Our Western Brothers

By George Sterling

At twilight time when the lamps are lit,
Father Coyote comes to sit
At the chaparral's edge on the mountain side—
Comes to listen and to deride
The rancher's hound and the rancher's son,
The passerby and every one.
And we pause at milking-time to hear
His reckless caroling, shrill and clear,
His terse and swift and valorous troll,
Ribald, rollicking, scornful, droll,
As one might sing in coyotedom—
"Yo-ho-ho! and a bottle of rum!"
And well I wot there is little ease
Where the turkeys roost in the almond trees,
But mute forebodings, canny and grim,
As they shift and shiver along the limb.
And the dog flings back an answer brief,
Curse o' the honest man on the thief;
And the cat, till now intent to rove,
Stalks to her lair by the kitchen stove.
Not that she fears the rogue on the hill;
But—no mice remain, and—the night is chill
And now, like a watchman of the skies,
Whose glance to a thousand valleys flies,
The moon glares over the granite ledge,
Pared a slice on its tipper edge.

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