INTRO
WHEN I WAS FIFTEEN
ALONG 693
THE ABORTION PALACE
GROWING UP, TWO AMERICAS
ANNIVERSARY 1984
TO BETTY, 1982
BEYOND NORTH MOUNTAIN
THE BRANDY LINE (ABOUT A FAVORITE GOAT)
CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN
DREAM OF CHARLES DE LANGLADE
YOU CALL ME FOLLY MILLS
THE ODYSSEY OF GLOOMY GUS
HILLS
IMPATIENS CAPENSIS
THE ADVANTAGE OF INTELLIGENCE
I DIDN'T KNOW YOU THEN
AFTER YOU LANGLADE
WAITING ON LARAMIE CREEK
THE LESSON
LITTLE RIVER
MEMORY
MUSIC AT THE JACKSON
THE HUMAN CONDITION IS NOT
OLD DOMINION
OLD MAN TO HIMSELF
CALLING OWLS
FROM THE TALE OF PETER MINK
MAKE REVOLUTION
THE SCRAPER
MY SHIP
SNAPSHOT
TO OUR SONS, 1982
SPRING PEEPERS
TED
TREES OF NEW JERSEY
A TRUE DOCTOR
DEATH OF WILBUR
BY WINNEBAGO'S SHORE
©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts

OLD RIDER
(In the manner of Robert Service)
R.F. Mueller


Where are those bright mornings now,
Dappled kerchief flapping on a still-smooth brow,
Pirate vagabonding on a roaring freight,
Past screaming switch blocks of your empire's gate?

Where are those sylvan afternoons
Lost among the wild grape's deep festoons,
Outlaw dozer in the pastoral shade,
Enjoying the fruits of last night's raid?

Now like a whistle fading in the night,
Or like fall's last lone goose in flight,
Your days have brought you to this place
Where memory follows a familiar trace.

There beyond the depot's peeling gray
The path of the lonely rider leads away.
But the night's too cold to gaze at the stars
And you're too weary for the play time bars.

They may give you a bed at the Pembine Inn
Where even the whiskey tastes like sin,
Lay down your bundle for a long, long rest,
And dream of the rides that you found the best.


 

annotation

As a boy I was greatly influenced by the experiences and personalities encountered during and immediately after the Great Depression. A number of these were rural laborers and unemployed wanderers-hobos- who were full of tales of their "riding the rails." Here, as in "Ted" and "Spring Peepers", I try to capture this life with all its harshness. Pembine, named after the Pemebonwon ( Cranberry ) River by the Menominee Indians, is a real-originally logging-town in northern Wisconsin.