In honour of Cowboy Poetry Week, Sunday, April 19 to Saturday, April 25, we are featuring poems by Doris Daley! Today’s poem is called “Heartbeat.”

Born and raised in Southern Alberta ranch country, Doris Daley writes cowboy poetry that celebrates the humour, history and way of life of the west. Doris has been an emcee and featured performer at every cowboy festival in Canada as well as several in the United States, including Texas, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Montana and Oregon. In 2004 she was named Best Female Cowboy Poet in North America by the Academy of Western Artists. At the November, 2009 WMA Awards Show, Doris won top honours for Best Female Cowboy Poet and best cowboy poetry CD.

Pictured: Doris Daley
Pictured: Doris Daley
Heartbeat
Hey, Listen to the sounds of a city in July.
The grand shebang begins again beneath a Calgary sky.
The music soars, the infield roars, the midway hums and thrums
But listen…high above it all…the beating of the drums.

Beating out the measure of the mountains and the plains
Ancient rhythms pounding in my head and through my veins.
Beating out an anthem, drumming out a song
That says The People are still here and here’s where we belong.
 
I close my eyes to listen and Napi plays a trick
I see prairie chickens dancing, I see bison fat and slick
I am going to a wedding, I am bravely counting coup
I am hunting when the Moon of Painted Leaves is full and new.
 
I listen with eyes open, not a ribbon left to chance,
Red and green and blue and gold all swirling in the dance.
Beads and bustles swirling, and spinning on a dime
All dancing to the drumming through a milky way of time.
 
Oki, Kanai, Siksika, Pikani.
Amawashte, Stony Nakoda
Danetada, Tsuti’ina.
 
I hear the cowboys whooping, I hear the grandstand cheers,
I hear the stampede hoopla ringing loudly in my ears.
But as timeless as the sunrise, the ancient drumbeats call
Beating out the rhythm of the heartbeat of us all.