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Alan Wayne Burch

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The Reluctant Gunfighter
by Alan Wayne Burch

Sunday, September 28, 2003

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Recent poems by Alan Wayne Burch
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Never judge a book by it's cover, or a man by his apparel or outward demeanor

John Slade was a gunman
and proud of his trade.
Many had faced him,
but mistakes had been made.

The notches on his gunbutts
numbered two score and four.
Most would be satisfied,
but John wanted more.

He walked the streets by day,
with an eagle eye.
Hoping that a new stranger,
might just happen to pass by.

One morning it happened,
A farmer came to town.
John quickly stepped forward,
and looked him up and down.

"New in town, ain'tcha?"
he asked with a smirk.
But the farmer said nothing,
Just continued with his work.

John stepped up closer,
and it was plain to see.
That John had an ego,
and wouldn't let things be.

The farmer stepped to the boardwalk,
To pick up a sack,
John pushed him hard,
and the man fell on his back.

"I'm sorry," said the farmer,
"That I got in your way.
Let me buy you a drink,
and let's be friends today."

"Yer yellow!" yelled John,
At the top of his lungs.
"Hey! Sumbody bring
This heyar farmer a gun."

"I don't want to fight you,"
The farmer said very plain.
"Why don't you take my offer,
and let's call it a day?"

"I cain't make ya mad,"
said John, "it's clear to me,
that your woman needs a real man,
To tend to her needs"

The farmer's face went white,
and then turned red,
and he reached for the gunbelt,
that was tossed to the wagon's bed.

Suddenly John noticed
for the very first time,
a peculiar small light,
in the farmer's grey eyes.

Now he also noticed,
but it was too late to quit,
that the holster fit snugly
against the farmer's right hip.

A warning fear hit him then,
and he stepped down and swore.
He suddenly realized, that
the farmer had used guns before.

The farmer said naught else,
just stepped into the street,
for it was unavoidable now,
that he and John meet.

John was sweating and trembling,
as he clawed for his gun.
He'd end this quickly
in the light of the sun.

The weapon cleared leather,
and he felt he was charmed,
but suddenly he had trouble
lifting his arm.

He'd heard the shot,
saw the smoke drift high.
It just never occurred to him,
that he might possibly die.

He stood there a moment,
feeling pain in his chest,
and there was a stain of red,
By the hole in his vest.

The farmer looked sad
and tossed the gun aside.
He'd weakened a moment.
and another man had died.

"I'm sorry, Honey,"
he said to his wife.
"I know I told you before,
no more guns in my life."

With tears in their eyes,
they drove out of town.
John was buried that day,
just before sundown.










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Reviewed by Jenni Kalicharan 9/28/2003
Another great Ballad, Alan.. I enjoyed it immensely.. Thank you for sharing it..
Your biggest fan,
Jenni
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