Henry's Cows

Henry's Cows

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Montana poet Philip Burgess is a ranch kid in exile. He's a Vietnam veteran, a semi-retired drifter, and an avid admirer of working cow ponies. Henry's Cows, his second published collection of poetry, celebrates both the rugged landscape of the eastern Montana badlands and the treacherous terrain of the human heart. Using evocative language and his sharp eye for detail, he explores his connection with the land, as well as the more complex connections between its inhabitants. Having spent more than ten years traveling the world, Philip has developed a singular perspective on life, love and beauty. Henry's Cows crackles with humor, sadness, and poignant moments that only a truly poetic soul can capture on the printed page.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 126 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 7mm | 177g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508468516
  • 9781508468516

About Philip J Burgess

I was raised on a hardscrabble ranch in Montana on the Missouri river, and attended a little one-room schoolhouse just down the road from our place. High school was fifteen miles of bad road away in a town which, with its thousand souls, telephones, and indoor plumbing, was an exotic and somewhat alien place to me. I remember reading by kerosene lamps, pumping water by hand, and outdoor toilets. I was in college before I became comfortable with using a telephone. As the oldest boy, I felt compelled to take some of the pressure off of my father. He tried to protect me from having to grow up too fast, as he had been forced to do, yet there was simply too much work. I was driving tractors by the time I was twelve and driving truck by the time I was thirteen. My personal rule was never to admit I couldn't, or didn't know how, to do something. I approached every new challenge with a high degree of anxiety lest my incompetence and physical limitations discourage my father from allowing me to help. I learned to hide and override any discomfort or fears I might be experiencing, and plunge into whatever was facing me. The consequences of this approach were sometimes entertaining and sometimes disastrous, especially since I was probably not the handiest ranch kid in the county. This approach got me through college (which was good) and into Vietnam (which was not so good) where I pretty much repeated my childhood role as an unheroic witness, this time watching the sacrifice of thousands of young people on the altar of adult incompetence, arrogance, and moral cowardice. I returned stateside in the spring of l969 to finally begin living my gypsy dream, spending the next ten years hitchhiking and motorcycling around the world, writing bad poetry, roughnecking, cab driving, etc. in 2001 I came out with a book of poetry, Badlands Child, followed in 2011 by the CD Badlands Requiem, and in 2013 by another book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, which took me ten years to write. For the past 7 years or so I have also been doing a lot of professional story telling around the state. Most of my stories and poetry have something to do with broken hearts in rough country. Now an aging solitary, still a bit of a wanderer, I choose to keep my few but powerful regrets, like Abe Lincoln chose to keep his enemies, close to hand. I have to say that I feel remarkably at peace in my own skin-and that there are a few blessed and hardy souls who love me.
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