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Cowboy Introspection Poems | Cowboy Poems About Introspection

These Cowboy Introspection poems are examples of Cowboy poems about Introspection. These are the best examples of Cowboy Introspection poems written by international PoetrySoup poets

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Details | Cowboy | |

Intelligent Design

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.

Details | Cowboy | |

Condo Cowboys

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.

Details | Cowboy | |

Time Flies

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 

Details | Cowboy | |

Chance Encounter

   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.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Waxed Coat Man

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.

Details | Cowboy | |

No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes

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.   

Details | Cowboy | |

My Roots Run Deep

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

Details | Cowboy | |


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.

Details | Cowboy | |


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!

Details | Cowboy | |

' As Old As East Of Eden ... (A Cowboy Song) Cowboy Poem # 15

          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 )

Details | Cowboy | |

God Must Be a Cowboy

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.    

Details | Quintain (English) | |

No Chapeau

One time in the past, I saw a picture of me.
I was a child; I wore a cowboy suit with cowboy hat.
I don’t remember this, but it was still part of history.
There was only, one other time, other than that.
This time I wore, baseball cap and helmet at bat,

I knew early on, my head would be bare eternally.
For my head was too big and also to flat,
Believe me whoever I asked, would definitely agree.
The thing I would use a hat for, would be to swat a gnat.
So I really have no favorite, definitely not, a Top Hat.

written for
Sponsor Carol Brown 
Contest Name My Favorite Hat or Bonnet 

Details | Cowboy | |

Full Bloom

Full Bloom

A Rose in full bloom,
such a beautiful sight to see.
In mornin' first dewy light,
lettin' it's pedals free.

Something to admire,
Only from a distance. 
On the back of a good horse,
across a fence.

My life has been romanced,
and turned to some fantasy.
But the cowboy life is mine,
the dreams of it are for those in the city.

For bronc's can be flat mean,
and the dusty breeze is hot.
and if an ol' ladino gets a holt of ya,
you appreciate what you got.

But a mountain mornin'
can make a heart turn glad.
and get ya to thinkin'
of all you had.

With so much and so little,
beauty is ones life.
A cowboy has to stop and gaze,
just for a moment and a half.

So this ol' tumbleweed gets movin'
when the wind blows.
Takin' me away from,
from the garden of Rose.

Details | Cowboy | |

Too Far From the Trail

Has America’s spirit strayed off the trail?
Have we found what’s in every canyon
Or have we failed?

Will we let the bad guys win and try no more?
See Lady Liberty as something
To just deplore?

Have we seen the elephant grow soft and weak
As the donkey only sits and brays,
But does not speak

Or see the wild anger in our horse’s eyes
As they promise us those gold cities
And tell more lies.

America has strayed too far off the trail—
We wait a great judgment from the West
Cloaked in black veil.

Details | Cowboy | |

Still Here

Though you slipped
from this earth 
so long ago
nigh on twenty years
I still feel you
here beside me
Hear your voice 
within my soul 

As I walk 
behind the back chutes
at the Sonoita Rodeo
your ghost elusive
follows me 

I guess it's true
what the old ones say
about gone but 
not forgotten 

For You're still here
in heart & spirit
every melody & tune
I dance in memory
with you

(c) September 2002

Details | Cowboy | |

A Pocket Full of Rocks

 Funny Story and unfortunately true. When I was in Prison at Pelican Bay State prison in Crescent City, Ca., one of the ways I made money or "cantene"  as it was called was poetry of sorts.. I was more or less the hallmark kinda person. Writing stuff for anyone that asked and especially when they paid. I was asked to write a poem about having a pocket full of rocks. I had made the mistake of boasting that I could come up with something at least with a beginning, middle and end about anything.....anything ..........You read this and you will see how wrong I was.....or was I?

"Pocket Full of Rocks"

I had a brand new pick up truck. 
A big wide screen T.V.  
A house up on the hillside 
beneath the shade of and old Oak Tree. 
I once wore some fancy clothes. 
All around the world I'd roam. 
Now all I've got is what you see. 
Flat broke and all alone.

I was known at every bank in town. 
Had more cash than I thought I'd spend. 
Both A Master Card and Visa 
whose limits had no end. 
I had women everywhere I turned. 
More love than you could know. 
Then I went and blew it all. 
Where did it all go?

Now with patches on my blue jeans 
and holes in both my socks, 
I've a head thats full of empty dreams 
and a pocket full of rocks.

No..I don't have a dog gone thing. 
No car! No clothes! No house. 
Hell even my best friend is gone. 
Ran off with what was my spouse. 
Yet I'm still fairly happy. 
I can't dwell on what I had. 
Cause' if I did; believe you me. 
I'd be to Gaw Durn sad!

They were talking about drugs. I did not know they were talking about a drug. So you can imagine all the crap I got on this one. .... Prison sucked. I deserved to be there. (I never hurt anyone, stole or terrorized anyone) This was a very lighthearted moment in a time of my life that was anything but pleasant. 
*I had no idea I was being so prophetic.........For Someone?

Thank You
The Applethoughtrotten

Details | Cowboy | |

Visiting the Badger Hole

Oh, the leaves are liquid yellow
As we ride on through Custer Park,
In search of that old Badger Hole:
Home of the poet Badger Clark.

Yes, we come to step back in time—
It’s a historic rule of thumb—
Where the city does not crowd you,
And man can be scattered some.

The old cabin now sits empty—
A last poetic monument—
Proving that words can still live on
Where men have lived and come and went.

Details | Cowboy | |

Lessons I Have Learned

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

Details | Cowboy | |

April too lenient

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 … 

cruelty followed, 
as cardboard mansions collapsed under oath, 
if under cardiac-arrest, 
below if not adjacent to, the end, 
regardless of means… 

Details | Cowboy | |


our,that we have..
these are our tools..weapons..instruments
and we just want to live..
put into a situation in wich we did not choose our roles..
some of us are the fans and the royalty
they watch people like me do what needs to be done...
people like me..we just want to live
so we use our weapons and do what we have to..
we didnt choose for it to be like this..
we watch the fortunate  crowd the seats of this coliseum called life..
and they watch us jump back and forth through shades of color..
they judge us...
but we just want to live

Details | Cowboy | |

saline through time-

social dishonesty, 
in a word, 
in a moment, 
without reason or hope, 
saline through time… 


Details | Cowboy | |

Things Change

Now, I find it kind of funny how quickly things change
Once was a time when everyone wanted a home on the range
A place where they had room to stretch & grow
Out where the cattle bawl & the west winds  blow

The city folk have all gone country or so they’d like to think
Why, there are new houses going up faster than you can blink
You remember that prime grazing lease? Take another look
Its looking more & more like an architect’s pop-up book

They come out here to escape all the big city worries & trouble
They said they weren’t concerned if their commute doubled
Now they are talking of bringing a super market in
And an increase in crime spreads our deputies thin

They thought that grazing cattle made a picture quite quaint
Now those same cows holding up traffic is an oft heard complaint
They throw out words like eco-friendly & enviromental plan
then scrape the land as clean as momma’s griddle pan

Yes, everybody wants a home out on the range
And I am just a cowboy trying to reconcile the change
I watch the valley whittled down into an urban scene
 and wish that I was back again in childhood fields of green

(c) Februaury 2004

Details | Cowboy | |

Brahma Dark

Death rides a pale horse, it is often quoted
to resurrecting bitter memories it is devoted
But the killer of dreams is Brahma dark
and with a twist of its head, hits its mark

I’ve ridden the memories until I’ve about lost count
Sometimes I wonder which of us is actually keeping score
and I’d gladly welcome that pale mount
just to dare to dream once more

© July 2004

Details | Cowboy | |

First Morning Cup

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


Details | Cowboy | |

Moccasin Moon

It slides softly in the night sky,
That pale moccasin of the moon—
It lights up a snow-bleached prairie—
Whispering summer comes too soon.

We trace the trail of coyotes—
Avoid the dark dens of the bear—
The full light of your white footprint
Lures us now to your fatal lair.

Oh, we chant into the black dome
Of all the things that used to be—
There’s no more Indian summer—
Long gone are Cree and Cherokee.

Yet, still the silky stealthy tread
Brings back images bright and keen—
Of lost Native Americans
Where so few are now seldom seen.

But moons do not let us forget
All the wild blood shed on both sides—
As we trace steps of moccasins
To where the dark of the moon hides.

Yes, it walks gently in tall sky,
That faint moccasin of new moon—
So gently it illuminates
As we dance mutely to its tune.

Details | Cowboy | |

Dream Rider

(for “Cody” Brunner 1986-2007)

Some said he was just a kid,
Then coming into his prime—
But he had those cowboy dreams
And he knew it was his time.

They said he’d made his mind up
And that some day he’d go far—
He roped, rode and dallied up
His dreams of the PBR.

He woke up on those mornings—
Rode off to the URA—
He was sixth in the money—
Had to ride that bull that day.

There were no words to stop him
That his ma or pa could say—
It was an 8-second fact
He’d ride that big bull that day.

And when the gate was opened,
No bull there could get his goat—
He blew off high and wicked—
The bull came down on his throat.

Oh, there’s little here to add
And not too much left to say—
But Cody went 8 seconds
And he rode that bull that day.

In all our life there’s sorrow—
Things don’t turn out so it seems—
But we hold that rope tighter
As we ride out all our dreams.

Details | Cowboy | |

Life Worn Heart

“A Cowboy is born with a broken heart”
I once heard someone say
But it’s life’s travails
that make it seem that way
Just settle back & lend an ear 
I will see if I can explain

Its every “good bye” left unspoken
every tear that’s never shed
It’s the pride you just can’t swallow
every apology left unsaid
It’s the emptiness & sorrow
you carry with you on life’s trails

It was in the way back years
must have been six or seven
I watched a strong man crumble
When I saw my Daddy cry
He’d just come from burying Grandpa
Never got to say Good Bye

We lost the ranch when I was eight
and though his dream had failed
I watched my Daddy shoulder on
Never buckling under the weight
He altered course & tried again
Heart worn & weary but he prevailed

When I was but a woman child
True love found, my forever friend
We’d talked of “Through Forever”
He rides in Heaven’s arena now
True love’s bonds the veil can’t sever
All to soon I lost him to a Brahma wild

A Cowboy’s heart isn’t broken at the very start
It’s the unspoken words and unshed tears
Its all those lonely midnight memories
that creates a Life Worn Heart

(c) January 2004

Details | Cowboy | |

An Empty Place by the Campfire

There’s an empty place by the campfire
That no one had noticed before—
Once filled with poems and old stories
About the Old West and its lore.

I can still hear the tin cups clanking,
The soft sipping of the hot joe—
All the tunes of the old Chisholm Trail—
Things only a cowboy would know.

The fire’s warm but somehow we’re still cold,
By what’s gone from our fire and heart—
We know the loneliness soon leaves us—
All the things of this earth will part.

But now all our voices are hollow
And there’s a void left by the flame—
New riders will soon fill that old place,
But somehow it won’t be the same.

There’s an empty place by the campfire
And all of us know that it’s there—
We know that ours will be empty, too,
When there’s no more stories to share.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Border's End

I did not drive the roan that day,
Just saddled up my old dark bay,
To check out fences far afield
And breathe in life with all its yield.

Near border’s end I came upon
A fresh, dead cow down by the pond.
I wondered why it had died here
With water and spring grass so near.

I spurred my horse and reined away
But something said that I should stay—
I creaked down from my saddle’s reach
And saw the cow had died in breech.

I knew they should be buried soon,
By light of day or dark of moon. 
I left them there, that calf and cow
And rode back home in thought somehow.

I had forgot that scene of death
Till summer quickly took my breath
And once again I passed that shell
Of twisted skin and faded smell.

The worms had done their work it seems 
On frenzied flesh and faltered dreams.
Yet, still I stared like at a grave—
Thought how we took but seldom gave.

Then autumn came and tinted trees
With colors each low creature sees.
So on my horse I sought them out,
To answer what this life’s about.  

A mute Madonna—sticks of bone,
Still nestled there so all alone.
We live and die, the season’s dawn,
We’re all breech born before we’re gone.

In winter’s wind the world turns cold
As cow and calf and man grow old.
Yet, now there’s no sinew or hide 
To hint of life or what’s inside.

Death’s passion passed and so did I
To pay respects and say goodbye.
For man and beast all die as kin—
I will not ride this trail again.


Details | Cowboy | |

Trails Old & New

From the Black Hills to the prairies,
he sighed as his eyes turned hard & dark
That was the path of the Buffalo,
His finger traced a wide & sweeping arc
You could tell he longed to be out there
Just his dreams & the wide open plains, 
Crying out in triumph, as a buffalo he slew
Now, the prairie is filled with big rigs & amtrak trains
Still he dances & honors the old ways
and waits for the prophecy to come true
From Texas in to Saskatchewan,
he sighed as his eyes turned hard & dark
Along the Western Trail they pushed the longhorns
His finger traced a wide & sweeping arc
You could tell he longed to be out there
Just his dreams & a dusty cattle trail
Now, the cattle trails are covered in asphalt
And Big rigs haul everything from cattle to the U.S. mail
Still he rides & honors a time long past
Marveling at the blending of trails, old & new 

From Hoover Dam out across the desert,
he sighed as his eyes turned hard & dark
That's the route the big rigs run,
His finger traced a wide & sweeping arc
You could tell he longed to be out thereJust his dreams & a wide open highway,
In a decked out Peterbilt, shiny & brand new
a different road, another adventure as night blends to day
Hauling cattle, freight or cars, didn't matter
each sunrise brings a different picture window view 

© January 2004

Details | Cowboy | |

The Pox Man

Oh, he rides though forest, he rides now through the hills—
The Pox Man is coming and he kills and he kills…
He lays waste to the red man and the white man, too—
He brings that soft darkness to both me and to you.

It may come with blankets; it may come with his horse—
It marks and gives you fever to run out its course.
He’s a tall, solemn scarred man that fills you with dread—
He may spare you your life or he’ll leave you for dead.

Oh, turn from the Pox Man – to him you do not pray,
His mercy is random, he has little to say.
He will ride off now soon - touch the weak with his breath—
He’s giver and taker – yes, we know him as death.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy Way

I’ve ridden many a trail in my life & regrets I have few
For I lived the life I chose & to the Cowboy way stayed true
I will not ask for a mansion when I stand before God’s throne
I’ll be happy with a bedroll, a good herd & a sturdy roan

A cowboy’s dream is what I lived for so many happy years
I had my spread & family, made a good living from the calves & steers
So do not cry when you think of me, for I would rather see you smile
Rest easy in the knowing that because of you, my life was not a trial

Do not stand around & speak in hushed & hallowed tones
For there is nothing in this casket, except for husk & bones
My Spirit saddled up & hit the trail, heeding the Master’s call
And though I ride for him now, I’ll miss you one & all

In the creak of saddle leather & the jinglebobs you hear
I hope you think of me & know that I am ever near
I ride a range that knows no end, no stampede or rain
And I’ll keep one saddled for you until we meet again

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy from Cutter Bill's

(for Rod Nichols)

Oh, he rode in from Texas
On that sweet, high road trail—
His bright light was infectious—
His goodness did not fail.

He made us a warm campfire
And welcomed friend and foe—
Passed along gentle wisdom,
Drinkin’ a cup of joe.

He always had a poem
On any cowboy theme—
I’m glad I got to know him
And share that Old West dream.

He often was too modest
And hemmed and just said “yep”—
We cherish things he taught us—
Into our souls he crept.

But true cowboys always leave
Treasures we never see—
And for him we should not grieve
A life of memory.

He rides now on higher ground,
But we won’t soon forget—
His words leave a wondrous sound,
A soft glow in God’s sunset.

Details | Cowboy | |

Ancient Echoes

As I stand here at the rim, father sun comes peeking
all around me I can hear the old ones speaking

Journey Deeper

The trail draws me down into the womb of Mother Earth
and from the canyon walls the sounds of childish mirth

Journey Deeper

standing, bone drenched, under a waterfall so tall it seems to wash the sky
I hear the ancient courting flute, as ancient lovers sigh

Journey Deeper

slowly I work my way to the rushing waters at her heart
I hear the anguished cries of the men who’ll never depart

Journey Deeper

I sit beside the river’s edge, & search the canyons of my mind
and lose myself in the ancient voices, echoes of mankind

Journey Deeper

© June 2003

Details | Cowboy | |

Burlap & Barb Wire

That's why you have boot straps, she's heard the old vaqueros say
But she'd throw away all her tomorrows for one single yesterday 
She wishes deep down for a better day somewhere down the road
But for now the grief, loneliness & tears make a heavy load
She's much too young to carry the burden she's been thrown
But there is no other choice, she will push through on her own
She'll ride to hell & back again trying to outrun the pain
But no matter how far she rides, he'll not come home again
Her very own Cowboy Charming, a fairytale come true
Until a cruel twist of fate painted her world faded denim blue
How long will she replay that single moment in time?
A day & forever, she'll still find no reason or rhyme
She has tasted love's passion & felt its cruel sting
Felt both the elation & misery that only true love can bring
She once carried her heart like a balloon, bright & airy
Now she locks it away deep inside & is wary
She's sworn never again to give in to desire
Now, its covered with burlap 
& wrapped in barb wire 

(c) October 2003

Details | Cowboy | |

Winter Western

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. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Lord, I'm Ready

Grew up a country bumpkin,
known the freedom that entails,
worked hard to make a livin',
walked down some dusty trails.

Ma an' Pa was hard on me,
said it was for my good,
but I lit out real early
just to prove to them I could.

Did some drinkin' in my early days,
an' had a wife or two,
but now I just got my ol' horse
an' a ornery dog named Blue.

I've lived the life I wanted 
an' done most ever'thing,
have few regrets or heartaches
so I really can't complain.

The sky's my roof above me,
a campfire keeps me warm,
my bed is straw an' saddlebags,
an' bath, a country storm.
Drink water from the rivers clear
that fill from creek an' stream,
eat jerky, hard-tac biscuits,
an' drink coffee without cream.

Ain't no call for cussin'
'cause no one's 'round to hear,
my temper done got simmered
an' replaced with dad-blame fear.

My hair is gettin' thin now,
bones creak more ever'day,
but I can still punch cattle,
brand them doogies, an' buck hay.

If I should die tomorrow,
I'll be glad to meet that train
for God's seen fit in all His grace
to let me have the reins.

I'll ride them clouds in Heaven,
an' sleep in if I please,
I'll praise the Lord before me 
as I get down on my knees.

All my troubles will be over,
won't even mind the rain,
'cause God'll keep me sheltered
from all this earthly pain.

So, let me never be forgettin'
how grand a life I've had
'cause I've loved ever' minute,
an' it sure ain't been that bad.

Details | 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


Details | Cowboy | |

When a Cowboy Talks to God

Lord, you know that I’m one small seed
Blown across the fields of this world—
You could lose me in a moment
By the power you have unfurled.

But when I need to talk to you,
I know you’ll hear me and stand mute—
Then bless me with your vast knowledge
In green valley or lonely butte.

Yes, I’ve strayed down many wrong paths,
And it’s all my own fault, of course—
But now I just ask your blessing
When I’m too frail to ride my horse.
And though it seems I ask often,
It is not always just for me—
I can only gain forgiveness
In the eyes of eternity.

Lift me to your silver saddle
And we’ll ride that ivory cloud—
As I dally the light’s wisdom,
And make the big trail boss real proud.

Details | Cowboy | |


Cowboys are a rough lot
Full of grit & fight
Hard to keep a hold of
Slip off into the night
Ride hell bent for leather
Freezing rain or blazing sun
Texas drought or blinding snow
Will find them riding
week in & week out
When they give their word
there's no doubt 
They ain't worried about Wall street
Or the latest gossip spoke in town
They've got cattle to doctor
and miles of fence to pull
Cowboys are a dying breed
So I've heard it said
But we're still alive & kick'ng
Please don't bury us ‘til we're dead 

Details | Cowboy | |

Cowboy Christmas Toast

May you celebrate the spirit
Of all good things on this earth—
May you ride down all the right trails
And pay honor to Christ’s birth.

Details | Cowboy | |

Circles Made of Stone

As we journey wide in life
On strange ranges far from home,
We often stop and ponder
Old burnt circles made of stone.

They are last meager remnants
Of some campfire long ago—
Where pards and tired travelers
Would share a hot cup of joe.

The fire would blaze but briefly
Then be just smoke as they’d part—
To rise again down the trail
Where another fire would start.

Yes, they’d slowly gather rocks
And form that new ring of stone—
Build a blaze to ease the night,
So they’d not be all alone.

But those days are mostly gone
With stone circles left behind—
Cowboys seldom come this way
And good pards are hard to find.

And while fires now seem to die
And a cold north wind does moan—
There’s always comfort in a fire
In our circle made of stone.

And so we all go our way,
Build rings all the farther—
Honor roots and family,
But most of all, our Father.

Yes, now we’ve come full circle—
Return to earth as it lays—
A circle of completion—
Like brief dust of earthly days.

Details | Cowboy | |

Cubicle Cowboy

He rides amid gray fabric canyons
In the cubicles of his mind—
Just provin’ himself an office hand
Among the others of his kind.

His plains are far as he can stretch arms
And touch each side with fingertips—
His range is that brand new cubicle,
With that he has to come to grips.

He’s just herdin’ that old computer
In the open range of his brain—
Without all those old-time western dreams
He surely would wind up insane.

His cubicle’s all full of posters
Of old silver screen cowboy stars—
Western memorabilia and more,
That keep him away from booze and bars.

They say he’s a cubicle cowboy
And they may be ‘bout half way right—
Because in his mind he’s a cowboy
Till he rides away in the night.   

Details | Cowboy | |

' It Was A Cowboy Knight ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 6)

… Year 2009’ In North America
Knights of Old, Still Ride in Shining Armor
Still Living Life, by Honor and A Test
Ain’t You Heard of:  ‘ The Code of The West ’ ?

Ain’t Talking ‘bout some Hidden Outlaw-Band
… Just, The Open, Honest, Whole-Hearted Brand
The Ones, That Do Right afore Might
… They, Are The True, Cowboy Knights …

Always Saving Some Damsel in Distress
In a Trail of Dust … They Leave The Rest
They’re Keeping Chivalry, Polished Bright
… May The Lord Love … Cowboy Knights

A Noble Breed and Ladies Delight
Stand Tall ‘nuff, to Keep Love-In-Sight
Taking Care of Business and Disputes
Ain’t You Ever Heard of John Wayne, ‘The Duke’ ?

Yep, They Got Valor Enough, to Deal With Danger
Just Like A Legendary Texas Ranger
And if it’s The Last Man Standing, In A Fight …
… You Know … It Was A Cowboy Knight …

… Riding On A Quest, Thru The Wind
Some Woman, They gon’ Claim and Defend
Wearing A Hat and A Cocky-Grin
… ‘Cause, They Know They’re Gonna’ Win

… Riding Off Into A Blazing Sunset
Just Like That, You Ain’t Never Gon’ Forget
You Think of Them On Some Lonely Night …
… Yes Mam’ … It Was A Cowboy Knight !

So, ‘fore You Put On ‘The Coat-of-Arms, Clothes
There’s One Oath, Every Man Should Know
‘Fore You Take The Hat and Boots On To Begin
… Make Sure You Live Up To The Legend …

And May Your Humble Heart, Strive for the Height
if Kneeling, to be Dubbed … A Cowboy Knight …

For You Tim Ryerson... Cause Like A Cowboy
Your Mind Rides The Range Everywhere and
Roundsup Words For Our Enjoyment - 
Sometimes Quirky, sometimes Colorful, 
or Substantial and Uniquely Your Spin on It ...

Your Poet-Pal, MoonBee

Details | Cowboy | |

Bubbles on the Lake

An ol’ cowboy was just sittin’
On his horse for sittin’s sake,
‘Mongst the trees of time regrettin’
Those brief bubbles on the lake.

They reminded him of childhood—
They brought back his very youth—
When all things were simple and good
And a man’s vow was the truth.

But things got so complicated
As all the years made him wise,
And he loved things he once hated
And life became compromise.

So here he’s now just awaitin’
In this world that he did make—
To shun or shake hands with Satin
As bubbles burst on the lake.

Details | Cowboy | |

Partners With the Wind

It is an ancient ancestry;
A horse hoof and man’s hand —
A primal link back to the sea—
Blood brother to the land. 

It is spring’s end for brandin’ now,
You stop and take a break—
But are you master or the cow?
This life’s more give than take.

You lean back slow, now at your ease
To saddle leather squeak—
As lowing sun grazes the trees
To find the breeze you seek. 

You know that those who share the land
Now seem too far and few—
But one thing that you understand,
Is that you’re far from through.

You know stampedin’ years won’t dim
This life that so few chose—
Freedom’s just like a far off rim
That we too often lose.

Yet, still the range rides in your heart;
Your soul is what it steals—
And then you’re right back at the start—
With wind beneath your heels.

The world throws you and has its say—
It’s sadness mixed with joy—
But still you know it’s a great day
Just to be a cowboy.

Yes, horse and man live their seasons,
They know all things must end—
Yet they linger for those reasons—
Close partners with the wind.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Owl & Me

The Owl & Me

I felt my heart whisper, "Here I belong"
That Camp Verde night when I first heard the song
At first, soft as a breeze, from the distance
As I sat in the circle enjoying the dance
Then louder, more persistent, until I had to go
Whatever it was that was calling, I had to know

Elder eyes watched my leaving, had they heard the sound
Slipping into the shadows, not knowing where I was bound
Further from campfire, still in tune with the drum
I heard the urgent whisper, hurry, now hurry, and come
An unseen hand halted me beneath a juniper tree
It was here in its shadows, I saw what called to me

There in it’s lower branches, staring deep into my soul
Was an Owl with a feather coat of snow, eyes black as coal
She bade me sit and listen, I did so without fear
For as she spoke to me, my path was made clear
I know there are many who are frightened by her song
Who say she is evil, but I know that they are wrong

She soothes my heart when I am feeling lost and all alone
In her steady gaze, I am strengthened, though weary to the bone
I look to her for guidance when all hope seems lost
I tell her all my woes, when I've been battered and tossed
I feel a calmness when I am near her, my mind is free
Our hearts sing the same song, the Owl and me

Catherine Lilbit Devine © September 21, 2005

Details | Cowboy | |

Ghost Dance

While the Ancestors worshipped 
   they shot them one and all. 
They thought they had stopped the dance 
   as they watched the Old Ones fall. 
But what they did not know 
   is that we do not die... 
Their bullets set us free 
   and sent our souls to fly.   
High above this shadow plain 
   where the spirit beasts do roam; 
We roost upon their sacred backs, 
    and the Buffalo carry us home. 
We dance for our lives 
   for the secrets of the Earth. 
We dance while they kill us 
   and through death find rebirth. 
We dance night and day, 
   to the drums thundering low. 
Singing medicine songs 
   to honor the Buffalo. 
Though we may not rise today 
   The People will not die; 
As long as we keep dancing, 
   the Ghosts...You...and I. 

We dance for the things for which we yearn; 
Grass covered plains, the Buffalo’s return. 
The fever of freedom forever will burn,  
While we’re dancing with the ghosts. 
For there is no time frame on prophesy, 
This is the Vision Great One gave to me, 
The Heart of The People will always be, 
Dancing with the Ghosts...

(Wado Waya Streeby for understanding.)

Details | Cowboy | |

Deadwood Hill

(At Wild Bill Hickok’s Grave)

Those bold Black Hills of South Dakota,
Darkly murmur of all your Badlands—
You have left now like the Lakota—
On that hillside your monument stands.

Hills pulse under Ponderosa pines—
Strong night breezes have yet much to say—
Legends linger on lips and pale shrines—
They know that Wild Bill once passed this way.

You sleep long in this last resting place,
That now overlooks sinful Deadwood—
It is here that we still see your face,
Yet ponder if you were bad or good.

They moved your petrified form it’s said—
Casket opened, though some thought it wrong—
Your dark face yet perfect, though long dead—
Your fair hair still so flaxen and long.  

Jane Cannary lays mute beside you—
A calamity that is no more—
As you study those cards in the blue—
Play that dead man’s hand from a far shore.

Saffron leaves and stern winds shape your grave—
And your name’s one that we all know still—
As you raise dark death’s ante and save,
One last red ace to trump Deadwood hill.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Roy Rogers Range

Oh, I wish that this old world
Was like the Roy Rogers’ range—
Where every boy and girl
Didn’t have to view folks strange.

It used to be safe outside—
All the children could go play—
But now they worry and hide
In their homes both night and day.

Seems there’s just too many ways
That our kids can now be harmed—
They’ve missed their innocent days—
Their lives are no longer charmed. 

We played all day with no care—
Didn’t know ‘bout an upper—
Ball games left no time to spare,
Till mom’s called us to supper.

Yes, those were different times, 
When sex was not all we thought—
And news was not just more crimes—
What kind of world have we got?

I wish we could relive days
When Roy Rogers kept us straight—
Before things became a maze
Of drugs, thugs and war and hate.    

I wish we did not grow up
To a world that’s now so strange—
And death drank not of our cup,
Like on a Roy Rogers’ range. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Last Smoke

The cow herd’s not quite a stirrin’
On this dew-crusted western land,
There’s an orange-yellow sunrise
Above the dull green pinion’s stand.

The cowboy cups his match’s flame
And brings life to cigarette’s glow—
It warms his soul and soothes the ride
Down all the trails that they must go.

He can smell the biscuits bakin’,
He can hear the cookie cursin’—
The cattle’s wakin’ up it seems
And soon they’ll have to take nursin’.

And like one mighty animal
They’ll start a movin’ down the trail—
On their way clear to Wichita—
Sold off and loaded on the rail.

He cups the match again in hand
As the red blaze lights up his face—
He’ll linger now but a moment,
Then ride off to another place.

But that’s for but one brief moment
As he puffs smoke in mornin’ air—
He’ll grab some chuck then mount again
To feel the wind dance through his hair.  

Details | Cowboy | |


 He was just a stove-up old cowboy, 
Who only drank to ease the pain, 
And he really didn’t need it, 
Except when it was cold or gonna’ rain. 

He’d spent his life bull-ridin’ , 
Until he had that wreck, 
The bull threw him high, he came down hard, 
And busted his legs all to heck. 

He’d been my Daddy’s best friend,  
Up until the day my Daddy died, 
They rodeo’ed together, 
At the funeral, he cried. 

I’d see him every now and again, 
At one or another rodeo, 
He always had kind words for me, 
Acted like he hated to see me go. 

He gave me my first pony, 
And a saddle with a dally horn, 
They say he drove my  Mamma to town, 
The icy night that I was born. 

I heard he’d talk about me, 
And only had good things to say, 
He never told me to my face, 
But I knew that was just his way. 

It came as a surprise to me, 
When I heard that he was dead, 
I couldn’t forget the last time I saw him, 
Or the last thing he ever said... 

“I wish you’d been my own son, 
I’m proud to know ya’ as a man, 
I wanted to say ‘I love ya’, 
While I’m sober, and I can.” 

Then he turned and strode off, 
And his back seemed straight and strong, 
I’m not real sure, but I’d have sworn 
That limp of his was gone. 

So, on those nights when I’m alone,  
And hurt gets in my way, 
I think of him and the guts it took, 
To say what he had to say. 

And now, when I see an old Cowboy, 
A little drunk and broken down, 
I stop and listen to the stories he tells, 
‘Cause I know he’s been around. 

And Somewhere, Jake is bull-ridin’, 
Hittin’ in the eighties on every ride, 
Young , and Free, and Wild again, 
In that place, called The Other Side. 

Details | Cowboy | |

In the Hills of South Dakota

In the cold and rolling hills of a barren South Dakota,
On bleak and uncaring reservations of the Lakota,
Live both the ancient and the young of a once proud native race—
Living with America, whiskey and a fall from His grace.

We now bring contributions of food and clothes on Christmas Eve—
Given by those who know their plight as we smile and slowly leave.
Over a hundred years now and their progress still seems too slow—
A once noble people clinging to a past they’ll never know.

And what is the price of progress when we conquered the Old West
And took the proud Indian down a trail that we thought was best?
And what of free range, a way of life – the country we stood for?
We hid it on reservations so it would haunt us no more.

So we ride past reservations – think that we have done our best,
As time erases memories of a people and the West—
Once a year we sooth our egos and add money to the pot,
Hoping time heals miseries and we can keep what we have got. 

In the cold and rolling hills of a barren South Dakota,
On bleak and uncaring reservations of the Lakota,
Live both the ancient and the young of a once proud native race—
Living with America, whiskey and a fall from His grace.  

Details | Cowboy | |

The Old Night Herder's Dance

(2nd part continued)

Then late one night before coosie did howl,
I woke up and took me a walk by chance,
Down by the sleepin’ cow herd and ol’ Rowel 
When I heard his soft song and watched his dance.

He was just waltzin’ alone off his mount,
Like some ballroom dancer that was plum mad—
Kept twirlin’ around more than I could count—
It was all sort of comical yet sad.

I crept away thinkin’ then I’d done wrong
And climbed back in my bedroll on the range—
But I could still hear that night hawker’s song
And in my mind that lonely dance seemed strange.

Summers last forever for a young buck,
Yet somehow for me this one seemed too short—
But I knew my fate had changed with my luck
And that old chaff blew away in the sort.

Then one day Rowel packed gear in a hurry—
And I knew I’d heard his last herder’s song—
Said he was headin’ home to Missouri—
That he’d been at the ol’ dance much too long.

Then Rowel said something I still remember
About livin’ out your life as you age:
He said savor sunsets in September,
Because life’s a short sashay on the sage.

So now night herds are silently sleepin’—
And for years I’ve been here where I belong—
The night herder’s song is in my keepin’
And I sing it as I dance to the song. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Sunset Cowboys

Roy Rogers and Red Ryder rode on that black and white stage—
It was the best of times, to be a kid of any age.

Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy – that Durango Kid—
They kept us shootin’ outlaws and drinkin’ milk – yes, they did!

We ate up that cereal and sent away for those things,
Like trick lassos, milk mugs, masks and those plastic cowboy rings.

It was another time of Mix and Tim McCoy, I’ve heard--  
When men rode horses and ‘cowboy’ weren’t a four-letter word!

They have not rode into sunsets, as they were apt to do—
They’re now on the mountaintops of the minds of me and you.

Details | Cowboy | |

Echoes of the Canyon

They say that she is crazy 
   talking to the canyon; 
Listening to the voices 
   that echo from the rocks. 
She knows that they are out there, 
   the spirits of the Ancients, 
And the moon, it makes her restless 
   as it lights the path she walks. 
The Storykeeper told her 
   the water there flows crimson; 
That the grass for the ponies, 
   is lush and green and tall. 
Among the stalks of sky-blue corn, 
   medicine drums are calling; 
The Old Ones shadow-dancing 
   as the twilight starts to fall. 
So she burns a little sage 
   on a fire made of cedar; 
Sending prayers out to them 
   in a shower of sparks and smoke. 
The flames bid her welcome 
   into the Sacred Circle; 
Her flute repeating softly, 
   the promises that he spoke. 
For her sacrifice and faith 
   the Old Ones send a message; 
A hawk dips down and beckons 
   to follow ever high. 
The path is steep and rocky, 
   but she just keeps on climbing; 
Waiting for the moment 
   when she’ll be allowed to fly. 

One day, she simply disappeared. 
   I like to think she found it; 
That emerald endless valley 
   where the Spirit Dancers dwell. 
The only question left... 
   do we deserve to go there? 
I guess that’s just a story 
   that only time can tell. 
So, will they think I’m crazy 
   talking to the canyon? 
Listening for her voice 
   to echo from the stones... 
Their thoughts do not concern me 
   in my quest for the Great Forever; 
Wandering the Crimson Canyon trails, 
   searching for my home. 
*With love to TR...who set my feet back upon the good road.

Details | Cowboy | |


Deer linger in the bitterbrush
Below the gambel oak—
The brittle fern shows no concern
For killdeer or cowpoke.

The miner’s candle lights our way
Now lost in limber pine—
The water birch does not besmirch
Beargrass at timberline.

Sky pilots bend on mountain side
Dark as the black hawthorn—
A horned lark rests on the ninebark—
Between the two we’re torn.

We journey south through water oak,
Coral bean, supple jack—
We ride beneath magnolia leaf
And miss not what we lack.

A canebrake rattler comes too close,
Like death in the sweet bay—
Chinaberry makes us tarry
This oleander day.

Details | Cowboy | |

Campfire Calm

Whenever I'm troubled by my modern day folly of living by the bill of exchange.
I run to my stacked sandstone campfire with an armful of deadwood arrange.
With a strike of a match and a breath from my bosom the flickering gold dancing flame
lights a fire in my soul as the smoke starts to roll 'round the log that the hot embers claim.

I'm calmed by the light of the campfire, eased by the warmth of its glow
and cozy inside as I sit beside my campfire.

As I yearn for the money and material worth that I've been conditioned to want,
a Spirit within me from long, long ago rejects this unnatural affront.
It guides me to a walk in the wilderness, to look up to the heavenly skies
then sit by my sandstone campfire and listen to the coyotes' cries.

I'm calmed by the light of the campfire, eased by the warmth of its glow
and cozy inside as I sit beside my campfire.

As I question my purpose past misguided deeds,
unwanted weakness, ill-conceived creeds,
Great Spirit returns me to the laws of the Earth,
to faith, cause, and guidance to heavenly worth.
I stand in a forest of pine trees and gaze at the vistas around
with a fresh breath of air I pray and I listen to the crackling campfire sound.

I'm calmed by the light of the campfire, eased by the warmth of its glow
and cozy inside as I sit beside my campfire.

Details | Cowboy | |


I knew his face from a poster, 
That said he was wanted by the law, 
It had little affect on me, 
For I went by what I saw. 

Two eyes of blue looked up at me, 
So thin they looked like steel, 
And a moustache so thick and bushy, 
I wasn't sure if it was real. 

Out on the plains of Kansas, 
It is a hard and fast rule, 
That to take in and hide a wanted man, 
Are the actions of a fool. 

But I'm not known for  my reason, 
Common sense is my only art, 
And it told me I was safe, 
Go on and follow my heart. 

I took him to the old dugout, 
Beside little creek, 
Tended to his bullet wounds, 
Nursed him while he was weak. 

And I kept him there...a secret, 
Made him strong and well, 
An listened to the stories, 
That he began to tell... 

Of his life as a farmer, 
Becoming a raider after the war, 
He'd had a good reason once, 
But couldn't remember "why" anymore. 

When he tried to walk away, 
The band refused to let him go, 
They shot him and left him to die, 
Where I found him in the cold. 

I considered the sins of this man, 
Waged them against my own, 
Knew that for the right reasons, 
My life would have taken a different tone. 

And I knew there was no judging, 
His past actions, or mine, 
For his taking life, and my saving his, 
Were both considered a crime. 

So I hid him, and I'm not sorry, 
For a time he was my own, 
He told me once he loved me, 
I was the closest he had to a home. 

I procured a horse and a rifle, 
Once he was mended enough to ride, 
And politely refused his offer, 
To join him by his side. 

My last glimpse was the back of his hat, 
As he dropped into the draw, 
And I knew I'd not been wrong, 
About the things I saw. 

Deep inside those steel-blue eyes, 
Lay a soul that had changed it's ways, 
And his punishment would be in running, 
Wanted...for the rest of his days. 

And me, I'm still not repentant, 
I'd do it all over again, 
For sometimes Outlaws ain't evil, 
Sometimes they're just men, 

Who started out with good intentions, 
And no matter what they may be, 
The final call to judgement, 
Won't come from you or me. 

Because all of us are sinners, 
By bad luck or circumstance, 
And the only way out is common sense, 
Prayer and a second chance. 

So, pray with me for the Outlaw, 
Cheer him on in his second try, 
And start your prayer with the words, 
"But for the Grace of God, there go I..." 

Details | Cowboy | |

Rodeo Blues

Riding against the wind, merciless memories nipping at her heels
wearing a Pollyanna mask & a ready laugh to hide the hurt she feels
The stinging words she heard that day hammer her heart like driving rain
she sips thunder & lightning from a bottle  but she can’t escape the pain

Rodeo has held her in its spell for all of her nineteen years
Its taught her to make friends with danger & never shrink from fear
Gave her a healthy respect for a life well lived & showed her its rewards
She’s better off for the lessons learned in the back chutes & stockyards

She thought she was well prepared for any hand that Rodeo dealt
Until that fateful phone call, a worse pain she’s never felt
She’d given her heart to a wild Bullrider, a good man through & through
Family, friend or stranger, he gave the best to all he knew

Around midnight the night before, he’d left for an exhibition ride
one last promise to fulfill before starting a new life with his bride
she’d spoke to him early that morning, a quick “I love you” & “Good Luck”
By quarter past ten he was in the chute, shouting “throw the gate & let ‘em buck”

Three jumps & a crazy eight twist, the rigging split with a sickening snap
In seconds his life ended, silence roared through the arena like a thunderclap
The phone was ringing back in Tucson as she pulled up to the house
The caller spoke in monotone igniting a fire never to be doused

She still love’s the Rodeo, still answer its bittersweet call
and she keeps his rigging bag in the closet down the hall
She grew up quick in an eight second flash & paid her Rodeo dues
Now she’s riding hard against the wind & singing the Rodeo Blues

(c) August 2003

Details | Cowboy | |

Ghost Dance

While the Ancestors worshipped 
   they shot them one and all. 
They thought they had stopped the dance 
   as they watched the Old Ones fall. 
But what they did not know 
   is that we do not die... 
Their bullets set us free 
   and sent our souls to fly.   
High above this shadow plain 
   where the spirit beasts do roam; 
We roost upon their sacred backs, 
    and the Buffalo carry us home. 
We dance for our lives 
   for the secrets of the Earth. 
We dance while they kill us 
   and through death find rebirth. 
We dance night and day, 
   to the drums thundering low. 
Singing medicine songs 
   to honor the Buffalo. 
Though we may not rise today 
   The People will not die; 
As long as we keep dancing, 
   the Ghosts...You...and I. 

We dance for the things for which we yearn; 
Grass covered plains, the Buffalo’s return. 
The fever of freedom forever will burn,  
While we’re dancing with the ghosts. 
For there is no time frame on prophesy, 
This is the Vision Great One gave to me, 
The Heart of The People will always be, 
Dancing with the Ghosts...

(Wado Waya Streeby for understanding.)

Details | Cowboy | |

Dinner For One

On cold days 
when the stock is gathered 
near the tanks  
and the steam rises from the water 
and mixes with their breath  
in the air, 
She thinks of him 
in that far away place 
and wonders 
if he ever thinks of her... 
Then she spreads the feed, scatters the hay 
and talks to the horses, 
Going on with this life she was born to 
and chooses to stay with. 
sometimes in the dusk, 
as she drives back to the barn, 
she hears his voice 
saying he would give it all up  
just for her, 
if only she would say the word. 
She supposes 
the word she said 
was not the correct one. 

She cannot  
give up the land. 
It will not let her. 
It demands her attention. 
And he is jealous, 
but unwilling to fight 
for her love. 

So, she hangs up her coat, 
kicks off her boots, 
fixes dinner for one 
and watches 
the evening Ag. reports. 
Before sleep 
she will write in the farm journals 
kept up for generations 
and now her responsibility... 
“Bred heifers looking well, 
no sign of sickness, 
water cleared of ice, 
pump still working after repair.” 
She puts down her pen, 
tucks herself in for the night, 
and as she drifts to sleep, 
she thinks of him; 
And she wonders, 
does he ever, 
think of her...

Details | Cowboy | |

Listen T' This Little Ditty

I sometimes think my poetry ain't poems in modern favor.
Intelligentsia declares, but I danged well won't waver
from writin' simple, unpretentious words 'n' thoughts called “witty”.
From now on my poetry ain't a poem, it's called a ditty.

“Listen t' this little ditty.” I've heard those cowboys say
when they begin to sing a song of wisdoms of the day.
Now I don't think me wiser than the smart guys that I know,
but I just like to fake it in my stand up poet's show.

Now cowboys, they write poetry to sum their thoughts in rhyme
'bout words o' wisdom or describin' real weird points in time -
like twisters twistin' towns apart or floods that float the cows
or simple words, “what goes comes 'round” brings thinkun' jus' like owls.

So listen to this little ditty, if fer nuthin' else than fun
of listenin' to a cowboy fake that he's a wiser one 
a spoutin' words of poetry that some folks may call “gritty”.
I'll seldom waiver from my writin' what I call a ditty.

Details | Cowboy | |

Paying the Fiddler

I was nineteen that summer
  when I met him at a buck-out,
  and I was totally smitten
  by all the Cowboy charm he had.

I thought that he was rugged,
  (and undeniably handsome),
  then that bull slammed against the fence
  and busted him up pretty bad.

I was surprised when he showed up at the dance,
  he was battered and bruised but smiling,
  and I heard him talking and laughing,
  still high from the rush of the ride.

He said “You gotta’ pay the fiddler
  if you want to dance to his tune”,
  then he drifted across the floor,
  said “Let’s dance” as he reached my side.

Mama told me I’d be sorry
  if I ignored her and took up with him,
  and I really hate to say it, 
  but I guess that she was right.

But when I review my memories
  I know I’d do it all again,
  for that “Eight Second Feeling”
  of our first long kiss that night.

We used to dance for hours,
  in the kitchen and on the porch
  and laugh about owein’ that fiddler
  and what his pay would be.

But lately there ain’t been no dancin’,
  just long strings of awkward silence,
  as his eyes look far and distant
  and not so much at me.

Seems his spirit has grown uneasy,
  as I listen to him talking
  and realize it’s still Rodeo
  that truly holds his heart.

Oh, I don’t mind coming in second,
  heck, life is like that sometimes.
  But knowing I’m invisible,
  well, that’s the hardest part.
I suppose I should be angry,
  but I just can’t find it in me,
  ‘cause I know what it’s like
  to love something just that way.

I felt it when I first saw him,
  in the arena and on the dance floor
  and I still feel it sometimes
  when I watch him walk away.

I’ve helped him struggle to pay the fiddler,
  and it breaks my heart to see him weary, 
  so I stand in silent acceptance,
  as I watch him pack his things.

I understand his leaving,
  I know he won’t be coming back here,
  our life together, a lesson,
  one that time always seems to bring.

I walk out past the horse pens,
  pull the gate shut…and I lock it,
  hear my mare start to nicker
  as the trailer pulls away.

I’d like to say I’ll miss him,
  his past still holds my heart.
  But we danced to the fiddler’s tune
  and the final payment came due today.

Details | Cowboy | |

That Old Heartpine Gate

So cinch tight my shimmering dark sorrel
With fine hand-tooled saddle of silver inlay—
I’ll pull on my calfskin chaparajos
And through that old heartpine gate I’ll ride away.

I’ve been too long on this sagebrush prairie.
Through many a rancho gate welcome and not—
With some I stayed and herded and prospered,
While with some I gave up much more than I got.

But I’ve rode toward that last gate in my life
And next that rosadero I’ll sit for awhile—
Until that bright entryway swings open
And I ride in meek and accepting as a child.

So cinch tight my shimmering dark sorrel
With fine hand-tooled saddle of silver inlay—
I’ll pull on my calfskin chaparajos
And through that old heartpine gate I’ll ride away.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy Way

why oh why'd I have to be a cowboy
Riding on the range like Roy and Gene
Singing in the saddle with their guitars
Strumming to the humming
Of the sons of pioneers

Young boys were shooting rustlers too
Even now the memory  lingers 
Despite the long forgotten years
Imagined six guns spun on fingers
Blowing smoke and smiling through 
Poorer times with held back tears
Thirty years of working still don't have a single dime
No such thing as overtime
Dark t' dark is normal every week has seven days
Watching dawn awake the sky With fresh coffee and new day
I see the answer to the why I live the cowboy way
Digging ponds and mending fence Is just a bit of self defense 
from City life and hassle seen  Driving truck and smelling gasoline
These boots wa'nt made for walkin'much 
These lips aint  ever prattled such
Both old and cracked and losing touch
But comfortable tight
Wasted words so seldom heard 
Cep' maybe by the herd


Details | Cowboy | |

Scattered Some

“I loved my fellow man the best
 When he was scattered some.”
                        --Badger Clark (from The Old Cow Hand)

There are those that have been herded too long
And no longer realize from where they come—
There are those that hear no music or song,
While there are those that must be scattered some.

We weren’t meant to live one on the other,
On a little patch of mossy ground—
We need not hear what each one does utter—
Sometimes it’s best when no one is around.

We all need to be free to ride our way,
That is perhaps each man’s rule of thumb—
We all might love each other more they say
If we were all free and scattered some.

Details | Cowboy | |


When the horses talk to me, 
They tell me many things, 
Whats and hows of yesterday, 
Why the nighthawk sings. 

I learn the meaning of the dance. 
Between animals and men, 
They inspire me to take the chance, 
To look back on where I’ve been. 

On this plain where we live, 
In the circle at the center, 
You receive more than you give, 
When privileged to enter. 

So I close my eyes in trust and walk, 
And listen, to the horses talk.

Details | Cowboy | |

Mighty Fine Spurs

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear,”
My ol’ grand pap used to day.
When I came up shy when braidin’ hair
From my ol’ dun horse or bay.

It was just his way of tellin’ me
That I come up a bit short,
In some endeavor I could not see
And did not care for a snort!

I did not quite know what grand pap meant
‘Bout those spurs I did not have—
I thought it just some talkin’ ill spent
To heal my young wounds like salve.

But on that sad day my grand pap died,
I knew the truth of his words—
He gave me those silver spurs and cried
As I heard the sound of birds.

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear,”
My grand pap said on that day,
“So wear them proudly and do not care
What some fool folks just might say.”

And though those spurs are ol’ and tarnished,
I wear them with all my pride—
‘Cause grand pap told the truth unvarnished
On the final day he died.

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear”—
Those words stick now in their way—
“I got some mighty fine spurs to wear”—
My son will wear them some day. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Barn Therapy

I go hide out in the barn sometimes, 
   just to take a small vacation, 
from the telephone and the fax machine, 
   and my all too close relations. 
Hiding out in the barn,  
   sets my mind at ease. 
I watch the chickens, sit on the hay, 
   and listen to the breeze. 
I learn a lot just sitting there, 
   observing the things I see, 
and hiding out in the barn, 
   is cheaper than therapy. 
I can psycho-analyze my id, 
   get in touch with my inner self, 
meditate and mediate, 
   and improve my mental health. 
There are times, 
   (I’m not ashamed to say), 
I go hide out there, 
   for the better part of the day. 
There’s much to be said, 
   for just hiding out, 
I come to understand, 
   what life is all about. 

I leave the barn, 
   refreshed and renewed, 
my problems are minimal, 
   and my tensions subdued. 
I know I am lucky, 
   to have found the key, 
to putting my world in order, 
   and finding perfect tranquility. 
So if you come looking for me, 
   I’ll be where the simple things hold real charm, 
getting a dose of therapy, 
   hiding out, in the barn.

Details | Cowboy | |

Faces In the Fire

On those cool summer evenings when coyotes haunt the night
And the campfire is dying—burning low, then flaring bright,
A cowboy plays harmonica while others sing and hum
While down by the chuck wagon a lonely guitar does strum.

A few pokes like Lon Stonecipher stare silent at the fire,
Imagining old friends and folks in times both dear and dire.
Lon sees and talks to faces that flicker in gold flames—
He asks them of the weather—remembers all their names.

“There’s Delton and Rosella, old Burlin and Rob Alcorn,
There’s that sweet Renata Robins that kissed me one June morn.
There’s Cal Shirlo and Spud Scanlon, that both died in the war,
And Addie Belle from Abilene that said she’d love no more.”

Cowpokes yawned and nodded—on this wild words did not dwell—
They knew the man he used to be, but this was just his shell.
The faces in the fire gave him comfort and offered hope,
They were his last salvation—without them he could not cope.

Lon stared into the fire for many hours before sleep—
His rest was fitful, frenzied—never calm, peaceful or deep.
And often he’d awake and gaze mournfully once again
Into those glowing embers in search of friend or kin.

“I can see my last saddle pal, young Mathew Leatherwood
And a Dodge City gambler that I shot right where he stood.
I see my dear grandmother and my sister Anna Lee—
My grandpa and brother Jim, who died at the age of three.”

The fire burned low and so did Lon out on that prairie bow,
But this was as it always was, at least until just now.
“I see you, ma—I see you, pa—your faces smile at me,”
So said old Lon one last time, drifting upon a prairie sea.

They buried Lon Stonecipher right out on that cold, dark land—
And right beside him built a blaze as hot as they could stand.
Then they watched the flames dance, and stared long into that pyre,
And to this day some still swear, Lon’s face was smiling in that fire.



Details | Cowboy | |

The Old Night Herder's Dance

The Old Night Herder’s Dance

I still remember it like yesterday
And see it in my mind from one brief glance—
I can hear the soft song still drift my way—
See again that hauntin’ night herder’s dance.

I rode in to hire on at the Bar-T—
Said they was all full up, but though,
If I wanted to tag on they’d look see—
Said that the ol’ night guard they’d soon let go.

They said that ol’ Rowel had turned peculiar,
But he’d once been the best of the cowmen—
That the story was one too familiar—
It was sad but just the way of things then. 

So I rode that trail expectin’ no pay—
Still had me a stake from my folks back home—
Thought I could make ‘em a hand any day
And this was good as any place to roam.

Seems that Rowel was a frail little old man,
Him and Shorty both took turns at night hawk—
Sometimes I wondered how they could plum stand
Night tendin’ all that loud bellerin’ flock.

One day I sat down and done asked ol’ Rowel
If that there really was his Christian name—
Said no, weren’t sure how he got it no how—
But it was better than Ralph all the same.

And I asked Rowel if he’d do it over,
Would he still follow the night herder’s ways?
And he smiled, but he looked at me sober—
As he talked and remembered the old days.

He said you know that you’re on your last legs,
When they put you out on that ol’ night guard—
But he’d lived life full and drank down them dregs
As all his young years rode by fast and hard.

They say days go quick when they’re passin’ good—
But sometimes it’s just more than you can stand.
Yet I had to finish I understood
And do all that it took to make a hand.


Details | Cowboy | |

I Wish We Had Our Own Trails

I wish that I just had my own road—
I wish that I had my own trail—
I wish the stories hadn’t been told
‘Bout how there’s now no range to sail.

It seems that all the land is now fenced
And there are no more wagon swales—
To most, the Old West now makes no sense
And the interstates are our trails.

I wish for those times of clear creek skies
When the horse and bison ran free—
When the campfires burned and night had eyes
And the trails were open for me.

Oh, I wish we all could go back now
And each of us had his own trail—
And winter never broke summer’s bow
And roads we rode down did not fail.

Details | Cowboy | |

Brownie's Calf

On those endless rides of childhood
Down trails of dark and light,
There are those that you remember
And those that haunt your night.

The green fresh days of farm and ranch
When you raised your first sow—
The flowing sea of bluestem grass,
The calf that was your cow.

You helped give life to Brownie’s calf
Or least so you did hope,
By helping tug its leg around—
Holding that bloody rope.

Then Dad said you could have that calf
To feed just like your own,
Then Brownie’s calf became your pet—
A friend when you’re alone.

Yet, you were big enough to know
The fate of each old cow,
Yet you knew this was different—
But you weren’t sure just how.

And so one day Brownie came home
And her calf was not there,
Then did the same, time and again—
But that calf was no where.

Now Brownie’s calf had gone away,
But you weren’t sure just where—
So Dad and you searched the far fields
In hopes you’d find her there.

Then to some woods and creek you came
Where birds flew overhead
And then the smell of that calves flesh
Told you that she was dead.

You turned and ran back to the ranch—
Sought out old Brownie’s face—
And knew that life is just a chance
But for our good Lord’s grace. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Riding Down the Decline

The plains have their moments of wild beauty
As you ride with morning wind in your hair---
The sage and wide open spaces thrill you
As you ride free on that celestial stair.

But the hill country is another thing,
Although you and your horse start out just fine—
You both have to carefully watch your step
As you ride down that steady old decline.

At first, you don’t really notice a change—
A misstep or a small ache in your back—
Then you sense you can’t do things you once did
And to your thinking there’s a certain lack.

Oh, you can still out ride all those young dudes
And you’re still relied on in a real pinch—
But your step’s a little slower these days
And you give slack when once you gave no inch.

Gone are the days of those endless trail rides—
Your tail bone ain’t the rock it used to be—
You’d rather be riding soft rocking chairs,
Than on the range where it’s rough and still free.

So you slow up your horse on that ride down
And look ahead to the clouds and sunshine—
As you steady your reigns and your old horse
And slowly ease down that long last decline.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Old As Dirt

You know that you’re old as dirt
When ever thang done hurt—
And you trades a cane for quirt
‘Cause you’s too old to flirt.

And when you have to trim hairs
From your nose and your ears—
You done knowed those creepin’ years
Has justified your fears!

It ain’t that you’s gittin’ old
Or Father Time is bold
Or that last crow has done crowed,
It’s jest sittin’ till ya mold!

Old sport, jest what’s the matter?
You ain’t no mad hatter—
You ain’t old, that’s jest blather—
You is jest gittin’ better!

But if time comes a knockin’,
Don’t let it be shockin’—
Don’t with yer tack go hockin’,
You’s jest rollin’, not rockin’!

So when you lose all yer friends
And seems life never ends—
You’ll know ya ain’t on the mends
When ya end up in Depends!   

Details | Cowboy | |

On the Bitterroot

It had been some thirty years,
Back when I was young and free—
Before I lost all those fears
And left to see what I could see.

But time can make you humble
As you turn into a coot—
And come back where you stumble
Along that windin’ Bitterroot.

Our house’s like a tumbleweed
That the night wind somehow saves—
Frail and old and gone to seed,
Near all the family’s graves.

So I’ve followed this river
That they named the Bitterroot—
Once taker, now a giver
And an old bitter man to boot.

I’ve come back to find those dreams
That cowboys often now lose—
Along rivers, lakes and streams
And in saloons and cards and booze.

But seems some feller once said
That you can’t go home again—
At leastways till you’re done dead
And they ship you where you begin.

So now I’m headin’ on out
And I may go on a toot—
But now I know what life’s about
Back there on the Bitterroot.  

Details | Cowboy | |

' Western Shows ... '

It Started Out With Roy Rogers
Then Moved On To John Wayne
My Family, Loved To Watch ‘Gun Smoke’,
‘The Rifleman’ and ‘Shane’ …

Mine, Were ‘The Big Valley’
‘Bonanza’ And ‘High Chaparral’
Paladin’s, ‘Have Gun Will Travel’
And ‘Rawhide’ and ‘Wagon Train’ Trails

And ‘The Lone Ranger’, ‘Zorro’, and ‘Johnny Ringo’,
‘Bat Masterson’ ‘Branded’, then, ‘Wild, Wild West’ Came
And Oh, How Could I Forget …
Clint Eastwood’s, ‘The Man With No Name’ …

So, ‘Tombstone’, ‘Silverado’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Appaloosa’
‘Quick and The Dead’, ‘Wyatt Earp’ and ‘3:10 to Yuma’
All Join The Ranks of Big-Western, Showdown Scenes
and Even ‘F-Troop’ and ‘Blazing Saddles’, Rode Onto My TV Screen

Details | Cowboy | |

A Red Navajo Blanket

A red Navajo blanket
Shines in the setting sun—
Marking a cowboy’s final rest
When that long ride is done.

There will be no wood marker
Or stone to note his place—
We’ll just remember laughter
And long recall his face.

“Please boys,” he asked us softly,
“Do one last thing for me
And put that Navajo rug
High where the world will see.

“An old dying Indian
Passed that blanket to me—
After I tried to save him
From sure death meant to be. 

“Oh, it won’t last forever—
Like leaves it will soon fall—
But like a man’s life well-lived,   
Beauty’s what we recall.”

So high upon that green hill
We placed blanket and grave,
Then said what words that we knew
In hopes a soul we’d save.

A red Navajo blanket
Shines in the setting sun—
Marking a cowboy’s final rest
When that long ride is done.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy's Cathedral

As he lingers off his horse
At the end of day’s long ride—
The sunset is his stained glass
And there is no place to hide.

His old saddle is his pew
And the cattle herd’s his choir—
The creek’s murmurs are his hymns—
His scars all made by barbed wire.

Green mountains are his steeples—
A chuck wagon’s an alter—
Hard tack serves as his wafer
And his prayers seldom falter. 

Yet saying grace seems mere words
That will make belief too small—
A clear night sky gives him faith
To put aside pride and gall.

There’s no word for religion
When he’s on the open plain—
It’s a thing he can’t describe,
Making sense of what’s insane.

Thunder’s his organ music—
Stampeding them to slaughter—
His prayers come when he needs them—
His blood of Christ is water.

The sage serves as his sermon
And wild rivers cleanse his sin,
As he seeks out his purpose
To be a man among men.

And though he now seems alone,
That’s not really how it is—
He is always with his Lord,
And the peace he has is His.

And so as he comes forward
From the pasture he did tend—
He has found his cathedral—
Leaving offerings on wind.

Then as he seeks acceptance
And the peacefulness it brings—
He soars above blue pastures,
Riding nestled on God’s wings. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Waiting for the Light

     It's quiet as he rises,
Makes his way to the kitchen,
Builds a pot of coffee,
In the dark before the morn.
Stands on the back porch,
Looks upon his Cowboy Kingdom,
And savors the perfect Stillness
As a brand new day is born.

     He moves out to the corral,
To his throne upon the top rail,
Seats himself to where
He can look off towards the east.
He contemplates the North Star,
Circled by the big dipper,
Cowboy clock, keeping track
While all the world's asleep

     He can see the shapes of cattle,
In the tallgrass of the pasture,
A sliver of a moon
Casting shadows on the ground.
Hears the nightbird call,
As the wind begins to stir,
And the soft talking of horses
As they begin to move around.

     He'll watch the stars awhile,
Pick out the constellations,
Wonders what it's like
To ride the Milky Way.
And bear a silent witness,
To this solitary moment,
Say a thankful prayer
As the East begins to gray.

     Streaks of light are moving,
Dancing bright across the sky,
He feels a little sadness
At the dimming of the stars.
There's Something holy in the darkness,
That reveals a sacred promise,
That binds us to the earth,
And reminds us who we are.

     His cup of coffee finished,
He slides down from the top rail,
Feels fortunate and privileged
To be part of the dawn.
He smiles into the fading night
And walks back to the cabin,
Without a doubt he knows
This is just where he belongs.

     It's the best part of the day,
Sitting in the darkness,
Knowing in your heart
That all is right.
The best part of the day,
Sitting in the darkness,
Waiting for the morning
And the light.

Copyright © Debra Coppinger Hill and  G. Casey Allen 

Details | Cowboy | |

Things Ain't the Way They Used To Be

“Things ain’t the way they used to be,”
The old cowboy sadly said.
“Herds stretched as far as you could see
Some two or three thousand head!

“There was a time your word was good,
Only your handshake would do—
Now it seems all’s misunderstood
And folks are too quick to sue!

“And our music was of the earth, 
Campfires, coyotes and such—
But things change and bring forth new birth
Of things that don’t mean that much!

“There was a time when men were tough
And it didn’t seem a curse—
And gals were gals – not made rough—
There weren’t such thing as a man purse!

“All things, they change but not them dern
Ol’ politicians—
They’s still all crooks that ought to burn
Without hesitation!

“Things ain’t the way they used to be,
In this, our great nation—
Like glass eyes, things seem to come out
In the conversation!

“Life’s made of rides and failed farm crops—
We’re full of pain and disease—
One day we lick those lollipops—
The next you’re pushin’ daisies!

“Yep, things have gone from bad to worse—
We tap on life’s window pane—
Some say these words are just bad verse—
We write what we can’t explain!” 

Details | Cowboy | |

It Seemed Summer Would Not End

‘Round the bunkhouse and corral—
Seven years old, without sin—
My yeller dog was my pal—
It seemed summer would not end.

The warm days went by fast—
It was time for me to wean—
The good things just do not last—
I was all of seventeen.

Like a horse the years go by—
Twenty-seven and still free—
All the years they seem to fly—
It seems that some things must be.

I am thirty-seven now,
With a wife and hungry kids—
A ranch, cattle, pigs and sow—
And look back on what I did.

Forty-seven comes too quick—
All my days peel off like bark—
Half my cattle are all sick—
All my days seem bleak and dark.

At fifty-seven comes fear
Of the things now up ahead—
So you live life year by year
And hope you don’t wind up dead.

Sixty-seven shows its face
And it ain’t your best ol’ pard—
Others wait to take your place—
This ol’ life is just too hard.

Seventy-seven’s now nigh
And your bones are weak and old—
So you ask the Lord just why,
Things don’t go like you were told. 

Eighty-seven was a dream
That you never thought you’d see—
But things aren’t as they now seem
And you’re content to just be.

Ninety-seven now comes fast
And it will not be a friend—
But you knew good things don’t last—
It seemed summer would not end.

Details | Cowboy | |


     I went to work for him that year,
early on, in the fall, 
It was my job to help feed, 
water, and clean the stalls. 
    The quarter horses that he raised, 
were among the finest to be seen. 
Then there were the mustangs, 
rough and rank and mean. 
    From time to time, the mustangs, 
would somehow make an escape, 
No matter how carefully it was chained, 
they seemed to be able to open the gate. 

     Then we’d saddle-up and chase ‘em, 
and push ‘em back to the pens, 
When it came to the mustangs, 
trouble knew no end. 

     He never really answered, 
when I asked him why, 
He kept these three, who were dangerous, 
with such wildness in their eyes. 

     Once, he said,”They’re the last of our kind, 
a rare and special breed, 
Spirits, not of this earth, 
waiting to be freed.” 

     This didn’t help me understand, 
the mustangs or this man, 
Who seemed to keep them at all costs, 
though they didn’t wear his brand. 

     Then, one day as we fed, I saw him...
as He took loose the chain... 
Softly, he said, “Come with me”, 
and we walked to the truck in the rain. 

     We rode the truck to the hill, 
where we could see for miles. 
Motioning to the tailgate, he bade me sit, 
and gave me a knowing smile. 

     Below, the mustangs had finished their feed, 
and, as if they had good sense, 
They began their morning journey, 
around their pasture, checking fence. 

     When they came to the gate, 
for a moment, they did pause, 
And gave a glance towards the hill, 
as if they knew the cause. 

     I will remember the next few moments, 
Forever, they are etched into my mind, 
And the emotion I felt, as we sat in silence, 
never again, shall I find. 

     We watched them bolt from the gate, 
Running for all they were worth, 
All four feet up off the ground, 
Flying, between Heaven and Earth. 

     The explanation that he gave, 
he didn’t have to give. 
But, his words ring in my memory, 
all the days, that I live. 
    He said, “I let them go sometimes, 
so I can remember, when I see, 
What it’s like to break loose, 
and truly, be Free. 

     For awhile I’m allowed, by Grace of God, 
to be a part of wondrous, unseen forces... 
And that, my fine young friend, 
is why I keep wild horses." 

Details | Cowboy | |

On That Range We'll See No More

You can hear coyotes come a calling
And the cattle restless now and bawling
As we dodge the storm that sends us sprawling
On that range we’ll see no more.

The birds like omens now are all singing
And our thoughts and lives are swiftly winging
Toward that railhead with these cows we’re bringing
On that range we’ll see no more.

Nothing lasts forever we are thinking
As our heart’s and spirits are now sinking
While on to that last day we are slinking
On that range we’ll see no more.

They say that the Old West it is dying
But it’s not for all our work and trying,
But like these streams we are parched and drying
On that range we’ll see no more.

Our life is rough and so unforgiving,
But it was much more than just a living—
Branded in our souls with no misgiving
On that range we’ll see no more.

After longhorns, whisky and the shouting,
For other jobs we will go a scouting—
Cowboys now on our sad final outing—
On that range we’ll see no more.

They say us cowpokes were made for fighting,
And that we find those wrongs that need righting
As we still honor Him with no slighting
On that range we’ll see no more.

One last time we’ll hear the cattle lowing
While on prairie seas we go a rowing 
Riding toward wisdom and final knowing 
On that range we’ll see no more.

Details | Cowboy | |

Dirt Road

     The traffic flies by
At a fast-paced clip
They say on a warm day
It's a nice little trip
The county came in
And smoothed out the road
Past the porch where we sat
And learned of "The Code"

     In my mind I still see him
Though he is long gone
And I still hear the words
To his old Cowboy songs
He spoke of the cow trails
And called them by name
Said the dust all around us
Was one and the same.

     He told us the stories
Of the days that were past
We looked to the future
Swore we'd make them last
We rode our stick ponies
And we rounded up strays
And we knew we'd be Cowboys
For all of our days.

     The buildings stand empty
A testimony to time
But they're filled with the dreams
That I still call mine
You can blacktop a road
But they will always be there
Those dust covered memories
That hang in the air.

     They've paved the dirt road
That rolls by the farm
Where we laughed and played Cowboy
In the fields and the barn
And we learned where we came from
And who we could be
And the dust of that dirt road
Is still part of me.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Last of the Last of the Cowboys

It wasn’t all that long ago that the last sunset took John Wayne—
Not the first to go of a dying breed that rode the scarlet plain.

Yet, we still cling to a clench-jawed and tough, craggy old Clint Eastwood—
As he grits his teeth and don’t say a word – but we all know he could.

They’re last of the last, it’s true – you can almost count them on one hand.
They grow fewer with each passing year all across our once great land.

But there’s still Sam Elliot and James Arness and Robert Duvall—
Kevin Costner, Val Kilmer, Tom Selleck – and some I can’t recall.

They are the very last of the last of our western stars it seems—
When wide open space and tumbleweeds were still the gold dust of dreams

Details | Cowboy | |

New Year at the Line Camp

Now cowboys don’t have much call, to celebrate the New Year,
They’re mostly holed up in line camps, waitin’ for snow to clear.
They might be playin’ cards or tellin’ tall ones with a grin
Or writin’ letters home or rememberin’ things back when.  

But there are those few-- thinkin’ back on life and its strange way-- 
Who ‘member when Kid Short saved a life and grew a bunch that day.
And how Zack Buck seemed to get tired of livin’ under stars
And moved back to the town to live his life in cattle cars.

Yet, we still see old Mac LaDue in duds all decked out fine,
Who passed away just this last year, too young at ninety-nine.
And there was Slim and Whitey, two cowpokes that paid no heed,
But proved the bravest of the brave and died in the stampede.

So now this old year’s soon gone, and another takes its place,
As the moon again rises and shows its familiar face.
But in that warm line camp, an old cowboy’s life never ends,
As long as that New Year comes, and it’s shared with all his friends.    

Details | Cowboy | |

Prospector at the Intersection

It was just another road construction
Of a brand new super highway,
Only seconds just saved from destruction
On that cold, cloudy winter day.

The back hoe was about to crush it sure,
When the archeologist whoaed—
And they gently pried open and then tore
The pine box so long ago sowed.

Inside were some old fragile human bones,
And shreds of a prospector’s clothes—
An old hat and boots brown with earth’s tones—
Someone long dead from the gold rush’s throes.

Construction was briefly halted right there
For sonar searches of that land—
Finding echoes from more graves safe from care,
Laid to rest by a loving hand.

And so the decision will then be made
To cover or just move them all—
As the simple plans of man are then laid
For a graveyard or shopping mall.

And the story will so quickly just dim
Of that lost prospector’s demise—
As none care what ever happened to him,
As a gull wings out toward the west and flies.   

Details | Cowboy | |

A Cowboy Remembers 9/11

Two proud peaks rise up from the range,
Like a dream we all have of heaven—
They soar above white clouds and sky—
A remembrance of 9/11. 

New York’s a far piece to ride to,
But folks all know what happened that day—
When those twin towers both came down
And there wasn’t much left then to say.

There’s always some that mean you harm,
Out on the range or down by the creek—
And there’s a time to take a stand
And not to just turn the other cheek.

There are those that only want talk—
And those that say we should cut and run—
But that ain’t my America—
Americans always get things done!

A strong purple haze is rising
From the plains and cities of the earth—
It’s called American spirit—
It now reclaims the rights of our birth.  

Two proud peaks rise up from the range,
Like a dream we all have of heaven—
They soar above white clouds and sky—
A remembrance of 9/11. 

Details | Cowboy | |

He Who Sees Dreams

That wrinkled old Apache
He Who Sees the Dreams,
Is said to be half-crazy and old
As the rivers and the streams.

He says he saw two great mountains
Made of iron and of glass--
And then two silent Thunderbirds,
Before his dream did soon pass.

And then there came great lightning
As the birds hit solid rock,
Then both the mighty mountains fell
And all the world stopped in shock.

What next I asked He Who Sees Dreams:
He said it was unfulfilled.
Enemies like wolves surround you
And your great land goes untilled.

I trembled and then I shuddered
To hear of this dreary foe:
"There are those brave and those that die--
But rewards are what you sow."

These were last words of He Who Sees
As he pointed to the moon so high,
The two twin mountains were now gone,
But eagles filled morning sky.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Last Cowboy

Silent sage and chaparral
Gather ‘round the old corral,
Like the cowhands way back then
When the Old West did begin.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

He’ll soon sell his saddle, too—
Thinkin’ now that he’s all through,
But he lingers ‘round the gate
Still uncertain of his fate.

Though no wages does he draw,
He still works for grub and chaw
And still by the fire at night
He tells stories of his plight.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

Yet, still he comes ‘round the spread
Like a phantom of the dead—
We let him stay in the bunk
To spin windies and get drunk.

But his days now dwindle fast,
Still sad those times did not last—
But that cowboy never dies
In our songs and words and lies.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

Silent sage and chaparral
Gather ‘round the old corral,
Like the cowhands way back then
When the Old West did begin. 

Details | Cowboy | |

The Last Camp

As that new bunch drifted slowly into Deadwood,
Bill turned round in his saddle to Charley Utter—
Sadly told him something he’d always remember—
That which made the others smirk and weak hearts flutter:

“Charley, I feel this is going to be my last camp,”
Bill then softly said, “and I won’t leave it alive…”
Charley, Calam Jane and all the others just laughed—
But Wild Bill did not smile and he never replied. 

Even to that day, as Bill foretold his own doom
And wrote a letter to the wife he’d know no more: 
“Agnes… if such should be we never meet again…”  
Bill penned, “I will try to swim to the other shore.”

Next day, August second, eighteen seventy six,
Wild Bill Hickok went in that Saloon Number Ten—
And to this day, the rest they say is history—
Now that last Deadwood camp is still recalled by men. 

“Charley, I feel this is going to be my last camp,
And I won’t leave it alive….” Utter heard Bill say—
Or so he, Calam and Agnes long remembered
And his spirit grows all the stronger to this day.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Old Cowboys Ride the Sunsets

Old cowboys ride the sunsets
And seize each day as their own—
They leave behind their regrets
And end up riding alone.

They’ll tell you there was a time
When each man made his own choice—
When being a man was no crime
And each man had his own voice.

Used to be men tipped their hats
And stood up for women folk—
Before men became door mats
And were thought of as a joke. 

Not all rode off in sunsets
Some still haunt the old corrals—
While the Old West still begets
New cowboys the Lord allows.

Still cowboys ride the sunsets
Off into red setting suns—
Still men in all their respects
Still sticking to their old guns.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Ol' Hitchin' Rail

Ol’ Kiley, he’d gone out a ridin’,
Just to clear his weary head—
‘Bout the workin’ of this busy world
And how it done changed the spread.

Seems things they were just changin’ too fast,
And new owners had fired men—
Ol’ Kiley, he figured he’d go next—
Just didn’t know why or when.

Then right in the middle of nowhere—
Like he’d just seen him a ghost—
Sure ‘nuff amid the grass and the sage,
Stood an ol’ wood hitchin’ post.

But it weren’t really just a post now—
It were two posts and a rail—
Where long ago you tied up your horse
After ridin’ down some trail.

Kiley hitched his hoss there and got down,
And it gave him pause to think—
As he kicked the remnants of a trough
Where once the horses could drink.

But here it was now, all by itself—
No buildin’s ‘round - all alone,
Nothin’ to mark where once it belonged
As it stood without a home.

In front he could see the faint tracin’s
Of a buildin’s foundation:
A home, a store or stage coach stop
That marked a once great nation.

He stood there by his horse – shook a post
To test the strength of that rail—
And to his surprise it was solid
And not at all was it frail.

Then as he gazed across empty land—
He sensed change had come here, too—
And only our solid moorin’s last—
Without them we’re all just through.

And how was it, Kiley asked himself—
Sometimes we hitch up all wrong—
When we have the choice of tyin’ up
With life’s best where we belong?

And how come there are those sad ol’ times
When we didn’t hitch at all—
But just kept on ridin’ life real hard
Till ones we loved all turned small?

So Kiley unhitched his ol’ paint hoss
From that solid hitchin’ rail—
And he headed back to his new ranch
To face change that must prevail.

He looked back once at that hitchin’ rail—
Wondered how long it would last—
Till wind and sun and snow would weaken
The strength that now held it fast.

You see, there’s nothin’ certain in life
And there’s much at which we fail—
But time and change always ride with us,
When once we hitch to life’s rail.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Still Some Cowboy

There’s still some cowboy in America,
That just won’t go away—
You’ll find it East and West and South and North—
Lingering to this day.

It’s just something that you can’t quite define—
The right way to do a thing—
A walk, some straight talk, an honest handshake—
It makes our hearts still sing.

There’s still some cowboy in America—
Let’s pray it is not killed—
America won’t be America,
If dreams go unfulfilled.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Songs of Campfires

So sing the songs of campfires
And sing them without fail—
Sing them now among the pyres
And sing them on the trail.

Tell of things that used to be,
Tell of those gone before—
Make them stop now and just see,
Our heritage and lore.

And let them not forget us
Or all the things we’ve done—
We may brag and fight and cuss,
But we sure had some fun!

Don’t let those campfires burn out—
We got stories to spin!
The West is what we’re about—
We must remember when.

So sing them now all your days
And sing them to the Lord—
Sing them now a hundred ways
Before you cross that ford.

So sing the songs of campfires
And sing them without fail—
Sing them now among the pyres
And sing them on the trail.


Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy in the Glass

(Written as a tribute and based on the poem “The Guy in the Glass” or more commonly 
known as “The Man in the Glass” by Peter “Dale” Wimbrow.)

When you herd in those cattle and finish that race,
And life makes you the king for a day,
You look in bar mirrors at a scarred face,
And see what that cowboy has to say.

Oh, it wasn’t a mother, a wife or ol’ pard,
Who frowned on you ridin’ tall grass.
It was the ol’ coot who looks at you hard,
The cowboy starin’ back from the glass.

He’s the ol’ cuss to please, not the one you should mock,
He’s the last one that stays by your side.
He’s the one that stays steady, solid as rock,
The one by which you should abide.

You might be like some cowboys and live on rot rum,
And think you’re a heck-raisin’ poke,
But the cowboy in the glass knows you’re just scum
And you life’s nothin’ but a bad joke.

You may fool all the boys down the trails and sunsets,
And head this ol’ life off at the pass,
But rewards will be tears and so many regrets
If you’ve cheated the cowboy in the glass. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Ma James

All them folks ‘round here keep tellin’ me my boys ain’t no good.
They might be a tad bit wild, but they is jest misunderstood.
Ya see their paw died afore they got ta even know him—
Me raisin’ ‘em as a single mother made their chances slim.

But I did best I could; made ‘em live by the golden rule.
I knows they was doin’ more wrong than right, I ain’t no fool.
Then them Pinkertons sneaked ‘round here ta do ‘em some harm—
Killed their simple half-brother and done clear blew off my arm!

It’s not that I is bitter, but I wished down the wrath of God
When Bob Ford killed my Jesse and I laid ‘em in this sod.
They weren’t ‘bout ta steal my baby and put ‘em on display
Like they did them other gun men that had lived past their day.

So me and Frank tend ta Jesse who at last is at his rest,
I’m growin’ old and feeble and will soon past like the West.
So we’ll move Jess ta a proper place, let him sleep in peace—
Jesse always was the wild one, jest like the southward geese.

Details | Cowboy | |


The afternoon sun was warm and bright, as we sat underneath the old tree.
We'd ridden the buggy out from town, my dog, my sweetheart and me.

The blanket was spread out in the shade, a lunch of chicken and bisquits and tea.
We were ready to enjoy the day, my dog, my sweetheart and me.

I gazed at her there with eyes so blue, and hair like new spun gold,
And wished the day to last forever, in my memory to have and to hold.

But then I awoke and found, myself at the graveside to be,
And remembered that time from long, long ago...........
With my dog, my sweetheart, and me.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy That Found Life's Creek

He'd searched those plains for many years until he had grown weak,
He had all but given up on ever findin' ol' Life's Creek.
But there it was before him 'twixt the butte they called Tin Cup,
He and his horse needed water but Life's Creek was all dried up.

With cattle herdin' and each man's life, we often do ask why,
When things at last start goin' good, we just grow old and die.
Seems when young, ol' death ain't somethin' that we think about,
Until our life just goes all wrong and we become devout.

We ride 'round final questions and it seems we don't even think--
We say that the only answer is to live life on the brink.
Yet we know the sad alternative of dyin' right in our prime--
There's much we don't accomplish when we go before our time.

Yet now that this agin' cowboy had found that fabled stream,
Had it all been worth the journey for a tumbleweed dream?
And do all of our life's answers simply trick and mock us,
Or is there some higher mountain in which to put our trust?

We just keep tryin' and it seems we always need a friend
To prod us into ridin' down that ol' trail to the end.
We know that we're just small specks in some eternal eye--
Yet we do the best we can, till we just grow old and die.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Face In the Lake

Wiley McCracken was many things,
But it can be said he was no fake—
Yet folks only smiled and they nodded
When he spoke of the face in the lake.

They said it was years of prospectin’,
Then long years of hard north woods loggin’,
That made him see the world different
And may have somehow touched his noggin’.

Ol’ Wiley never paid mind to creeks
Or oceans or all them wild rivers—
But when he came round to a clear lake,
It gave us all shakes and the shivers.

He’s slowly ease up to that lake’s edge
And peer out blankly into the blue—
While cowpokes or whoever would watch,
Just to see what fool thing he would do. 

Wile would gaze into the lake water,
Then he’d shake his head like he was sad—
And he’d stare at faces around him,
Like he was searchin’ for something bad.

Then he traveled with a wagon train
And they took out headin’ to the west—
And Wile sadly watched the lakes they passed,
Knowin’ that not lookin’ then was best.

But the train stopped outside a near town,
Then sure ‘nuff, there was a lake and face—
But ol’ Wiley couldn’t help himself
And by water’s edge he took his place.

Then there came forth a tall, fair gambler,
Who some said went by the name of Bill—
That stood next to Wiley by the lake
To see if that dark face was there still.

“I had me a dream,” the gambler said,
“About swimmin’ to the other shore”—
But he only saw his own pale face
And he would not look on it no more.

”I never see my own face,” said Wile,
“It’s the one thing I look for, friend—
I only see the next to pass on
And a number, just now that was ten.”

The gambler grew even paler yet,
For now, at long last he understood—
He’d be dealt a hand in that saloon
In the ill-fated town of Deadwood.

Next day, Wiley McCracken returned
To look again at the lake and face—
While Wild Bill was makin’ history
And Wiley’s image now took his place.

Details | Cowboy | |

Why Andy Was Devine

As big as all outdoors – that was Andy Devine,
With a huge, toothy grin that just lit up the screen
And made our sad ol’ black and white world really fine—
It just wouldn’t have been the same if he’d been lean!

He never got top bill – he always made the rounds,
Playin’ second fiddle to all the cowboy stars.
It was all right he weighed almost four-hundred pounds—
Made it funnier when he waddled in those bars!

That squeaky, scratchy voice made our hair stand on end,
As we all looked around to see where it came from,
Though he seemed a dough boy, you knew he was a friend,
‘Cause he made you laugh and you knew he wasn’t dumb.

When they made him he was so big they broke the mold—
It will be many years before we see his kind—
But there’s many a horse now whose back does not fold
‘Cause Andy’s not there to put the hurt on their spine! 

And though it seems we always laugh at the fat man,
There was much more to that good ol’ Andy Devine—
He made us see ourselves as became his fan—
It’s not how he looked – in the end, it’s what we find.

Details | Cowboy | |

Searchin' For the Elephant

He was a roustabout ranahan always movin’ on,
Ridin’ over that next hill for dreams to rely upon.
No one tried to stop him – didn’t know the meaning of can’t,
The boys knew he was restless – searchin’ for the elephant.

He could have been the ranch’s top hand or a fine range boss,
But there were too many rivers and tall mountains to cross.
He’d be fine a few weeks, then you’d see far sky in his eyes,
As he longed for blue horizons, green range and red sunrise.

Then when he got some older, his ramblin’s slowed down a bit,
They’d see him more on the high point where he’s stare and sit.
Soon he married and settled down on a government grant—
Till one day he just vanished – searchin’ for the elephant.

Details | Cowboy | |

Those Halcyon Hero Days

Smiley sold autographs and pieces of his hat, they say—
In halcyon movie days when heroes just blew away.

There came a time western movie jobs were sparse as hen’s teeth,
And Ken and Kermit Maynard retired and lived on relief.

Ken was reduced to a trailer on a Hollywood lot,
Where he nursed pride and bottles and dreamt of what he was not.

And fans that came to talk with him had no need of poses,
As long as they brought ‘long a bottle of Seven Roses.

Then Ken would show them his fancy holsters with guns loaded—
And he’d relive days again of heroes and villains he goaded.

But though he did not have much, those guns were still his prize—
“He’d not sell them for anything,” was written in his eyes.      

Two pension checks were all he lived on, and they seemed paltry—
One from government and a false named one from Gene Autry.

So it went with now rare jobs, he lived more like a hermit—
But even with the drink, he outlived his brother Kermit.

And so it went in better times when cowboys had their say—
In halcyon movie days when heroes just blew away.