The writer of this poem, may not ranch. But he’s certainly no stranger to the ranching community. His wife is a photographer and they live about 80 miles west of us. He wrote this poem to explain to his kids (who were having trouble grasping what happened), the devastation.
Epitaph For Atlas
By Mark Peacock
The clouds are getting dark now, mom, and the rain is coming down.
There’s lightning and there’s thunder now, and snow falls all around.
The air is getting cold now, mom…and my coat’s not set for snow.
The wind and sleet, they hurt my skin…where will we cattle go?
We huddle all together, mom, to keep the cold away
but now the painful, stinging snow has pushed us in harm’s way.
First through one fence and now through two, I’m pinned against the wire.
The barbs are ripping at my skin; the snow is getting higher.
My hooves are buried in this mud that’s cold and dark and deep.
The other cows are crushing me, and you’re falling asleep.
The storm is getting worse now, mom, the weight’s pulling me down
with fifty others just like us now frozen to the ground.
Why leave me when I need you most? My tears freeze as I weep.
You told me we’d get through this storm…a promise you can’t keep.
I don’t know if there’s heaven, or where we cows will go
but if there is I pray to God to save us from this snow.
A week ago in better times, we grazed this prairie lawn
but now I’ll close my eyes and join one hundred thousand gone.
Yes. It made me cry. Does barbwire actually tear cattle’s hides you may ask? Not as a rule. Those girls will rub up on a fence in the spring to help shed their coats. Cattle are pretty thick hided.
On to happy ways to help the rancher, now that we’re all in tears:
You can now, thanks to the generous donation of time from a gal named Tandi, purchase a hooded sweatshirt that talks about the impact the storm had on the ranchers here. The proceeds from the sale go to the Rancher Relief Fund (RRF). She even put a quote from my friend Ryan Goodman on the back. He’s a smart one this Ryan!
There seems to have been some confusion among folks as to where the best place to donate is. I thought I’d take a moment to clear that up. There’s only one “official” fund: The Rancher Relief Fund. All various off-shoot fund-raisers are sending the money to this fund. The Ag-Chat Foundation is running their own campaign, and will donate to the RRF when it’s over. The Ag-Chat Foundation is their own Non-Profit so the donations are still tax deductible.
If you’re interested in donating, please go here for details.
Hopefully by the end of the week this week our website will be live, with a listing of events, and breakdown of the fund-raisers we’re sponsoring/aware of, so you can legitimately make sure your money is going to the ranchers affected.