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Cowboy Life Poems | Cowboy Poems About Life

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

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Details | Cowboy | |

Hard Times

When hard times come they sit a spell, Like kin folk come to stay A-packin' troubles, pets an' kids That always get ‘n your way. It's drought an' flood, an' flood an' drought, There ain't much in-between. You work like hell to make ’em good, But still they’re sorta lean. The ranch went under late last year, The drought got mighty tough. The boss held-out a long, long time, But finally said, "enough!" So here I am dispatchin’ cops An’ watchin’ felons sleep, In Junction, at the county jail, A job I’ll prob’ly keep. The wife, she works at Leisure Lodge, Where older people stay, A-makin’ beds an’ moppin’ floors To earn some ‘extra’ pay. Though “extra pay‘s” the term I used, It goes to payin’ rent, An’ after all the bills are paid, We wonder where it went. We hocked my saddle, guns an' chaps, An' then our weddin' rings; Then when we couldn't pay the loan, They sold the 'dad-blamed' things. We felt real bad a day or two But then we let it go, Cause it got Christmas for the kids When money got real slow. When hard times come they sit a spell, Don't matter who you are; They'll cost ya things you've set aside, An' clean your cookie jar. You'll loose some sleep an' worry some, Won't pay to moan an' groan; But hang on to your happiness, They'll finally leave ya 'lone.

Details | Cowboy | |


We’ve shared the trail, kicked up some dust, An’ stood a storm or two. We’ve rode the plains, the wide frontier, The easy trails were few. You’ve listened like some wise old sage To ever thing I’ve said, An’ as a friend, supported me, No matter where it led. I wished I coulda carried you, The times you were in pain; Or rustled up some kinda shed To turn the blowin’ rain. I’ve come up shy with some your needs, You gave me more’n you got, But in your silence, seemed to know, I needed you a lot. Compadre, friend, amigo, pard; I called you all them things, But there’s been times, I swear to God, You musta had some wings, An’ He sent you to care for me Like no one had before. If you’as a man an’ not a horse, I couldn’t a-loved you more. We gave this ranch our sweat an’ blood, It’s yours as much as mine, An’ raised our young’uns through the years, An’ Lord they’re doin’ fine. They’re blazin’ trails an’ raisin’ dust, They’re off an’ runnin’ free. We’ve taught ‘em well an’ made ‘em strong; Compadre, you an’ me. I always knew the day would come When we would fine’ly ride, To join the Maker’s round-up time, Up on the Great Divide. I sorta hoped we’d share the trail But this was not to be, So, you go on, we’ll ride again; Compadre, you an’ me.

Details | Verse | |

Football, Beer, His Car and Kid

-The Same Old SongS-

That's all he ever talks about 


Details | Cowboy | |

Cowboys in the Badlands

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.

written 17/09/2014

contest: Cowboys in the Badlands

sponsor Isaiah

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 | |

Riding for Independence

We have been riding for ever so long;
Now our search for our freedom seems to be gone.
We only took; of that which we need;
And we had no tricks; hidden there up our sleeve.

For me it began when the banker came round;
And my daddy's ranch; was burned to the ground.
We were all wanted, with a price on our heads;
And we hoped if they found us, we’d fight till we're dead.

We lived life as outlaws, with weapons at hand;
And if time comes for hanging, we'll die like a man.
But we’re not alone, there are others around;
They're not hard to notice, they’re wearing a frown.

So they're building our gallows, nail by nail;
And we think hard about it, here in this jail.
But we made our choices; and then we got caught;
Yet we lived life as free men, never owned never bought.

From the view out the window, it's people I see;
They're tipping their hats; and smiling at me.
We may be convicted, but we're not disgraced;
And you won't see a tear, running down from our face.
So they plan to kill us, but our kind will not end;
There's cowboy’s now out there; who'll ride once again.
Me and the boys, we ran out of time;
But there will be others that come down the line.

So To all of you worms; who crawl in the dung;
You'll never stop hearing, the songs that we've sung.
You're hoping to change us, or get rid of us all;
But if we all ride as free men, perhaps you will fall.

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 | |

I'll Go a Ridin' No More

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. 

Details | Cowboy | |

where to now

holding tight the dream 
a million tomorrows 
each held the  promise, 
was too many lost  
traded for today
be the watcher as life fades 
wear the creases  from photograph's 
like old movies played often.
Time calls me away
with echo's of love no longer returned
so where too

Details | Verse | |

Sum Day Up Thar

Ah done cum frum tha ol' times
Whar we's jist roams free
I's gots a gun, a hoss un grub
'Un bedroll 'neath a tree.

Sum times ah jist works fer grub
An theys the tother times
Ah's jist watches tha stars 'bove
An sleeps un tha moons light.

Don't likes ridin' un tha rain
When lighten  flies 'bouts
T'ain't safe ta be's board youse hoss
If'n youse tha tallest thin 'round.

Seed sum thin tother day
Done made me's feels so small
War a cowboy on 'is knees
An 'is hoss with head bowed low.

Tha cowboy held hat un han
Un front a wood cross
He war prayin ta tha Lord 'bove
Fer all tha pards we's loss. 

Theys air up thar, that I's knows
Bacause las night I's seed
Ma frien Charlie ridin herd
Next ta ma pa, Reed.

One days I's 'll be up thar
An sum one down balow
Will looks an watches tha stars shine
Un sleeps 'neath tha moons glow.
                                  Cile Beer

Details | Cowboy | |

Faces in the Night

When the campfire’s out and you try to sleep,
But things don’t seem just right—
You toss and turn on that ol’ hard bedroll
And see faces in the night.

It just may be dreams or a sense of guilt
That now keeps you wide awake—
It may be bad stew or a wrong you did--
A friend you had to forsake.

You shut your eyes tight and let darkness come—
Pray those faces don’t appear—
But they always come and silently speak
To your conscience and your fear.

You see father’s face like it was those days
And wish you’d both had more time—
To ease all the things that then stood between 
Before he died in his prime.

And then there’s the face of your bother Tom,
Who worshipped you like a God—
Till he had fever and you laughed if off—
Then buried him in the sod.

But night always brings another dim face
Of the girl that you loved first—
Before she went and married someone else, 
And how your heart about burst..

So when the dawn comes to strike you awake,
And with tired relief you rise—
You still see those faces in sun’s red glare
And know part of you yet dies.

Too soon again bright campfires now burn low, 
As the sunset still brings fright—
For you know that sleep is not a good friend
And brings faces in the night. 

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 | Lyric | |

Redneck Angel

Redneck Angel
Lyrics By Robert Taylor

A thousand cases of beer
Hangin’ with Jack all night
Sleeping with women from a bar
Not knowin’ their names when I woke

Then I saw your eyes in the dark
Sitting alone in the bar
An Angel from heaven sent
Dressed in Daisy dukes
And red hot cowboy boots
You’re a backwards miracle

I walked over and talked to you
Just hoping that you were real
We talked and then we kissed
Spent our time together
Drinking, dancing and talking the night away
How could God have so blessed
A poor assed Redneck boy like me.

I saw you down at the swamp
Wearing plaid, with mud in your hair
You were a redneck angel from heaven
Dressed in Daisy Dukes
And red hot cowboy boots
You’re a backwards miracle

Then I gave my heart to you
At the Antioch Baptist Church
Vows given without fear
My love is yours forever
I looked at your eyes through your veil
And you were crying with happiness
You were a Redneck angel from heaven
Dressed in daisy dukes
Red hot cowboy boots
You’re a backwards miracle

How could God have so blessed
A poor assed redneck boy like me. 

Hiding but always in plain sight
Drinking, fishing, mud bogging
Things a girl shouldn’t do
How could you be who you are
Sharing my love and my life

How could God have so blessed
A Redneck like me. 

An angel from heaven sent
Dressed in Daisy Dukes
Red hot cowboy boots
You’re a backwoods miracle

Details | Free verse | |

Clever Insanity

It’s another day, yes, another day
Another day to watch my cronies wandering around
meandering around aimlessly, flippantly like
they have no care…no care in the world
and just like that…bludgeoned by a badly worn cowboy boot!
Guts all over!

One time I dated one of those giddy ones
and I tried to warn her!
She thought she was too cute to be bludgeoned
Too cute…can you believe that?
After about 28 minutes of blissful dating
I left her alone for just a second
and just like that…clobbered by a red stiletto!
Guts all over!

I guess to say it tactfully...
Most of them fall short on the intelligence end of things
They tell me I’m lucky to have lived this long
They all bow to me

I am one of the lucky ones 
I am far more clever than most of them
I stay out of sight during the day
and just watch all of the guts
Don’t get me wrong I try to warn them 
but they just don’t listen!
They love to go out in the daylight and
scurry around…scurry around the first floor
over the Persian rugs…across the tile foyer
Right in the daylight, can you believe it?

It’s almost like they are asking to be stomped
Stomped just like that by a Skechers Shape-up
Guts all over!

The darkness has settled in now
and alas, it’s now my time to play
I engage in my recreation at night
At nighttime I can crawl through 
his jungles of chest hair and mangy mustache
and in and out of her furrows and crow’s feet
I only come out to frolic and meander 
when all the badly worn cowboy boots, red stilettos and ugly Shapeups 
are safely tucked away in the closet

I swing on the curtain tiebacks like Tarzan
I skate circles over the newly polished hardwood
I dance an impressive Irish jig atop the granite 
I merrily skip atop of the flat screen tv 
and nestle into the VHS tape opening
I’m so glad they have a VCR
‘Cuz those slots on the DVD players
are tough to get through

I am all alone but it so much fun to play
I bathe in a refreshing pool of milk 
left in a tall tumbler in the sink
It’s good for the skin they say
I feast on tasty crumbs in the bottom of the toaster
I’m so glad they don’t ever check there
I’m having such a blissful time
If only my pals would listen to me 
and come out and play only at night
when it’s safe
Ohhh noooo!!!
Devastated, I eye the newest addition to the family
I notice his long whiskers from a distance
As he stalks me with malicious delight 
I run as fast as I can but ultimately...
It's my guts all over!

Details | Cowboy | |

Borrowed time

God shows us tht our life we live is 
To live ur life cuz ur not gauranteed 
he recently made a mistake tht 
forever changed our life   
He took away my cousin after only 
12 yrs of life  
well never get chance to   to see wht 
he could b
y take away good people tht this 
world really  needs       
So many people choose to live the 
wrong way
They take life they were givin for 
granted every day         
I dont kno if I can ever move on and  
that cuz his mistake my cousins life 
wa short lived 
I been thru so much tht my heart 
has gone numb
my aunt has to suffer thru life w out 
her son      
Id give anything for the chance 2 hv 
another day 
2 tell him how much hes truly 
missed day after  day
To kno tht hes touched our hearts in 
a special way
its not fair tht his life was dealt w 
unlucky fate
 He will never b forgotten hes 
changed our lives forever
Im thankful for the time we got to 
spend together
well always remember his 
unforgetable legacy
 tht he truly is an angel tht we were 
blessed to get to meet   
 Losin him makes me realize tht life 
is to short 
To c the good in me I never saw 
Tht I should  b happy w the life god 
gave me
To finally show.people tht person I 
can b
 to remember life isnt gauranteed 
To do sumthin good w the time he 
let u borrow 
I want to let him know tht he didnt 
die in vain
Tht his life here made the world a 
good place        well never forget the 
day  god took him to c
that special place tht only angels like 
him get to b

Details | Triolet | |

Gunfighter walks

Dark angel of heartbeating pound,
sixth sense of premonition glide,
kin to his ways and scopes to bound,
steel spurs transmit the word around,
the deathwalk starts on dusty ground,
Smith-Wesson guns, tied down his side

Dark angel of heartbeating pound,
sixth sense of premonition glide.

On deathwalk's noon, with light increased,
the shelling slugs will serve the cause,
hands flash and men attend Death's feast,
(gunfighters tho' had ne'er believed,
that once will be 'mid the deceased);
atrocious are, the drawing laws,

On deathwalk's noon with light increased,
the shelling slugs will serve the cause.

Gunfighter walks on dust, midday,
where forty fours will blossom fire,
his eyes traverse the town's details,
a draw of bluff on deathwalk trail,
will have sixes' to beat, twin play,
black coat, gun belt - and dry briar.

Gunfighter walks on dust, midday,
where forty fours will blossom fire.

© G. V. 11/5/2012 All rights reserved
( Ballad - Triolet )

Details | Cowboy | |

On Juno Ranch, A Cowboy's Day

If you'd have lived and worked on Juno Ranch, you’d have come away better for it. It 
may not have seemed like it at the time but Pancho (Uncle Frank) would put it to you, an’ it 
was for you to decide to do it, what to do with it, or to fight. The motto was, “You either work 
or fight, there ain’t no quittin’ on this-here ranch.”

     Pancho cultivated a reputation as a living legend in his fifty-some years in the Devil’s 
River country of the Texas frontier. He loved his life, family, work and felt plumb lucky to be 
livin’ it. He believed there was art in every undertakin’ an’ practiced the highest standards in 
dealin’ with any an’ all comers. He savvied horses, cattle an’ the land; and death was just the 
gate that opened into higher pastures.

     Ride 'em Pancho!

The cowboy wakes before each dawn With blurry eyes n'a mournful yawn; Gets breakfast down, just bacon'n eggs, An' biscuits dunked in coffee dregs. He feeds the stock some oats an' hay In growin' light of break o' day. Then Pancho comes an' rigs a hoss, An' chews his butt, 'cause he's the boss. “The sun is up, you little bride! We're loosin' light! We gotta ride!” So they ride out to make their rounds In echoed clops of hoof-beat sounds. The sun is high 'bout half-passed noon, An' dinnertime is none too soon. He eats his beans an' taters fast, Then rolls a smoke an' rests at last. He dreams of how he'll spend his pay When he's in town on Saturday, An' where he'll go to have some fun With gals who'll laugh and call him, "Hun..." He gets his hat an' pulls it down, Forgets the dream of gals in town, Cause if he ain't just damn near dead, The work comes first on Pancho's spread.

Details | Rhyme | |

Some Get Gold

Cowboys on a cattle drive
whiskey, sun and song.
Days are hard,
nights are cards,
the rivers run so strong.
Victor’s spoils,
dark horse fail,
they say dead men
tell no tales.
To persevere
is paramount,
and hidden talent
does not count.
Life’s a game,
you raise or fold -
some get gravel,
some get gold…
Copyright © 2013

Details | Couplet | |

Fastest Gun In The West

<                                      Now hold on there Tex !
                                        Let me get     dressed  !

                                        Let me saddle up my horse
                                        To trollop around this Halloween course

                                        Got on my chaps
                                        My spurs and cowboy hat

                                       Replica's of forty five's
                                       Riding on my hips very high

                                       With lasso in my hand
                                       This little cowboy has a plan

                                      So all you ghost and goblins
                                      It's candies bounty I'll be coming an robbing

                                      And I'll be taking  loot for mummy
                                      And for my daddy who has a bigger tummy

                                                  Happy Halloween To All
                                   Especially little tikes who are so cute and small

Entry For 
Halloween Costume Contest
G.L. All




Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy

The legacy of a Cowboy,
Can be written in a song;
About the misty mountain passes,
Where the Cowboy’s life belongs;

About the days spent in the saddle,
Punching cattle and mending fence;
At home with mother nature,
Living life in his defense;

All the nights spent under stars,
With the campfire burning low;
Riding range on shifty heifers,
In the rain and blowing snow;

Icicles hang from his mustache,
As he pulls his coat in tight;
Steam rolls off his horse’s flanks,
Disappearing into the night;

He works until the job is done,
And is up long before dawn;
See the legacy of a Cowboy,
Lives on long after he‘s gone.

Details | Cowboy | |

A Good Saddle and Trusty Steed

An ol’ cowboy long ago said:
In this life are few things you need—
Just a gun, a knife, warm blanket,
A good saddle and trusty steed.

Oh, you might want a few dollars,
Some Arbuckle joe and a pot—
But there’s the vast starry ol’ sky—
You’ll not fret ‘bout what you ain’t got.

Your night music is coyotes
And the rustle of things that creep—
Hard leather will be your pillow
As the wind and night bless your sleep.

An ol’ cowboy long ago said:
In this life are few things you need—
Just a gun, a knife, warm blanket,
A good saddle and trusty steed.

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 | Prose Poetry | |

Ghosts of South Dakota Intro

	In 1957 I took my teaching certificate back to the land of my mother.  
She was raised on a cattle ranch in the north central area of Nebraska.  The 
famous Sand Hills.  It was there I found my cowboy and we ranched for fourteen 
years on the eastern edge of the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.  The 
teacher in this story is my mother's sister and our experiences at the Indian 
Government School of Spring Creek during my early years.
	In the year 2002 Cowboy and I moved to a very special town, Harper, 
Kansas.  This town is just a few miles down the road from the memories of my 
Kansas childhood. How lucky to be able to have all of these memories and with 
the help of God maybe another dozen or so years down the road I'll have another 
set of memories to pass on to another generation.   


	Yesterday I was sitting at my computer working  when I looked out of 
my magic window 
and noticed the swing set.  The wind was fiercely blowing up a gale and the 
swings were rocking to and fro.  That didn't bother me, but when I saw the glider 
was in motion, I didn't even have to close my eyes to picture the children playing 
on it.  They weren't my grandchildren.  They weren't my children.  They weren't any 
children I could recognize, but I felt blessed.  I didn't care who they were, they 
were happy.
	And then I thought back.  Back to the reservation.  I could hear the 
laughter of the Indian children, but whenever we came into view they would run to 
hide behind their mothers or grandmothers and peek around at us.  Some of the 
older ones, seven, eight, nine or ten year olds would line up in front of the shack 
or tent to stare at us.
	I can still see them dressed in faded, wrinkled, soiled clothing.  
Disgards from who knows where that ended up at the mission.  Their large 
round brown eyes staring from behind the greasy scraggly black hair. Some with 
their dirty fingers stuffed in their mouths. The little ones clinging desperately to 
the skirt as they peered around at us,  always had snout trailing from their nose, 
and their feet were either bare or encased in shoes three sizes to large for them.
	I don't know if it was a tradition of some kind but it seems, in my 
memory, there were never any men.  Only women and children came forth.  I 
have my ideas where the men were but I shall not go into that here.

Details | Free verse | |

Cowboys in the Badlands

Cowboys in the Badlands

The horses need be reined tightly
lest they show better judgment
and head back to the barn.  The
cowboys, driven by the dust cloud
of following hoof beats, were less smart.
A Gila monster smirks as they pass
knowing what waits ahead is to be
more painful than the rope they flee.
Driven by the torments of a lost war,
a lost home, a lost dream, they had
lashed out at the hunger, fled the
hovels of a shanty town and swore
to exact payment any way possible.
The consequences of the decision
pursued them, consumed them,
as they rested the horses.  The horses
must rest, they never would.
They stood overlooking the badlands,
shimmering heat’s forever fallacy,
that somehow you would cross to
safety, find an oasis, escape.  Oh,
you may escape the posse, maybe
even the past, but you will not
escape the bitterness of these
bad lands and their unforgiving
demands.  Few have come here
willingly, fewer have remained
once tested by the dryness, the
drought, the wind, sand, and
anger of a land seeking to be
left alone.  And so they rode into
the abyss of sand and stone
leaving only the hoof prints
of fading memory.  Bandanas
covered their faces, hat brims
covered their eyes.  They rode
until the horses fell, unable to
continue.  Horseless, they staggered
in the shifting sands laughing
as they recalled staggering from
the saloon on that awful night.
The night they gave up, the night
they gave in to the desperate desire
to be free.  A desire that was now
to be fulfilled in these Bad Lands.

For Isaiah Zerbst – Cowboys in the Badlands poetry contest

Details | Prose Poetry | |

There Ain't Nothin' Better Then A Cowboy Lover

He was her part time lover
even though he was her only one
A man you could love
But she’d never let him know…
she had a full time heart            
Although her strings
had some wear and tear
throughout her years.

She wasn’t going to let him put her heart in his pocket.

No, she wasn’t about
to give her heart away
She’d play it cool.
Never let him see her fears
Pretend she was tough
Never cry or show any tears

He was a man,
raised right by his mother
He’d lay a rose upon her pillow
He was a man like no other
There ain’t nothin’ better
then a cowboy lover

His name was Jesse from Montana
He had skin the color of lightly roasted coffee 
from being out in the sun so much
His smile, a bit crooked
made him look a bit mischievous,
in a teasing sort of manner
It could knock your socks off 
if you gazed too long

She met him at a little café’ in Big Sky
leaning against the counter
like a long, tall drink of cool water
Boots, hat and all the makins'
of a real cowboy   

She had slayed the paper dragons of her past
Put them all behind her
She was bold and brave; 
asked for his number
which he willingly gave
with a smile, a little bit crooked,
a bit mischievous
in a teasing sort of manner

They’d cuddle in their blanket
under the stars and the moonlite
listening to Hank Williams songs
drinking coffee around their campfire
telling stories from their pasts;
laughing, snuggling
Before she’d go to sleep at night, 
he’d kiss her cheek 
and hold her close in his arms 
One night as she lay in his arms,
he stroked her cheek 
with his tender touch, 
kissed her lips and held her tight

He said, “What would you do if I asked
"Ask what”, she said?
"Little lady, do you know I love you,
would you kindly be my wife”? 

When he said that to her that 
wonderful nite under the stars
she realized...

She wanted him, to put her heart in his pocket

That was the night 
she gave her heart away

  She wasn’t playin’ it cool
  She let him see her fears
  She wasn’t really all that tough
  Then, she cried and showed him her tears

He was a real man,
raised right by his mother
He laid a rose upon her pillow
He really was a man like no other
Nope, there sure ain’t nothin’ better
then a cowboy lover
                                                    *~The Sweet End~* 

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 | |

to the Lovebirds, As I Know You

There's a little Dixie devil  in that 
six-foot, two-inch frame.
He blinks that wink and grins that smile...
you know him.
Mike's the name.

He loves his darlin' lady, Chris, 
and courts her with a flair.
The Basquo and the Southern gent...
a perfect, magic pair.

It's a joy to watch them dance and talk 
and flirt and fight and coo.
The Fates have given them a chance 
to build one life from two.

Whatever paths in life they choose, 
they'll travel hand in hand...
that sweet and fiery female, Chris, 
and Irish Mike, her man.

Details | Quintain (Sicilian) | |

Cowboy Poetry

Don’t give me a “drug store” type cowboy Who’s never lived life on the trail I want the bow-legged real McCoy Who can throw a steer by its tail What I seek, is Cowboy poetry That composed from experience Not what some dude’s impression might be Who’s Cowboy like in appearance He can’t know what it’s like to ride drag Eating dust all day from the heard How to calm Doggies on stormy nights Singing a song of soothing words The real Cowboy is lanky and lean Can sit in a saddle all day Lives on hard-tack, coffee and beans As that’s sometimes the only way To tell of life on a cattle drive A poet needs to “walk the walk” So that when he put pen to paper His poetry will “talk the talk”

Details | Cowboy | |


Tainted love 
or tired love?
Smug attitudes
and weak games
Look at you!
Your such a lame!
Me cry?! Ha! Not no more!
Five point five years
What a joke?!
All you do is lie
Keep smoking your life away!
Wake up before its too late!
Before this love turns into hate!
Your too old to act this way!
Your too comfortable
You cant stay!
In my life!
In my way!
Goodbye to you!!!

Details | Cowboy | |

A New Year Cowboy Toast

May your cattle drives be short ones,
May worries be small and far—
May you find peace at life’s railhead
And at long last rope your star.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Corrals and Chutes

Mind all that your pa says
And don’t give him no reputes,
Sit quiet on the wood rail
Down by the corrals and chutes.

Don’t dally your digits
Or dive head long from a horse,
Listen to all your elders
And run your life to full course.

Appreciate grease wood
Ride your life free in wild sage—
Know you’ll not always be young,
And act older that our age.

Brush off your jeans real good
Whenever you do get throwed,
Don’t brag ‘bout a right answer,
That’s where real respect is sowed.

Be part of a question
But never the main worry, 
Take care in what you’re ropin’—
When you catch it, don’t hurry.

Be kind to all critters,
Give them respect they deserve—
Treat folks like you’d want to be
Treated – don’t you ever swerve.

Pass on all that you know
To those that now come after—
Your legacy’s in their minds
With your wise words and laughter.

And in your final years
Enjoy the rest that you’ve earned—
Think back on those before you,
Try to rebuilt bridges burned. 

Teach your kids the same thing
As they coach their own recruits—
Pass on the lessons learned
Down by the corrals and chutes.

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 | |

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 | Rhyme | |

Cowboy in Training

Wanna get on that horse
round up all that herd
lot of work still to be done
what do I do to get you stirred

Come on now let's get going
if you want to get fed
show you deserve a feast
before you get to bed

you young ones like it easy
in my day it was all graft
sweating it out all the day
then you really earned your craft

Sorry if I've been too hard
but experience says crack the whip
in the long term you'll be thankful
a real cowboy makes the trip

Details | Cowboy | |

Georgia I'm Coming Home

I am sitting in this bus station, waiting to go home 
Oh Georgia its been a long, long time and I feel so all alone 
I want to feel the crisp morning wind, whispering through the pines 
Down by the river in a special spot, I called all mine 

Hey Nashville Oh Nashville you never played my songs 
And put my songs on the bottom of the pile of no play ones 
Nashville I Guess you had a lot of fun proving this Georgia boy wrong 
Hey Nashville, Oh Nashville you never played my songs 

I was a struggling song writer and not good enough for Nashville’s 
newest scene 
16th avenue was not what I figured, but I thought I met their every need 
But it just wasn’t  good enough, so I picked up my guitar left I got out 
Now out of money and with plenty of time just sitting waiting for that bus 

With no regrets and no bad feelings about the chances that I took 
I made a lot of friends, the nightlife was fun and the parties really shook 
But my heart does ache and I my pockets are empty with a big hole in 
my boots 
Now I am going down to my country home and get back  my roots 

Hey Nashville, Oh Nashville you never played my songs
Guess they got on the bottom of a pile of no play songs
Nashville I guess you had a lot of fun proving this Georgia boy wrong
Hey Nashville, Oh Nashville, You never played my song

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 | |


In a room stark & white 
A nightmare he will ride tonight 
Twisted sheets in a rider's grip 
as he settles in for that fateful trip 
silently he screams & shouts 
This time there'll be no turn out 
The final clash of beast & man 
In the mind's arena plays out again 
Once was a time he was among the best 
Until that Brahma stepped on his chest 
Now he's locked in a ride he can't quit 
as his wife & his family at his bedside sit 
How he longs to be up & out of this bed 
Away from the demons in his head 
But you can't drown a nightmare in morphine 
And every night he rigs up again 

In a room stark & white 
She'll replay the ride tonight 
"Just one more ride & I'm done 
I've got to help raise our son" 
He'd said as he climbed in the chute 
and straddled that Brahma brute 
With a nod & a prayer, he marked out 
His last would be his best, no doubt 
Then, with a sudden twist & a flash of horn 
The cowboy from his seat was torn 
She watched him fall & struggle to rise 
Numb to the crowd's horrified cries 
Now she sits here each night without rest 
Cradling their baby boy close to her chest 
How she longs to have him hold her near 
Later, she reaches for the bottle to chase the fear 
But you can't drown a nightmare in whiskey 
And every night she rigs up again 

Under the arena's bright lights 
He'll dance with a nightmare tonight 
Wearing a greasepaint smile to hide the pain 
He plays out that fateful ride again 
One step out of rhythm & rhyme 
He'd lost the race against Brahma & time 
Word's haunt him still of a Cowboy's last request 
After that Brahma had stomped on his chest "Tell Katie I love her & I'm sorry for this" 
"If I'd listened to her, I'd not be in this mess" 
"You & the boys take care of her & my son" 
"I hear the chopper landing, guess this ride is done" 
How he wishes he could run that race once more 
The memory pushes him hard, it won't be ignored 
But you can't mask a nightmare with greasepaint 
And every night he rigs up again 

A wild Bullrider, loved one or clown 
no matter the poison the memory won't drown 
Nightmares, whiskey, greasepaint or morphine 
Can't kill the demons that ride through your dreams

Details | Cowboy | |

Where The Buffalo Roam

There once was a time
During the long forgotten era
The frontier so majestic
In the age of the arrow

All the tools needed
The Earth would provide
Nothing went to waste
Considered creed to the tribe

A land vastly open
Natives once called it home
A place where the buffalo
Majestically once roamed

Free from democracy
Yet peace was achieved
Answering not to dictatorship
Acknowledging only self beliefs

Men were not kept in cages
They were not hung for display
The equality was unimaginable
Freedoms not experienced in the present day

The ignorance of our species
Is second to none
People actually follow rules
Placed in force by only one

Our industrial evolution
Has destroyed the land
 Our lust for prosperity
Has tarnished this sand

The buffalo once roamed the planes
Standing oh so bold and tall
The natives had foreseen
The inevitable rise to fall
Prosperity brought damnation
Of an entire generation
Now we are the ones 
Who try slowing immigration

The hypocrisy in our laws
Exposes the true foundation
Who are we to deny
Anyone into this nation

It has yet been noticed
By the ignorant youth
The basis of history
Rarely holds truth

In a place so very near
The buffalo once roamed
The land filled with life
Now stripped to the bones

With the right kind of ears
You might catch the tone
Heard only by the damned
The sound of nature's wrathful moan 

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 | |


I dress the way I do on stage
To transport you to another age
Where wild women of the west
Proved they stood among the best
They rode boot to boot along side the men
Riding broncs to hell & back again
They wore skirts, jodhpurs, flowers & frills
Had more than their share of thrills & spills

When you see me here, I hope you recall
Those women who rode proud & tall
Tad Lucas on Midnight, crow hopping & smiling
Fox Hastings, in feathers & flowers, beguiling
Mitzi Lucas Riley, her death defying grace
On galloping horse, a suicide drag, & mesmerizing face
Marge Greenough on Boxer, that gal could really fly
Nancy Sheppard with her spinning ropes, gravity defied

On the day to day, I wear a different look
Still different from those Cowboys you see in picture books
Dusty boots, faded jeans & a cowboy hat, of course
If I dressed the way I do on stage it would amuse my horse
I grew up in the Wild West, or what there is of it now
I learned to ride at an early age & know my way around a cow
I don’t have a need for wooly chaps, my shotguns work just dandy
If I wore woolies, the cactus would soon look like cotton candy

My childhood heroes included those dazzling rodeo gals
I spent many a Saturday morning as Roy & Dale’s Saddle Pal
But the role models that I still look up to today
Have quietly gone about their lives, living the Cowboy way
There’s Georgie Sicking, still going strong in Kaycee
As tough as they come, she always demands the best from me
Sister Bourne, her laughing eyes & ready wit
For forty years taught in one room schools, in her there was no quit

There are many others who have helped me along the way
Their stories are for another time, another place & day
Today I’ll weave for you a tapestry of Western Rhyme
Of rodeo’n, romanc’n & remember’n & a simpler time
There is magic in the West, I find it every where
It is that magic & my memories, that with you I will share
So settle in & enjoy the ride, for I know I have brought my best
As I stand here on this stage, a Wild Woman of the West

Details | Cowboy | |


Oh, our days have rode by fast
And life withers from the rose;
No thing will last forever—
A man’s youth will never last.

But it’s all planned, I suppose,
Yet we take it mighty hard;
It’s just in His perfect plan—
A truth that each old man knows.

So we seek out each old pard,
Knowing that life will soon fade,
As we ride above each cliff,
Finding growing old still hard.

Yes, cowboys cling to the shade
As they wait that final card;
Hold to memories that fade—
But Lord, it’s hard, it’s so hard. 

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 | |

Still Ridin'

(for Badger Clark)

Oh, when mornin’ wind blows away your memory
And all the bad things in your life go to hidin’—
When you grip tight the reins upon that short grass sea,
Then you hold on for your life and go a ridin’.

A ridin’, ridin’, away from all of the earth,
Away from the low hum of the city and lights—
A ridin’ now free as that first day of birth—
A ridin’ so furious toward that last dark night.

Yes, the wind in your hair and a spirit now free
Call deep down to your soul as you pull your mount still—
You run without runnin’ – fly past river and tree—
As one now with your horse till you reach that last hill.

A ridin’, a ridin’, we all ride toward the crest—
A ridin’, a ridin’, till we pull up and rest. 

Details | Cowboy | |

The Lone Ranger, Tad & Me

Riding the quarter slot pony
at Woolworth’s five & dime
Would send this half pint cowgirl
back to another time

I was Calamity Jane riding hell bent
to bring the US mail,
Annie Oakley, with dead eye aim,
shooting lint specks off a nail,

In my games of Cowboy & Indian
everyone would win
The Lone Ranger & Tonto
were my two bestest friends

Out in the back yard,
on my old swing set
I created memories
that I will never forget

I would swing & sing for hours
loud enough for the world to hear
I rode the meanest broncs
never showed a bit of fear

I dreamed of Being like Tad or Fox
Weren’t nobody putting me in a china box
while momma dreamed of frills & lace
In my dreams, I always rode ahead of the race

I always wore a white hat
& never lost a fight
Evil wore a black hat
& a heart as black as night

I find myself wishing
more often here of late
That I could return again
to that childhood age of eight

When everything made more sense
& innocence wasn’t lost
I wonder, if I turned back time,
what would be the cost?

© April 2005

Details | Cowboy | |

Cowboy Preservation

I cowboy on this acre here
To preserve the legacy I hold dear
This is the life I’ve chose to lead
In my children, I’ll plant a seed

They may one day choose city life
with its equal parts of glitz & strife
But deep in their hearts they’ll heed the truth
And hold fast to the teachings of their youth

Along with their ties & suits
I’ll bet you they’ll wear cowboy boots
Though far & wide, I know they’ll roam
This ranch will always pull them home

For on this acre that you see
Was instilled in them a cowboy legacy
I’ll cowboy on this acre here
for it’s the bond that keeps them near

© August 2003

Details | Cowboy | |

I Remember

I remember how your brown hair glistening in the sunlight, and your pretty brown eyes looked that one night. I remember how you looked at me when you didn’t like something I said, and how it felt when I lost you as a friend. I remember how the thought of you made me weaken, and my heart play hopscotch in my chest and I felt like a kid all over again. I remember. I remember how you smiled, and how u had a way of making everything about me seem beautiful even on cloudy days. I remember the first time I seen you cry, and I remember thinking I may be more hurt by your tears then what ever you were upset about. I remember thinking what if you were mine? What if I could make her as happy as she makes me feel just being her presence? I remember that you unlike any woman I’ve ever met have had a spell on me since the first time I met you so many years ago. I remember how quiet you were. How shy you were. I remember how it felt to have you close, but even more so how it felt to not. I remember how you liked to always be right. How you hated Shakira’s voice and how you told me its ironic your name means life because you feel like you don’t have one. I remember how I know you just smiled then, because even if you don’t remember saying it you know it’s something you’d say. I remember how much I know you, and still care about you so even if I try to forget you.......... I’ll always remember.    

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 | |

Cherokee Summer

Paint ponies by the lodge
White manes

Turned silver in the moon’s glow
Taste of Mother Earth

Burden baskets hang at the door
They hold many seasons

Of worries & fears
The night owl comes

He sings the death song
Your time here has ended

The West door beckons you
Night Owl grows silent

© March 1984

In Memory of Jacob Michael MacCallister
March 18, 1957 ~ January 26, 1983

Details | Blank verse | |

The Loyal Cowboy

A loyal cowboy always dies young but never goes easy
Playing on the edge of reason 
and bound for plains of Oklahoma
searching for an old saloon 
to drink  too much whisky in
he camps out and gazes at the moon
Plays a game of Poker but only if he knows he can win
Dreams of the love he left behind 
And wonders he will ever find another love of her kind 

A cowboy Keeps one love in his heart and never strays 
To the arms of another he will never fall
He does all he can to keep a smile on her face 
And from her kiss he find no sweeter taste 

Oh a cowboy's love is hard find 
but it truly one of a kind 
A cowboy's love will never die 
No matter how hard one my try 
Those memories he made 
will never fade

Details | Cowboy | |

Concrete Cowboy

   He was born too late to be, 
What he knows he is in his soul, 
And though he’s quite accomplished, 
Sometimes he doesn’t feel quite whole. 
   He’s a lawman of sorts, 
Born out of his time, 
Trying to uphold basic beliefs, 
As an example for others to toe the line. 
   And he rides an iron horse, 
And though it’s not a muscled steed, 
It gets him where he’s going, 
Whenever there’s a need. 
   They say, sometimes he’s crazy, 
Plumb out of his mind, 
Searching, for something, 
They say he’ll never find. 
   He rides the asphalt prairie, 
Through the heat and through the cold, 
Just a Concrete Cowboy, 
In search of Days of Old. 
   He believes in rescuing maidens, 
Stuck beside the road, 
And he wouldn’t have it any other way, 
Than to live by a Code... 
   “Do what’s right by every man, 
And never compromise, 
Be good to little children, 
“Cause life is a surprise.” 
     Stuck between buildings, 
Of metal, brick and glass, 
The only time he sees green pastures, 
Is when he cuts the grass. 
   Looking for a way out, 
To a place that’s in his dreams, 
Only other Cowboys, 
Would ever know what he means. 
   When he says he’s headed someplace, 
Where he’ll race the open sky, 
Only other Cowboys, 
Understand the reason why... 
   Why he rides an Iron Horse,  
For all the world to see, 
It’s his one last chance to go back, 
To a time when he was free. 
   Loyal in his heart, 
To those who have gone before, 
He scans the horizon, 
Looking for that open door. 
   In the company of Ghost Riders, 
In the roaring of the engine and the wind, 
He searches for his destiny, 
Old lovers and old friends. 
   Galloping across the miles,  
One day he’ll reach the open sky, 
Many, will see him pass, 
But only other Cowboys will sigh, 
   Because he rides an Iron Horse, 
Through time reflected in the glass, 
Riding towards the future, 
In an effort to reach the past.                                   

Details | Cowboy | |

Facing the Change

I wake-up missing you
Last 10-10-07 feels like a dream
But it is so true
I cry until i cant cry anymore
Daddy God has finally open His door
We had you 
But we had to let you go
No more pain
No more sorrow
Oneday we will learn to understand 
You completed your journey
A boy to a man
A wife and a family
finally you can sleep
im still crying out but i know your soul is at peace.

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 | |

First True Friends

You see that man over there
sitting stern faced in his chair?
Look closer, see that twinkle in his eye?
That's a glimpse of softness that you spy 

You see that woman laughing there
dancing eyes & witty air?
Look closer, see the iron & grit?
That's a glimpse of strength, wrapped like a gift
They made me who I am today
tightened the reins when I went astray
The calming center in a teenage storm
The home fires that still keep me warm 

He gave me the gift of discipline & control
She is the sunshine that fills my soul
He taught me young of the cowboy ways
She set my passion for words ablaze 

He taught me to be fair & just
She showed me kindness was a must
He showed me how to draw respect
She taught me to rely on humor & intellect 

A parent must first be your teacher
sometimes judge, jury & preacher
Their wisdom guided me in my youth
They guide me still, to tell the truth 

(c) August 2003

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 | Free verse | |

Well I Declare - If It Aint The Bounty Man

          Well I Declare – If It Aint The Bounty Man

Well I declare!   When I was young and free
I slung 2 guns from about my waste and charged a fee
And shot anything in sight that moved
As long as I got paid of course
I would shoot calories if there was a dollar in it
And lose weight in the process upon my horse
Now I’m 84 and there aint no shootin anymore 
But when I was young if you heard me say
“Well I declare” the word “war” was sure to follow in that statement
“Well I declare war on everyone in this here nation!”
And yell, “What in tar nation!” at the cowpokes in the saloon 
Yes sir.  They’d all run and hide like rabbits and baboons
Well I declare.  I can’t remember anything anymore
Who am I kidding?
I was never young.  I was born 84 and ready for a war

Created on 9/02/14 for- Well I Declare- Poetry contest

Details | Cowboy | |

The Beach House

I’m building castles in the sand
on the shores of a grey, grey sea.
The clouds have gathered overhead
and the shells are wave-washed clean.
Footprints wander down the shore
of the vast and vacant sea,
the waves are buffing them away
and turning the sand sateen.
Beyond the berm and the waving grass
inked upon the setting sun,
someone sits in a house of glass
as sand through fingers runs.

I’m watching seabirds dodge the stars
when the waves reflect the moon
and pulling seaweeds from the rocks
they drearily festoon.
And the sand’s run out of the fingers now,
and the drink’s run out of the cup;
the house of glass is quiet now,
all the shutters drawn up.

Details | Cowboy | |


It was at the National Finals Rodeo
The year was 1967, the place OKC
I had just turned three & 
was excited as could be
to be behind the chutes watching
a ride that could make history
Freckles Brown was the cowboy
loaded up in chute two
Tornado was the bull he'd drawn
a meaner ride he'd never face
and when they threw the gate
a tremendous roar filled the place
when that blessed buzzer sounded
and they announced his score
Freckles stood as World Champion
out on that arena floor
Every little buckaroo who watched
Freckle's & Tornado fight
went home and rode the legs 
off momma's kitchen chairs 
that sweet December night
Me, I swaggered round 
the back chutes & told
everyone who'd listen
That one day I'd ride like
the great Freckles Brown 
In momma's eye, was that
a tear that glistened?
For I'd said before 
that I'd ride one day
Did she think that I was fool'n?
Heck I might not be four yet
but I knew it was 
something worth doing 
So I tip my hat to Freckles Brown
and the rest of
The old timers, too
for they laid the path 
that I ride now
and taught us all
a thing or two

Details | Cowboy | |

Tucson to Texas

She says she feels the safest standing in the pouring rain
But it could rain for forty years and never wash away the pain
The bitter taste of grief will always be hers to swallow
Since she lost her heart's desire to that blessed curse called Rodeo

"Just one more ride & I'll be on my way, never more to roam"
now she wanders through an empty house that'll never be a home
how she longs to hear him whistling as he comes through the door
instead the silence is deafening & it tears her to the core

She wishes she could turn back time & stop the hand of fate
now he sleeps up on the hill & she will have to wait
to whisper soft "I love you" or one last "good bye"
she wonders if he hears her, as she silently asks "Why?"

That Brahma wasn't lined out for that chute that day
The rigging that he'd used was new, a present on Christmas Day
It wasn't anything down & dirty, just an exhibition ride
one quick show for the kids & he'd be back with his new bride

Now she sleeps in his old work shirt and dreams of his embrace
she fingers his battered Stetson & pictures his smiling face
No matter where she turns "He's gone" is all she hears
and stretching from Tucson to Texas, you'll find a trail of tears 

(c)August 2002

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 On The Battlefield ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 12)

Young Cowboy On The Battlefield
Remembered His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
Her Voice Echoed, As He Heard …

Rapid-Fire and Revolution
Missiles, Right and Left
Bomb-Blasts and Confusion
… and Silent Tears, He’s Wept

… Every Day, A Minefield
Every Night, A Raid
Every Moment, A Terror
Trying to Make Him Afraid …

Any Second, A Horror
Of A Buddy, Laid To Rest
Every New Tomorrow
Wondering, What’s Next ?

The Cowboy On The Battlefield
Vigilant and Brave
Stood Ramrod Tall and Terse …
Looking At Her Grave …

‘Just Make It Home, Son … ‘
… Echoed Thru His Brain
‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
… Echoed Thru The Rain

And Just Before She Was Laid To Rest
She Said, ‘Just Make It Home, Son …’
And With Those Last Words, She Blessed,
And Said, ‘I’ll Be Waiting, When You Come …’

                    * * * *

… Old Cowboy, On The Battlefield
Remembers His Mama’s Words
‘Just Make It Home, Son … 
… and We’ll Celebrate Our Return …

Of  Note:  In The Words Of A Lady Rocker,
Pat Benatar:   ‘Love Is A Battlefield’
(but I Say, 'Life Is A Battlefield'

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 | |

life of a rope

the last of your jokes ,a glimmer of hope
a knot with no rope
alone for now or forever it would seem
another dream of someone for whi I've never seen
closer the rope further the dream

Details | Cowboy | |

A Teardrop Away

I hear a hawk cry to its mate
Takes me back before "too late"
Lonesome lyric desert wind
Sings me into your arms again

How I wish that it could be
not just a dream but flesh & blood reality 
Gone but not forgotten, you will always be
just a teardrop away in my fondest memory

The whisper of the wind brings you back again
to dance among the shadows of my heart 
Thunder echoing down the hills
I hear your voice so close it chills

Lightening dances cross the sky
recalls the laughter in your eyes
Suddenly we're once again
Dizzy dancing in the rain 

Gone but not forgotten, you will always be
just a teardrop away in my fondest memory
The whisper of the wind brings you back again
to dance among the shadows of my heart 

Gone so swiftly without goodbyes
but I know true love never dies
As I kneel at this headstone
I know I will never walk alone

For you'll always live within my heart
guiding me from the deepest part 
Gone but not forgotten, you will always be
just a teardrop away in my fondest memory

The whisper of the wind brings you back again
to dance among the shadows of my heart

(c) January 2002

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 | |

Best of Friends

He was to be for my daddy, they'd said
as they scooped him up from the pick up bed
He was speckled & flop eared & soft as a sigh
My Daddy knew he had lost by the look in my eye 
With his masked bandit eyes, only one name seemed right
Thus, Ringo, was christened that long ago April night
Part wolf, part samoyed, part collie & aussie
He would herd anything from small kids to old Bossy 
Every morning he'd walk me to the school yard gate
Every afternoon he'd return & patiently wait
When I graduated from high school in June of ‘82
I argued with the principal that he deserved a diploma, too 
Wherever I wandered he was close at my side
Through my childhood years, we roamed far & wide
We hiked every inch of the old Hilton Spread & the Total Wreck, as well
I knew to bring him in with me, when my daddy would start to yell 
He moved quick & shadow silent & hardly ever made a sound
But just say the word "Ranch" & watch him come unwound 
He loved to chase the rabbits & running with the 'yotes
Its to his credit that some coyote pups had speckled coats 
I learned to trust his instinct when the fellers started to call
Why, when his hackles started rising, I knew to end it all
He'd step in between us & stare them down to size
Yep, if Ringo didn't like you, there would be no compromise 
He's gone on across the Rainbow bridge where all good dogs abide
But he'll be waiting at Heaven's Gate, to fall in at my side
He taught me loyalty & trust, & that love never ends
For sixteen years, through thick & thin, We were the best of friends

Details | Cowboy | |

Church Going Folk

I'm a religous man, but I don't go to church
I tried a few times,
They said I wasn't welcome in the clothes I wore,
I smelled of horse, my boots tracked mud.
The Good Lord, apparently, likes His church folk clean

I Smiled as sweet as can be, 
And told those folks that was just fine with me.
I rode everyday in the Lords house, 
The wide open range. 
I was welcome there, 
Wether I had showered that day or not.
And everyday, I felt the Lord whisper in my ear, 
Through a soft breeze.
I heard Him answer my prayers,
I saw what they had never seen,
Witnessed the Lord start life, 
Bring it forth,
And usher it back out again. 
I saw the wisdom in living the Lord gives,
and I saw beauty beyond compare.
I rode beside those who judged not,
And judged them not myself.
I told them clean church folk,
I respect the Lords house, 
But I doubted it was He who refused me for want of good clothes,
I saw Him everyday, 
and everyday He welcomed me,
beneath warm sun and endless sky.
But I would ask Him, 
when my time came, 
if His house was as clean as all that.
Perhaps I'd put in a good word for those who'd refused me,
in their ignorance.
The Lords house is everywhere,
I may not be indoors when I pray, 
But that just cuts the confusion, 
With no ceiling to muffle my prayers.

I'm a religous man, 
But no church do I call mine, 
But the Lords wide open spaces,
The beauty he created,
No man made structure cases my prayers, 
and to no man do I bow,
But everyday the Good Lord finds me in awe of his creation,
An appreciation many folks fail to find indoors.

Details | Cowboy | |

Riding Drag For Grandpa

Mine was not a normal childhood or so I have been told
But I wouldn’t trade one day of it for all of Solomon’s gold
For I have been horseback since I was three years old

My grandpa cut me out a mount, a sturdy Quarterhorse bay
And helped me climb up on top & led me out of harm’s way
They bunched the cows & grandpa said “Bit, you’ll be riding drag today”

I heard a cowboy snicker & I heard another asking “Why?”
Grandpa just said, “She might be a “little bit” but she has a lot of try”
They knew it was best not to argue for he had that gleam in his eye

We must have pushed those cows for ten hot & dusty miles
But I knew not to whine for it wasn’t the cowboy style
So every time Grandpa would look back I’d do my best to smile

Now there are those who’ll tell you that riding drag is no place to be
But though I ate two lifetimes of dust I have to disagree
For I was riding drag for Grandpa & that was good enough for me

Now I’ll never make a roper much to Grandpa’s chagrin
He knew that I’d never rope my way to a jackpot win
I am walking proof that tossing true ain’t genetically built in

He knew with me on drag the day would end without a wreck
For though I might not ever settle one loop on a steer neck
I’d always done what I was asked & earned Grandpa’s respect

Grandpa knew that I would do my best to always make it right
He’d seen me & that old Bay keep the stragglers tucked tight
And he knew that with me on drag they’d all come home at night

I rode that bay for ten spring gathers, bringing up the rear
Some of the cowboys they still snickered but I pretended not to hear
I cared little for what they thought of me & wouldn’t waste a tear

They might think that riding drag was a child’s game to me
But though I ate three lifetimes of dust I have to disagree
For I was riding drag for Grandpa & that was good enough for me

Details | Cowboy | |


I woke up this morning
din want to get out of bed,
Still tired and yawning
there's a ringing in my head.

Rubbed my eyes, rolled over
I' just got to stop and think,
Dis won't get me nowhere
all this Moonshine that I drink.

My telephone's ringing
I've been ducking everyone,
So many I'm owing
dis life sure aint no moe fun.

Made my share of mistakes
don't need to hear no one's views,
I see my life crumbling
and here I am singing the blues.

Got to get out this mess
my mamma din raise no fools
and when I get over
aint go be singing no blues

No I aint go be singing no blues,
Oh Yeaaaa!!!!

Copyright © 2008 Jacquelyn Sturge

Details | Cowboy | |


T-Bone was our camp cook
when we went on the trail,
whiskered an' b-grizzled
with a wit that never failed.

He took no guff from anyone,
not even the boss man,
'cause he controlled his eaten too
when he rattled those tin pans.

He made bakin' powder biscuits
'n beans most ever' day,
an' swore the meal was hardy
an' kept hunger pains away.

He always brewed black coffee,
you could cut it with a knife,
an' had a squaw he took along,
he claimed she was his wife.

We'd cross wide open prairie
an' ford the ragin' stream,
while T-Bone would maneuver
that bedraggled two-mule team.
Chuck wagon, he kept well supplied,
not only with our grub,
but also with some medicines,
liniments, an' rub.

He allowed we tie our horses
to the wagon wheels to eat,
if we was still on duty,
an' not long upon our feet.

That cook was most obligin'
in the middle of a storm,
he'd break out extra blankets
just to try an' keep us warm.

Sometimes we'd get to teasin'
an' call him Mother Hen,
'cause he always was a fussin'
an' keepin' track a men.

They say ol' T-Bone's mother 
was a barroom girl from town,
an' he never had no daddy,
at least, none come around.

But he musta had some learnin'
'bout the good Lord up above
'cause our cooky was a Godly man
that filled his heart with love.

We laid the man to rest today
an' many tears was shed,
'cause ever'one loved T-Bone,
an' hate the fact he's dead.

Details | Cowboy | |

Rancher, Ranch Hand, Cowboy, Cowhand PART 1

I have a name for my husband. One that can be repeated.  I call him cowboy. But 
he tells me I am wrong. He never redeoed, nor a Saturday night cowboy was he. 
And he was way to young for the cattle drives of history. Born on his father’s 
homestead in Nebraska sandhill land. He started working full time on a ranch as 
a lad of fourteen. All of the work they did back then was done with horses and 
teams. True cars were around in ‘45, but tractors were hard to be found. So for 8 
years he proudly worked on the famous 101 Nebraska ranch. In l9 hundred and 
57 I started teaching up there. When my teaching job was done the cowboy and 
the teacher became as one. I moved up the beautiful valley to the ranch where he 
did work and don’t laugh I then became the cook. And while we worked we kept 
our eyes and ears open for a ranch of our own. At last we were blessed with the 
ranch of our dreams on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota Land.

Details | Cowboy | |

Once Upon a Time in the West

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
It’s 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 & environmental 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

Details | Cowboy | |

Time Flies

You’ve just been born.
You’re a brand new kid.

When you first learned to walk
you stumbled a bit.
When you didn’t get your way
you threw your 2 year old fit.

Now you’ve started kindergarten
And you’re learning how to add 2+2.
You’re so excited about your first field trip
to the zoo.

Now you have just started 8th grade
and your trying to find yourself.
But remember that your destiny isn’t found on 
any bookshelf.

You are now 18 and your
at your graduation.
Your not sure which college you should go to,
maybe somewhere across the nation.

You’re now 32 years old 
and you are married and have 2 kids.
You watch them walk
 and stumble. You watch them
throw a fit.
You watch them as they tell you all about their
first field trip.

You watch them find themselves
and you watch them
 at their graduation.
You watch as they get older
and have their own kids to watch
in anticipation.

Details | Cowboy | |

Yansa Sea

Tall Grass bends beneath
undulating waves of gray brown

Mystic energy pulses through
the crisp dawning sky

Smell of sweat & acrid fear
The sound of the hunt Cry

mixed with the thunderous crashing
of Buffalo waves on prairie sod shores

Pony & warrior riding the crest
Arrow loosed finds its mark

deep within Yansa chest
Hunter’s cry of triumph

In harmony with the last bellow of death
as the waves of the Yansa sea

ebb & flow across the Tall Grass plains

© June 2003

** Yansa is the Cherokee word for buffalo**

Details | Cowboy | |

Canyon Symphony

I awaken in the dawn
to the canyon's morning song
I hear the hawks good morning cry
High in the trees, ancient voices sigh

Sister owl settles in for a rest
A whitetail fawn gives her legs a test
Somewhere down canyon, ancient drums repeating
Patient ponies nicker in greeting

Mourning doves & quail in lilting harmony
Add the final notes to this morning symphony
I sit silent in the twilight, as the day grows long
reveling in the canyon's evening song

I see the ancient campfire's glowing, in the darkening sky
High on the ridge, a coyote choral begins its cry
Sister owl takes to flight, carrying messages into the night
A hunter's moon rises, bathing the canyon in its light

Some where in the shadows, ancient voices calling
As I wish on a shooting star falling
Cicadas & river toads in raucous cacophony
Add the final notes to this evening symphony

© June 2004

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 | Cowboy | |

The Revelation

"I saw heaven standing open 
and there before me was a white horse…" 

Revelation 19:11 

I’ve talked to many a good man 
facing his own end 
And pretty much they all wonder 
about the same thing 
Will passing thru that final gate 
put an end to things we love 
Will we all hang up our cowboy rigging 
when we see the dove. 

And, well I’ve begun to wonder 
when I’m called before the throne 
And stand and face my deeds on earth 
and do my best to atone 
As I stand there in Stetson hat 
and rusty, bent spurs 
Will I be bunched with the righteous 
or will I be corralled with the curs. 

But, then I’m a wondering, 
what about my way of life? 
Will I still be a cowboy, 
will my way be filled with strife? 
Will I have to sell my saddle?   
Will I give up my puncher ways? 
If I can’t cowboy, 
how will I fill up my heavenly days? 

But, then I remember reading in Revelation, 
chapter 19, eleventh verse 
And my heart is filled with happiness, 
ain’t no reason now to curse. 
Cuz the good book tell us all, 
we’ll be cowboying up in paradise 
Riding herd for the real King Ranch, 
punching cows and doing right. 

Cus it’s written in the Bible, 
you all can now stay the course 
“I saw heaven standing open 
and there before me was a white horse” 
So, I’ll grab my old saddle 
and swing it up on that critter's back 
And ride that heavenly range forever, 
me, that white horse and my old kack. 

G.Casey Allen 
© July 25, ‘03

Details | Cowboy | |


        I can recall when we did things happily together
       sharing a love that should have lasted forever
       Sun light to reveal the way so we could follow
       behind her eyes were my tomorrows
      Then something changed her mind, 
      your expressions told me
     I had no affectionate arms to squeeze me

      Daily I awaken, then I fall to pieces
      each day I started out, then I cried my heart out
      wondering why I am still alive in this world
       Lost is a man with out affection

     I cannot deal with this world that has fallen down on me
      If you sincerely understand please come back to me

      I was good to you and at first you were good to me
       We were right for one another like birds of a feather
      I am sorry for how reacted to your actions at the end
       I loved you very much so what else could I do? 
      But Honey  where was your heart and where 
       It now?

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 | |

Sage & Thorn

From a Cowboy heart is born
Poets of the sage & thorn
We speak so all the world might see
The cowboy life, our legacy
Whether in the city raised
Or with the cattle as they grazed
You're transported swiftly back in time
When gathered to hear a cowboy rhyme
To wild & western days now past
Slowing a world which moves so fast
We offer our memories as a gift
hoping that your spirits lift
We are all Cowboy bred & born
Poets of the sage & thorn 

Details | Cowboy | |

' Outlaw Ballad ... ' (Part 1 of 2) (Cowboy Poem # 9)

You Rode Into My Town
Gunned all The Lonely Deputies Down
Blew-Up The Bank Of Trust, In Our Face …
Where, There Was Hope … Is Now Empty Space …
               … Now, I Gotta Chase You ! …

        Outlaw !
Armed and Dangerous
        Outlaw !
Jesse James, Would Be Jealous
  … of You – Outlaw !
You’re Outrageous …
… and You’re An Outlaw ! …

Stealing Hearts, Like They Was Gold
… Silver Bullets, Are The Lies, You Told
Just A Masked-Man, Running Away …
No Longing-Arms, Can Make You Stay
                 … This Is Where You Pay (Now) ! …

        Outlaw !
# 1 On Our Wanted List …
        Outlaw !
They Told Me You Never Miss ! …
        Outlaw !
… In A Duel, or A Quick Kiss …
… You’re An Outlaw !

Rustlin’ Cows and Cheating at Cards
Done Knocked Down, Many A Weak and Off-Guard
I Will Chase You Long and Hard
To Show You, How It Feels To Be Scarred …
                  … My Personal Reward ! …

        Outlaw !
$ 10,000.00 Reward
        Outlaw !
A Dollar, For Each Broken Heart
        Outlaw !
… Better Get A Head-Start …
        Outlaw !


Oh, I didn’t do Anything / That’s What All Outlaws Sing!
Oh, I didn’t do Anything / Then, This is Just A Real Bad Dream!
Oh, I didn’t do Anything / Stop! … Then, Where’s Her Dadgum Ring? …
                                Outlaw …

You Avoid Honor, Like A Hangman’s Noose
Out There, Wild and Still Running Loose
Wanted Posters, Up On Every Wall
When They Look At It … Tears Just Fall …
                   … You’re A Real Quick-Draw ! …

        Outlaw !
Look At That Brim …
        Outlaw !
Cocked-Low, Like A Trigger-Rim …
        Outlaw !
… Yeah, That’s Him ! …
 … It’s The Outlaw ! …

This is Showdown For Nerves-On-Edge
No More Hide-Outs; Not Another Hedge
No More Ladies, Lying On A Ledge
No More Lies, Or A Broken Pledge …
                   … See This Badge !!! …

        Outlaw !
I Shoot Straight From A Curve-Hip …
        Outlaw !
You Won’t Get To Give Me The Slip …
        Outlaw !
You’re Gonna Get Wild-Whipped …
        Outlaw !


Girl, I Know You’re Hurtin’ / But He Was Only Flirtin’
Luv, Stop Your Crying / Break Free From His Lying
Hon, I’m Doing You A Favor / He Ain’t Never Gonna Put No Ring On Your Finger …
                           He’s An Outlaw ! 

                           (Part One of Two)

Details | Cowboy | |

' Outlaw Ballad ... ' (Part 2 of 2) (Cowboy Poem # 9)

Nuthin’, But Trouble and Texas-Tuff
But for You – Stuff’s About To Get Rough
By Now, You Should Have Had Enough
Now, Make Your Choice, Hang ‘Em High, or Cuffs ? …
          … Come Out With Your Hands Us ! …

            Outlaw !
Are You That Hot-Bloodied, Heart Killer ? …
            Outlaw !
Well, You Look A Lot Like Him, Mister …
            Outlaw !
… by the way, that You Kissed Her …
        You’re An Outlaw !

Beneath Stars or by Light Of The Moon
I’m Riding Fast … Will Catch Up Soon
Midnight … Will Be Our Stroke Of High Noon
I Stand-Steady … I Will Not Swoon …
          … This Is Your Once In A Blue Moon ! …


… and Outlaw ! … I’m Calling You Out !
Outlaw ! … Come Out, Of Your Hide-Out !
      Outlaw ! … There Is No Doubt …
            … You’re My Outlaw …

       Outlaw ! … I’m Bringing You In !
  … You’ll Never Ride The Range Again
        Outlaw ! … ‘Cause Only Then …
       … You’ll Be My Outlaw … Outlaw !

Details | Cowboy | |

Cowboys Can't Be Pigeonholed

So you think you know just how us cowboys should behave
But listening to your jawing, I hear Chisholm spinning in his grave
A Cowboy who don’t drink or cuss, I’ll tell you that’s not right
Ain’t you heard of Old Whiskey Row, Where two cowboys got tight?
To go to tying knot’s in the Devil’s tail took more than lemonade
There’s been liquor on the bar in every movie John Wayne made

Back when Chisholm blazed the trail & cattle claimed the West
It was music round a campfire, as the hands settled for a rest
They’d often talk of home or sing a tune to pass the time
You’ve seen that in the movies, when it only cost a dime
They sang of Laredo, Lil Joe or maybe Annie Laurie
Right then & there you decided what a Cowboy ought to be

There are some things we might share with Hoppy, Roy & Gene
But real cowboys won’t ever be like those on the Disney scene
Any buckaroo can sure clean up sharp for a Saturday night dance
Even be persuaded to use pretty words when sparking a romance
We pick a little guitar and some can make that harmonica wail
But you’re just as apt to hear La Bamba as you are a song of the trail 

Those cowboys that you talk of, all slick & squeaky clean
All pressed and starched, with proper speech, they ride a silver screen
You see that feller in the corner, all tattered & dusty, that’s the real McCoy
Battered old Stetson, mud & manure spackled jeans, a bonafide Cowboy
He might be rough around the edges and his language a bit coarse
But when he sets to working cattle, You swear he was born on a horse

We are only human after all; sometimes we just need to cut loose 
Shoot out the lights, kiss all the ladies; drink our fair share of the booze
We still love our mommas and say grace with most meals
We just don’t handle being boxed, can’t stand the way it feels
Those who don’t tolerate a lot of rules choose the cowboy way
Much like this cowboy you see here before you today

I can see you are trying to sort this out in your head
For all you know of cowboys is what you’ve seen and read
I surely hope this little talk about cowboys made it all a bit clearer
The only one we answer to is the maker and the face in the mirror
I hate to burst your bubble, still you best here it from me
Cowboys can’t be pigeon holed; they must be wild & free

Catherine Lilbit Devine   © September 19, 2005

Details | Cowboy | |


Ranchin' ain't easy,
an' it don't get no better
when chores are plum' awful 
on account a the weather.

Storm clouds start gatherin'
above the horizon-
I dig out long-handles,
I hate 'em like pi'son.

A cold wind starts blowin',
chills a man to the bone.
The future is troublin'
out here on my own.

The house starts to creak
but stands up to the storm-
another log on the fire
keeps it cozy an' warm.

I pull on my old coat
'n boots--pretty worn,
turn up my collar,
an' head for the barn.
Snows blowin' sideways
an' stingin' my face,
I think I'm half crazy
to stay on this place.

Wind keeps a howlin',
snows pile up an' drift.
If I don't find them cattle,
they may fall off a cliff.

With my trusty ol' horse,
we herd some to corral-
we've been long together
so he's more like a pal.

This task is repeated,
in hastened routine,
while the storm grows
more fierce, angry, an' mean.

I take to my bed
in wee hours of morn,
tired an' half froze,
wish I'd never been born.

The fire's dyin' down,
burrow deep in my quilt,
complain to my maker,
then, feel plum' fulla guilt.

'Cause I know He saved me
from that terrible storm
as my limbs start to thaw,
an' body gets warm.

Last thing on my mind
as I drift off to sleep,
"Lord, I'm sure grateful
this cowboy you keep!"

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowpokes Song

There's moonlight on the prairie 
With the campfire cracking
He sings his cowpokes song

He dreams of the day 
Of catching the bouquet
The time and pleasure
Watching sons and daughters grow

Rocking on a wooden horse
Watching  the flowers sow
Now he eats the dust of another days labor

Only wishing 
For a drop of water to quench his thirst
Umable to sing
A cowpokes song

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 | |

As the cowboy's ride...

As the cowboy rides...
The sun at his side...
The scarf given too...
Him by a girl he knew...
As the cowboy rides...
What warms his inside...
The girl he's left to do...
The range under the stars...
As the cowboy rides...
What brother's do...
Lead and drive...
The great herds outside...
As the cowboy rides...

Details | Cowboy | |

As I Close My Eyes

As I Close My Eyes
It’s you I see
with the other woman
I don't understand
why you left me standing alone
I just want you near

As I Close My Eyes
Im hoping you would 
be standing here by my side 
Living life isn't perfect
We all make mistakes
Im here to tell you
I'll do whatever it takes
for you to be in my heart
once again

As I Close My Eyes
 It’s you I only want to share my life with
I want to be your wife
We were up for so many years
Yes, since you left I shed a couple of tears
So tell me why we have to end like this
You are the only one I'll miss

Details | Cowboy | |


The work is hot,
 tired & nasty
sometimes you ride
your mount into the ground
some nights you can't sleep
for the desert chill 
or coyotes howl 

You chase them steers
come hail or hell
in pouring rain
cross river's swell
might lose a few steers
or a few good mounts
but if, at end of day,
every man still has his skin
That's what really counts 

Yes, we've buried 
a few compadres
and cursed many
a longhorn stampede
Saw fear & terror
and tasted death
as through the 
dark we raced 

So if you see
us Cowboys coming,
give us room
cut us some slack
We never meant 
to bow these legs
or stand here 
looking ragged 

We're chasing what
lies deep within
Wondering why we were
brought here too late
An old time cowboy
in the twentieth century
brought here by 
the hand of Fate 

Details | Cowboy | |

Sweet Yesterday But I Take This Minute

Sweet yesterday 
O how sweet it is 
To be alive in my moment 
I live I breathe
 I  live my minute 
Breathe in  out with dreams
 Deep in me
 I dream of living in peace
 Peace peace 
No more war 
No more pain 
Just simple   
 As life I walk fee
l life breathing 
My breath 
In  a sweet 
State of life

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 | |

He'll Do To Ride the River With

There is an old unwritten code out here that’s truly not a myth—
He that is loyal to his brand: “He’ll do to ride the river with.”

Some call it just a handshake – but it’s the thing that we all know best—
They say it’s a code of ethics – we call it the Code of the West.

It is known as integrity – being generous to a fault—
An ancient Golden Rule that we all try to live by and exalt. 

We love the land and treat it well and stir up no dust for others—
Fair play and close friendship are still dear, and we treat all like brothers.

We tip our hats to ladies, and know the true measure of a man—
We pay our debts and those of kin, and with our God know where we stand.

Yes, there is an old unwritten code out here that is not a myth—
He that is loyal to his brand: “He’ll do to ride the river with.”

Details | Narrative | |

A Blessing In The Heat (Part 2)

Johnny Clare is an example of many a young man who Cowboy'd in the truest sense of the word. He did a job. He did it well. Though he met an untimely end, his life did not go unnoticed. Continental Oil Company put up a monument to a young man who worked for them, but Larry McWhorter's words made him real. The essence of who he was is immortalized in that poem. It is more than a poem about one is a poem about every Cowboy who ever rode for the Brand. It is a poem about the heart and soul of men who built our country through hard work and sacrifice. It is a poem about one man's basic belief that time may march on, but those everyday Cowboys like Johnny Clare will not be forgotten. The monument stands as a reminder of "where," but Larry McWhorter's words stand as a reminder of "why." His words, a tribute to the spirit of man and a lesson on how to live what you love.

I cried that day. Tears of joy for having shared this moment with Larry and Andrea; for having one of my heroes of Cowboy Poetry recognize me and for his gift of words to me. We have been friends since. I love and respect him and Andrea; because they are good, kind, strong people of the land with deep conviction in their faith and strong relationship with the Savior. They live each day with grace, they give that grace to others and they make all strangers friends. Proud am I that I know them. Lucky am I that I got to go to Weatherford, Texas that day.

I have learned that it's not the trail we ride, but the tracks we leave behind for others to follow that matters. Time may march on, but word and deed live on forever; as does the spirit of any person dedicated to living life to the fullest while serving their fellow man. The impression we leave is our memorial to this earthly life. Building a monument with words and telling the stories about others so they are never forgotten is our memorial
to those we love and admire. Johnny Clare, Larry McWhorter, all those men I grew up with and those I am privileged to call my friends; all living life their way by the Grace of God, all fighting the good fight and marching forward no matter the obstacles, all inspiring us to live life to its fullest. When it comes to great men of heart and spirit the memory never fades and the words of praise are endless. And that, my friends, is the greatest monument of all.

Details | Cowboy | |

Life is a Rodeo!

Life is a rodeo,
Full of tuff 8-second rides.

Some you stay on,
Others you wonder how'd I survive!

But when you get bucked off,
And realize the grounds a long way down.
Better hope there's a friendly clown,
To hurry you up off the ground!

So when it's time to hop back in that shoot,
Hope you had time to heal and regroup!

Scared of the blood, sweat, and all your fears,
Man I'll tell yah, when they pull that gate,
You won’t have time for those tears!
Life is all about judgments on you ride,
So "Cowboy up"! 
Cause all you have is your pride!

Details | Cowboy | |

Face In the Snow

Sly had him no love for Christmas,
It was just another day—
When the devout celebrated
And weak-willed cowpokes did pray.

Old Sly, he weren’t all that bad—
No, by gosh, he sure was not—
He never did shoot him a man
That he didn’t think need shot. 

Sly Stern was just an old drover
Who outlived his friends and time—
That was headed nowhere that day
Without a care or a dime.

So it was Christmas that morning
As he crossed the Mummy Range—
Heading higher and still higher,
When he felt a little strange.

He’d crossed these old mountains before,
But never on Christmas day—
Yet now he felt a bit confused
And he couldn’t find his way.

The wind and the cold grew fiercer—
Snow hit his face with hard slaps,
Sly knew he needed some shelter
As one hand froze to his chaps.

But all he could find was a ledge,
A wind break with icy sage.
He unsaddled his horse gently—
For the first time felt his age.

Quickly, Sly gathered up damp wood—
Built a fire to heat his soul—
Christ seemed nothing in a blizzard
As the snow soon took its toll.

Hours passed and so did the fire
As white snow whirled and then screamed—
For a moment he saw a face
Or so that old drover dreamed.

The blizzard grew stronger that day,
The worst in thirty odd years—
Covering the whole Mummy Range:
A Christmas with joy and tears.

With numb hands and ice-cased whiskers,
Sly took bullets from his belt,
Gently arranged them in the snow
To spell out just how he felt.

For in those final dear moments,
One face appeared in the snow—
The face of the Lord of this earth,
A face that he would now know.

Two months later his friend found it,
Next to his rock-frozen hoss—
The old drover’s bullets laid out
In the rough shape of the cross.

Though his saddle and gun remained,
There was no trace of old Sly—
It was as if he’d been taken
Away, far up, in the sky. 

Details | Cowboy | |

' It Was A Cowboy Knight ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 5)

I Saw The Tall, Lone-Star
Walk in the Café-Bar
With Silver, Jingling Spurs
… I Knew, What They Were …

… with Boots, Bluejeans and The Chaps
and Big-Belt-Buckle, Above His Lap
and The Hung-Low-Brim, Cowboy Hat
(just a new type of Visored-Helmet)

Heard that Gentlemanly Courtesy
‘Mam’ … That’s Just Chivalry 
And Lasso … instead of a Lance
… but same Skill … Same Bold Stance

His Armor’s, that Shiny Truck
(yeah, They Do Love Their Pick-Ups!)
But, Can Still Ride A Steed
Whenever, They Feel The Need

So, I Know, That’s Not Just A ‘Mister’
‘ That ’ … Is A Dad-Gum’ ‘ Sir ’
Maybe Even A Champion For Right
After All … It Was A Cowboy – Knight …

Details | Cowboy | |

Old As Dirt

You know that you’re old as dirt
When your whole body does hurt—
You grab a cane ‘stead of quirt
And you’re just too old to flirt.

It’s when you have to trim hairs
From your nose and your big ears—
You’re sure that those creepin’ years
Has justified all your fears!

It ain’t that you’re gittin’ old
Or Father Time is too bold
Or the last crow has done crowed—
It’s sittin’ ‘round till ya mold!

But if time comes a knockin’,
Don’t let it be too shockin’—
Don’t take your tack for hockin’,
You’re jest rollin’, not rockin’!

So when you’re payin’ for sins
And seems your life never ends—
You’ll know just who’s your true friends
When they has to change your Depends!   

Details | Cowboy | |

' The Cowboy's Compliment ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 4)

Now, Early from Young Womanhood
I Owe A Cowboy, My Confidence
Seems Nobody, Can Build A Woman Up
Like A Cowboy’s Compliment

… I Was On My Lunch Hour
While Working At A Bank Downtown
I Went To Piccadilly’s Cafeteria
… got Line-Selection and Sat Down

They Say, ‘You Never Know Who’s Looking’
And I Can See, That’s True
And I’m Gonna’ Give You Proof
By What Those Two Cowboys, Did Do …

The Piccadilly’s Was Full
‘Cause There Was An Oil-Show In Town
Two Western Hats and Suits Passed My Table
One Tall-Blue, and One Tall-Brown

And One, Picked Up My Ticket
Don’t Remember Which, (It Was A Quick-Draw)
I Was Busy, Sugaring Tea
Shiny-Boots Passing, Was All I Saw …

It Took A Moment for Mild-Shock, to Go
Realizing I Had No Menu-Ticket
‘Til One of Them, At The Register, Pointed At Me
and Paid … That’s Why They Picked-It

Now, I Had An Office-Outfit On
And, I Didn’t Think It Was All That …
But Obviously, My Suit, Hairdo, and Polished-Heels
Inspired Them To Pick Up The Check …

Now, They Didn’t Try To Flirt
They, Didn’t Say A Word To Me …
Just Walked Out Into The Texas Sunshine
Handing Me A High-Noon-Flattery …

And Since from My Young Womanhood
I Often Smile At Those Cowboy’s Compliment
And Ain’t Nobody Been Able To
“ Tell Me, I Ain’t All That – " Sense “  ! !


          A True Tale …


Details | Cowboy | |

Last Freedom Fighters

     Last Freedom Fighters 

      They fought battles to conquer and spread the good news, it became a mighty 
state, ports open to all refugees, hard men building a new world for the next 
generation to travel, trading their souls for possessions to conquer these foreign 

      Hidden agenda was not known yet, our red brothers gave us warnings of 
many coming, our spirits calling to form a tribal union, speaking of the old days. A 
white calf will be born, our corn will burn from the sun rays, smoke rising to the 
stars, echo’s from the great chief, a war painted warrior speaking truth to the last 
tribe, our homes were yesterday paths, our children do not speak our language, 
the old sit on broken stumps not on our women woven rugs. 

      Sorrow comes rushing in as the pendulum swings, dividing lands between 
the waters. Broken arrows burns their hearts, the teeth of the great wolf licks its 
prey, waiting in the dark den, an image of timeless tales. Unknown visitors came 
upon our lands and brought with them this great destruction to our pastures, 
many warriors now lay in scared burial grounds, they took our women and laid 
besides them making them slaves. 

      Our smoke clouds bringing visions, the red fox forewarns about a massacre, 
ones that carry the pocked marked faces, yellow hairs that rode broken mares. 
It’s now there fate to give back these grounds that belonged to us, we stand tall 
knowing the fate of the last freedom fighter, they will go down to the valleys and 
lay besides our own. Our eagle soars and the black bears speaks, its upon our 
lands that we stood by the waters which turned into red rivers, the mountains 
shake bringing down the snow, the animals hide, the dark cloud is coming by the 
hands of great men, they too shall melt with the rising sun. 

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 | |

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 | |


Whenever I see a horse decked out in fancy tack
or going round in circles, it always takes me back
to a part of my childhood I remember so well -
riding the carnival’s calliope carousel.

We’d purchase the tickets and the minutes we would count
until that gate opened and we’d race for our own mount.
The horses were all decorated in brightly colored array
and my favorite was a jumping horse, a big dappled grey.

It was exhilarating fun to sit on that equine toy.
I’d fantasize about me being a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy.  
I loved the happy music as the racing horses spun
and I hated to dismount when the carousel was done.

Some kids would only ride for five minutes or so,
then they would lose interest and off they would go.
But I wouldn’t leave until they finally shut it down.
It was a circle of happiness, that wonderful merry-go- round

Details | Cowboy | |

Life Is What You Don't Step In

Life is what you don’t step in—
It’s what you step around.
But if you’re always missin’ it,
It’s still there on the ground.

Sometimes you cannot miss it—
It goes up to your neck—
But now you know just what it is
And say “Now what the heck!”

But like cowpokes too close to fire—
We have to eat some soot.
If it ain’t all over your boots,
You’d just as well be barefoot! 

Details | Cowboy | |

Frank and the Circuit Preacher

The Circuit Preacher came to town, 
and the word of God he preached, 
At the end of his sermon, 
our souls he did beseech. 
	We all stood shuffling around, 
	like calves stuck in the mire, 
	We’d only come to see the foreman’s sisters, 
	who were singing in the choir.  
What happened next surprised us, 
it was the derndest thing we ever saw, 
There was Frank, on his knees, 
his hands clasped beneath his jaw. 
	Now Frank, he was a sinner, 
	of a magnitude most high, 
	It was not beneath his dignity, 
	to cheat or steal or lie. 
But there he was, on his knees, 
praying with all his might, 
Begging for forgiveness, 
for he had seen the light. 
	I’d like to say Frank truly changed, 
	becoming perfect through and through, 
	But there’s no use in saying so, 
	I’d just be lying to you. 
But he was a bit more tolerant, 
and every once in awhile, 
He treated the hands respectful, 
sometimes, he would even smile. 

	Sure, he had his slip-ups, 
	but most of his time was well spent, 
	And when he was bad, he was sorry, 
	the very definition of the word repent. 
On the day he passed from this world, 
he went grinning without a sound. 
And no one here has ever forgotten, 
the day the Circuit Preacher came to town.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Dead Cowboy Poet's Society

Now, ol’ Twister Tom he was quite a cowboy find—
A real rock hard cowpoke, though the question begged—
Some say that he was a legend in his own mind,
He’d a been six foot six if he weren’t so bow-legged!

But standin’ five foot two he was a dryin’ breed,
So he took up wordin’ and became a poet!
At eighty-two years all the big world he had seed,
So he was a master bard before he knowed it!

So Tom the bronc twister he done went on a tour
And he read his poems at cowboy gatherin’s—
They liked his gravel voice and his odd looks for sure
And they loved all his colorful palatherin’s!

But there got to be so many versifiers,
That it started to seem lots of folks didn’t care—
So they all turned into cowboy verse deniers—
It was so dern crowded that nobody went there! 

Tom joined the ranks of Barker, Kiskaddon and Clark,
Chapman, Morant, Fletcher and his great Knibbs—
“It shore beats singin’ ta all them cows in the dark,
And I don’t like wearin’ those overalls with bibs!”

And rarely in recitin’ did Tom make a flub,
But there was a lot he lacked in propriety—
They said he was so dern good he should join a club,
Like the famed Dead Cowboy Poet’s Society!

But with Twister Tom that just didn’t set too right—
Said, “I don’t want ta be in no society,
What takes in any ol’ buzzard just on his sight
And would accept as a member that likes of me!”

But they swore that he’d be a perfect candidate,
Yet he then said, “It seems there’s somethin’ you ferget—
Before I is one of you cowboy poet’s, mate—
They’s just one thang you overlooked – I ain’t dead yet!” 

So ol’ Twister Tom he kept makin’ him a name,
He read his verse smooth and with no anxiety—
And when he was dead wound up in the hall of fame
And in the Dead Cowboy Poet’s Society!

Details | Cowboy | |

When the Wind Rides Free

I took a job with the ol’ saddle man
After years on the range too free,
Workin’ day hours I never could stand—
Not bein’ the man I should be.

I was all boxed in by houses and such,
When the night sky was once my roof—
I felt that life didn’t amount to much,
‘Les I heard the wolf and the hoof.

Oh, give me the days when the wind rides free
And I’m ridin’ out on the plain—
Yes, let me ride where the sun doesn’t flee—
Free as the wild horses and rain.
Oh, please never stop the coyote call
Or the bald eagle high and free.
And let me ride to the cattle’s high bawl—
A hero and man that never did crawl—
That still rides proud for all to see.

I just couldn’t take the city or town,
A wife or any tie to bind—
I just couldn’t let those things hold me down—
It was my life I had to find.

But all those years and the lure of a buck, 
They kept me in the town still jailed—
I never rode the range with that same pluck
And in my heart knew I had failed.

So gone are the days when the wind rode free
As I reined it into the night—
Before I knew that I’d no longer see
All the world that came in my sight.
Yet still in these times of red settin’ suns,
I long to ride skies to the crest—
To spur and to yell and shoot off those guns—
To ride the wild wind and see how she runs—
To taste the free air ’fore I rest.

Details | Cowboy | |

Brahma Ballet

To a Bullfighter & a Brahma
All the arena is a stage
Each tap & twist leaves them surprised
As the crowd sits mesmerized

In baggy, tattered pants & paint
With athletic grace to the left he’ll feint
Taking the lead in a dangerous dance
Knowing he’s a cowboy’s only chance

This Brahma ballet is danced every night
Amidst the dust, the noise & the arena lights
He’ll keep on dancing this Brahma ballet
It will be his calling until his dying day

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 | |

When He Visits

 He visits often 
I can feel him take my hand 
whether in the barn at daybreak 
or when with my ponies I stand
I hear his laughter on the wind 
and his voice fills my heart 
though he walks this earth no more 
in my memory we're never apart 

on shadow pony he comes riding 
each night to knock at my heart's door 
in dream time we share the stories 
old family secrets, the laughs & glories 

and in the sunrise hour waking 
I hear him whisper evermore 

Details | Cowboy | |

Dear Charlie

I have thought of you often, found some paper tucked away,
I’m feeling sentimental and have some time today,
So with pen in hand I thought I would write a line or two,
Though I don’t know where your at or if this letter will get through.

Well the wire is now strung and the cowboys are fenced in,
The Indians that rode beside you will never be again. 
The long horns their now mulies a horn not a one,
I guess the wild west days have come and gone.

But Charlie I think you know there is a die hard breed.
There are still some out there that live the cowboy creed.
I know it’s not exactly the same as when you rode so bold,
But Charlie I wanted you to know that not all the saddles are sold.
For they wake each morning to the rising sun,
And know at the end of each day their work is still not done.
And they will gather around a fire to hear a yearn or two,
To see who tells the better tale of the things that they do.
And some paint a might good picture too, I have seen them at their best.
I guess there’s still a little wild out here in the west.

We think of you often and dream of a time 
When the range was open and the land was in its prime. 
When long horns ran high ridges and tested cowboy wit,
And even the best of the ponies would still challenge the bit.
So I thought I would write to let you know 
that you are thought of out here in what we do and where we go. 
And there still is hardcore buckaroos who still challenge change,
And they fight for the freedom to ride the range.

Well the fire has burned to embers and the crew is coming in
The quiet moment that I had, is now brought to an end,
So I will stoke the fire, put the coffee on and say goodbye for now,
Hoping you might get this letter some how.
Just remember your not for gotten Charlie and you will live on
And the cowboys and buckaroos are not completely gone.
And when I have more quiet time and paper that I might find,
I promise to write again, rest in peace my dear old friend.

Details | Cowboy | |

The love

Little did she know

In the middle of the night

Someone was thinking of her

His eyes shone blue and bright

Looking down upon her

Kissing her so gently

Careful not to wake his angel

Who slept in his arms so elegantly

He wraps his arms around her

To shield her from any harm

The air around them so calm and silent

She is his lucky charm

He drifts off to sleep

Still wrapped in sweet simplicity

She fills his dreams every night

With her magnetic personality

The thoughts that fill her dreams

Each and every night

Are ones of growing old and babies

She wishes with all her might

She dreams of a daughter

One to reflect her own self

With eyes that draw you in

And have feelings you’ve never before felt

A smile to make you believe

Everything will be alright

Even if all odds are down

And nothing good is in sight

So silently she sleeps 

In her saviors arms

Cause this is her safest place

The one place where she can’t be harmed

Details | Cowboy | |

Boot Hill Easter

The day did not mean much to him,
That’s why he did not know—
Just how he came there Easter morn
With Tombstone down below.

There’s a tumbleweed a blowin’,
Pushed by the breath of God—
That moves across the distant range
And marks where He has trod.

The golden sun rises again
And bathes each tattered cross—
And like that day so long ago,
There is a sense of loss.

So for a time that ol’ graveyard
Has been again reborn—
As sins and sinners do repent
And they outgrow the thorn.

There’s a tumbleweed a blowin’,
Pushed by the breath of God—
That moves across the distant range
And marks where He has trod.

And so a man walks down Boot Hill,
Touched by the robe He wore—
With Easter and the truth in him—
A doubter now no more.

Details | Cowboy | |

Simple Prayer

A Cowboy one day
rode high on a hill
To ask the Lord,
if it be his will,
To send him 
a helpmate
strong & gentle
pretty as wildflowers
that bloom every spring
yet strong as the hawk
with the wind ‘neath its wing

Now the Lord heard his prayer
and gave it plenty of thought
then searched throughout heaven
‘til he found the angel he sought
Of denim & lace
her wings were made
‘round her all creatures gathered
He called her to the throne
and laid out his plan
that Cowboy would not be alone

Now together they ride 
side by side day & night
Cowboy & his Angel
what a beautiful sight

(c) 2002

Details | Cowboy | |

Waddie Peacock's Last New Year

(The real Waddie Peacock, described only as “an old L.S. cowpuncher,” had the 
distinction of being the first person buried in Logan, New Mexico’s first cemetery 
in 1910.) 

It seems a man rides restless when he’s alone on the rim—
No one to rein him in a bit, no one to bury him.

So Waddie Peacock sat astride his horse reassessin’—
Dreamin’ past those frozen plains, tryin’ to count each blessin’.

He’d been an ol’ L.S. cowpuncher since hard scrabble youth,
But with the years and creakin’ bowlegs, he now sought the truth. 

He didn’t go out ridin’ much on that December trail—
He holed-up in an ol’ line shack till wit and nerve did fail.

But here he was on New Year’s Eve watchin’ those lone star skies,
Knowin’ that each man’s life is short, before he ups and dies.

Come fall he’ll head his hoss out to Logan, New Mexico—
Say goodbye to the L.S. boys and then he’ll have to go.

Some say there’s silver down Logan way - he’ll pack up his gun—
A brand new town and way of life – a brand new risin’ sun.

But now ol’ Waddie Peacock waits the start of this New Year.
He pats his faithful horse and knows with life there is no fear.

Somewhere a cowboy clangs a bell and shoots into the air—
The New Year comes like all the rest – ol’ Waddie just sits there.

Somehow he feels this year’s his last, and that he’ll be called home—
And Logan’s where he’ll soon now rest beneath the land and stone.

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 | |

Grass and Water

His name was John Paul Slavens, an old time buckaroo 
when he was young, he’d made a hand, knew just what to do. 
He had a soft hand with horses, he knew the ways of cow 
He treated women like a lady, not like men do now. 

He was good with "youngins" and when the work was done 
he’d tell a story , spin a yarn, have a little fun. 
He was never mean or surly, because he’d come to know 
The good book’s always right, we’ll reap just what we sow. 

JP worked with us kids, he’d smile the times we’d fail 
He’d keep us working and learning, riding the cowboy trail. 
And sometimes during the lessons, one of us kids would slip 
into a place a cow had been and left her little... "chip". 

JP’d laugh when we made a "face" slap his knee a time or two 
He’d say, "It’s only grass and water!" as we tried to wipe off that "goo". 
Well time moved on, his winter came, I watched Old J.P. die 
I know he’s gone to Heaven, riding for the "Boss" in the sky. 

Up there the water’s always good, the grass is stirrup high 
He’s a happy cowhand, riding in the sweet by and by. 
As I’ve traveled down life’s trail, I’ve "slipped" a time or two 
And more than once I’ve found myself, "stepping’ in brown goo". 

I think back to my childhood with Old J.P. showing me the way 
of thinking and working like a cowboy, I can still hear him say; 
"It’s only grass and water!" I realize all ain’t lost, 
I pick up the pieces, try again, disregard the cost. 

The worst probably won’t kill you, tomorrow’s another day, 
just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, try different way. 
I’ve begun to realize what I wish would go to another 
Is just my little trail to ride... It’s all just Grass and Water!

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 | |

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 | |

They Came

They came to us slowly 
          in ones and twos at first. 
They were men with good hearts 
and lived with earth as one; 
Lived as we live, one with the four legged, 
two legged – all the spirits of our world 

They brought many things to trade; 
knives of iron, that our women treasure, 
Thunder sticks that kill from 
further that an arrow can fly. 

They brought cloth of bright colors 
that our women sew into clothes for us. 
They brought sugar and tea to change 
our diet of buffalo and berries 

Then more came.   
They came with bad hearts. 

They brought firewater. 
Our minds were as dizzy as our steps 
and the earth danced before our eyes. 

The black robes came and gave us their religion. 
Strange since they do not practice his teachings. 

They brought the spotted sickness 
that kills our people. 
They came and killed the buffalo 
and left the bodies to rot on the earth. 

They came like a swarm of insects, 
devouring everything in their path. 
They came and took our land 
and gave us heartbreak. 

The sacred hoop is broken 
And I cannot go home… 

Copyright 2002

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 | |

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 | |

One Old Cowpoke Went Riding

One old cowpoke went ridin’ down the trail of dusty days,
Waitin’ on the all the test results, blood work and the X-rays.
They say his horse threw him, but the truth’s his knee gave out,
And all he could do was lay there, and yell and cuss and shout.

So he wound up in that clinic – couldn’t stand it longer—
He said if they didn’t kill him, it would make him stronger.   
But it just got him to thinkin’ of things that were profound—
The way life used to be before all the country turned to town.

He’s now in his nineties and call still recall the Old West—
When men were men and all them things just worked out for the best.
But times they changed and kids moved on and didn’t like ranch work—
But he held on, lived the dream and from chores never did shirk. 

Now the ranch is gone and he rode on, but did not give up—
As kids and life went their own way and they had their own pups.
And now even his grand kids have kids of their very own,
Yet as he lays in that bed, this life has left him alone.

In the hall a young boy stands, decked in cowboy hat and boots—
Waitin’ to see his great granddad and share family roots.
Doors open to his great grandson who greets him as he lays—
One young cowpoke comes ridin’ down his trail of reborn days.

Details | Haiku | |

Morning Prayer

Yippee Ki Yo
Ki Yay 
Thank God     Another Day

Details | Cowboy | |

The Mighty Longhorn Chair

Clayton King was a cattle baron
With ranges like far flowin’ seas,
And thousands of Texas longhorns
Roilin’ around like swarms of bees.

He built a huge cedar ranch house
With everything he needed there,
And oversaw his vast empire
Right from his mighty longhorn chair.

He had huge sets of longhorns,
Some more that eight feet of course,
On walls and over fireplaces
And he even stuffed his first horse.

He was the greatest of the great,
His fame was everywhere—
It seemed he ruled the entire world
Right from that mighty longhorn chair.

Still the money stampeded in
And that King Ranch just beat all—
They said it was the world’s biggest
As it quickly did grow and sprawl.

Some say he just wasted money
On things that mattered so little—
That he always had the finest
But like Nero he just fiddled.

“I am the noble Clayton King
And my wealth is everywhere!”
So read the engraved inscription
On his still mighty longhorn chair.

In those long years the dollars flowed
And it seemed like it would not end—
Till a first then second wife left
Without leavin’ an heir or friend.

Then the cattle business changed
And money dried up like the creeks,
This went on for years and years,
Not just a few months or weeks.

The vast King Ranch then did dwindle
Till the day ol’ Clayton King died—
What was left went up for auction—
It seemed no one now cared or cried.

They tore down the house and buildings
And built a shopping center there—
And after that final auction,
I own that mighty longhorn chair.

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 | |

season is over.

after playing ball the contestants make there way to the draw wall.
Felling sore from the ride before. no one knows whats in store.
Justin took quite the fall, carson gets his horse out of her stall.
they check in with the doc. and he suggests they stretch and go for a walk.

as kevin rolls in, no one knows where hes been
Gene is having a really great year, as he celeabrates with yet another beer
wes made the top five, hes starting to feel the vibe.
coch kelly, always clean and proper, was once quite the show stopper

the team sits around the table for lunch, as the pep tlak goes out to the bunch
tonight is the last of the season, as kevin pops a choclate reisen.
some will move on, some will stay, its not the ride its livin for the day
Rodeo is not about being the best, its about your lifes quest

two hours before the show and just going with the flow
wes and carson play with there ropes, as kevin looks for the saddle soap
gene checks his cinch, as justin pulls some snuff and takes a pinch.
kelly is busy shaking hands, as people start to fill the stands.

grand entry rolls in and the energy is felt throughout the pen
the anthem is played and the prayer is sent, who will make the rent
the hosres are loaded and ready to go, with the intry of funny man joe
grand entry has left and the cowboy is set, with the swing from the gate there off 
like a jet.

Dreams are made and dreams will fade with every entry fee paid.
gene gets set his eyes are cold and hes destined to have a buckle full of gold
carson wrestles his steer and blows a knee, the crowd rises to see
justin slides up on his rope and feels just right, for hell make the ride of his life 

The show is over and the stock is fed we are thankfull noone is dead
reality is set and buckles are handed out, for some this is what their life is about
for some college rodeo has come to an end, but there is an open rodeo around 
the bend.
sad but true this season is over, but not to worry, its just another beginning for 

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 | |

The Cowboy That Never Rode Home

In the palo verde and black chaparral lies,
A cross by an empty grave where no one cries.
It notes the lonely death of a man named Chance Roam—
Just a proud young cowboy that never rode home.
Far on a sparse hill it cuts the sky like a lance—
That pale, nearly white cross with just the name ‘Chance.’
He used to ride those hills and echo each valley,
Before he rode to war to make us all free.

Yes, his country called, like it had many before,
And he gladly went off to fight in that war.
There were no questions asked, no concern for the cost—
If none volunteered, our country would be lost.

Then one day the dreaded letter came, edged in black—
And we knew then, that he would never come back.
Be it rancher or mere clerk – all went off to war—
And while most returned – some would be seen no more.  

And long before there was a Memorial Day—
Our young men died for our American way—
From wars of revolution to wars of the world—
All of our soldiers fought with our flag unfurled. 

There are bright jade prairies of gray and white crosses,
That recount endless wars and many losses—
Now in meadows bloom reminders on each plain,
Marking names of those who have not died in vain.

In the palo verde and black chaparral lies,
A cross by an empty grave where no one cries.
It notes the lonely death of a man named Chance Roam—
Just a proud young cowboy that never rode home.

Details | Cowboy | |

New Spring

Oh, the springs run to the rivers
And the redbuds paint the banks,
As the dogwoods burst to bloomin’
And the cowboys all give thanks.

They’ll be dustin’ off their saddles,
Checkin’ cinches and their string,
When that range all starts to greenin’
And they know that it’s new spring.

That black coffee now tastes better,
Boiled out on the open flames
As they round up their remudas
And give horses their new names.

Their boots are all clean and shiny
And the tack is soaped and fixed—
They even done their spring bathin’
In the pond and in the cricks.

Them cowboys and cows are anxious
For what a season will bring,
As they gather and head on out
In God’s glory of new spring.

Details | Cowboy | |

Old Rance Buckley's Trophy Buckle

He always wore that rodeo buckle made of silver and gold,
Every day of his life from when he was young till he grew old.
It said he was bucking horse champion of nineteen fifty-three,
And he told all the cowboys he had been the best that could be.

But then one day a stranger comes to town ‘bout as old as old Rance,
Who listened to his stories in silence and then eyed him askance.
He asked old Rance some questions ‘bout his times in rodeo—
Like horses he rode; cowpokes he knew and things he should know.

Then old Rance got defensive and asked just who was this cowboy gent
That asked him all these funny questions ‘bout days so long ago spent.
“Why,” drawled the old cowpoke, “I spent time here in fifty-three or two,
Ridin’ in rodeos you mentioned, but I don’t remember you.”

“And I don’t seem ta recollect you,” old Rance said and eyed the poke.
“Name’s McCall,” the stranger said, “and I ran that rodeo, no joke.”
Well, old Rance’s face fell and he knew his jig was up at long last—
Trying to pass that buckle off as his own, in one long last gasp.

He’d won that trophy buckle at cards from a cowboy on his last legs—
Why he started calling it his own, I reckon the question begs.
Now the other cowpokes gathered ‘round with wonder in their clear eyes
At why old Rance had shot the bull for years and told them all those lies.

Then a strange thing happened, as McCall realized just what he had done,
“Wait a minute, fella,” he said, “weren’t you the kid nicknamed ‘Young Gun?’”
And though he never had such a name, old Rance just nodded and grinned.
“I remember you now, you were the best – you rode just like the wind!”

Old Rance and McCall became pards, though Rance toned his bragging down,
But when new rodeos started, all the young cowboys gathered ‘round.
Then right before old Rance passed on, he gave that buckle to McCall
And told him he weren’t good at cards, that buckle was his after all.   

Details | Ballad | |

Just One Last Waltz

The cowboy took her in his arms
and waltzed her round the floor.
He told her how much he loved her
how he couldn't love her more.

From the moment he first saw her
when he'd held her in his arms,
he'd vowed to keep her safe
from any kind of harm.

They talked about the days just past
when she had climbed up on his knee
about the time he hung her swing
up in an old pine tree.

The first horse that he had bought her
a paint gelding she called"Friend."
They had some fine adventures
and she could ride him like the wind.

Somehow, someplace his little cowgirl
had become a woman grown
and today was her grand wedding day
she was no longer his alone.

They waltzed around the room once 
more a tear was in his eye,
"Oh, Daddy, don't you do that or you're
gonna make me cry!"

He whispered, "You're the darling of my heart, 
I just wanted you to know."
As he held her close just one last time
it was hard to let her go.

He took her hand and he gave her
to the young cowboy by her side
who had stole away his baby girl
this lovely glowing bride.

But, he whispered as she turned away
"I love you, I hope you'll always know...
and then he turned and blew a kiss
and then he let her go.

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 | |

Boulder Ridge

The moon is full above the canyon 
   listen to the call... 
The music of the river 
   echoes between the walls. 
A love song for the brave 
   who boldly choose to walk, 
The path of their true destiny 
   as the drums begin to talk. 
The boulder on the ridge 
   catches and holds the light, 
Providing a mystic place 
   for passion in the night. 
Hearts beating to the cadence 
   of the drums far below, 
Sharing souls and secrets 
   only the moon will know. 
Breathe deep the magic moment, 
   It is here by more than chance, 
Come out of the half shadows, 
   Listen...Live...and Dance. 


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 | |

The Best Ride I Ever Had

The story starts with, 
   “The best ride I ever had...” 
and comes from a fellow, 
   who is working-cowboy clad.
And the tale he will tell you, 
   will be of a ride he considered a test, 
a challenge between man and beast, 
   when a man has to do his best. 

‘Cause any less would find him, 
   broken or dad on the arena floor, 
and sometimes the point ain’t about winning, 
   the final time, or judge’s score. 

The ride that he talks about, 
   from time to time may not be the same,	 
For each one has it’s bits of glory, 
   satisfaction, or moment of fame. 

The fact that he’s done it, 
   will be the source of pride, 
and what it all boils down to, 
   is the simple thrill of the ride. 

It’s about the joy of the moment, 
   and how it has to be earned, 
by giving all you’ve got, 
   even if you get burned. 

So, when a Cowboy starts a story with, 
   “The best ride I ever had...” 
understand this is a part of him, 
   not some craze or fleeting fad. 

Because it’s not the winning or the losing, 
   it’s a thing none of us can do without, 
it’s the best ride any of us ever get, 
   it’s Living we’re talking about.

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 | |

Cowboyin' Ain't Brain Surgery

Ya know, cowboyin’ ain’t brain surgery,
But it sure takes a bunch of extra smarts
Ta know when ya cain’t ride a mean ol’ bronc
An’ how ta end somethin’ afore it starts.

Ya gots ta be precise in your cuttin’
Of the herd when it comes that time a year—
An’ ya gotta mend them broken wire fences
Ta gets those ol’ Bessie cows ta stay clear.

A cowboy’s gotta make good incisions,
He has ta cut out the bad stock and crew—
An’ if he’s ta be the head trail surgeon,
He’ll have ta stitch up all the squabbles, too!

Cowboyin’ sure nuff ain’t brain surgery,
But ya jest gotta have ya some good hands—
An’ if your own ain’t too clean or steady,
The boys will be ridin’ fer other brands.

An’ when ya sew your handy work all up,
Ya make sure that you leave somethin’ inside—
Cause if cowboyin’ don’t beat within ya,
You’re jest a greenhorn along fer the ride!  

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 | |

The Fifty-Seven Brand

Through darkness three sons rode the land—
The father fallen like a tree—
They feared the fifty-seven brand.

That death mark made each one a man—
Age fifty-seven he died free—
Through darkness three sons rode the land.

Those years went by like snaking sand,
Their father’s death a memory—
They feared the fifty-seven brand.

As each year dappled face and hand,
His age at death still held the key—
Through darkness three sons rode the land.

The inner dread they could not stand,
When fifty-seven each would be—
They feared the fifty-seven brand.

But as each touched that fatal strand,
Their hearts would numb and spirit flee—
Through darkness three sons rode the land—
They feared the fifty-seven brand. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Rjancher, Ranch Hand, Cowboy Cowhand PART2

Now back to the question of being a cowboy. I think I’ll try another way.  I’ll 
compare the job I do to his. Doesn’t that sound like a laugh? I cook for the family, 
hired hands, branding and shipping and various cattle work too. Billy kept the 
cattle and horses fed, wells working, ice chopped and tanks full the year round. 
I’d doctor when accidents or illnesses occur. Billy was an obstetrician, and 
pediatrician too. Delivering or doctoring he’d see them through. A veterinary for 
cattle and horses in all but emergency cases. I keep our house and bunkhouse 
clean. Billy keeps pens in the barn and sheds clean and full of dry bedding. He 
keeps the horse stalls mucked out and clean. And of course there is always the 
shop. Now lets see I do minor repairs around the house and yard. Billy’s job 
includes, keeping tractors, haying equipment and feeding equipment in perfect 
working condition. And the windmills going ’round all year long. I go for groceries 
and supplies I need for meals and laundry too. Billy plants and harvests the 
groceries. For example prairie hay, alfalfa hay, oats and cane and feeds 
nutritional supplies like cake, salt and minerals.  Where do I go from here?  I 
know! I do the washing! Drat, he is always washing something when he does the 
mechanic work.

Details | Cowboy | |

Ol' Spud

I'll be ridin' the trail alone these days,
The years have caught up with my bud,
No more will he be trottin' by our side--
That brown mutt I called Ol' Spud.

Red Roan, my hoss, will miss 'em I guess,
She keeps lookin' down at the ground--
It'll take us both a while I'll bet
To realize he's still not around.

Ol' Spud was a bird dog in his day--
He was ever since a pup,
But he lost his job of pointin' 'em out
When he et all the profits up.

I buried him deep on the land he loved,
Jest a soul that's lost to old age--
But he'll always trot right by our side
Along the whisperin' sienna sage.

Details | Cowboy | |

Gone to the Mountains

Sometimes the mountains call so strongly
   that I shall never know peace
Until I stand where Heaven begins
   and the bonds of this life cease.

I do not wish to leave you;
   I've not but words to leave behind.
I pray, when you read, you'll remember me,
   as strong and loyal an kind.

I rode the trail for which I was called,
   in my mind regrets have no place;
The adventure was there for the living,
   my heart says I ran a good race.

So listen for me in the laughter
   that comes easy among true friends;
In the sounds of men and horses
   beneath a sky that has no end.

And know that I loved you one and all,
   when you hear music or smell sage in the air,
Dance hard and live for the moment,
   my spirit will always be there.

Celebrate life and love and the West;
   be fearless and funny and bold;
Please take the time to finish
   any stories that I've left untold.

Past the meadow where blue bonnets grow,
   near the creek by the gate;
My horse stands rigged for an easy ride,
   and I can no longer wait.

So tell them I've gone to the mountains,
   to the land I loved and called my home;
That I ride with the wild Texas wind,
   somewhere west of San Antone.

© Debra Coppinger Hill
With love for TR, who gave me words and love and taught me how to be an outlaw.

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 | |

Shadow Cowboy

Who was that tall cowboy I saw ridin’ by the door?
He seems just like some shadow that I’ve seen before.
He shimmers in the twilight – he was here and then gone—
Just a shadow cowboy like the horse he rides upon.

It seems we never saw him when things were at their best,
But things just don’t stay that way out here in the West.
Some say he’s a vaquero that died out on this land 
By way of some injustice that no one understands.

When maw came down with fever as hot as burnin’ Hell,
We heard spur chains outside and found water from the well.
And in a fleetin’ glance I saw him when maw died—
But I was just mistaken ‘cause cowboys never cried.

Who was that tall cowboy I saw ridin’ by the door?
He seems just like some shadow that I’ve seen before.
He shimmers in the twilight – he was here and then gone—
Just a shadow cowboy like the horse he rides upon.

I never saw him again till fall took paw away—
And in he came a ridin’ without a word to say.
Or was it just a shadow that flickered on the hill?
Or that dark shadow cowboy that came to sap our will?

He is gone now forever – of him I do not speak—
I do not see him at the door or down by the creek.
But pains and aches are heavy and life is just not fair—
Before I turn ‘round, I know his shadow will be there.

Who was that tall cowboy I saw ridin’ by the door?
He seems just like some shadow that I’ve seen before.
He shimmers in the twilight – he was here and then gone—
Just a shadow cowboy like the horse he rides upon.

Details | Ballad | |

The Cowboy


Her heart was breaking as she stepped into the bar,
This time her cowboy had pushed her just a little too far.
The neon lights seemed to be calling as the music took it its toll,
Pour me a couple of them little shooters I feel I’m on a roll.

The music was inviting as she watched the couples dance,
Until she met this cowboy who held her in his trance.
She still had on her wedding ring as they danced across the floor,
This cowboy had ill intentions as he danced her to the door.

He said let’s go get some air as casual as that,
She said I’m sorry cowboy I just don’t like the color of your hat.
She turned to walk back in but he grabbed a hold of her,
She said you best be turning loose or else you’ll feel my angry spur.

He turned her loose right then and there this girl with golden hair,
When right behind her stood her cowboy whom she’d thought had been unfair.
He said I’ve come to take you home, and I’m sorry for what I said,
But you’re just so gosh durn pretty I git messed up in my haid.

She said you are my cowboy I’ve got my brand on you,
But you’re gonna have to loosen up on them reins when I ask you to.
He said you got yourself a deal I’ll give it all I’ve got,
No more roping or the rodeos cause honey making you happy truly means a lot.

He grabbed up his little filly and sat her in his truck,
And told her that he loved her and with him she was stuck.
They rode off into the sunset,
This story had a good ending so listen don’t you fret.

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 | |

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 | Narrative | |

Teach By Example

He looked so sweet, 
as he stared through the window,
a pair of cowboy boots had caught his eye.
watching, as he looked down at his little feet,
I knew what he was thinking,
Cowboy boots, wow, I wish I had these,
was the expression on his face.
(Sometimes we get so caught up in our own self wants,
we don't take the time, to see the needs of others.
It was cold, and his tennis shoes looked as thought they
had seen too many winters.)
I ask, is Santa going to bring you a pair of cowboy boots 
for Christmas?
He did not answer just looked down at his old worn out shoes,
and I knew he had little hope of this happening.
Inside the store a woman was watching; as she walked
over to the window,  and gently knocked on the glass.
 She Pointing to the boots, his eyes lit up in disbelief, as she took
the boots to the counter.
The clerk come out, and ask the boy to come inside for a 
I knew in my heart, that this kind lady was about to give this
little boy, one of the most valuable lessons in life.
There are still people left in this world, that see the needs of others,
and I know this will stay with him for the rest of his life.

Details | Cowboy | |

Trail's End Toast

May hot coffee be a brewin’
On the campfires of your friends—
May good Mulligan be stewin’
When you reach your last trail’s 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 | |

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 | |

Sounds Of Night

As I lay my head on this old saddle
My horse tithered to the rope from tree to tree
He stands asleep on four legs dreaming of
That mustang mare

And as my eyes start to close
Under these stars
I think of blue eyes and blond hair

The wind is warm on these plains
As I sleep I know I'm safe
My boots lie filled with rocks
Just so a rattle snake
Won't find a new home

As I drift off to sleep 
I'll listen to the music of a coyote
Howling for a new mate
And the wolf is so close
I can hear his chewing on a bone

This life of a cowboy I've chosen
Just for me isn't as lonely
As one might think

Details | Cowboy | |

The Death of Prickly Pete

Ol’ Prickly was dead, shot down with hot lead, and all of his friends did grieve—
But so it now seems, they fell for his schemes – he owned money before he did leave.
“In that dern cuss, I put all my trust,” said Rod, “but he up and dies just like that—
He borrowed my horse and my saddle, of course, and now he’s still wearin’ my hat!”

“He promised to marry,” cried sweet little Sherry, “he told me I was the only one.
But at the wake hall as I started to bawl, in walks three wives, ten daughters and a 
Now I ain’t got no truck in yer bad luck,” said a tall man to all of Pete’s ex’s—
“But that dern dead ol’ Pete tied me up real neat by sellin’ me half of Texas!”

“Oh, please,” the pastor begged on his knees, “can we not speak ill of the dead?
Surely there was good in this misunderstood cowboy whose life has now fled?!”
But an hour was fleet as they spoke of ol’ Pete, who lived by the lie and the gun—
Hearin’ more tales of Pete’s travails, the preach screams, “Let’s burn this dirty ol’ 

Then just in a bit, as their torches were lit, sweet little Sherry faints in a swoon—
For sittin’ in the casket like fruit in a basket, Pete says, its jest a flesh wound!”
Then he done said, “All reports of me bein’ dead, has done been exaggerated—
I seen Saint Pete before, but he warn’t no cure and ol’ death is over-rated!”

They chased Pete alone from the funeral home and he’s never been seen again,
But no one did care, just so he wasn’t there – he claimed no kith, kin or friend.
So it goes to show if you’re dyin’ to go, its better you take enough lead—
‘Cause if your name’s Pete, life ain’t complete until they’re sure you’re stone dead! 

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 | |


He was a sidekick even before they thought of such things,
Put there to add humor after the singing cowboy sings.
But he could sing, too, and often sang a funny ditty,
Yet his was one fine voice and he sure sang those songs pretty.

He had him a deep, full voice that could range both high or low,
And the way that he could whistle would move and stir your soul.
Sometimes he was Frog Millhouse – to us just Smiley Burnette—
There ain’t been no one that’s come along that’s been like him yet.

He’d been the friend of Gene, of Roy and the Durango Kid—
He always was the best at just what it was that he did.
It seems in his life, humor and joy were his main function;
Making movies and ending up on Petticoat Junction.

In life’s short trip we hold tight and try not to have regret—
Do what we love and do our best like that Smiley Burnette.
We touch the world with sadness, then bring it back to laughter;
Thanks Smiley, for showing the way – that’s all we’re really after. 

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowboy's Five-Second Rule

They say if you drop yer bacon,
You don’t have to wind up the fool—
You jest pick it up, not fakin’—
It’s what’s called the five-second rule!

And it works all the same you see,
Fer tabacky juiced grass hoppers—
Ya wipe ‘em off clean as can be—
If talkin’, you lose yer choppers!

But if you don’t clean ‘em good there,
I guess maybe you should try it—
Unless you don’t mind that horse hair
Addin’ fiber to yer diet!

I mind that rule now like some hag—
In less than five seconds I try—
To pick up my teeth or I gag,
When it falls in some fresh cow pie!

To make this timely tale complete,
The sad endin’ to this is plain:
Brush after each meal that you eat—
‘Cause gummin’ beef jerky’s a pain!

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 | |

Billy the Kid

A cold-blooded killer or a kind hearted man,
Searching for justice with a gun in his hand
He escaped many times indeed he did,
He is known as Billy the Kid

A charming young man, with a heart-breaking smile,
He rode across the desert, he rode many miles.
He is known for the things that he did,
He is known as Billy the Kid

Chased by lawmen, bandits, and thieves,
Billy is dead now and many are relieved,
Shot by Pat Garrrett, his so-called friend
Murdered and betrayed, enemies in the end

Could history be wrong?
A lie have been told,
Could Billy have died at ninety years old,
In a small town in Texas, a place called Hico

Brushy Bill Roberts,
A man growing old,
Stories of his life,
Many have been told

He claims a life of killing,
A life of revenge,
He wants to be pardoned,
He is nearing his end

"Do you have any proof that you are who you say?"
Does Billy the Kid still live today?

These questions were asked,
By an attorney of law,
Then Brushy revealed his scars,
Many wounds he saw

The truth has been told,
It's finally out,
Was Brushy "The Kid?"
I have no doubt

Details | Cowboy | |

Don't Call Me No Cowboy

The little boy threw down his hat
And marched right from the room—
The TV on with nightly news
Of murder, muggings and doom.

The grandpa called out to the hall,
“What’s the matter lil’ pard?
Come back in here and cowboy up,
Don’t be takin’ life so hard!”

The kid slunk back into the room,
This grandson they named Roy,
And with disgust and mistrust said,
“Don’t call me no cowboy!”

“I reckon that you’re right upset,”
His granddad did allow,
“Pick up your brand new cowboy hat
And let’s walk to the corral.”

Then as they leaned on that old fence
That seldom now was used,
The old cowpoke now listened to
His grandson vent his blues:

“I keep hearin’ on the TV,”
Slowly spewed the little lad,
“How some wild folks are just “cowboys”
And ain’t nothin’ but pure bad.  

“They even called our president
A cowboy behind his back—
Like it was something terrible
Or something that he did lack.”

The granddad stroked his long mustache,
Then told that boy what’s so—
“Son, bein’ a cowboy’s a good thing
And don’t let them tell you no.

“We’re keepers of a heritage
That started in the Old West
With good God-fearin’ settlers
That worked hard and gave their best.

“But like all folks, creeds and races,
There’s the bad and the good—
It just takes some figurin’ out
To see where most folks stood.

“There’s always them that question us
Because we don’t seem real
And try to hoe an honest path
And plant instead of steal.

“A cowboy’s handshake is his word—
He’ll risk his life for what’s right-- 
He loves his country, that’s for sure
And defend her with his might!

“Some may think that he’s just too brash
And too quick with his gun—
He don’t ride life’s ol’ middle road—
He does what needs to be done!

“The cowboy helped build this country—
In that we can be proud—
Tell ‘em you’ll always be a cowboy
And tell ‘em good and loud!”

The little boy looked up relieved
And donned his cowboy hat—
“I’m sure proud to be a cowboy!”
And that was the end of that.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Old Man Rode Forth

The old man rode forth once more like many a day before,
To ride this land that was all his until he could no more.

They say youth is wasted on the young and savored when old—
But you don’t see the truth till you’re too senile to be told.

So the old man rode forth that day with wind that tugged his hair—
Until he came to a mountain and rested his horse there.

He thought back on the things he’d seen and it sure had been fine—
Then knew his life was not done. Hell! He was just ninety-nine

Details | Cowboy | |

Boots N' Cowboys

They’s a popular misconception
‘Bout cowboys and their ol’ boots—
Some say they wants ta die with ‘em on,
When they’s dead from cuts or shoots!

It gits a feller ta wonderin’
Jest what’s the fuss all about—
And why their boots is so important
When they is done carried out.

Well, if ya ever smelt cowboy’s feet,
It’s somethin’ ya don’t fergit—
That odor is gall dern plum rotten—
Smells like a bad pile of grit!

So if ya wonder why them cowpokes
Keeps boots on like kings chosen—
It’s ‘cause their feet smells dead already
Like they’s been decomposin’!

Details | Cowboy | |

Rodeo Roy

Rodeo Roy was a buckaroo boy,
A buckaroo boy was he—
Bulls and horses determined his courses—
They say he was only three!

Rodeo Roy never found his true joy,
Until he was all of ten—
He learned to chaw just like his dear ol’ paw,
Till he gulped and lost his grin!

He shot the bull until he was plum full
And had to prove he’s a man—
He rode longhorns till he bucked in the thorns,
But he showed he had the sand!

He wrestled steers till they came out his ears
And threw a good houlihan—
He rode bad broncs and took him some hard knocks—
But his life was never bland.

Rodeo Roy had to seek new employ—
It seemed he had done it all—
Sioux City Sal then soon became his gal
And that’s how ol’ Roy did fall!

Sioux did allow Roy into her corral,
But he’s the one that got caught.
Rodeo Roy has a buckaroo boy—
He’s changin’ diapers like he ought!

Details | Cowboy | |


Across the plains a warrior roams 
  He searches for a quest he knows not of 
  He left his village miles away 
  Following a vision the Spirits sent to show him the way 
  He knows not why he searches so 
  Yet in his heart when he sees it he will know 
  For when he does he will no longer roam 
  He will find his morning light his shinning star 
  The reason he has traveled so far 
  A maiden who will end his roaming days 
  A soul mate to be with the rest of his days 
  A maiden as beautiful as the sun's light 
  Who will capture his heart at first sight 
  The Spirits have chosen it to be 
  It will be their destiny 

Details | Narrative | |

Fightin Makes Me Hungry


His old pickup truck was parked in front of Kevins Bar again.
   While he sat inside drinking with an old time friend.
As he got up to pay his tab he noticed something wasn’t right.
    He turned around and there he stood looking for a fight.
Well old cowboy wasn’t no where the meanest man around.
    But when it comes to tough, he’s the toughest in our town.
As the fight broke loose the stranger hit old cowboy with a cue.
    Old cowboy grabbed that stranger by the face and then the blood it flew.
They danced around a little while, till cowboy set him up.
    Then he popped him between his eyes and slapped him like a pup.
The stranger there was looking weak and I think he had his fill.
    But old cowboy said when you mess with me you’re gonna pay the bill.
He grabbed the stranger by the neck and headed for the door.
    He put his boot in his behind and left him on the floor.
Monday nights are always slow as cowboy left the scene.
    Old cowboys dog sat in the seat licking himself clean.
Scoot on over you no good for nothing worthless old mutt.
   Let’s go home and get something to eat as he patted his old gut.
Don’t know what it is about fighting but it sure brings on my appetite.
    As he cranked up that old pickup truck and headed off into the night.

Details | Cowboy | |

Gabby Hayes' Hat

Those days of faithful sidekicks have all but passed us by,
We’d rather watch car crashes or someone blown sky-high.
Playing the second fiddle was Gabby’s first jackpot:
For Tom Tyler, Hoppy, Roy and even Randolph Scott.
But in a world gone loco and too-filled with this and that,
We still wonder what became of Gabby Hayes’ hat.

He was the shabby coot we could barely comprehend,
But when all the chips were down, we knew just who to send.
His hat was folded back, dog-eared, battered and threadbare—
Rough and scratchy like his face, but he was always there.
But now too few remember his rasping codger chat—
We wish the world was simple as Gabby Hayes’ hat.
Is it now in a museum or sold for cold, hard cash
Or buried there with him or thrown away with the trash?
They just don’t make any sidekicks like Gabby Hayes now,
With that gray-whiskered mug, long hair and that furrowed brow.
And there’s no singing cowboys unless from Nashville town—
And now they just wear the hats but not the cowboy crown.
Yet as the world passes by and we grow old and fat,
We still wonder what became of Gabby Hayes’ hat.

Details | Cowboy | |

Each Man Follows His Own Trail

“Each man follows his own trail, but he rides it all alone,”
Was what Free Will always said when he turned his horse toward home.
But none of us knew it then, just how true those words would be,
As we went about our business knee-deep in green grass sea.

Few knew his name was William Preston – we called him Free Will—
No cowboy was ever freer; no one quite fit the bill.
He only slept under stars; his pillow was a saddle—
His mattress was stone and earth; his alarm a snake rattle.

None of us boys saw deeply into things that cowboy sowed—
We saw a bent mustached gentleman with legs that were bowed.
He said few words but when he did, they all came from the heart—
And he always finished fist fights or feuds he did not start.

Free Will rode down his own path and he always took the lead—
Never afraid of nothing – be it bear or wild cat treed.
And when his pards would let him down, he would smile and just groan:
“Each man follows his own trail, but he rides it all alone.”

The years went by and it appeared Free Will never did age,
It seemed he kept his cowboy ways like mesquite and the sage.
Never did he wed or own a house – things that tied you down,
We called him “poke” and “ol’ cowboy,” but he still hung around.

But then one day some suits stopped by and asked about taxes
That Will, they say had never paid when he lived in Texas.
They say he owned the IRS and had to go to jail—
We knew it would just kill Free Will, so we all upped his bail.

But Will refused and shook his head and said it was his pride,
That long ago led him astray and no more would he hide.
He thought he could slight the feds and pocket all those green bills—
Then ride right out of Texas into the far distant hills.

But as they snapped the cuffs on Will, he gave a little wink—
“At my age they can’t cage me, I’ll be free before you think!”
And next day sure enough, we heard the news down at the bar—
How some old cowboy died en route while in a police car.

It made us sad to think Free Will had rode that last sunset,
Yet now we sit around the fire with words we can’t forget:
“Each man follows his own trail, but he rides it all alone,”
And that’s just what Free Will now did, riding that last trail home. 

Details | Cowboy | |

$weet Violent

Ask Me no more where Jove bestows when
June is past, the fading roses, for In your beauty's
Orient deep these flowers, as In their cause sleep ask
Me no more whither do stray the golden atoms of the Day;
For in pure love Heaven did prepare those
Powders to enrich your hair ask Me no more whither
Doth haste the nighttingale when May is past;
For In sweet dividing lawn She Winters, and keeps warm Her
Note ask Me no more where those Star's light, that
Downwards fall in dead of Night for in your Eye's they
Sit and there fixed become as In there sphere ask Me
No more if East or West the foundation builds Her spicy
Fragrant sweet violent sent love thou art absolute sole
Lord I gift writing poetry to prove the word we'll now
Appeal to no none of all those thy old Poet's great and tall.

Details | Cowboy | |

Heck, I Ain't No Cowboy

I’ve been known to buck a bale or two in my day
And I’ve loved a gal or a few and rode away.

I’ve dug up taters for just a dollar a day—
I’ve clerked in stores and let the boss man have his say.

There’s few ‘round here that ain’t had me in their employ—
But like I’ve always said: “Heck, I ain’t no cowboy!”

They say soldiers is heroes – I gave it a try—
I lost use of an arm and saw too many die.

But I ain’t no whiner and I never did quit—
I’m big and raw-boned and I don’t care one darned bit

What others may think on the range or back in town—
I’m just a simple ol’ soul that ain’t too profound.

I’ve busted some chops and broke me some wild broncs—
Bruised butts and cracked heads in some crazy honkytonks—

I’ve wrote me poems about the West and its joy—
But like I’ve always said: “Heck, I ain’t no cowboy.”

And though I’m downtrodden and may live in two worlds—
I savor a coon dog and still love all the girls.

I’ll leave with my ol’ hat and a pair of good boots—
A twelve-gauge shotgun and an ol’ Colt that still shoots.

You can bury me in town or out on the range—
‘Cause both of them is just fine and neither is strange—

Don’t belly-up to my pine box or act too coy—
Just tell the blamed ol’ truth: “Heck, he weren’t no cowboy.” 

Details | Prose Poetry | |

The Hole

I was born in a very small town in the middle of a vast, vast land. 
It was filled with ranches, cattle and grass and the world’s toughest breed of man. 
I was raised with the mythical western cowboy but he halts no mystery for me
for they were my friends, neighbors and some were my family. 
Large ranches leave little room, for things that bloom, that a cow will not eat up, 
the mystery is not in the cowboy but it is in what the cowboy loves.
In West Texas there stands a great giant hole a void where only the cattle grow, 
there are few schools and little to do, but work and watch the wind blow. 
It is a harsh land and it has culled many a man for not being tough enough, 
he will pack up his kit and hit the road go looking for something more to love.
I was born and raised and culled from there and for me the mystery goes on. 
I have given it thought for many a year just what is it that the cowboy loves. 
If you find yourself in West Texas stop in on any little town
where you can shake the hand of the world’s toughest breed of man 
and ask him what it is that the cowboy loves. 
He may share his secrets with you. or just say he doesn’t know, 
stay only a day then drive away get the hell out of that hole.
For it is a harsh but magic land were you must bring your own opportunely. 
So if your ignore my warning and give to the lure of the Prickle-Pear and Mesquite tree, 
then I’ll envy you, to be the few, who live in the hole where I so long to be, 
for I love and miss those tough hardy souls with there open hearts, who greet you so
Maybe that is what the cowboy loves and it was always there for me to see

Details | Cowboy | |

The Saddle of Youthful Days

Oh, the stirrups sway in the breeze
And slick leather shines in the sun,
As he slings it on the wood fence
With calloused hands of sky dark dun.

It’s the saddle of youthful days,
The one he rode so long ago—
The fenders are worn and rotten,
The hand tooling just a shadow.

Now as he cleans out the horse barn,
He throws away part of this past—
There’s not much left that’s worth keeping—
It’s only memories that last.

He’s had his share of fine leather,
Silver conchos and the best tack—
But he saved his youthful saddle
To conjure things that won’t come back.

It was a gift from his father—
The first that was just his alone—
He still remembers the fresh smell
Of that saddle his dad brought home.

He recalls all the days and nights,
He rode in the bad times and good,
How his father was stern but right—
How often he misunderstood.

And he can still see the first girl 
That he let ride it in his place—
And he can see her honey skin,
But he can’t quite recall her face.

Yet, soon that saddle won’t be his—
It will pass to the first grandson—
Free now to ride just one more time
Down the long trail that life begun.  
Oh, the stirrups sway in the breeze
And roan clouds have herded the sun—
He packs up his youthful saddle,
Knowing soon his ride will be done.

Details | Cowboy | |

When You're Pushin' Fifty

When you know you’re startin’ to get old—
Set in your ways and more thrifty—
Your poor ol’ joints just keep on achin’
As your mind starts gettin’ “drifty.”
When you gain weight and wrinkle all up,
Then you know you’re pushin’ fifty!

You’re smokin’ more and likin’ it less—
Eatin’ too many them French fries—
Then some poke says your pushin’ SIXTY—
But ol’ cowboys don’t tell no lies!
You’re not a talkin’ ‘bout your old age,
Just explainin’ ‘bout your waist size! 

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 | Narrative | |

Old Cowboy


Everybody round here just calls the old cuss, cowboy.
   Wasn’t worth much to nobody, his old dog seemed to be his only true joy.
The two of them were next to inseparable, hardly ever seen one that you didn’t 
see the other.
   From the time he was two he was raised by his pa, him and his little brother.
Old cowboy never married, said he didn’t have much use for women and such.
   He just took life one day at a time, never let things get to him much.
Said he got the name cowboy cause that’s what he was, and one of the best.
   Said he wished he’d been born earlier, liked to have been part of the old west.
Those were the days he’d say, measured a man how he stood his ground.
   But he said those days were gone, lucky if you can still find an honest man 
Cowboy lived life hard you could tell by the looks of his haggard old face.
   Life hadn’t been all that easy, time had left its mark, scars which no one could 
Cowboy didn’t have many friends, he just wasn’t the people pleasing type.
   If you was a no a count, he’d tell you, and he didn’t paint it with no glitter or hype.
Old cowboy weren’t mean, but those that claimed to be usually shied clear when 
cowboy went to town.
   Old cowboy weren’t no saint, and he sure didn’t allow bad talk about the friends 
he has, he wouldn’t tell you but one time not to put them down.
He could get salty and he knew how to scrap.
   He didn’t have a bit of trouble telling someone they best be shuttin their trap.
He weren’t no trouble maker, but he meant what he said.
   I really need to go check on him, say he got plumb stove up, got him laid up in 
Well reckon I done wrote enough about old cowboy, just wanted to let you know 
who he is.
   Don’t think folks round here gonna miss him much, bout like a sody pop that 
done lost its fizz.
            Been right nice talkin at you.

Details | Cowboy | |

Prickly Pete's Close Shave

Ol’ Pete he had a new gal friend that he wanted to prank—
His idear was to shoot her silhouette like Buckskin Frank!

It was Frank Leslie that first shot holes all around his girl—
So Pete thought he’d do it too or at least give it a whirl!

But what he did not count on was the mettle of that dame—
After he pulled his little trick, he never was the same!

He did not know her fuse was short and she practiced with knives—
And that her list of beaus was long and how most lost their lives!

So when he commenced to shootin’ round his new love, Molly,
She done started throwin’ knives and ‘bout clipped him, by golly!

Pete learned his lesson as she sat down and played piano—
As he pulled out knives thrown south that near made him soprano.

And Prickly swore that nevermore would he shoot at his mate—
At least not wives that packed sharp knives and would likely castrate! 

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 | |

The Day Old Queenie Died

We were having a chivaree for Bob
And his brand new wife, little Laurie Lee,
When Betsy ran up from the barn and sobbed
That old Queenie was as sick as could be.

Old Queenie was a horse long past her prime
That we now just sort of kept as a pet—
We had quit riding her for quite some time
And her long life was full of no regret.

In her day she was our favorite horse,
Gentle, but spirited on a hard ride—
And it was just as if she knew your course
And moved with your thoughts before you’d decide.

Then there was a time she bucked for a snake—
Then reared up real high and stomped it to death,
As that rattler tried to make me ache
And take away my everlasting breath.

Then there was the time I yanked myself high
To her broad back after I broke my knee—
And I clung to her with a welcome sigh 
And rode back to town as quick as could be.

But now old Queenie was dying out there
And slowly I loaded my old gun—
Then walked on down the lane to that barn where
I had to do what no one wanted done.

Old Queenie’s big black eyes looked up at me
As I stood here with rifle pointing down—
But before I moved, her eyes couldn’t see
And she died from old age without a sound.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Way It Was In the West

He’d read all the dime novels ‘bout each famous old outlaw,
Their fancy shots and darin’ deeds in the West that was raw.
But now they’d shot a cowpoke robbin’ the bank that fine morn,
And he lay dead and stinkin’, face down in the dust all forlorn.

Some said he was a nobody, a tramp that needed cash,
Some said his folks lived ‘round these parts and were white trash.
Others said he once rode with the Youngers and Jesse James—
While some said he robbed with the Daltons and made other claims.

But there he was plum dead – all still and just a drawin’ flies,
As someone called the tintype man to photograph their prize.
And as they rearranged him, leanin’ stiff upon that board,
They took one final picture as he smiled and met the Lord. 

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 Charlie Russell Range

On a Charlie Russell range under royal Montana skies,
Pale Shoshones and bison bones bring tears to old squaw’s eyes.
A purple wash of prairie sun slides slow beneath the rim—
A crown of gold and purest while brings awe to horse and men.

God’s claret brush and russet rain breathes life into sunset—
Cast stark in brass and iron and bronze without but one regret.
They silhouette Indians like Remingtons on the hill—
Their art will last for centuries while mere man never will.

So hold them high in the sky and let no man call it strange—
Art is sweet insanity beneath a Charlie Russell range.   

Details | Cowboy | |

Ridin' Drag

You’re gettin’ some sleepy now,
Your attention does lag—
As you herd those frisky cows,
While back there ridin’ drag.

How long you been a tail man,
Keepin’ strays in a bunch,
Ain’t important to a cowhand
That ain’t got him a hunch.

You’d rather be in the rear
Than out a ridin’ lead—
You’d rather be like a steer
That satisfies a need.

You ain’t gonna change the world,
You’re just a gettin’ by—
Some say they done broke yer mold,
Others would like to try.

You’re old but you keep ridin’
Though your gray horse does sag—
You know there ain’t no hidin’
When you and God ride drag.

Details | Cowboy | |

When You Followed the Tumbleweed

You needed a spare horse
When you followed the tumbleweed—
So you’d not stray off course
By takin’ more than you would need.

You had long miles to go
And new trails that loomed dark and rough—
In sun and rain and snow
Over hill and canyon and bluff.

And when the first was tired,
You switched and rode then on your spare—
The best horse ever sired:
A gust of wind without a care.

And when you rode your last
And brought those horses in to feed—
You knew the time was past,
When you followed the tumbleweed.

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 | |

When Wind Waltzes Through the Wheat

Its nearin’ trail’s end and you’re windin’ down the drive,
There’s a touch of cool breeze and it’s good to be alive—
You’re headin’ toward the railhead and hear the cow’s bleat—
The ends always near, when wind waltzes through the wheat.

You’re happy on your haunches though you ain’t well fed—
You know the drive’s a good one when you don’t leave no dead.
And in your mind are mountains – the rain and the sleet—
Things that always last, when wind waltzes through the wheat.

So now you’re through with shippin’ and the work’s all done,
And you ride off to some line shack where it all begun—
But in dreams you’re prayin’ for more summers and heat
And all those old times, when wind waltzes through the wheat.

Details | Cowboy | |

Life's Ol' Rodeo

You know you been too long at life’s ol’ rodeo,
When them jeans get too tight and that ol’ paunch does grow—
And then your teeth fall out instead of bein’ knocked
And you pay entry fees with prize buckles you hocked.

That’s when they call you Curly ‘cause you ain’t got hair,
Except in your ears and nose where they’s lot to spare!
Then sittin’ on wood fences is what you avoids,
‘Cause like as not they’ll flare up your ol’ hemoroids!

Buckin’ bulls and broncs is something way in your past,
Rockin’ chairs and Lazy Boys now make your life last.
So now instead of hard tack, you’d rather just pass—
Eatin’ hot, spicy grub just seems to give you gas.

You done been far too long at life’s ol’ rodeo, 
You’d rather watch TV than help a horse to foal—
You ain’t cowboy if you quit chewin’ your toback—
Might as well hock your saddle and all your dern tack.

So if you sit on porches waitin’ for your God—
Better get off your duff before you get the nod!
‘Cause that boss in the sky don’t want no so-and-so,
What ain’t least down there watchin’ life’s ol’ rodeo!

Details | Free verse | |

Cowboy~s Song

Cowboy~s Song 

I`m just another singing cowboy 
out here singing in the rain 
I`m just another singing cowboy 
singing about my rodeo 
I `m just another singing cowboy 
singing about my pain 
I`m just another singing cowboy 
dying inn the snow 
red dust is flying down from the river bed 
red dust is thickening on the bottom of my tread 
I`m dead.