Summary: A Big Valley poem.
Word Count: 527
He made his way west, he and his wife.
To California and Stockton to make a new life.
At first the going was easy the weather was mild.
Then it turned stormy. She was with child.
Battling November’s snows, the drifts as high as the horses.
Three times in just as many days, the wagon train had to change courses.
Finally the warm breezes of that inland California valley
Made their hearts soar. Their spirits it did rally.
Not without pain and sadness did they arrive unscathed.
They had to bury some of their friends where they last laid.
The going was hard but they were determined, unafraid.
The last soul they buried, so hard to let go,
Was her best friend. She now rests in Spring Meadow.
Times were not easy, the ground, it was hard.
From sun up to sun set
Work, sweat and a quantity of blood did not leave his vision marred.
At last a ranch full of promise and growth began to take shape.
Cattle and horses, peaches and grapes.
The little house where they got their start
A son was born, dark hair, piercing blue eyes and oh so smart.
The dream continued to blossom and reality began to form.
They now had a large abode to keep them warm.
A new baby son, hair as black as night was born.
The future was his, shiny bright and fine.
Then he followed opportunity to a lonely Strawberry mine.
A senseless beating, he lay there bleeding
Almost caused it all to unwind.
A young maiden fair
Took him under her care
Nursing him back to health.
Amnesia made him forget about his family and wealth.
He stole away with this lass
Townsfolk wagged their tongues. Said they had no class.
Then the day came
His head began to pain.
His memory restored
To the wife and children whom he adored.
He must return home, fall to his knees and plead himself a debtor.
He left the young girl forever, leaving only a letter.
He confessed his sin, declaring his love. Forgiveness was won.
The days began to brighten.
He never knew he had a son.
He stood for truth.
That truth got him shot down.
By a powerful railroad tycoon.
His name was Crown.
The widow she wept, the children she bore, now there were four.
They vowed they would continue the fight.
They would stand with their neighbors for what was right.
Then a stranger came, his hair was blond, eyes as blue as the sky.
Suspicions were growing.
Said he came from a place you couldn’t ride in a day.
Answers were demanded.
Punches the middle son was throwing.
A new brother they found they now had.
To the volatile son, this seemed awfully bad.
An idol had fallen, his father not a perfect man.
It took an act of courage to make him see the error of his way.
Now they stand shoulder to shoulder for the land.
This is their heritage all because of the guts
Of a father, a husband and an imperfect man
Named Tom Barkley.