He stumbled down the dusty track,
His rifle slung across his back.
She lay amid the trampled grass,
No miracle had come to pass.
He laid her head upon his knee.
Her eyes rolled back till she could see
His face, the one she knew so well,
His voice, his touch, his sweat, his smell.
“Old girl” he said, “I’ve known awhile,
Your stubbornness, your craft, your guile,
For you and I were sometimes foes
And there were times we came to blows.
You’ve knocked me down when in the yard
And I recall you kicked me hard.
I bested you – upon my word,
Old Red – the boss cow of the herd.
But now you lie here on this slope.
I’ve tried my best but there’s no hope.
You’re down old girl and you won’t rise;
You know you’re done – it’s in your eyes.
Old Red, there’s but the truth to face:
This is your final resting place.
I’ll give you one last pat old friend,
Then quick – your suffering will end.”