Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pioneer Stock

My mom was a writer.
A prolific writer.
She passed away nearly 14 years ago and I'm just scratching the surface of all she left us.
Here is a poem I discovered yesterday tucked away in one of her journals . . .
Thank you, Mom!

Fresh, clear air from East to West
And room to come and go,
To watch the prairie grasses wave,
And feel the cool winds blow.

To hear the Whisper through the trees,
And watch the morning light,
The little prairie creatures stir,
The ducks and geese take flight.

To see the lazy shadows play
Across the hills at dawn,
And watch the golden sun rays touch
A mother and her fawn.

To look out o’er the rolling hills,
As far as the eye can see.
And not a thing to mar the view,
Not road, nor fence, nor tree.

And far across the plains we find
At the edge of the prairie.
A ridge of snow-capped mountains rise
In Splendid majesty.

When winter sheds his frosty coat,
And north winds cease to blow,
We see the fragile prairie flowers
Peek through the melting snow.

When all the lights of the Milky Way
Play eternal melodies,
A million winking stars above
Join the Heavenly Symphony.

And, stealing ‘cross the rolling land,
A whispering, gentle breeze,
A haunting, trembling Rhapsody,
Stirs leaves in all the trees.

When the moon begins to float,
Across the balmy night,
Caressing all the troubled world,
With it’s glorious, heavenly light.

We see the prairie antelope
Crest the hill at night,
A silhouette against the sky,
As he pauses in his flight.

As the frogs croak out a lullaby,
And all the Prairie sleeps,
A purple Shadow treads the Trail
Where the Wiley Coyote creeps.

The tattoo of the horses’ feet,
As the stage coach rolls along,
The sweat and grime and clouds of dust,
The crack of the whip at dawn.

And bounding o’er a craggy ridge,
The mocking laugh of Raiders,
We hear the loaded wagons roll,
Stinging, cursing Whiskey traders.

When a fevered child cries out,
There is no way to go,
To drive the faithful horses through
The shocking drifts of snow.

Sit anxiously throughout the night,
Clutched ln fear and dread.
No way to call a Doctor, or
Take the infant in the sled.

To rise with the sun and milk the cow,
And tend the nervous teams,
To pause a bit and watch the flocks
Fly on to other streams.

To eat a slice of thick, dark bread,
Rich butter and some jam,
Bowls of steaming porridge, and,
A slice of home-cured ham.

Hitch the team up to the plow,
And with the help of God,
Glean a frugal living from
The brown unwilling Sod.

O’er Silver Willow, Sage, and, Brush,
We hear the prairie call,
The pioneers of this land are there,
Their silent footsteps fall.

We share so much with those who’ve passed
Their hope, their faith, their tears,
The courage to rise again and again,
Our parent pioneers.


  1. Wow...that is one epic poem that tells the story of the first settlers. Your Mom done good.

    1. I can't believe I never saw this before! She done hid it well . . .

  2. Oh I was right there with you as she tended her ill child through the night. Man, was she gifted. My brother raised his family in Calgary and he eventually became a board member on a committee working to save the fescue grasses. I'll share this with him.

    1. I'd love to hear what he thinks . . .

  3. Now I know where you get it from... :)

  4. Your mama had talent. And Caitlin's right.

  5. What a wonderful treasure to have found! Gold couldn't be worth more than this!

    1. I SO agree! I was thrilled when I opened that book!

  6. What a beautiful piece. It's clear where you get your talent from!


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