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Keep Your Ears Ahead

by Douglas Malloch

On the tote-road, on the street, on the trail or tram,
I have known a hoss or two, teamster that I am:
Steppers with Kentucky blood, ordinary plugs,
Ev'ry kind of animile ever wearin' tugs;
Mustang pony, Percheron, goer, thoroughbred—
But the only hoss worth while kept his ears ahead.

When a plug becomes a plug ain't when he gits old;
For a plug may be a plug from the day he's foaled.
When a critter to the back slants them ears of his,
Then you know the bloomin' brute, know the brute he is.
For he'll either bite or balk, loaf, or bolt instead;
Never trust a hoss unless he keeps his ears ahead.

But a hoss that is a hoss, of the proper kind,
Doesn't listen all the while for the whip behind.
He is lookin' down the road, sniffin', an' all that—
He is takin' interest in the work he's at.
Work is joy to such a nag, farm or fancy bred;
Life is somethin' to a hoss that keeps his ears ahead.

Man is somethin' like a boss, with his work to do;
On the tough old trail of life how is it with you?
Do you put your shoulder then in the collar square?
Of the load we have to pull, do you pull a share?
Are you full of pep an' steam, or is your spirit dead?
Are you livin' in the past, or are your ears ahead?

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