COWBOY POETRY: Your Neighbor’s Water

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.

This time of year, when water’s scarce and nerves are frazzled bare, I hear ‘em
pray for moisture that’s been buildin’ up somewhere.

The dictionary claims that moisture is a small amount. So why not pray a deluge
or some inches we can count.

Some years ago, our irrigation ditch went dang near dry. My father didn’t say a
word and never questioned why.

So, I walked upstream, discovered that our neighbor dammed the ditch. I’m sure
he must have thought he’d pulled it off without a hitch.

He’d placed a board across the check, which backed the water flow. I guess he
didn’t care he robbed the farmers down below.

I called the watermaster. He was fair as I could tell. I knew he would remove the
board come heaven or come hell.

Well sure enough the watermaster pulled the extra board. The neighbor was
then furious and drew a little “Sword.”

The watermaster chuckled. He’d been down that road before. He said, “You
better move or get a bloody nose for sure!”

The neighbor wouldn’t have it and he didn’t step aside. So, he had to practice
swimmin’; lost the “Sword” and all his pride.

But, stealin’ water’s when you take more water than your share. I guess he hadn’t
prayed for rain or didn’t even care.

Taking a neighbor’s water is like causin’ him to bleed. His crops won’t grow if
there ain’t precious water that they need.

I heard one ticked-off cowboy swearin’ ‘bout his water plight. “Whiskey is for
drinkin’ but our water’s why we fight!”

I understand the cowboy’s word ‘bout whiskey and their fight. He said, “You
steal my water, you’re a doggone parasite!”

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