By George Koukeas
(painting that inspired the poem: “Pack Train on the Rio Grande, 1879”)
Along the dusty trail
with a mule train,
atop our horses,
riding by covered wagons.
How beautiful the deep, blue sky
with trees strongly green,
surrounding the Santa Fe we tread,
fighting hunger and thirst,
drought and famine
Yet, how beautiful if we can resourceful be.
Then murderous Kiowa attack non-combatants.
Yet, the vision moves us along
Onwards to trade,
Onwards to running my business--
all in New Mexico,
where profits help me live decently on a harsh frontier
Onwards! for a mecca of ideas, commerce and a way of life await us!
The freedom of the plains is the Liberty of the man,
we pioneers, so brave, strong and true
out here and there, where we merchants can control our own destiny:
Laissez-faire! Keep governments away from here—
for the freedom of the plains is the Liberty of the man,
we pioneers, so brave, strong and true.