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When Wishes Were Horses
June Crawford Sanders


Once upon a moment when trees
were green and skies were always blue,
It was summer on the calendar but
springtime of our youth, and
truth was whatever we said it was.
Our kingdom was 40 acres of pine
prickly to climb but not impossible.
Also, peach, pecan, pear and oak.
Two gravel pits in which to swim,
the Little River to be baptized in
to wash away our mortal sin; wading
into the water and waiting our turn
to be dunked, the current so strong
we had to hold hands to keep from
being washed away ourselves.
Before summer camp and boys, before
we put away our childish toys we always
had a horse to ride, sword and pistol
by our side like Aunt Dora sang with
so many verses and she knew them all.
When a new horse was needed
we had only to go to the woods
to find a smooth lean stick just
our size, mount up and away
we would ride. We galloped
much faster after we got our cowboy
boots and fringed leather jackets
for Christmas that year. We were
Roy and Dale, or Dan and Judy
from the B-Bar-B Ranch. Always
much to do –  roundups, stampedes,
holdups, bank robberies, no bad guy
was safe from our cap guns. It took a lot
of work to keep law and order but we
always made it home in time for supper.

© by June Crawford Sanders.
Used with the author’s permission.


Originally from the South, June Crawford Sanders now lives in the Sierra Nevadas in Northern California. She loves family, poetry, playing piano, camping, and photographing the deer, bobcats, bears, and birds that come to her backyard water fountain.


Post New Comment:
Thanks for bringing me into your innocent, joyful childhood. Your vivid descriptions made me feel I was with you. My summers were in a suburban town in Connecticut but my imagination put me in a western town with horses! I galloped....
Posted 06/27/2021 04:11 PM
cork, are you familiar with May Swenson's poem The Centaur?
Posted 06/27/2021 12:48 AM
Thank you all for the wonderful comments. So very appreciated!
Posted 06/26/2021 07:25 PM
marianne szlyk:
I agree with you, Sharon. Such lovely memories, June!
Posted 06/26/2021 06:28 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
A wonderful uplifting nostalgia poem that fills me full of joy.
Posted 06/26/2021 02:16 PM
Janet Leahy:
The last stanza is still true for today's riders.
Posted 06/26/2021 01:10 PM
A delightful, vividly descriptive view of childhood!
Posted 06/26/2021 11:36 AM
The only name I would answer to when I was three years old was: Roy Rogers. When I made my first communion at seven, my favorite gift was a Roy Rogers holster set. Love this poem and the memories.
Posted 06/26/2021 10:58 AM
I grew up on the Mojave Desert, so we "rode" among the Joshua trees and creosote, but yes, this poem captures the spirit. Delightful.
Posted 06/26/2021 10:30 AM
I remember spanking my butt to go faster.
Posted 06/26/2021 09:54 AM
michael escoubas:
Great example of internal rhyme, June . . . love this unaffected, straightforward poem.
Posted 06/26/2021 09:18 AM
Cathy’s Sister:
What a wonderful summary of a childs summer day!
Posted 06/26/2021 09:01 AM
Larry Schug:
I wanted to grow up to be a cowboy. Just a town kid wanting to ride the purple sage. Nice, nice poem.
Posted 06/26/2021 08:44 AM

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