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Cowboy Loss Poems | Cowboy Poems About Loss

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

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Details | Cowboy | |

Compadre

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 | Cowboy | |

Condo Cowboys

Those condo cowboys are clingin’ to things that used to be,
Starin’ out those city windows or sittin’ on balconies.
They can still smell the country, the ranch, the horses and the range—
At times they wear cowboy hats, though folks might think them strange.

And like those cowboys long ago, they’re roamin’ in their soul,
From Nevada, Arizona and old Colorado.
They’ve seen and done so many things that most can only dream,
Yet still they have the urge to cross one more mountain stream.

But now they’re just old cowboys, that’s all that they want to be,
They seek no big fortune, high status or fine pedigree.
They see the world too clearly, seldom hold or mince their speech,
They live the cowboy code and keep life’s truth within their reach.

Those condo cowboys are special, each one from a unique mold,
They just keep on ridin’ life’s long trail and never do grow old.


Details | Cowboy | |

' 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 | Rhyme | |

A Cowboy Is

A cowboy is what we are not 
and never will again be 
what I loved most about his ways 
he kept in tune with nature for he
knew this was his destiny
the nature we have now is not the same
it is corroded and tossed aside 
the same can be said with the rules 
given that we cannot follow nor abide
how I wish I could go back in time
to live among the gifted
lots of hard work no crying in mind
the cowboy has been forgotten and shifted

contest: A Cowboy Is
by: Virginia Frayer


Details | Cowboy | |

Untitled

Tainted love 
or tired love?
Smug attitudes
and weak games
Look at you!
Your such a lame!
Me cry?! Ha! Not no more!
NOT EVER!
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 | |

NIGHTMARES & WHISKEY

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 | |

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 | |

The Pox Man

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

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 | 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 | |

Wild horses

On an island in the sun
wild ponies are free to run.
The indignity of man
They swim to the main land.
Once a year in July
under a warm summer sky
People gather all around.
No space in the water can be found.
boats and people everywhere
The babies struggle to keep up with the mares.
Out of the channel lead down a street
lead to corrals in humble defeat.
The young are sold
to the the highest bidder I`m told.
Back to the isand the other ones go
The last indignity of man is showed.
The young ones looking for their mothers
No reply not even an utter.




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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

'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 | |

Ol' Blue

One eye was brown, the other blue,
Australian Shepard his breed-
a workin' dog with one heck of a nip
to the heels a cattle an' steed.

Just a little fur ball when I got him,
but I well remember the time,
he could out run 'n outsmart the lot,
an' make 'em all turn on a dime.

Those cold prairie nights, sleepin' under the stars,
that dog would warm my ol' bones,
I'd play my mouth-harp to settle the herd
while he sang in soft muffled tones.

Last winter there came a fierce blizzard,
we were caught in a mighty snowdrift.
Ol' Blue hunkered down, an' just held his ground,
saved us both from descendin' a cliff.

They talk about loyal in people,
an' I reckon there are quite a few,
but I trusted my life, even more than a wife,
to that mangy ol' dog name of Blue.
                             
His muzzle fin'lly was grayin',
an' his gate turned to limpin' 'n slow,
but no matter the job I was doin',
he'd follow wherever I'd go.

One mornin', I rose from my dreamin'
but Ol' Blue just didn't get up;
I saw in his bed that slumberin' head,
an' thought sure he resembled a pup.

Now, cryin' just ain't in my nature,
nor whinin' 'bout things I can't change,
but I gotta confess, my heart broke at best,
an' was sad 'n plenty deranged.

I laid him to rest on the prairie
for the coyotes to sing him a song,
'cause no dog was quite so deservin'
to live on this Earth for so long.

An' if there's a Heaven for doggies,
I'm sure that's where Blue is today-
waggin' his tail, an' just proud as hell
of the work that he done without pay. 


Details | Cowboy | |

Winter Western

We are far from the hum, but not far enough—
Worlds not of our making intrude – life is rough.

Winter birds are not wheeling in the steel gray sky—
Seems seasons bring questions, but no good day to die.

Unlike black and white westerns, there’s no good end—
We may beat back bad men but die without a friend.

Oh, we all wish that things did not turn out that way—
But God is not silent and has the final say. 


Details | Narrative | |

A Blessing In The Heat (Part I)

It was 105 degrees that Texas day, and in the asphalt parking lot where we were performing it seemed like 150. But I was glad to be there. I had been invited to perform at a Cowboy Gathering in Weatherford, Texas and I had come there for one reason only...because Larry McWhorter was supposed to be there performing too. I had his tape at home and I was a huge fan of his work. After my set, I was approached by a lady who introduced herself as Andrea. She told me how much she liked my work and that she wanted me to come sit with her in the audience because her husband wanted to meet me and that he had a surprise for me.

We sat down in front of the stage and they introduced Larry McWhorter. I was thrilled that I was going to get to see him in person. His works stands high among the true greats of Cowboy Poetry and I identify with him because he is the "Real Deal," just like the men I grew up among. As I sat there Larry spoke to the audience. He told them that he had enjoyed my poem "Mustangs." I was thrilled! Larry McWhorter was talking about my work! He went on to say how he had worked in the part of Oklahoma I am from and that he had a particular poem about that area, that he was going to do it now and that he was dedicating it to me, the only Oklahoman performing there. He then recited Johnny Clare.

Of all the poems in the world, this is my number one favorite. I have stood at the grave of Johnny Clare. I have heard the stories about him since I was a teenager and a friend's uncle told us about him. While Larry recited, nothing else existed in this world. There was no background noise from the festival, the temperature didn't matter...all there was in the world were the words he spoke of an Oklahoma Cowboy.


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 Cowboy...it 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 | |

How ????

As I herd cattle in 104 heat,
just to get food to eat...

Rememberin' what it was to be rich,
then all taken by the witch...

A woman so very evil,
like a fat bollwevil...

To let lies eat away lives,
as if to stab by knives...

It's really just not fair,
that she does not love or care...

About my little boys & girl,
& their poor broken world...

GOD knows about my plite,
only He can make it right...

Just want my kids to care,
about the sacrafices I made there...

I LOVE them &  swear,
that in My heart I am always near !!!

                                                             For My Kids, LOVE DAD  PRV


Details | Cowboy | |

Riding the Rim of Dreams

Oh, he shakes out his old blanket
And stirs that dying fire,
Watching dim embers star black sky
As wolves and snakes conspire

To make his sleeping uneasy
With thoughts of strays and streams,
As long restless sleep comes slowly
Riding the rim of dreams.

Low fire calls his name and crackles 
Like a girl in Broken Bow,
That he promised he would marry
Before he had to go.

Now coyotes croon his story—
Sing sad and lonely tales
Of that old cowboy’s far travels
Down mountainsides and trails.

And like his life, that old campfire
Burns low and then flares high,
As he drifts off in welcome sleep
Not dreaming that he’ll die.

They’ll find him in the orange dawn,
Stone still by ash mesquite,
The last remains of man’s efforts—
All stories told and complete.

Now soft sleep comes much more easy
Or to his friends it seems,
All his long trails have now lessened
As he rides the rim of dreams.     
 


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 
lands. 


      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 | Cowboy | |

if

ribbit

is what frogs say,



what

do you say

to a frog?



and at what cost?



Details | Cowboy | |

One More Time

 How I miss you so.
I never wanted to let you go.
The days our long and the nights our to.
All I can remember is our favorite song.
  Wondering how long I'll have to live without you?
Seemed just like yesterday we met and our destiny were set.
Now, I would bet my life to hold, love, and see you again.
Feel your warm breath on mine one more time.
 You, taught me all I know.
 I never wanted to let you go.
Our paths were different but our hearts were one.
If given a chance we would of made beautiful music together.
Our own song. 
  We  don't  know when or how long but time will see if there will ever be a you 
and me......
                                             By: Amber Gil


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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

In the Hills of South Dakota

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

The 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 | |

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 | |

On the Bitterroot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Faces In the Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


  


Details | Cowboy | |

It Seemed Summer Would Not End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

Those Odessa Days

(A remembrance of driving to the auction in Odessa, Missouri.)

You’re bumpin’ down the highway in that ol’ pickup truck,
Just a kid slowly tunin’ in a radio that plays—
Headin’ for the stock auction with your dad and some luck—
A part of history, back in those Odessa days.

Dad will be biddin’ on some calves to haul way back home—
He fancies doin’ more farmin’ like in younger days—
He left the farm more than twenty years ago to roam,
To find a town job and turn his back on farmin’ ways.

But the land stays in your blood and someday you go back,
If not in bone and muscle, at least within your mind—
And you seek a part of youth—that’s just a natural fact,
For you’re always on the outlook for what you’ll never find.

You roll past green pastures and that churnin’ Mighty Mo,
Count the silos, barns and the cattle as you drive past—
Music fills the truck with songs of love and eatin’ crow—
Cowboys, beer, bar fights and pickups—things that never last. 

That ol’ black pickup rattles and bucks just like a bronc,
Its days, just like the horses, will soon come to an end—
And as we reach the auction, my dad pulls up to honk:
A ritual of completion for a son and now a friend.

And when we head on home with those calves all loaded up,
We’ll turn on that radio and sing in one sweet haze—
For in just a few years, there will sit dad’s empty cup
And there will just be memories of those Odessa days.        



Details | Cowboy | |

A Cowboy Remembers 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Unforgotten

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Oh, where have all the cowboys gone
That weren’t afraid to speak their mind?
Oh, where have all the cowboys gone—
Have they rode off with us behind?

We used to know the right from wrong
And not all things were for a buck—
Our boys once grew both tall and strong
And all they needed was some luck.

But things have changed in this dark land
And correctness is now the word—
We’re all afraid to take a stand
And America’s now absurd!

So now we take Christ from Christmas
And are afraid to say His name—
The ACLU now makes a fuss—
And we all have to play the game!

So now we all stick up our hands—
Robbed of what all the brave have died—
And let the bad guys make their plans
As our leaders played tricks and lied.

But our time will come once again
And we’ll ride strong and still be free—
If we call the Almighty, friend,
And open hearts and eyes to see.

Yes, where have all the cowboys gone
That aren’t afraid to speak their mind?
Yes, where have all the cowboys gone?
They have not left us all behind.


Details | Cowboy | |

The Last Camp

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

When Cowboys Rode Away

There were clear, sunny mornings with the rustle of leaves,
A patchwork of sunlight beneath the wind-blown trees--
There were round-ups and long rides that lasted all the day,
In times of our innocence when cowboys rode away.

Hopalong, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Lash LaRue,
We grew up with them in movies--their days were too few.
They stood for truth; what was right; they always had their say,
America was not the same when cowboys rode away.

The West is gone, it's true--there are no cowboys anymore--
At least not like the old ones that we knew before.
We make our worlds to please ourselves with our yesterday--
You'll find my world gone years ago, when cowboys rode away.