it’s a job well done (emphasis on “done”).

While listening to the conclusion, the image of a circle of cowboys entered my mind, sipping their coffee around a campfire. They are all old, as cowboys are, with deep cracks of age in their faces. But their camaraderie is unbreakable, though their bodies may not be.

The next chance you get, have a listen to “Appalachian Spring” by Copland and tell me you can’t see this same image. It’s almost written into the very notes.

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