Riehlife Bonus Poem of the Day: My Uncle Willard Thompson’s “Caught Out In Nevada”

My Uncle Willard (Davenport) Thompson mostly wrote prose in his life, but we recovered this poem from his papers this winter during my father’s documentation project.

Uncle Willard was a brilliant man caught short in the Great Depression who used his creativity to start a literary magazine, Ride the Rails as a hoboe, and, in later life, set up a 2-room bookshop in his living quarters in Portland, Oregon.

My father and I both love the last line of this poem: “Lord, you made the night too long!” —JGR


by Willard “Texas” Thompson
Dedicated to William Johnson, Minden, Nevada

Poets have sung the praises
Of the blissful end of the day
When one is lulled to sleep by the murmuring of stream,
With stars for watch dogs, and peaceful dreams.
But when the last possible ride has gone by–
You throat is dry—
And your thumb is numb from action,
The next town being twenty miles awy
The red star, Alph gleams malevolently ’round the bend,
To further rub in the fact that this is “Trail’s end!”
Then there’s naught to do but to build a fire,
And, “supperless” lie to bed and goan:
“Lord, you made the night too long!”

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