Haunting Storm

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pleasant, mid-winter day

Warm winds decide to stay


Touch of spring thaws the air

Ideal life, not a care


Hidden, in frigid North

Cold destined to call forth


Prairie living unaware

Grass uncovered, and bare


Few cowboys work the range

Life will soon see big change


Barren land, overgrazed

Cattle wander, unfazed


Calmness warns of trouble

Winter’s wrath comes double


Arctic-fed winds stir up

Wet snow creates pileup


Haunting storm now arrives

Few cattle will survive


Blizzard smothers this land

Conditions, out of hand


Cowboys wait out fierce storm

Snow and cold, nasty swarm


Waiting, hours become days

Prairie, now winter’s maze


Cattle’s cries go unheard

Snow-blinded, vision blurred


Storm’s cruel hand, plays its cards

Life stops, prairie graveyards 


Montana artist Charles M. Russell captures the shattered blow of winter’s fury in “Waiting for a Chinook” (“Last of Five Thousand”) as depicted in this watercolor. (Courtesy of Pinterest)

This poem attempts to capture the daunting winter of 1886-1887 on the prairies in the Montana Territory when the Open Range’s cattle industry collapsed from its near annihilation.  Russell’s artwork says even more than words can describe.

22 thoughts on “Haunting Storm

    • Yes Michael, you are so right. During my years of living in eastern Montana, I experienced the wrath of a few severe winter storms. The winter of 1977-1978 brought a similar storm to Montana’s plains.


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