COWBOY POETRY: The Juniper Fence Post

Bryce Angell is a cowboy poet. Angell was raised on a farm/ranch in the St. Anthony, Idaho area with approximately 75 head of horses. Horses remain an important part of Angell's life. Angell shares his poetry with Cache Valley Daily every Friday.

I gazed down at the fence line, prob’ly near a quarter mile. One lodgepole post lay on the ground.  It’d been there for a while.

I couldn’t help but notice one post stood up straight and tall.  For sure it was the juniper I’d planted late one fall.

My father taught me how to lay out fence and plant a post. He said a juniper fence post would outlast more than most.

The other posts were rotted through, not long ‘fore they’d be dung. The old fence brought back memories of a time when I was young.

I must have been about eighteen.  My Homelite saw was new.  I’d learned to run a chainsaw when most young boys had no clue.

I drove out to the desert looking for a dried-up tree.  Then spotted one lone juniper.  Its limbs were dead debris.

So, I cranked up my new chainsaw.  It was sharp and set to cut.  But the juniper weren’t soft.  The kickback knocked me on my butt.

The sparks were flying past my ear.  Was juniper a wood?  It seemed this juniper was set to test my manlihood.

The tree smelled so dang pungent, like a billy’s aftershave.  I figured every whiff would send me to an early grave.

I finally cut clean through the stump.  Then sharpened once again.  The tree limbs cut like flint.  I must have sharpened up times ten.  

I loaded up my fencepost and darn sure I’d had enough.  Never, even to this day, have cut wood so dang tough.

That day I dug and planted my old juniper fence post.  I wondered would it stand the test of my good father’s boast.

Now, seeing my old juniper, some fifty years or so.  Sure proved its worth, of all the posts, I’d planted long ago. 

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