When doves on evenings, calm and still, call out a hollow tone,
They rouse a medley, old as time, so few have ever known.
The whispered lines of its refrains resound of yesterday,
In ancient tales and bygone trails that man cannot portray.
I’ve rode and worked along a trail throughout my many years.
I’ve heard the tales the sages tell of raging Longhorn steers,
Of soldiers marching single file or mounted days on end,
Of Indians, conquistadors and Rangers tracking men.
Mackenzie Trail is not well known for time obscures its fame,
But high regard is placed on it by those who know its name.
Its story’s scribed in black and white, its remnants etched in stone,
Its way was marked by sweat and blood, by grave and bleaching bone.
The broad frontier that it traversed had yet to be surveyed
And danger seemed to lie in wait at every turn and grade.
From Fort Clark Springs to forts on north, it led Mackenzie’s men
To risk their lives out on the trail, then brought them home again.
A mound lies near Mackenzie Lake, where horse thieves met despair,
For Rangers tracked their hurried trail and hung them then and there.
And near a barn not far away, in Live Oaks’ blissful shade,
The remnants of a camp still lie where soldiers often laid.
I’ve rode the trail and damned the rock that cost my horse a shoe.
I’ve crossed its draws that filled with rain and made my lips turn blue.
Its rugged paths have tested me and all who’ve come this way,
Yet, it remains my trail through time, my bond with yesterday.
Mackenzie Trail will long survive, a monument to will,
That I recall when I ride near on evenings, calm and still;
When doves exclaim in harmony, their lonely, hollow tone
And rouse the medley, old as time, so few have ever known.
Copyright © Jim Fish
Rather lost, they stare over the divide,
how best to circumnavigate this obstacle?
They can see a path gently sloping down
but it is far off to the north two days ride.
West is back from whence they had come,
east is an impassable cliff of sheer rocks.
They can not see far to the south but maybe,
they talk it over and head into the unknown.
Tumble weed rolling by pushed by the wind
as playfully it blows them into their path.
Miniscule trees dot the flat plateau
and small shrubs popping up here and there.
In a hurry they head on swiftly southwards
and soon start to descend to the valley below.
Billy is pale with anxiety as they push on
his wife Betty is due to give birth.
Sammy casts worried looks at his friend knowing
there is little he can say that will help.
At last they reach the valley and gallop on
Just another five miles will they make it in time?
Their horses now struggling, sweat pouring off them.
Billy's homestead comes into view cattle scattering
as they gallop through the herd and into the yard.
Sammy hangs back as Billy dashes in to Betty.
In full labour she screams "Where have you been?"
"The preacher is here to wed us. Did you get the ring?"
"I have it here" said Billy and without delay they were married.
And within minutes the twins arrived a boy and girl both bawling.
"Geezers you cut that close Billy" said Sammy
as they slumped on the front porch drinking beer.
"We made it in the nick of time" replied Billy
flushed with the joy and fulfilment of life.
contest: Cowboys in the Badlands
Copyright © Shadow Hamilton
Cowboys in the Badlands
Out West, across the great divide
great open spaces oceans wide
Beauty in these badlands does hide
everything fights us as we ride
Last stop, was exciting wild Abilene
shot an hombre that was very mean
Watched him bleed as he slowly died
his gal held him and loudly she cried
Before, she had sworn love to me
next his dying love she swore to be
Riding away fast, ahead of the Law
looking back, cloud of dust we saw
My partner lit out on me last night
cried this was surely not his fight
He turned back east galloping so fast
we had our time, had a damn blast
Ahead the badlands beckon me on
this cowboy life sets me all alone
Hot as hell the water miles ahead
A night's rest to clear my head
Morning sun woke me to its heat
no bread, bacon and eggs to eat
My water is in very short supply
always fleeing, I ponder just why
No time to enjoy such pretty views
my path ahead my life must choose
Avoiding Indians and the chasing men
forever alone with never a friend
This beauty now I can slow to see
posse has surely given up on me
Coyotes call , rattlesnakes do hiss
comfort of town I do sorely miss
Found now, a trail to old Mexico
across the Rio Grande I now go
Far behind, hot hell races after me
dancing with pretty senoritas I'll soon be!
Copyright © Robert Lindley
I squint my eyes from the glaring sun
As I drive cattle across the open range.
I am the youngest hand, so I ride drag
Covered by the dust stirred into the wind.
This is the life I have chosen
To hear the steady creaking of my saddle
The songs of the cowboys as they lead the herd
The lowing cattle as they smell water.
This is the life I live
To see the endless stretches of prairie
The hens and rabbits scuttling away
The ponderous beasts flowing in a living stream.
This is the life I love
Watching the horses graze peacefully at night
The cattle milling about during my night ride
My horse's gentle breathing as I circle them.
May this be my lot while here I remain
May I drink from the freely flowing streams
And breathe the pairie air until I die.
Whether life be short or long
May I ever onward toil, and be content
With the satisfaction of honest work
With the steady pounding of hooves
Biscuits and chili by a wavering fire
And sleeping under the sky on the open range.
Copyright © Isaiah Zerbst
The trail was long and very dusty
great clouds churned up by hooves
of the vast herd being wrangled on
300 more miles of eating their dust
Bandana's tightly wrapped round faces
cries of "get up there" ringing out
bawling calves separated from mothers
hiss of hot branding irons scorching
A rumbling constantly moving mass
stretching back as far as eyes can see
horses reeling back and forth, pushing
always pushing them on, 200 miles to go
Storm is approaching as they settle down
tightly bunched up wranglers keeping watch
hard as nails falls the rain, lashing down
cattle milling round and round as flashes
Of lightning light up the sky causing
restless beasts to try to break and flee away
tumultuous thunder now joining in causing panic
"Keep them circling, don't let them break out"
Came the cries of the foreman as they tried to hold
chuck wagon knocked over as through camp they run
woe to anyone on foot or even a thrown rider
"keep them going south, They will stop at the river"
Gradually the storm quietens and dies down
first light shows how scattered they are
some needing to be shot where they lay mangled
the rest pushed through the river to the plains
Here they can be regrouped, lush grasses to eat
no urgency now 10 miles or so a day we push them
letting them gain some more weight, 50 miles to go
the foreman sends two men on to warn the yards
At last they see the rail tracks, only 15 miles away
"one last big push lads and we will have them there
tonight we will wet our whistles and eat like kings"
hot tubs to soak in, washing away dirt that is caked
We push them into the waiting pens as they bawl and churn
settled now with fresh hay and water the plaintive calls
of mothers looking for their calves, the wranglers push
them together keeping the bulls apart, they will ship first
Now work is done, 800 miles or so we have driven them
it is time to relax and let our hair down, find ladies
of the night with which to dally for awhile, some poker
played, several fights break out over who gets which one
As dawn breaks low rumbles from the pens as the cattle stir
the town but for a few still fast asleep, until the train
spitting steam and smoke arrives, and buyers now alight
many offers are made and rejected out of hand, these cows
Are already sold to keep our armies fed as they war against
the Maverick Indians, that are plundering the homesteads
30,000 at first of drove, now reduced to 27,000 or so
loaded up on the train our job is done we are homeward bound
contest Epic Only
Copyright © Shadow Hamilton
I took my periodic stroll through the local antique store today.
There were the usual horse collars, clocks and various sundries on display.
Havin' no need fer horse collars and sech, I quickly passed them by,
But a paintin' of an abandoned stagecoach really caught my eye!
The artist depicted it in a field overgrown with tumbleweeds and brambles.
It looked so very forlorn, its former glory now in a total shambles!
I contemplated this poignant scene and mused upon its past,
And how it may have helped conquer the western frontier so very vast!
I could picture the cranky driver a-cussin' and crackin' his leather whip,
Stingin' the ears of his cantankerous mules urgin' them on to a faster clip!
As they raced across arid deserts and rounded treacherous mountain curves,
How the passengers must've been jostled, gittin' on each others nerves!
I visualized the characters that old stage must've transported to the west!
There were gamblers seekin' suckers, concealin' ample aces in their vest!
Platoons of preachers clutchin' their Bibles were numbered 'mongst the hosts,
And young and innocent teachers were headin' west to teach at army posts!
Soiled doves, plyin' their trade, were headed fer sawdust saloons.
I wondered if the old stage had ever been sacked by outlaws and their goons.
I reckon the old derelict had earned its repose - its axles no longer squeal.
If only that old stage could speak! My oh my! The secrets it might reveal!
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
(c) All Rights Reserved
Copyright © Robert L. Hinshaw
He was an old Crow Indian
Rejected by all his kin,
That never fit in any world,
But now lived among white men.
He must have been near one hundred
In our scale of years on earth,
And acquired a wealth of wisdom
From the first day of his birth.
All his words would tell his visions,
And I can hear them all still—
Especially his prophecy:
The dark horse upon the hill.
The time would be of many storms,
And grim changes would occur—
There would be wars and many deaths
And the bloody, silver spur.
The chiefs would be great and many,
Yet their medicine be bad—
And on the land would be defeat—
Squaws would wither and be sad.
Yet, there would still be one more feared
To trap us with his cruel will—
The one that spoke of hope and change:
That dark horse upon the hill.
And so the once great nation falls
And becomes like all the rest—
The mighty banner now unfurled
As it sinks into the West.
Yes, that old Crow saw it all then—
Now we know the coming chill—
We hold blinded eyes open to
The dark horse upon the hill.
Copyright © Glen Enloe
I’ll go a ridin’ no more through blue stem or chaparral,
Just lead my horse to pastures of green.
I’ll watch those rose ruby suns ease on past the ol’ corral—
Think back on the things I’ve done and seen.
Oh, you can’t go on a ridin’ for all your livelong days—
You’ve got to know when to settle down.
You’ll gently pet your ol’ horse as you put her out to graze
And soon life won’t seem so bad in town.
But when blue bonnets and the high plains send their callin’ card,
Your restless feet start to feel that itch.
Then it don’t matter if you’re stove-up or your butt is lard—
That feelin’ calls to the poor and rich.
Just once more I’ll go a ridin’ in the sorrel and sage—
Testin’ my ol’ horse for all it’s worth.
And I know that time cannot stop me, even at my age,
From ridin’ free of the reins of earth.
Copyright © Glen Enloe
Sentenced to hang in the town of Lincoln,
Billy made his bold escape.
Both of his guards died from thinking
that a shackled young boy couldn't break away.
I've often wondered what thoughts were going through his head
as he stood staring out that window chained to the floor by his bed,
watching the gallows being built that would soon seal his fate.
Was he planning at that very moment his greatest escape?
Did he already know that his hanging would never come to be?
Was he already aware that before night fall, once again he'd be free?
Whatever his thoughts, they were interrupted rudely
by Deputy Bob Ollinger, one of his guards while in custody.
"Word has it you said that if we ever met again you'd kill me on the spot.
Well here I am Kid. Now's your chance. Show me what you've got.
It's a shame that you'll hang in another week or two,
because I'd love to be the one who gets to kill you.
I've got 16 silver dimes in the barrells of my shotgun.
I'd love to try them out on you, but I can't unless you run.
If I free you from those chains will you run for the door?
Oh by the way Kid, your Ma was one sweet dirty whore.
I'll kill you before you hang Kid. That's a sure bet."
"Be careful Bob," said the Kid, "I'm not hung yet."
Bob thrusted his shotgun hard into Billy's gut.
The Kid looked up at him in pain and said, "Now what?"
"Don't do it Bob," Bell screamed angrily,
"or you'll be the one who'll hang for sure
for killing an unarmed man in cold blood
who was chained helplessly to the floor.
It's time for the other prisoners to be escorted across the street to be fed.
The Kid's not going anywhere. He's chained to the floor by his bed.
Anyway, I took the prisoners last so now it's your turn.
Go and have yourself a beer and I'll stay here
and guard the Kid until you return."
Bob Ollinger placed his shotgun into the gun rack.
Before he left he said to Billy, "I'll see you when I get back."
No one can say for sure if the above dialog ever truly took place,
but one thing's for sure,
Ollinger tormented Billy at a merciless endless pace.
They were arch enemies who fought against each other
during the Lincoln County War.
Ollinger was in the posse that killed John Tunstall,
Billy's employer, friend and mentor.
"I have to use the privy Bell," Billy said to the deputy.
Bell kept his rifle trained on Billy as he tossed him the key.
Billy unlocked the chains that kept him bound to the floor.
Still in handcuffs and leg irons, Bell escorted Billy out the door.
Billy entered the outhouse closing the door behind him.
"Let's not take too long in there Kid," Bell said with a humorous grin.
While in the outhouse Billy managed to slip one of his hands out of his handcuff.
"You fall in there Kid?" Bell laughed, "You've been in there long enough."
"I'm coming out now Bell," Billy said opening the door.
"Sorry I took so long Bell. I must have ate something bad for sure."
Deputy Bell then escorted Billy back to the jail cell.
Once inside, Billy spun around and smacked hard Deputy James Bell.
Bell lost his balance, dropped his rifle and was momentarily stunned.
"Hands Up Bell!," the Kid yelled. In his hand was a gun.
"Please don't do it Bell," Billy pleaded, but Bell tried to run.
The Kid had no choice but to do what had to be done.
He shot and killed Bell, then went and got Ollinger's shotgun.
The Kid never found pleasure in killing,
but Ollinger would indeed be the exception.
Knowing that Ollinger heard the gunfire, Billy stood by the window
and waited for Ollinger to appear in the street down below.
One senior named Godfrey saw Bell fall dead down the stairs.
The moment probably gave Godfrey a few more gray hairs.
Ollinger ran out into the street as Godfrey screamed,
"The Kid's killed Bell!"
Ollinger looked up into both barrels of his own shotgun
and whispered, "..and now he's killed me as well."
"Hello Bob!," Billy called out with a song in his heart
just prior to blowing Bob Ollinger apart.
He blasted both barrels into Ollinger's chest and face.
Pieces of old Bob lay scattered all over the place.
Billy smashed his shotgun in two, threw it at him but missed.
"You'll never rifle me again," he screamed, "you son of a b*tch!"
On the balcony he addressed the crowd whose jaws hung agape.
"I don't want to hurt anyone,
but I'll kill anybody who tries to prevent my escape."
In the office he found a sledge hammer
and smashed the chains of his leg irons free.
He told Godfrey to fetch him a fast horse immediately.
As he walked down the stairs, he came upon Bell's lifeless body
and many eyewitnesses admit
that the Kid looked upon him and said almost tearfully,
"I'm sorry I killed you Bell, but couldn't help it."
As Billy mounted the horse the chains of his leg irons startled the beast.
The horse reared up and threw Billy down onto the street.
He was at this point his most vulnerable laying down on the ground.
The crowd could have overtaken him easily, but none made a move or a sound.
Once again Billy mounted the horse
and fled with the sound of his leg iron chains ringing.
Many claim that as he rode out of Lincoln County
that they heard the Kid singing.
Billy had escaped danger so many other times in his past,
but this was his greatest escape ever. It would also be his last.
"I had no intention of killing either one of them. My plan was to tie and gag Bell and then get out of there before Ollinger got back, but then things went terribly wrong.....I certainly didn't want to kill Bell, but I had to in order to save my own life....I never felt happier than when I gave it to old Bob. I said, "Look up here old boy and see what you're getting". I then blasted him in the face and breast. He use to ride me to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore."
- Billy the Kid
Copyright © SillyBilly theKidster
Living lonely lives,
Cowboys are known for riding
Into the sunsets
8 May 2014
Copyright © Mark J. Halliday
A black and white horse
My greatest childhood friend
Always by my side
Copyright © grace freeman
Ah war out a walkin
Ut war a Sunday morn
Mah chores war all did
Warn't no need fer me et home
Ah walks along tha river
What does goes by er place
Hearin tha crickets singin
Un watchin dragonflies un tha chase
Tha rivers a little lively
Fer tha rain done brung er up
Un stead uve a little girgle
Ut souns more like "sup"
Ah war almost ta mah favor ite log
Wen ah does sees a dog
He jist stans un looks et me
N ah's goes walkin up
Then ah' see's uh movement
Un ut war a horse
He sniffs tha air un stares et me
Un never makes a noise
Over thar un mah log
Un much ta mah surprise
War un ol' man sittin
Un never even blinks un eye
Ah jist kinda moz ies over
Un sits down un tha end
Tryin hard not ta bothers um
Cause he war a snorin
Then thar war a little sound
Frum a rock across tha way
We's both looks ovar thar
Ta see's what tha frog has ta say
As he war a sayin his piece
The dog cumed right up
He war gonna catch tha guy
But he has ta swims tha river first
Than tha horse done gived a whinney
Un walks up ta tha man
Nuzzlin tha fellers cheek
An pawin tha white san'
Ah sez "I's sorry
If'n I's buttin un"
Tha ol' man done shakes his head
Tilts his hat un sez "No mam"
"We's jist un a journey
Un sides ta takes a break
Ut war kinda perty here
So we's jist sits here un tha shade"
"Horse youse jist stops ut
Her ain't did nothin wrong
Her jist likes ta listen ta
Tha little feller's song"
"Dog youse cumes back here
Youse don't likes ta swim
If'n youse two don't calms down
We'll be's un er way again
"Well ah's sorry mam
Ut's still perty early un tha morn
But ah guesses Wild Lighten un Duke
Er ready ta goes un with er journey bourne"
Thanks Bob Hinshaw for the idea
Copyright © Marycile Beer
For more than forty years he mustered horses to the yard,
Reminding all the younger blokes “You’ve ‘gotta’ stay on guard,
For even decent broken horses have a spirit that is high,
And the months of lengthy grazing, can make them saddle shy”.
His spoken word was ‘gospel’ to the ringers on the rail,
As they watched the flighty gelding with it’s sinewed body flail,
In a wretched test of strength between a man and bucking horse,
With just a moment lapsing came a death demanding force.
The sickening thud of hoof against the now defenseless skull,
Placed a numbness through the ringers in a seeming timeless lull,
Some rushed toward their mentor, some to keep the horse at bay,
And every face looked grim as they carried him away.
Time can seem eternal when the basic aids are not of use,
A man is hardly breathing and his limbs are falling loose,
When the doctor is still coming from an hour’s flight away,
And the women of the station ask the station men to pray.
Throughout the day the horses wait beneath the bloodwood shade,
And ringers eager in the morn have felt their interest fade,
Their thoughts are feeling for the man upon a homestead bed,
Not knowing if the man’s alive, or if the man is dead.
Their faces gray and gaunt have their vision quite impaired,
As they sought their own direction and in silence quietly stared,
With prayers of understanding (that ringers rarely speak),
The silence and the waiting turned around their other cheek.
The hours passed to falling dusk and still there is no word,
The whinnying of a waiting horse is all that can be heard,
And the tension in the quarters caused a snap toward a bloke,
When the eerie still was broken by… “Has anyone a smoke?”
Through homestead blinds by shadows, steady movement could be seen,
The ringers broke their silence wondering what the movements mean,
They walked across the yard and heard the footsteps on the floor,
And every mind was focused on the opening of the door.
Copyright © Lindsay Laurie
Legend says their eyes are the gateways to their kind, gentle souls,
They give sight to the blind and help the wheelchair bound run again,
They find the lost and heal the sick,
They are the best listeners and teachers,
Ive seen this majestic creature save a child before he had a seizure,
My own life has been saved by these Gentle giants,
They seek a true life long friendship and love from us,
Sometimes they are misunderstood as aggressive, dangerous or unintelligent,
This is so far from the truth,
As a wise cowboy once said " there are no bad horses, just horses with bad expiernces and habits",
they need a friend who is compatible with their personality to handle them and love them,
they all deserve a second chance like they have given us,
now its our turn to save them like they have saved us,
its time for us to be the horses guardian angles.
Copyright ©2014 MeganHuntington
Copyright © Megan Huntington
Majestic he stands
Head held high and proud
Until I draw near tack in hand
His mussel to my chest he bows
Our eyes fixed
With deepest affection
Respect from me
From him acceptance
His nostrils flair
He inhales my scent
A bond beyond fences
A mutual consent
About horse and rider
How can I explain
This communion of splendor
With reverent candor
Can any man compare
Who would be considered grander
Horse or rider if you dare
Nobility without pride
Beauty without vanity
Majesty without disciple
Power without violence
Do you still wonder why I'm longing for the ride
When he challenges the wind for speed
Brushed by heaven with every stride
Intimacy mounted here on "Spirit's Pride"
My steed and I in harmony
Exhilaration captivates my senses
Pounding hooves, his earthen scent
Taut muscles ripple in sweat profusely drenched
He heeds the slightest touch of rein
His saddle is my alter of prayer
When he on oceans sands a trot
My soul is healed all disrepair
In bed I lay awake tonight my mind a heavy load
His blaze is blazoned in my memory burned
Of black night mane and chestnut coat
A quatrain tribute to his name he's earned
Still you may not understand
This yearning so many take in stride
Of horse and rider pure joy provider
And oh such longing for the ride
Copyright © Sarai Romani
Gunfight in old Abilene
With his hat drawn way down, reins loose in his hands
His horse sweating pints, the sun burning down
The dust from the trail was choking his throat
The Abilene sign, said, two miles to go
He rode into town, stared the folk down
He pulled up his horse at the watering trough
All scuttled inside as his boot hit the ground
The word was soon spread, that he was in town
His aim to avenge, a brother who’d died
By hand of a cowpoke, o’er game o’ cards
Known to be cheating and fast with a gun
He’d drawn and fired on unarmed man
Stepped out the poke, with a gun on each side
The stranger he sees with a look in his eye
Some paces they took, no words were exchanged
They stood face to face, staring each down
Silence it fell, the nerves were of steel
Dust blew around on the faintest of breeze
The desolate street, unreal in the scene
The stranger stood waiting, death in his eye
The air, it was crushed, as the guns they were fired
Bullets passed wild, on wings of hate
A thud, a cry, a hit was made
One fell to the ground, the sun burning down
The dust and the smoke, cleared from the air
Onto the street, the folks gathered round
Amazed at the speed the actions had been
Declaring the duel had seen a fair fight
He mounted his horse, tugged brim of hat,
His mission complete, justice on course
A man of the old west who never looked back
Where sun had gone down for the poke on the ground
Copyright © Richard D Seal
The summer sun was high. The heat was oppressive.
A whalebone corset dug into my body's tender parts.
Peering from the shop, my hand touches the pane
of dearly brought glass it vibrates with the hoof-beat of riders.
The weak, blue-sky pales, clouding over with the dust.
Children playing hoop, let it drop with an unheard clatter.
Inside Fort Laramie’s provisioner, Mrs. Dreary's dropped-plate clatters.
Outside, a thunder of hoofs race pell-mell through heat, oppressive.
“Indians!” Children run through the street's miasma of dust.
Folks in wagons and on horseback flee for other parts.
“Sioux,” I nod. Gunshots ring through the air savaging the riders.
The shopkeeper’s wife babe in arms runs up the stairs, baby screams in pain.
Arrow flights buzz by shattering the shop's window panes.
The Indians leap from horse back to tile roof raising a clatter.
Mr. Dreary reaches for his Sharp shooter and aims at the riders.
A cat’s eye marble falls from the toy display, a mundane oppression.
Dreary slams shut the door, shards of glass scatter, bullet parted.
“Mame, git away from that window! Gener’l Connor’ll kill me if y’ur dusted.”
My eyes, now black and hollow as a barn owl's, tear, full of dust.
“Damn heathens,” Mr. Dreary cusses as bullets fly through broken panes.
He pulls me behind him and opens the useless glass door. “Thop” an arrow parts
his scalp. He falls back, landing beside me,his spurs clattering.
The baby screams again. I turn to see Mrs. Dreary's oppressive
grip on the child. “He’s dead.” She says grabs the Sharp and kills the next rider.
The soldiers finally arrive and chase the mongrel band of riders.
Mrs. Dreary, babe in one arm, Sharp in the other, kicks the marble in the dust.
She walks through the door, out of one carnage into another type of oppression,
the soldiers are executing the Sioux braves. Children watch in pain.
Across the street a lone warrior perches. A roof tile clatters
to the dirt. His arrow flies and a soul is parted.
Falling with blind numbness, forward, down, parting
the water in the horse trough left for the riders.
My brass buttons and flint arrowhead scrape the tub clattering,
no one in the street notices my departing in the day's dust.
My open mouth fills with bile and the rancid taste of pain.
“How improper,” was my last lucid thought, truly oppressive.
A clatter of hoofs rocks my parting.
The oppression, of man against man leaves, with the riders.
Only dust and the pain of the living remain.
Copyright © Debbie Guzzi
Back in the days, when men bold,
spun golden legends;
of exploits in the wild west;
of punch-in and herd-in cows
and saloon brawls where they’d shoot
and scores of bullets roared.
Stories of the Iron Horse’s roar
and gunfighters and marshals, bold;
Of gamblers, who’d go shooting
for the stars in cards; those were feats of legend.
Days when plains of cows,
fur-painted the landscape of, the old west.
These are the breed that won the west,
as across the plains, the Iron Horse roared.
those are the backs worn, herding cows;
the exploits of the brave and bold.
those brave and haggard legends
made of silver spurs and pearl-handled shooters.
You’re darn toot-in, shoot’in
like that, was what won the west.
While the Iron Horse died, its legend
lives on, belching out its roar,
across the plains, so bold.
Still, cowboys herd and rope their cows.
Modern day cowboys, herding cows
by truck and shootouts
no longer ring so boldly.
Wild no more, is the west,
where now, only cars and planes roar.
Yet, there still live the legends.
They aren’t as great, these new legends,
but it doesn’t phase the cows.
They calmly graze, amid the airplanes roar.
Though one may say, “shoot,
it’s spoiled now”, the legends live on, in the west,
of heroes brave and bold.
The west will always, have its legends, Though trains no longer roar.
Cowboys will always rope their cows, as they did in the old, wild west.
Upon museum walls, stories of the shootouts,
are told; of ancient heroes brave and bold.
Copyright © M. L. Kiser
Old CAP'N CRUNCH was hanging out one day
With the bunch at SPECIAL K Ranch
When FROOT LOOPS from the city rode by
With their pay CHEX in their pants
Greeted them each with warm CHEERIOS
Asked them if they'd ever SHREDDED WHEAT
They were full of PEP and said no not yet
His shock was TOTAL and COMPLETE
So he thought he'd show these SUGAR PUFFS
Just how cow pokes get their KIX
He mounted his faithful horse APPLE JACKS
And performed a bunch of neat TRIX
He turned on the JETS and performed like a vet
Wearing LUCKY CHARMS on his belt
Landed on his MUFFET when his horse reared up
Crushed his NUTS 'N HONEY they swell't
©Jack Ellison 2012
Copyright © Jack Ellison
A lone rider sits high in the saddle,
As the horizon's sunrise spreads across,
The open prairie.
Twin pearl handed pistols rest at his side,
As rusty spires clang against wooden planks,
At the deadwood saloon.
Legends cowboys whisper his name,
On the dry desert winds,
A giant of a man whom breathed
Life again into the legacy,
Of the old west.
His side swagger's walk trademark
On the larger than a life screen.
The duke truly represents the great
American hero on horse back.
Six shooters drawn at high noon's
John Wayne's the trail dusts equalizer,
He always remained on the right side,
Of tin stars law.
The tumble weeds rolls along a dirt path,
As tall cactus stand on an arried canvas,
Life here is harsh and mean,
Where only the strong survive.
Bold individuals with the inner
Strength against god's forbidden land.
Harden men whom lived by one simple,
Rule I will do what ever it takes
To stay alive.
He'll join the ghost riders,
Forever driving the lords herds
Across the grand divides vast
Prairie sky’s as the sunsets
In the old west.
Alone figure rides high in saddle,
Set against a legends back drop,
Hell bound for glory,
In a cloud of gun smokes fog,
Behold the duke emerges,
With his hat on straight
And gun at the ready.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
Copyright © cherl dunn
Howdy! Howdy! Whoa!
Just give me a cowboy poet
The one in chivalrous hat
To write me a horse ride sonnet,
Or just make my heartbeat fast.
The one in chivalrous hat
Who can fight the Arm Jerker's buck
Or just make my heartbeat fast
With this poet on horse's back.
Who can fight the Arm Jerker's buck
He shall lasso the farther poem
With this poet on horse's back
A vaquero I must adjoin.
He shall lasso the farther poem
The bandanna tied on his neck
A vaquero I must adjoin
Wild West rider on a rodeo trip
The bandanna tied on his neck
Rollin' his Bull on a long way siesta
Wild West rider on a rodeo trip
Must be the buffoon of waddie's fiesta.
Rollin' his Bull on a long way siesta
A nighthawk must have rope and pen
Must be the buffoon of waddie's fiesta
In his bedroll writes till past ten.
A nighthawk must have rope and pen
That was him I am asking for
In his bedroll writes till past ten
No further questions,one can't ask more.
That was him I am asking for
To write me a horse ride sonnet
No further questions,one can't ask more
Just give me a cowboy poet.
Copyright © eldy catindoy
Where no ponies free ranged, I dreamt to break and wrangle paints.
Where ponies bent, broke and bridled, I dreamt to hang away my spurs.
Where no ponies free range, I have no spurs and wrangle paints.
Copyright © Mark Ackerson
Your hair is the meadow grass
Your eyes the big sky
The lines carved on your face
Speak the cruelty of the place
You call home
The saddle formed your stance
Ropes, your calloused hands
Your quiet confidence tells me
Of months spent on the prairie
Copyright © Mary Oliver Rotman
except by the horse tracks behind him
and the sagebrush,
like polka dots on a bed sheet,
stretching to the mountains ahead.
He’s alone but far from lonely
as he rides up through the snow
along a sagging fence line
with the valley down below.
Pausing where the wire is down
this old fence mender looks around
to see if he can find a clue
of just what critter busted through.
But fresh snow…
covers any sort of sign
except those horse tracks back behind.
So he picks up the wire
nails it back in its place
under gray skies that cover
this wide open space.
Then the clouds split apart
by shafts from the sun
as if they’re God’s spotlight
on a job that’s well done.
Boot and horse tracks
melt together as one
and tight wire is all that’s left behind.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2004
Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt
Ridin' down into the canyon
Looking for some strays
I chanced to think about
The passing of the days.
Been chasing after cattle
Seems a mighty long time
And all those days I ain't be able
To save so much as a dime.
Never thought I'd get rich
Hiring out with herds
But cowboyin' and old age
Seems really for the birds.
My backside and that old saddle
Have formed a kind of warp and woof
So the leather's highly polished
And now there's snow upon my roof.
When I was a young stud
With a bellyful of fire
Living day to day was okay
And riding out for hire.
But now the cows are contankerous
And cow ponies ain't so smart
So I've started in a-wishing
I had a gal to share my heart.
There was a gal in Lubbock
With long and yellow hair
But that was a long time ago.
She's no longer there.
I remember what it was like to love
Then left alone to ache
Lonely hours in the saddle
Every memory a heartbreak.
All those years riding the range
I've had some time to think
Of the difference 'tween Hereford hides
And skin so soft and pink.
But now time and youth are gone
Left back there in the colorful past
Old horse and I are all that's left
Alone on the range as long as we last.
by E. Marshall Evans
Copyright © Ed Evans
Imagine the joy! A word from the east
Delivered by pony express,
I ride into town on this nag of a beast
Fetching mail for my humble address.
Imagine the miles! Stretched far 'cross the plain
One rider, horse, saddle and bag,
Crouched o'er the withers, nose close to the mane
Spurred to relay before they might flag.
Imagine the hand! Crossed over the reins
As one man pulls back on the bit,
Another spurs on, fast and far 'cross the plains
Thus defining the truth in true grit.
Imagine the thrill! Mail passed hand to hand
From rider, to office, to nag,
Far west came my missive; a tip of my hat!
To the rider, horse, saddle and bag.
Copyright © Tom Hitt
An adventure I went
Full of laughter,
cheer and fun
A country themed day
that I will
Talk about, secrets
First dressing like
Tight fitting jeans
Next a shirt with
Snaps, not buttons,
A belt buckle so
cute and shiny
Not big, a little
A cowgirl hat on top
No brown, pretty
boots to wear
Fringe and spurs put
on with care
All decked out to
have a night
That will be a pure
My first country
Filled with care
Music gets my feet a
Not knowing how this
Somehow over the
course of time
I was in a dancing
Not drunk, but
losing all my
I was doing moves so
Soon I was sitting
on a bull
Hanging on tightly
Someone cranked it
up to high
I shot off into the
My singing is way to
To do any karaoke
Now I'm on stage out
Surprised I haven't
cleared the room
Hours go by and I
I can not leave this
Making a promise to
Everybody loved my
Of a first timer at
I never left a
My secret is safe of
That I am really a
Copyright © robin davis
When I received the greatest gift,
Was Christmas when I was ten;
That present gives my soul a lift,
When I think of it now and then;
I didn’t see a box with my name,
When I searched under the tree;
I thought my parents were playing a game,
And had hidden it from me;
I waited oh so patiently,
For my gift on Christmas Day;
And when mom put a blindfold on me,
I didn’t know quite what to say;
She marched me out the front door,
And held my hand so tight;
Just when I thought I could take no more,
I saw that glorious sight;
My dad was holding the reins,
To a horse with a big red bow;
He had ribbons tied in his mane,
With a coat that seemed to glow;
I burst out into happy tears,
As I reached out to touch his face;
It’s a moment I’ve remembered for many years,
No other could take it’s place;
My greatest gift was “Lucky”,
My horse so tried and true;
And I hope you’ll be as lucky,
To have a gift like that for you!
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
One Horse Town
The boardwalks full of people only two stood in the street.
The showdown of the century counting down to thirty feet.
Black Bart said this towns too small for you and I to both be in it.
Today's the day we found out which one of us will win it.
Handy Randy took a spit and looked up at the sun.
He said yep, the truth be known by the time this day is done.
A hush fell over the town folks mother's hid their children's faces.
The two men in the desert sun walked just a few more paces.
The sheriff called out that's close enough! I'm a countin down from three.
Who's the best in all the west this whole damn town will see.
When he called that magic number Barts face turned black as night.
Handy Randy drew his pencil and they both sat down to write.
Randy wrote of springtime rain and the sound of childrens laughter.
Bart penned a verse about Randy moving on to the hereafter.
Then Randy wrote another verse so quick he made it rhyme.
The sheriff said time is up Bart finished just in time.
They filed into the saloon and they ordered up a drink.
While the judges read their writings and told them what they think.
Again the crowd grew quiet as they eagerly watched the show.
Old Hank from the hardware store said he really liked Barts flow.
The blacksmith from the stable stood up and cleared his throat.
And in almost a whisper said I loved what Randy wrote.
Bill that ran the old hotel said there ain't use denying.
My wife is a Randy fan but she always ends up crying.
The barber from on down the street trembled neath Barts gaze.
He said Barts poetry's kinda dark but he likes it anyways.
Some town folks started clapping you could hear the women sigh.
For the third year in a row the judges ruled a tie.
For some folks love the softer side while there's some that like it deep.
And not all men do their dreaming at night while fast asleep.
Once again the call was made the choice was handed down.
Black Bart and Handy Randy stay in this one horse town.
Edwin C Hofert
Copyright © Edwin Hofert
There were Indians just over the Brazos
With a buffalo herd in between
They weren’t trying to stay hidden
They wanted to be seen
The chief of these Comanche
Buffalo Hump by name
They say no one's looked him in the eyes
Was ever quite the same
The COL said go parlay
Invite the chief to sup
I want to look him in the eye
And determine just what’s up
With our white sheet fluttering in the wind
Like the scalps on the big Chief’s lance
We started out across the plain
Taking quite a chance
Our crooked-tooth Pawnee scout
Led the way through the herd
Through the smell of a thousand animals
And the sound that would drown each word
I felt and smelled their hot breath
As I rode my pony near
I turned my pony into the throng
A pathway none too clear
Inching through the buffalo
Blinded by the dust
I held on fast to the reins
Just riding my pony's trust
Once through the thundering buffalo
I glanced up to the rise
The Indians still were waiting there
Much to my surprise
The Pawnee scout then turned to us
Said if they should attack
First take out the big chief
Then that little one in the back
I can understand the big chief
But why the little guy
He said he’s like a badger
He’ll fight until he dies
He said that one's a horse thief
The best you'll ever find
He'll snatch a horse from under you
As if you had gone blind
The big chief started towards us
Shut up the Pawnee said
You young boys keep your damn traps shut
I’ll do the talking instead
The Comanche’s body shone with grease
Had a necklace made of claws
He had a stench about him
That made you gag and pause
My eyes met the chief’s eyes
My hand rested on my gun
He had a look could kill a soul
But I was too scared to run
The Pawnee and Comanche
Spoke in some foreign tongue
I vowed to learn their language
While I was still young
Then all at once the chief turned
And rode on up the hill
Our Pawnee scout turned back for camp
But I just sat there still
For he had pointed at me
With that scalp encrusted lance
And said he’d have MY scalp one day
If he ever got the chance
For last week on the Brazos
Someone had killed his son
And looking me right in the eye
He knew I was the one
1st place finish in contest
For PD’s contest dare. Chapter 11 of Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry. It has been years since I read a western but am finding this one interesting.
Copyright © mike dailey