© words & music by Annie Wilson 
from CD Sky & Water, Wind & Grass

Album note:  The high pole gate plays a critical role in moving cattle, fence design, and just keeping your bearings way out in the hills. Its classic framing image seems to say:  you’re in the West now.

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As the riders head on out at dawn
to gather up the steers 
One voice among the others
speaks up so they can hear: 
“We’ll gather up the corners
bunch em on the ridge and wait 
Then we’ll take em cross the high ground
out thru that high pole gate” 

We start to get the bunches gathered,
soon we’ve got a herd 
We’re moving cross the ridgetop slowly –
not to make a stir 
We ease ‘em towards the high poles
and we hope they’ll slip on through 
Then the lead steer passes through it
and the others follow too 

Yes, the high pole gate’s a landmark  
in the endless western sky 
It’s a symbol of the rangeland  
on the treeless hills up high 
When you’re ridin’ in the pastures  
& you think you’ve lost yer way 
You’ll see that handsome silhouette  
and find your high pole gate 

Sometimes it’s just a signpost
for a fancy ranch’s name 
But the engineering cowboy knows
the reason for high gates: 
The gate’s top wire connects the fence
where the gate is opened wide 
So he-won’t have to work so hard
and brace up both the sides 

The meadowlarks and kingbirds
love to perch atop its wire 
And the high pole gate can frame that sunset
full of orange fire 
So if I get to cowboy heaven  
and I stand in line and wait 
I just bet I’ll see St. Peter
underneath a high pole gate