One day I was passing time
And wrote these words upon the lines,
I know not where they came you see
The Winds of Time were there for me.
If I could open a door to the past
And there before me were the paths
I'm not quite sure which I would choose
But The Winds of Time would see me through.
The vastness there before God's Hand
Then came the heavens, the seas, the land
Eden, Noah and the Christ Child's birth
Is the path that I see first.
I'm not into Knights or dragon days,
Nor Robin Hood and his saving ways,
But give me a Viking as he crosses the seas
And I'll dream of the lands so wild and free.
The music of Irland calls to me,
Where Kathleen's heart has ever been,
And for Danny Boy the fifes do call
I'll shed my tears lest he should fall.
As Immigrants touched upon our shores
The Indians prepared to fight once more,
But fate stepped in and eased the sore
They'd live in peace forever more.
The battles fought upon this land
To protect us from Tierney's hand,
The Civil War for Freedom's right
The Alamo where comrades died.
At Little Big Horn where our soldiers died,
As Indians defend their homes with pride,
The government later took a hand
And put them on Reservation land.
I remember well, when I was quite young
The days of World War II
And how my father's life did change
When the family business he assumed.
Twenty-four seven was unheard of then,
But that was their working day,
They helped keep our nations trucks on the road
Their battlefield was here in the USA.
I'll choose the path with pastures green,
Horses, cattle and the cowboy scene,
This is the land of my mother's birth
The most precious land to me on earth.
I chose this land and took a stand,
Married a cowboy and we ranched the land.
Though now retired and family gone
This land will always be our home.
The Winds of Time, know well my soul
I'll rest at night with days of yore.
And as I wake a prayer I'll say
Please God, may we have Peace today?
A thousand times I have heard,
“There but for the Grace of God...”
but until today that phrase,
struck me as somewhat odd.
The old Cowboy who staggered by,
was three sheets to the wind.
but he swept off his hat before me,
and at the waist did bend.
“Fair Lady, how goes your day?”,
he asked as he deeply bowed,
his face was flush, but his manner gentile,
and he spoke clearly, though not loud.
The politeness of his question,
had completely caught me off guard.
I looked into his wind-burned face,
and saw a look that was not hard.
“My day goes well, and thank you sir.”
was my own courteous reply.
As I gave a small curtsy and a smile,
I saw a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh surely, Lovely Lady,
you have truly made my day.”
He put on his hat, caught his bearings,
and sauntered on his way.
No one else along the street,
looked directly at him or spoke.
Some looked away, while others laughed,
and and made him the point of their joke.
I alone had been blessed,
only I knew what lay inside,
for it had been revealed to me,
what rumpled clothes and liquor hide.
I had seen a gentleman,
a Cowboy tried and true,
with manners most becoming,
a Real Man, through and through.
I was allowed to look past the fact,
that he was poorly dressed and shod,
I had seen the inside of a Heart,
and the Grace placed there by God.
The Farmer woke,
Before break of day,
And for a little rain did pray.
Then hitched his team,
And plowed the land,
Given him by the Master’s hand.
The Cowboy awoke,
And a prayer he sighed,
“Please give us rain, for the prairie is dry.”
Then in the heat,
He did rope and brand,
The cattle given him by the Master’s hand.
At night, before sleep,
The Farmer read,
The words from the Bible that God had said,
“If you’ll keep my Commandments,
In it’s season I’ll make it rain,
And you shall eat,
And your land shall fill with grain.”
The Cowboy fell asleep remembering,
A verse his Ma had read,
A promise God made and the words he said,
“Love and serve the Lord God,
And it shall come to pass,
That I shall make it rain,
And for the cattle, there shall be grass.”
So each resolved, in his own way,
To be a better man,
And follow closely the Commandments,
And there-fore save the land.
And though they never met,
They prayed for the same thing,
And watched the sky for the clouds,
And the rain that they would bring.
And though it was long in coming,
The drops fell upon the land,
And revived and refreshed these special places,
Given by the Master’s hand.
The Farmer and the Cowboy,
Each prayed for the land of which they were fond,
And through their belief, they saved the Earth,
Through the Lord’s Common Bond.
A lone rider sits high in the saddle,
As the horizon's sunrise spreads across,
The open prairie.
Twin pearl handed pistols rest at his side,
As rusty spires clang against wooden planks,
At the deadwood saloon.
Legends cowboys whisper his name,
On the dry desert winds,
A giant of a man whom breathed
Life again into the legacy,
Of the old west.
His side swagger's walk trademark
On the larger than a life screen.
The duke truly represents the great
American hero on horse back.
Six shooters drawn at high noon's
John Wayne's the trail dusts equalizer,
He always remained on the right side,
Of tin stars law.
The tumble weeds rolls along a dirt path,
As tall cactus stand on an arried canvas,
Life here is harsh and mean,
Where only the strong survive.
Bold individuals with the inner
Strength against god's forbidden land.
Harden men whom lived by one simple,
Rule I will do what ever it takes
To stay alive.
He'll join the ghost riders,
Forever driving the lords herds
Across the grand divides vast
Prairie sky’s as the sunsets
In the old west.
Alone figure rides high in saddle,
Set against a legends back drop,
Hell bound for glory,
In a cloud of gun smokes fog,
Behold the duke emerges,
With his hat on straight
And gun at the ready.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
If you'd have lived and worked on Juno Ranch, you’d have come away better for it. It
may not have seemed like it at the time but Pancho (Uncle Frank) would put it to you, an’ it
was for you to decide to do it, what to do with it, or to fight. The motto was, “You either work
or fight, there ain’t no quittin’ on this-here ranch.”
Pancho cultivated a reputation as a living legend in his fifty-some years in the Devil’s
River country of the Texas frontier. He loved his life, family, work and felt plumb lucky to be
livin’ it. He believed there was art in every undertakin’ an’ practiced the highest standards in
dealin’ with any an’ all comers. He savvied horses, cattle an’ the land; and death was just the
gate that opened into higher pastures.
Ride 'em Pancho!
The cowboy wakes before each dawn
With blurry eyes n'a mournful yawn;
Gets breakfast down, just bacon'n eggs,
An' biscuits dunked in coffee dregs.
He feeds the stock some oats an' hay
In growin' light of break o' day.
Then Pancho comes an' rigs a hoss,
An' chews his butt, 'cause he's the boss.
“The sun is up, you little bride!
We're loosin' light! We gotta ride!”
So they ride out to make their rounds
In echoed clops of hoof-beat sounds.
The sun is high 'bout half-passed noon,
An' dinnertime is none too soon.
He eats his beans an' taters fast,
Then rolls a smoke an' rests at last.
He dreams of how he'll spend his pay
When he's in town on Saturday,
An' where he'll go to have some fun
With gals who'll laugh and call him, "Hun..."
He gets his hat an' pulls it down,
Forgets the dream of gals in town,
Cause if he ain't just damn near dead,
The work comes first on Pancho's spread.
< Now hold on there Tex !
Let me get dressed !
Let me saddle up my horse
To trollop around this Halloween course
Got on my chaps
My spurs and cowboy hat
Replica's of forty five's
Riding on my hips very high
With lasso in my hand
This little cowboy has a plan
So all you ghost and goblins
It's candies bounty I'll be coming an robbing
And I'll be taking loot for mummy
And for my daddy who has a bigger tummy
Happy Halloween To All
Especially little tikes who are so cute and small
Halloween Costume Contest
Tears - Are As Old
… As East Of Eden
Pain - Is As Old
… As East Of Eden
Woes - Are As Old
… As East Of Eden …
That’s Why The Cowboy … Rides West
And Disappears, Into The Flaming Sunsets … ( Gen. 3: 23, 24 )
There’s a legacy inside him,
As he sits upon his steed;
His heart is filled with honesty,
Not perjury or greed;
He rides the same old range,
That his father rode before;
And it’s been that way for forever,
A hundred years or more;
Pushin’ cattle, brandin’ calves,
That is a cowboy’s life;
Someday he may settle down,
And make some girl his wife;
He’s spent so many lonely nights,
Sleeping under the stars,
He hasn’t got a tattoo,
What he has are battle scars;
There’s a rip across his stomach,
From a rangy longhorn steer;
And even though it hurt like hell,
He never shed a tear;
He always outs on a brave face,
Emotions locked inside;
And for his cowboy heritage,
He feels only pride.
He must sit back and just smile at sunsets;
The colors and quiet must give him great joy—
As do the sweet sage and morning violets;
God must be a cowboy.
He breathes life in the wind on the prairie
And sustains the green earth with the soft rain;
And he grows all the fish in the vast sea;
It is an unbroken chain.
Oh, you can hear him creak that old saddle
As he rounds up the skies and the whole earth range;
His eyes are on us and he’s not idle.
The only constant is change.
Yes, He rides beside us in gold grasses
And He watches our bedroll every night;
He helps us over all the high passes
And teaches us to do right.
And meekly we speak of Him by His name
As we take great pains to please and not annoy;
Knowing when we ride off back where we came:
God must be a cowboy.
IF YOUR VERY VERY QUIET
AND VERY VERY STILL
YOU CAN HEAR HIM TALKING
AND KNOW THAT HE IS REAL
WHISPERING THROUGH THE TREES
AND THE SONGS OF THE BIRDS
CHIRPING OF THE CRICKETS
MOVEMENT OF THE HERD
THE RUSTLING OF GRASS
SOFTLY PUSHED ASIDE
BY FEET STEPPING QUIETLY
PAUSING WHILE IN STRIDE
A MARE SOFTLY COAXING
A PRECIOUS NEWBORN FOAL
THE CREATION OF LIFE
WARMS YOU TO YOUR SOUL
IF YOU LISTEN YOU CAN HEAR
YOUR HEART SLOWLY BEATING
COUNTING OUT THE SECONDS
OF YOUR SHORT LIFE FLEETING
JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LISTEN
TO ALL THE THINGS YOU MISS
WORRYING ABOUT DAY TO DAY
TOO LONG IS YOUR LIST
LISTEN TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT
LIFE GOES ON ALL AROUND
THINK NOW WHAT YOU’RE HEARING
AND THE TREASURES YOU FOUND
SO IF YOU’RE VERY VERY QUIET
AND VERY VERY STILL
YOU’LL KNOW WHO IS TALKING
AND KNOW THAT GOD IS REAL
A handshake speaks volumes, keep it firm & strong
Learn from your mistakes & admit when you're wrong
Stand your ground when you know you're right
Never drop your guard or waver in a fight
Never give up & put your best in all you do
Follow your heart & to yourself stay true
May every word match every deed
Always lend a hand to those in need
Things turn out better when you take time to pray
A light heart & hard work keep the storm clouds at bay
Hold your friends close for each is a treasure
In your family, look always for solace & pleasure
A light touch on the reins is only half the battle
Make sure you set deep & tall in the saddle
Treat horse & man with equal respect
When asked for advice, be kind but direct
There's a bright side to even the darkest day
You'll gain more from life if a smile leads the way
A true friend is one who cannot be bought
These are a few of the lessons I've been taught
By those who have guided me throughout my life
My wellspring of wisdom to rely on in times of strife
© December 2003
May you gather kin ‘round campfires
And give thanks to God on high—
May you feast and relish friendships
Before that round-up in the sky.
comatose commas thought April too lenient;
birth was postponed until June,
provided preference for instant coffee
or selfless gratification,
minus the flack fouled narcolepsy,
however insistent …
as cardboard mansions collapsed under oath,
if under cardiac-arrest,
below if not adjacent to, the end,
regardless of means…
In that grey, quiet space between night & dawn
While the coyote sings a good morning song
A cowboy rides up to a spot high on the hill
to reflect on his blessings & the bounty of good will
For a hot cup of coffee & warm meals to eat
For the shade of a broad brim hat & the sturdy boots on his feet
For the comfort in the silence just before the rooster crows
Just why he was chosen to be this lucky, only the Creator knows
For this good horse between his knees, sure & steady at a lope
for those fat & sassy cattle & true aim when he ropes
For all his compadres just now stirring for the day
Each one of them in your likeness, so the preachers say
For living each & every day as Cowboy as he can
For unexpected kindness & the basic goodness of a man
The keening of the hawk draws his gaze up toward the sky
And he says another prayer for those who ride in the By & By
Yes, there are surely enough reasons to grump, cuss or shout
But taking stock of all your blessings is what that first morning cup is all about
So thank you once again sir, for giving us this life
May you ride along beside us, in good times & in strife
Where has the American cowboy gone,
Did he ride off into the dust trails of history,
A faded figure, melting into the last horizons sunset.
Nay, unbridled the mustangs run free now,
No riders lasso, snaps against the winds of destiny,
A legacy's true American hero, has finished the
Last round up.
Hey, you'd better halt there, just one dang gone
Minute, you city slicker, them be fighting words,
That you all have just written.
Hush your mouth now, the American cowboy lives on,
Not on horse back, but behind the steel of the
Eighteen wheeler, copy that you'd better, breaker dude.
Show some respectful pride, to the man whom
Has helped to build, this great nation, we all call home.
Driving down the back bone, of America, in the name
Of glory's flag, believe you me brother, a hard
Road does he roam alone, just to keep house,
And home alive.
For all of the feminine persuasion, yes’s em, mam
He still whisper’s, that same old lonesome tune.
Tilting his ten gallon hat, to all you young misses.
After all the convoy man, is still a gentleman
Beneath his rough hued exterior.
Four horse power to the floor, no more, he's
A hell bound creature, in need, for sixty-fives
Speed limit sign, it keeps the old cowboy inside
Alive, down the highway of life.
Thriving on the adrian rush, of the open
Road to freedom, lying ahead of him, no
Boundaries can hold this man, yielding to
The desire for liberation's winds, blowing
Against the trails of progress.
Steel belted radials, burning rubber across
The asphalt turn pike, get far out of his way,
This true road master, swiftness control at his
Command, excelling beyond the boundaries
Damn, don't you all try to fence this free spirit in,
Or he'll run you down, times dead line, haunts
Him, the devil boss's hounds are biting at his heels,
And burden's heavy load, rests upon those broad shoulders.
The Lord God himself does sit, in the passenger seat,
Beside him, heaven's copilot, for this steel driving man,
Bringing him home safely, to those whom love him,
This the convoy man.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
Oh lord hear the lonesome cowboys lullaby, singing beneath
The vast prairie open sky.
Hush, do they not lull the restless cattle to sleep, by a soft
Undertones sweet melody.
Drifting plains men, singing of the sorrows broken hearted,
And dreaming visions of their beloved, they've left behind.
Guitar strumming minstrels, of the fire hearth, accented
By the lone harmonica, playing off in the distance
Amongst a sea of cows, and horses.
In harmonic rhythm is this grassroots orchestra, as the fiddler
Strikes up his bow to join in, and playing ever so gently along,
To harmony's rhythm.
On the rocky cliffs mixed in the sandy dunes, the heckling
Coyotes, give an eerie ambiance, to this old western chorus.
Do these desert whyly creatures, howl in perfections tune,
To the wrangler's musical beat, of these wide grassy expanses,
That they all call home.
The rattler shakes it's tail in defiance, against the munching
Prairie dog, whom got away at the last moment.
Listen closely to the sounds of the meadow-lands, does not the crickets,
And locusts, add a natural flavor by their clicking and chirping.
Near the rivers stream, as the winds do blow, along the waters edge,
Another elements assent, is bestowed by the forcing of the reeds, to
Bend hitting them against the hollow log, causing a thumping's,
Drumming, to this uniquest of bands.
As twilight's distant starlight, flickering in the vast
Blackness above, these rambling souls whom wander so.
Down these dusty trails long journey, yearn for nothing
More than to know the quite serenity, of their home
That seems so far away.
Let your music fill your emptiness, for one nights
Beautiful dream, and remember the memory as if it
Were real, a vivid vision of illusion, and rest
In complete bliss, good night my young
Cowboy of the open sky.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
You see that man over there
sitting stern faced in his chair?
Look closer, see that twinkle in his eye?
That's a glimpse of softness that you spy
You see that woman laughing there
dancing eyes & witty air?
Look closer, see the iron & grit?
That's a glimpse of strength, wrapped like a gift
They made me who I am today
tightened the reins when I went astray
The calming center in a teenage storm
The home fires that still keep me warm
He gave me the gift of discipline & control
She is the sunshine that fills my soul
He taught me young of the cowboy ways
She set my passion for words ablaze
He taught me to be fair & just
She showed me kindness was a must
He showed me how to draw respect
She taught me to rely on humor & intellect
A parent must first be your teacher
sometimes judge, jury & preacher
Their wisdom guided me in my youth
They guide me still, to tell the truth
(c) August 2003
We are far from the hum, but not far enough—
Worlds not of our making intrude – life is rough.
Winter birds are not wheeling in the steel gray sky—
Seems seasons bring questions, but no good day to die.
Unlike black and white westerns, there’s no good end—
We may beat back bad men but die without a friend.
Oh, we all wish that things did not turn out that way—
But God is not silent and has the final say.
Young Cowboy On The Battlefield
Remembered His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
Her Voice Echoed, As He Heard …
Rapid-Fire and Revolution
Missiles, Right and Left
Bomb-Blasts and Confusion
… and Silent Tears, He’s Wept
… Every Day, A Minefield
Every Night, A Raid
Every Moment, A Terror
Trying to Make Him Afraid …
Any Second, A Horror
Of A Buddy, Laid To Rest
Every New Tomorrow
Wondering, What’s Next ?
The Cowboy On The Battlefield
Vigilant and Brave
Stood Ramrod Tall and Terse …
Looking At Her Grave …
‘Just Make It Home, Son … ‘
… Echoed Thru His Brain
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
… Echoed Thru The Rain
And Just Before She Was Laid To Rest
She Said, ‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
And With Those Last Words, She Blessed,
And Said, ‘I’ll Be Waiting, When You Come …’
* * * *
… Old Cowboy, On The Battlefield
Remembers His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son …
… and We’ll Celebrate Our Return …
Of Note: In The Words Of A Lady Rocker,
Pat Benatar: ‘Love Is A Battlefield’
(but I Say, 'Life Is A Battlefield'
May your cattle drives be short ones,
May worries be small and far—
May you find peace at life’s railhead
And at long last rope your star.
In 1957 I took my teaching certificate back to the land of my mother.
She was raised on a cattle ranch in the north central area of Nebraska. The
famous Sand Hills. It was there I found my cowboy and we ranched for fourteen
years on the eastern edge of the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. The
teacher in this story is my mother's sister and our experiences at the Indian
Government School of Spring Creek during my early years.
In the year 2002 Cowboy and I moved to a very special town, Harper,
Kansas. This town is just a few miles down the road from the memories of my
Kansas childhood. How lucky to be able to have all of these memories and with
the help of God maybe another dozen or so years down the road I'll have another
set of memories to pass on to another generation.
Yesterday I was sitting at my computer working when I looked out of
my magic window
and noticed the swing set. The wind was fiercely blowing up a gale and the
swings were rocking to and fro. That didn't bother me, but when I saw the glider
was in motion, I didn't even have to close my eyes to picture the children playing
on it. They weren't my grandchildren. They weren't my children. They weren't any
children I could recognize, but I felt blessed. I didn't care who they were, they
And then I thought back. Back to the reservation. I could hear the
laughter of the Indian children, but whenever we came into view they would run to
hide behind their mothers or grandmothers and peek around at us. Some of the
older ones, seven, eight, nine or ten year olds would line up in front of the shack
or tent to stare at us.
I can still see them dressed in faded, wrinkled, soiled clothing.
Disgards from who knows where that ended up at the mission. Their large
round brown eyes staring from behind the greasy scraggly black hair. Some with
their dirty fingers stuffed in their mouths. The little ones clinging desperately to
the skirt as they peered around at us, always had snout trailing from their nose,
and their feet were either bare or encased in shoes three sizes to large for them.
I don't know if it was a tradition of some kind but it seems, in my
memory, there were never any men. Only women and children came forth. I
have my ideas where the men were but I shall not go into that here.
I do not know?
So strong and self assured
He rides alone always wanting more
Never satisfied with what's between those fences
His spirit will wake up your wildest senses
By the cross and thorns that is emblazoned on his arm
His substance runs deeper than his cowboy charm
A tame Christian man with a spirit wild
A man of God, he is your child
His reckless nature will never subside
Yet humble he still has his foolish pride
His heart is bigger than the tallest mountain high
And you feel weak when you look into his eyes
His hands so rough yet so soft to touch
For him no ride is ever too much
He welcomes the mystery that comes in the night
A lover at heart born ready to fight
The complexity of this cowboy man
Every woman dreams with him she would stand
Alone, looking at the midnight moon
In her dreams, she whispers...sometime soon
It was 105 degrees that Texas day, and in the asphalt parking lot where we were performing it seemed like 150. But I was glad to be there. I had been invited to perform at a Cowboy Gathering in Weatherford, Texas and I had come there for one reason only...because Larry McWhorter was supposed to be there performing too. I had his tape at home and I was a huge fan of his work. After my set, I was approached by a lady who introduced herself as Andrea. She told me how much she liked my work and that she wanted me to come sit with her in the audience because her husband wanted to meet me and that he had a surprise for me.
We sat down in front of the stage and they introduced Larry McWhorter. I was thrilled that I was going to get to see him in person. His works stands high among the true greats of Cowboy Poetry and I identify with him because he is the "Real Deal," just like the men I grew up among. As I sat there Larry spoke to the audience. He told them that he had enjoyed my poem "Mustangs." I was thrilled! Larry McWhorter was talking about my work! He went on to say how he had worked in the part of Oklahoma I am from and that he had a particular poem about that area, that he was going to do it now and that he was dedicating it to me, the only Oklahoman performing there. He then recited Johnny Clare.
Of all the poems in the world, this is my number one favorite. I have stood at the grave of Johnny Clare. I have heard the stories about him since I was a teenager and a friend's uncle told us about him. While Larry recited, nothing else existed in this world. There was no background noise from the festival, the temperature didn't matter...all there was in the world were the words he spoke of an Oklahoma Cowboy.
Natures best right here in the West,
just East of the Rocky Divide.
Capture's the imagination,
of the way it was; traveling,
on a wagon-train ride.
Miles and Miles of open land,
yet the Eagle see's it all,
from his predacious flight plan.
Prairie Dogs whistle a shrill alert,
retreat my friends or be Eagle desert.
Antelope scrub their sent glands,
on every sage brush around.
While the Badger just waddles,
his waddling way, to where ever,
the next home, can be found.
Wild Horses still roam on their grassland home,
Just West of the Bighorn Mountains.
While Buffalo still graze,
in old Yellowstone,
Next to mud-pots, geysers and fountains.
Oh; Wyoming, land of my heart,
If Heaven is anything like you,
then I pray this day,
I make it your way,
after I'm dead and buried and forgotten.
"I saw heaven standing open
and there before me was a white horse…"
I’ve talked to many a good man
facing his own end
And pretty much they all wonder
about the same thing
Will passing thru that final gate
put an end to things we love
Will we all hang up our cowboy rigging
when we see the dove.
And, well I’ve begun to wonder
when I’m called before the throne
And stand and face my deeds on earth
and do my best to atone
As I stand there in Stetson hat
and rusty, bent spurs
Will I be bunched with the righteous
or will I be corralled with the curs.
But, then I’m a wondering,
what about my way of life?
Will I still be a cowboy,
will my way be filled with strife?
Will I have to sell my saddle?
Will I give up my puncher ways?
If I can’t cowboy,
how will I fill up my heavenly days?
But, then I remember reading in Revelation,
chapter 19, eleventh verse
And my heart is filled with happiness,
ain’t no reason now to curse.
Cuz the good book tell us all,
we’ll be cowboying up in paradise
Riding herd for the real King Ranch,
punching cows and doing right.
Cus it’s written in the Bible,
you all can now stay the course
“I saw heaven standing open
and there before me was a white horse”
So, I’ll grab my old saddle
and swing it up on that critter's back
And ride that heavenly range forever,
me, that white horse and my old kack.
© July 25, ‘03