Mourning the Colts’ Loss


patriots sack luck

Sports Saturday (Tuesday edition)

This year, 2014, is the Chinese year of the horse, which was supposed to bode well for the two horse teams in the NFL playoffs. But while the Denver Broncos came through their divisional playoff round safely, the Indianapolis Colts were routed—or should I say broken—for the second time in two years by the New England Patriots. New England will try to do the same to Peyton Manning’s team this coming Sunday.

With the one-and-done playoff format, football losses at this time of year are particularly traumatic. Here’s a despairing poem about a stolen horse that my father used to read to me when I was a child. Perhaps it will console Colts fans by showing them someone else equally miserable.

It appears in Favorite Poems, Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls. Helen Ferris compiled it in 1957 and, as I am visiting my mother at the moment, I take the poem from my father’s copy. Every night he would read poems to my brothers and me, often from this anthology. Each of us got one and I remember asking frequently for “Noonday Sun,” perhaps because I found its sense of tragedy to be very romantic. It’s also got great rhythm.

Noonday Sun

By Kathryn and Byron Jackson

Oh, I’ve ridden plenty of horses
   And I’ve broken a score in my time,
But there never was one
   Like the colt Noonday Sun–
Now there was a horse that was prime!
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
Now there was a horse that was rpime!

She’s run up the side of a mountain
   Or she’d tackle a wildcat alone.
Oh, she stood twelve hands high
   And her proud shining eye
Would soften the heart of a stone.
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
Would soften the heart of a stone.

She’d splash through a treach’rous river,
   Or she’d tease for an apple or sweet,
She’d buck and she’d prance,
   Or she’d do a square dance
On her four little white little feet.
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
On her four little white little feet.

But one night the rustlers stole her,
   They stole her and took her away.
Now the sun never shines,
   And the wind in the pines
Says, “You’ve lost your colt, lack-a-day!”
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
Says, “You’ve lost your colt, lack-a-day!” 

Someday I’ll ride through the prairie.
   Someday I’ll pull out my gun,
And I’ll plug him—bang-bang!—
   And I may even hang–
The outlaw who stole Noonday Sun.
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
The outlaw that stole Noonday Sun.

Oh, I still have her bridle and saddle,
   And I still have her bare empty stall.
But there’ll never be one
   Like the colt Noonday Sun,
And she’ll never more come to my call!
   Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
And she’ll never more come to my call!

Colts fans have one consolation, which is that their quarterback Andrew Luck is still young and very promising. They can enjoy the poem’s revenge fantasy and then look forward to next year.

Or they can choose to read the poem elegiacally, as a poem about the Colt that they in fact lost. I’m thinking of Peyton Manning, cut by owner Jim Irsay the year after Manning had four neck surgeries. Manning went on to be MVP runner-up last year and he’s certain to be the MVP this year. Think what the Colts could have accomplished with a Manning team filled with a slew of high draft choices, which they would have received had they traded their number one draft pick. As good as Luck is, there’ll never be a Colt like Peyton. Now there was a horse that was prime!

Put another way, if the Colts were able to get as far as they did in the playoffs with a second-year quarterback with a penchant for throwing interceptions, think what they would have accomplished with Manning and all those high draft picks.

If Luck never wins a Super Bowl, Indianapolis will find itself second-guessing their decision. They’ll want to plug bang-bang, and maybe even hang, the owner who cut Peyton Manning.

Oh, yippi ippi ai—Oh, yippi ippi ay,
The owner who cut Peyton Manning.

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  • chuck schacht

    Robin – do you have a tune that you like for it? If not look for a tune on line called either Rosin the Beau or Acres of Clams. The last line repeat makes it especially fun to sing… I can remember having the same sorts of fun browsing through THE BEST LOVED POEMS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE at about that age and looking for the most colorful stuff! Glad to see old Peyton able to rise to the occasion yet again and head to the Super Bowl… Chuck


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