You think you’re alone out on the range
Sittin’ silent under starry sky,
Just a marvelin’ at the universe
And wonderin’ ‘bout that ol’ question: why?
You shake your head at worlds of worry,
Knowin’ it ain’t often that you’ll find,
All the answers to your queries
Beneath the clear black sky and pine.
You wonder if we rose up from mud
And walked straight and tall upon this earth—
Or was it all created in a moment—
A conception that gave us true birth.
Are we all no more than those monkeys
Evolvin’ slowly down life’s long line?
Or is there more to earth and heaven
Touched by something truly sublime?
We keep on punchin’ clocks and cattle
And tryin’ to get through each new morn—
But is there more to life than dyin’
And will we somehow be reborn?
All the cattle know my hard proddin’
As I lead them along time’s sad way—
We live for but a flashin’ moment,
As we watch life go by in one short day.
So make the best of trails you ride, cowboy—
Each tomorrow is both yours and mine—
And gaze long at stars in that vast sky
Placed there by intelligent design.
Those condo cowboys are clingin’ to things that used to be,
Starin’ out those city windows or sittin’ on balconies.
They can still smell the country, the ranch, the horses and the range—
At times they wear cowboy hats, though folks might think them strange.
And like those cowboys long ago, they’re roamin’ in their soul,
From Nevada, Arizona and old Colorado.
They’ve seen and done so many things that most can only dream,
Yet still they have the urge to cross one more mountain stream.
But now they’re just old cowboys, that’s all that they want to be,
They seek no big fortune, high status or fine pedigree.
They see the world too clearly, seldom hold or mince their speech,
They live the cowboy code and keep life’s truth within their reach.
Those condo cowboys are special, each one from a unique mold,
They just keep on ridin’ life’s long trail and never do grow old.
Wearing Daddy's boots & cowboy hat & not much in between
Why, Momma, ain't she just about the prettiest baby you've ever seen?
I'm sure wishing she was talking, reading her mind is quite a trick
And she's sure getting awful heavy, I hope she's walking quick
Whoa there, sassy, Momma look at her running wild
Why I am not sure there ever was a more rambunctious child
Life sure was a picnic when we could just bundle her up & go
Now I get tuckered just watching her, she's a pint size dynamo
Waist length braids, a gap tooth grin & freckled face
That's our girl, Momma, her calf just took first place
How old is she now, six? No, she can't possibly be eight
Seems she is growing up faster than I'd anticipate
Well I'll be, look at her standing on the stairs
in a fancy gown, heels & make up putting on womanly airs
this young girl looking back at me, yesterday she was only seven
Now there's a young buck staring at her like he's just seen heaven
Wearing a cap & gown, her diploma held high
Look, Momma, there's our girl, getting ready to give her wings a try
Wasn't it just yesterday she was afraid of the monsters under the bed?
Now she's off to college, her own path to tread
Wearing Grandma's pearls & a gown of antique white
Now, Momma, don't start fussing, everything will be all right
Wasn't it just yesterday, I was wishing she was talking?
Now the music is playing & down the aisle we're walking
Wearing Grandpa's boots & cowboy hat & nothing in between
Why Grandma ain't that the prettiest grandbaby you've ever seen?
Now listen, Sassy, don't go wishing for her to grow up so fast
Treasure each & every moment, create a memory to last
Be mindful of what you wish for when your babes are small
For in just the blink of an eye, they won't be small at all
You dream of turning back the clock & know you never will
For time flies, just as surely as you wish it would stand still
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.
In crackled tintypes bent with long ago,
Amid flaxen sunset and skies of cherry—
In worn leather-carved ancient scenario,
He dare not lie in milkweed prairie.
He rides resolute toward that sweat-tinged fame,
Always the heart’s hero of our once young eye,
As pale ivory range sighs softly his name
And we all know the real reason why.
It is high sage country that he will ride,
As that tin sun burns alabaster away—
And new birthed rains roll off his cow rancher hide,
So his soft summer’s mirage will stay.
Some see him crude – of but limited worth—
Lacking pure knowledge or certain savoir-faire—
But born of bone plain, he is of no fool’s birth—
A force of nature that’s always there.
From coat’s patina past years slide, of course,
As lines are spurred so deep into his Sphinx face—
But he’d rather be poised high atop his horse
In no other country, time or place.
His heritage is long – it’s here he’ll die—
He rides his own land in cruel spring rains and snows—
And like that wax jacket, he’ll keep his hopes dry,
Because ranching is all that he knows.
No one knows where the longhorn goes,
When his breed is scattered and few—
He once was king of the cattle ring,
But his time in this world is through.
We all must go where longhorns go,
When the bone moon falls from the sky—
We will not hide when we ride no more
And the longhorn goes off to die.
Our land must be where longhorns live—
Where we all seek our destiny—
This once was land still full of sand
With longhorns far as you could see.
We all must dream what cowboys dreamt
When they looked out upon the West—
We all should lead the life we need
As we follow the trail that’s best.
We all must go where longhorns grazed
On a ride through the green grass sea—
We all must lead and protect our creed—
But most of all, we should be free.
The path is hard, but we will climb
Up that hill where the longhorn goes—
Though the trail is long, it is not wrong,
When we know what the longhorn knows.
My roots run deep & strong here in this place you curse & scorn
I couldn’t think of a better place than here to have been born
you say this is a dead end town, where dreams whither & die
I know this town has nurtured my dreams, seen them soar & fly
You say the cowboy has left & gone, run off by urban sprawl
Yet every morning, I still hear the young calves bawl
you talk of crime run amok & people no one can trust
I choose my friends carefully & fight for the right & the just
You say this is no place to raise a child, that they’ll not learn respect
but its our job to raise them up, their course in life direct
You say that no one gives a damn about another’s plight
but I have seen this town come together to turn a wrong to right
You say this town holds you back & you will never gain success
I can feel her sing my praises as I aim to do my best
I will stay here in this valley & no matter where I roam
I know my roots run deep here & I will always come back home
Pack your bags & go on down the road in search of better grazing
One day you will come full circle & return here to your raising
For your roots run deep here too, though you may curse & shout
and roots, home & belonging are what life is all about
© October 2003
The wren hour drool within that
very day, When we were taken
on a forage trip, Beyond the
karfanchan dangling viaduct, In
our own vertigo, And was coll by
the alien sun of a day,
We passed-by, As enamor was
with her, Many was about, I
choose aftermath, As for aeon of
a time, Yes it was such a
wonderful voyeur, Had wish it
lingers us far too off, I puff
vrouw through my wife beak
nose, Their ears, eyes stand-out
like Coco-yam leaf, whilst her
frescata inhold my once
beholden self , Some whisker
pups prance across My vrouw,
Wanton in their
Omnishamblings, like a dumb
duck, Meanwhile like sorts of the
sky high, Behind their mounting
shack, And her scamps out
wrung the furthest spot, As we
bore off a bit pointing yet, Felt
we are on the hoof side.
Ben raised up a dern disappointment, Daddy, well, he wanted a boy.
Wasn’t nothing under the bleeding red sun Ma could do but keep on a tryin’
Ya’siree, she was one branded filly and dern iffin that filly didn’t birth a maverick.
Daddy, well he had him some hard times a com’n
and he didn’t ev’n try to hide his fallen face when Sis was born.
that un, well, she was maverick number two!
Daddy was the devil may care sort and him and his seed strayed far afield,
sowing his wild oats, praying for an heir, he himself was one
‘slick hairy dick’ so to speak [that’s cowboy lingo for a maverick himself]
and you know what they say, “The cow plop don’t fall far from its arse”
He kept on pokin’ Ma ‘till he got that boy, all nine caterwauling pounds!
Dynasty founded, one hell of a shindig was thrown, as luck would have it,
Dad strayed, but not before he taught his gal’s not to take guff from any man!
Out on the range, Dad rounded up a couple more Betty’s
“Yehaw, did that brand sizzle” got his self a couple more bucko’s
for the dynasty and another sweet filly, all of them mavericks to the core.
Funny thing is old Dad’s gal’s got more balls then most men.
So, I guess in the end [wink] he taught us well!
*This is a Cowboy Poem, it is a maverick to it's form because
Cowboy poetry is rhymed, metered verse written by someone who has lived a significant portion of his or her life in Western North American cattle culture. The verse reflects an intimate knowledge of that way of life, and the community.
[Never lived in the West, don't like anything that looks at me with one eye!
"...names have been changed to protect the innocent."
P.S. I'm the maverick!
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 )