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That Lazy N

It stood for Noel, that lazy N.
He passed it on to me back when
He had no cattle left to brand.
He said: “It’s yours”, and shook my hand.

I used it then for many years.
It branded cows, it branded steers.
In glowing coals was often fired;
But now the old iron is retired.

No longer will its letters sear
The heifer’s hide – the wild-eyed steer
Won’t bellow as with fire and spark
The red-hot metal makes its mark.

Now painted green, the brand is cold.
The last to use it hot grows old.
It rests there on its wooden stand.
There are no cattle left to brand.

{photo – D.N. O’Brien}