A Tribute to Walter B Weare
In his quiet yet distinctive life, Walter Weare was known to relatively few and famous, we imagine, to none but his immediate family. Fortunately, through a book printed by his daughter Alberta, we learn more of this man who might claim a title as Morrison’s only (so far as we know) resident cowboy poet. We are happy to introduce you to Walter’s poems, which were featured throughout the Morrison Cowboy Celebration program in 1999.
At the young age of six, Alberta tells us, Walter ran away from home in his native Nebraska sandhills and spent a few days sleeping in a coyote den. In his early teens, he went West, where he worked on cattle ranches, became a bronco rider, and even drove a Wells Fargo stage. He enlisted in the Army, and did a stint in the Phillipines — all before he turned 21. Eventually he settled near the small town of Morrison, adjacent to Red Rocks Park, built a home, and started life as a dairyman with a large herd of registered Toggenburg goats.
Self-educated and self-motivated, Walter was a carpenter, painter, bricklayer, and stonemason, as well as a geologist and prospector. Although his later life was marked by illness and misfortune, Walter was well-loved and remembered by those who had the benefit of knowing him. We hope, through sharing his poems, his legacy will live on a while longer.
A Cynic’s Musings, by Walter Weare
When the West was young, ‘fore the nesters came,
when the herds grazed far and wide,
‘Twas a carefree life on those long, long trails
that reached to the border’s side.
Being old, perhaps I am prejudiced,
but I loved that open range;
And these quartered fields with their spuds and corn
are to me a woeful change.
I have ridden throughout that olden West
from Cimarron north to Butte;
You may have it all, for it’s worthless now
but maybe I’m hard to suit.
I’d have kept the plains in buffalo grass
from the Kaw to the foothills’ crest;
But they’ve fenced them in and trampled them down
’til a lark can’t build a nest.
‘Twas a rangeland running forever on,
and the billowed grass was free;
But it’s now criss-crossed with a cursed wire
as far as a man can see.
Where I’ve ridden my horse on prairies wide,
where I heard the coyotes’ wail,
There are roads now cluttered with speeding cars
and I’m crowded from the trail.
Poem reprinted from My Old Tobacco Box, copyright 1980 by Alberta Weare. Permission courtesy Walter’s grandson, Walter B. Weare, who is named after his grandfather.