The Old West
He'd read of the West in stories, of how it was rough and wild,
And he'd swallowed those bright romances with the faith of a little child,
And when he came out among us he wouldn't believe it true
When he founbd we were mostly acting like civilized people do;
The stories don't fit us rightly--so what does he do instead
But make us fit in the stories with which he had filled his head,
And out of our simplest doings, he managed some way to find
The fuel to feed the fiction that lingered within his mind,
In spite of our humdrum living, in spite of the way we dressed
He thought we were desperadoes an this was the woolly West.
But he got his little lesson the night of the Masons' dance--
He went in a batttered Stetson and a cowboy suit and pants,
And up to my dying moment I'll never forget the roar
Of wild, demoniac laughter that greeted him on the floor,
For the men were in evening outfits, the swallowtail's black and white,
And the women in low-necked dresses and jewels that glowed with light;
He gave one look of wonder, one glance of wild surprise
Then ducked and hiked for cover away from those laughing eyes,
And I reckon his wild West stories went glimmering there and then
For he was in proper costume when he danced again.
And yet for all his folly in letting his fancy range
He wasn't so far mistaken in spite of our boasted change.
For though we are up on fashions and all that sort of stuff
'Way down, 'way down inside us there's something that's wild and rough,
Something that's big and vital, that never grows wholly tame
Whatever the kind of glad rags we hang on our outer frame,
For the old West still is in us, and we mention the fact with pride,
But it's not in the outward semblance, it's hidden--'way down inside!