Colin F. Jones

~ One Spur And The Arrow ~
Part 3 ~ THE HIDDEN VALLEY

~ 98 ~

Across the western valley
The word had passed around
About One Spur and his riders
Of the chase now so renown

~ 99 ~

‘Twas said, that One Spur
Shaken by the ride
Was locked inside his homestead
And that he wished to hide.

~ 100 ~

The loss of three top riders
Had been a shocking thing
One Spur blamed himself
His mind was all a-ring

~ 101 ~

Deacon riding boundary
Had heard the story too
And though his job was steady
Knew what he had to do.

~ 102 ~

He scouted through the western towns
In search of brawn and guts
For men who knew how to ride
Who had weathered all the ruts

~ 103 ~

One by one he picked them
From wide spread station towns
Tough and rough and riders
Tops in all the land

~ 104 ~

He gathered them together
In a familiar northern town
And every body talked
The news soon got around

~ 105 ~

One Spur one bright morning
Was toiling in a paddock
A passing rider stopped to chat
His name was ‘Wrangler Shaddock’

~ 106 ~

“I here Deacons riding range
With a bunch of riders too,
Out across the Arrows plains,
Just thought I’d interest you”

~ 107 ~

One Spur nodded quiet thanks
Then turned upon his heel
My God! He’d have another try
Or the whole thing wasn’t real

~ 108 ~

He rode his horse towards the north
To a border lying town
In the sky a newborn sun
Was slipping slowly down

~ 109 ~

Deacon bade him welcome
And smiled with open joy
“Come,” he said to One Spur
“And meet with me the boys”

~ 110 ~

There is Kane from New South Wales
With his stocky dapple-grey
And Clive from down the river
With his fiery skittish bay

~ 111 ~

In black is Dig from Derby
Astride his golden sorrel
And that man dressed in khaki
Is rough rider, Billy Lorrel

~ 112 ~

His horse was bred in England
With a race horse for a sire
‘Tis a massive screwball gelding
Fifteen hands and higher

~ 113 ~

Danny on the flea bit grey
Is the finest in the land
All the world had heard his name
All knew he had the sand

~ 114 ~

This time the Arrow would be caught
And brought to One Spur’s home
North and South would rejoice
No man would be alone

~ 115 ~

Somewhere in the far off
Magnificent in his prime
Grazing by the deep ravines
A wild horse sleek and fine

~ 116 ~

In the wind the Arrow
Sensed the sudden day
Snorted through his nostrils
As he cantered down the way

~ 117 ~

His instincts sensed a danger
A danger yet to come
Thus he turned towards the mountains
And set off on the run

~ 118 ~

In his wake a dozen mares
Cantered through the dust
Snorting bucking free of care
Along the highland crust

~ 119 ~

Miles away seven riders
Talked of days ahead
As their trained mountain horses
Grazed by a dry creek bed

~ 120 ~

They loaded packs and rifles
Beside the homestead door
Shone their boots, cleaned their hats
That the diggers always wore

~ 121 ~

They groomed their lightning ponies
‘Til primed to perfect nick
Trained to move with instinct
Not needing to be hit

~ 122 ~

When the final night had settled
And all the packing had been done
The men retired early
So as to wake up with the sun

~ 123 ~

On the morn the people crowded
By the homestead yard
As they saddled their fine horses
Packed their loaf and lard

~ 124 ~

With the sun bright in their faces
They mounted in the breeze
Across the way a kangaroo
Bounded through the trees

~ 125 ~

With goodbye waves and nodding
The riders drew away
That people must have wondered
If it’d be another tragic day.

~ 126 ~

But only time would tell the tale
Of One Spur and his band
As they rode along the stony trail
In the slowly rising sand

~ 127 ~

The sun was rising yet
To higher lofty places
In the air the singing rang
From bits and hanging traces

~ 128 ~

Over the ground the plodding hooves
Beat a tuneful drum
As the stockman and his pony
Rode to the insects’ hum

~ 129 ~

The creak of leather, rhythmic
Blended with the beat
As round about the dusty air
Smelt to the riders sweat

~ 130 ~

Bluish smoke from lighted fag
Curled towards the sky
These men who called a horse a nag
Rode on to do or die

~ 131 ~

They searched in the weeks that followed
The plains and scrubland flats
The low slopes near the foothills
And the southern grassy mats

~ 132 ~

They spread across the country
Across the wide terrain
But a month of tiresome searching
Proved fruitless and in vain

~ 133 ~

But these men were big and strong
Who rode the broad outback
They raised a cheerful song;
Killed rabbits to fill the sack

~ 134 ~

Then upon a newborn morning
They turned their horses west
Towards the jagged mountains
Where the eagle built its nest

~ 135 ~

In these rugged mountains
In a valley lush and green
Grazed a great black stallion
By a rippling running stream

~ 136 ~

He reigned here in his kingdom
Over his bands of wild herds
Where natures powerful mysteries
Lay ‘neath the winging birds

~ 137 ~

One Spur and his riders
Reached the rocky hills
Camped beneath a hanging rock
Where the mountain river spills

~ 138 ~

Here they made their main camp
To where at dusk they would return
After riding through the mountains
To see what they could learn

~ 139 ~

Soon dreams and thoughts were gone
As another campfire died
On the peaks and riding slopes
The dingoes sat and cried