014b-Time for Serious Levity Trois-point.5
1. An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day / Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way. A stormy day signifies the inner turmoil of this old cowboy. He came to a place where he could get some perspective on his life. It seems much like Dante… “Midway through life’s journey…” The cowboy represents the independent, self-sufficient man, it seems to me. He’s not connected; won’t put down roots.
When all at once a mighty herd of red-eyed cows he saw / A-plowing through the ragged skies and up the cloudy draw. This powerful force of rage cut (plowed) through the stormy skies toward him.
2. Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel / Their horns were black & shiny and their hot breath he could feel. Pain (fiery brands) & hardness of heart & purpose (hooves) & demonic & rugged male sexuality (yeah this may be an ink blot test)
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the skies / For he saw the riders coming hard & heard their mournful cry. The power of the herd frightened him, no less than the riders driven in pursuit… (of what???)
Refrain… You know this, right? They proclaimed their identity – the dead in pursuit of what they sought in life –
3. Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat / He’s ridin’ hard to catch that herd, but he ain’t caught ’em yet. Obsessed, addicted to what they/he chased; coerced, compelled, obliged to keep chasing after symbols of rage and sexuality that they never can corral this stormy, almost majestic, power. The riders seem to resemble the pictures of meth addicts I’ve seen.
Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky / Trying to catch the devil’s herd on horses snortin’ fire; as they ride on hear their cry. More of the same from this brief morality play.
4. As the riders loped on by him, he heard one call his name / “If you want to save your soul from hell a-ridin’ on our range / then, cowboy, change your ways today or with us you will ride / Tryin’ to catch the Devil’s herd across these endless skies.” The dead, the addicted, call out to one of their own to warn him of the possibility of his becoming one of them – chasing after that which they used to corral, they used to have power over. Now they can only pursue the Devil’s herd (revealed only here as demonic; not seen so in life) in vain forever.
I take this as a picture of at best compulsion and at worst as addiction to rage and sex. Cowboy, better change you ways today! Repent!