Colin F. Jones

~ One Spur And The Arrow ~
Part 5 ~ THE VALLEY OF THE ARROW

~ 160 ~

The purple hills split the skies
Towered in the alpine wind
On the slopes the horses gathered
As shadows yawned and grinned

~ 161 ~

Through the valley the grasses bent
Like a writhing swishing sea
As on the slope the horses grazed
Beneath the spread of tree

~ 162 ~

These horses were wild and free
Primed from the fat of the land
Fearless ‘neath the lordly reign
Of a stallion fine and grand

~ 163 ~

There he stood alone and bold
His great head in the breeze
As he watched over the wild herd
That grazed beneath the tree

~ 164 ~

He moved his glossy head and neck
And smelt the moving air
Then suddenly he was restless
He moved down through the mares

~ 165 ~

The horses stirred to motion
As he caned their glistening rumps
That the lush and thriving valley
Was filled with a hundred thumps

~166 ~

The thunder of their hoof beats
Rumbled down the way
As the Arrow charged behind them
In the hurling dust and clay

~ 167 ~

Soon the distance swallowed them
As they galloped through the lush
And as the grey dust settled down
The valley was a hush

~ 168 ~

Then through a twisting ravine
Cut through the mountain wall
Rode a horseman on a Blue-grass
In the saddle straight and tall

~ 169 ~

Behind in single file
Six riders touched the grass
Upon their pure bred horses
They left the mountain pass

~ 170 ~

One Spur smelt the dust clouds
And knew he’d found the Arrow
After many days of searching
Through ravines deep and narrow

~ 171 ~

From his horse he dismounted
Weary from the ride
He smiled, and spoke to Deacon,
In his eyes shone lonely pride

~ 172 ~

From this valley there is no turning
Till the Arrow is caught and held
Though it may take a dozen months
That from horse-hoof, grass is felled

~ 173 ~

Then Kane from New South Wales
Atop his dapple grey
Saluted to the mountains
That held the horse at bay

~ 174 ~

Then Clive, now dismounted
Stood looking stern and hard
With Dig and Billy Lorrel
Like men of the Royal guard

~ 175 ~

By the way lay Danny
Upon the lush green grass
No finer rider held the reins
In any mounted mass

~ 176 ~

In the sky the sun sank down
Darkness began to fall
As somewhere down the valley
Screamed the wild Arrow’s call.

~ 177 ~

The days that followed were spent
Riding throughout the valley
Locating herds of wild mare
Where they did mostly rally

~ 178 ~

They discovered they had found
No other exit in the wall
There was no other way out
No other way at all

~ 179 ~

Thus camp was made by a small ravine
And a fence was built across
in the sky the sun blacked out
To hide the scattered moss

~ 180 ~

But morning broke with splendour
And heatwaves filled the air
The riders prepared their horses
With calm and steady care

~ 181 ~

Soon Danny rode with Deacon
To scout the western end
And the Arrow and his herds
Were seen by the river bend

~ 182 ~

Soon the others joined them
Beneath a shade of gum
One Spur giving orders
Before the muster was begun

~ 183 ~

Then down the hill sped Kane
Upon his dapple-grey
To his left rode Clive
Astride his dancing bay

~ 184 ~

Dig with Billy Lorrel
Swung towards the west
While One Spur, Danny and Deacon
Spread for the skilful test

~ 185 ~

The wild mares were snorting
As the Arrow leapt away
In the air grew thunder
That shook the silent day

~ 186 ~

Among the herds rode Kane
Wielding his cracking whip
Clive was there to help him
With shouts upon his lip

~ 187 ~

As the horses swerved and galloped
Bold One Spur cut them back
With Deacon there, and Danny
Their whips a fearful crack

~ 188 ~

The wild herds thundered onward
Down the swaying slopes
As in their wake the horsemen
Rode calmly at a lope

~ 189 ~

Right and left rode Kane and Clive
To keep them in a bunch
This day the wild horses
Would miss their midday lunch