Coyotes Call

coyotes call ... down in the coulee

sunset gilds the mountains ghostly gold

that old owl... he's hooting to me

the first star is afire ... as the night unfolds

shadows creep 'cross the valley floor

night winds, they are whispering 'round my door

I can't help but feel like I've been here before

when there were no roads or scars upon this land...


then the buffalo... were without number

their dust clouds darkened the prairie sky

the earth would shudder... with their thunder

overhead the circlin' eagle cries

before the first ploughshare split the soil...

the long grass danced above the untapped oil...

the horizon... standing fenceless and unspoiled

rivers ran unharnessed by the will of man...


tribes would wander... there without hindrance

the unshod painted ponies cut the trails

the foothills echoed.. with their hunt chants...

young ones learned from the old one's fireside tales

no concrete or glass cut the skyline

woodsmoke curled o'er tipis of lodgepole pine

still nights... unshattered by the diesel whine

the world stood unchanged in a man's natural lifespan


coyotes call... down in the coulee... coyotes call... down in the coulee

history holds her breath... as eternity unfolds...


    ... well ... picture this... a full moon over the Bow River valley...Calgary glowing like Disneyland upriver... the drop off of an old buffalo jump... a young man does his evening rounds, making sure all is well for the night with the livestock... a doe starts  from her feeding at the haystack and bolts right past him... down on the flats an eerie chorus of howls drifts on the evening breeze... coyotes... circled and baying at the moon... time stands still; as does the young man... mesmerized by the scene... knowing it will stay with him as long as he draws breath... and when he picks up his old guitar in the little house on the edge of the coulee, the song comes rolling out in a minor key... and it is this tune that he plays for Luke on Ian Tyson's old Martin not too many days later... I came across two versions of this song just the other day; on a recording at least forty years old, now... Peter Cragg and George Bertok adding flourishes, and on one take; the woman making very believable coyote calls.

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