They tell me that my brother’s life is slowly winding down,

And the doctor says he hasn’t got much longer,

And my heart is nearly breaking just from sitting by his side

Wishing I could somehow make him stronger.

My heart strings are all twisted up to see him fight for breath,

And I ask my lord to show me which is kinder:

The precious gift of living or the merciful hand of death.

It seems, just now, I’m needing a reminder.

So now I’m simply resting in the warm November sun

Thinking of the trails we rode together;

For he’s always stayed beside me, and we’ve had a lot of fun,

And we’ve stuck it out through every kind of weather.

I guess God knew for certain what this country girl would need

Was a thoughtful older brother for a friend.

Well, I’m grateful God provided me the finest of the breed,

And we’ll ride this trail together — to the end.

He was standing there beside me on the morning Mother died,

When he and I were both about half grown;

I was leaning on his shoulder. We both just stood and cried.

(Can’t imagine myself ridin’ all alone).

Then when we lost our daddy, we just stayed on with the spread,

Where storm clouds come and go and rivers run,

Always sharing pains and pleasures as we tried to get ahead.

Now, I’m resting in the warm November sun.

There’ve been a lot of hills to climb and canyons to descend,

And the trails were often crooked, dim, and rough,

But with him a-riding shotgun, well, I always had a friend,

Looking backward, I can see that’s been enough.

I guide my palomino through the dappled golden light

That lies beneath the cottonwoods and gums,

And I see a rider coming, his sleek stallion black as night;

How silently Death’s kindly angel comes!

The slanting rays of twilight bathe the hills in crimson light,

But I know somewhere a new day has begun,

For my mourning is his morning, as the evening turns to night,

With the setting of the warm November sun.

There’s a chill within the shadows of the dry creek sycamores,

And teardrops still in briny rivulets run.

Like a candle’s beam, sweet memory’s gleam

Joins with the ache inside — its not fading

like the warm November sun.

For my brother Jim Leighton

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