The ranch on which I hang my hat, though short on most the frills,
Is thirteen sections, give or take, of rugged trails an’ hills.
We call it ‘home’, our little world, our very own frontier,
Amongst the cattle, sheep an' goats; the varmints, hogs an' deer.
Today I watched the breakin' dawn an' whiffed the mornin' air,
A time I often set aside for things like thought an' prayer.
A Mockin'bird an' Mornin' Dove, an' other birds at play,
Were there to sing an' set the mood to start another day.
This mornin' saw the strangest thing, like time itself had merged,
An' all the souls who once were here, appeared an' then converged.
In swirlin' clouds of mist an' fog, right off the bluffs they rolled,
Till all had gathered in the glen, the modern an' the old.
The Indians, conquistadors, an' other ancient men,
The soldiers from this country's wars, an' cowboys from back when…
They all had come from yesterday to help me understand
Our link with those who came before, to heritage an' land.
A crazy notion, so I thought, that they could just appear,
But as the morning went along the reason got real clear.
They rode along with me that day to show me things I’ve missed,
The things I’ve seen a thousand times an’ some I’d just dismissed.
Those wagon roads of long ago, still evident today,
Are carved in rock an' rutted earth, not apt to wash away.
They linked the missions, forts an' towns those many years gone by;
An' left their mark for all to see, as modern times grew nigh.
The artifacts an' weathered ruins attest to yesterdays,
When others came an' lived their lives in very different ways.
We've seen their skill in arrowheads they honed from fired stone,
An' craftsmanship in beads an' tools they fashioned out of bone.
At ever turn and trail we took was something to remind,
The Maker must have had a plan laid out for humankind.
The Earth He made’s been feedin' us a half-a-million years,
An' used it's wonder, force an' change to challenge pioneers.
I do not know if they'll return or if they’ll feel the need,
But I’m prepared to ride the trail, where ever it may lead.
We all are spirits ridin’ time with bodies of the Earth,
Whose time has come to take the reins an’ offer up our worth.
The land has been the legacy we cultivate an’ reap,
The life has been the heritage our father’s fought to keep,
An’ we are bound throughout our time with those who came before,
To put our hearts and souls to it, and make it something more.
Copyright © Jim Fish
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.
Copyright © Glen Enloe
I left my
of wonder and
awe. A place that
knows me better
than any other place
I’ve been. This place
has changed me and
molded me into the
person I am now.
The forests, trees, creeks,
and open skies instilled in
me a love for God’s works.
The harshness of the winters has
taught me to be patient and to endure. My small
town is where I learned the small-town work ethic;
you don’t get what you don’t earn and earning what
you want takes a little bit of sweat and tears. Here
I learned that you don’t have to be blood to be
family. Brothers and sisters are made throughout
years of school together. We relied on each other to
be happy. This place will forever hold my heart and
soul. I am a small town girl through and through.
It’s who I will always be. Forever. Thanks IDAHO
for shaping me into something more than I was.
Copyright © Samantha Farr
Enter a storybook tale
Where I can be
The heroine you hail
Lucid dreams of soft reflection
A touch heated with lust and desired protection
A breathe a gasp as we succeed
Join the fairytale with me
Valiant night within dark eyes
the right movement and I make them shine
like moonlight on the steamy hot spring
care to follow for a little dip with me
Trailing like the water at my fingertips
Grasp me around my hips
As close as the breeze on my skin
Whisper lies as I let you in
Lips mumbling up my thighs
bare heart exposed to the sky
fire burning in my veins
Am I a mistress of this lust or simply a slave
Trembling with desire
Take me till we've lost count of the hours
enter this storybook tale
Where I can be the heroine you hail
Copyright © Jay Loveless
T'was a warm summer's day, when I took to the trail,
to cruise that old black spruce, way down in the swale.
A gallon of bug dope was strapped on my hip,
which I figured would last me for most of the trip.
Down through the sphagnum I plowed like a moose,
a huffin' and puffin' and spittin' my snoose.
Then off in the distance, I heard a faint roar,
like B-29's coming home from the war.
The sky clouded over, so you barely could see,
"They're mosquitoes! "I cried, and they're coming for me.
They flew by me once and past me again,
a-flexing their stingers, before they moved in.
I grabbed for my bug dope and spread it on thick,
just hopin' and prayin', it would do the trick.
They came at me fiercely and punctured my hide,
But before they could drink much, they dropped off and died.
I thought to myself, "What type of bug dope is this?"
The mosquitoes all had smiles on, as they lay there in bliss.
After checking the label, I saw my mistake,
t'was the 100 proof whiskey, that Uncle Jake makes.
Copyright © Richard Manly
under night skies...
Copyright © Patricia Sawyer
Up in Colorado, in the forests of Pikes Peak
A cranky critters conference was held just this week
It was led by a mouse, 3 legs, whiskerless & without tail
"Against a common foe!" He said "We must Unite! We must prevail!"
He hobbled out to the edge of the woods & pointed toward a house
In that house, I once lived a good life, a young & healthy mouse
Then one day the rancher's wife decided she'd had enough
I will say she is a worthy adversary, Mercy she was tough!
He looked around at all the critters, weasel, skunk & squirrel
& said "I hate to admit it but I was bested by a girl!"
Its true, I escaped alive but she got her trophies, too
For I left my tail, paws & whiskers stuck there in her glue
The squirrel spoke up in a streetwise Brando voice
I'll accept the challenge! For this mission, I am the best choice!
I know this lady well, having enjoyed seeds & nuts out on her deck
I am not afraid of her & will show her we deserve respect
So the squirrel plotted & waited until the time was right
He saw his chance & took it while in the birds she took delight
He scampered up a pine tree & scurried out on to a branch
While she was distracted with a phone call & a pretty bird, he seized his chance
He took a flying leap, landing square on her blond head
Taking great delight in her squeals of surprise & dread
He then let loose with a torrent of the defecation sort
"That's for all the dead & walking wounded!" was his parting retort
The moral of this story, for one there must be
Is be mindful of avenging squirrels when you sit beneath a tree
Copyright © Catherine Devine
The dawn was approaching, not a breath of air blew,
And the bass should be bitin', at the edge of the slough.
I gathered my tackle and shoved in the boat,
Not knowing whether, the blamed thing would float.
A pull on the kicker, got old Betsy churnin',
To the home of the large-mouth, for which i'd been yearnin'.
The boat snaked on through, the lily-pad carpet,
Toward an old sunken log, as black as a tarpit.
Don't ask me how, but I knew he'd be there,
Just awaitin' to be pulled, from his watery lair.
With a flick of the wrist, the lure sped toward the log,
Which stuck from the water, at the edge of the bog.
The silence was shattered, as the bass took the bait.
You could see in his eyes, the feeling of hate.
I had him hooked firmly, in the side of the lip,
And he couldn't get loose, no matter how he should flip.
I guessed that he'd weigh, no less than twelve pounds,
For he was straining my tackle, beyond all its' bounds.
An hour went by, but he fought just as strong.
He had to give in, 'cause I couldn't last long.
Finally the old lunker, turned on it's side,
And slid in the net, with mouth opened wide.
But after I weighed him, I found to my plight,
He'd lost over ten pounds, during this long and hard fight!
Copyright © Richard Manly
The first time that you see her, She will steal your soul away,
And replace it with a being of her own,
Her white sands will glisten, underneath turquoise skies,
And make your heart always long, for New Mexico.
There is magic in her mountains, secrets in her sage,
A special kind of wisdom, that only comes with age.
The music of her canyons, will echo and roll,
And fill your life with desire, for New Mexico.
She'll captivate your spirit, keep it in possession there,
No matter where you are, you smell cedar in the air.
The song she sings you, comes from long ago,
And haunts you with a passion, for New Mexico.
You understand the stillness, of a desert afternoon,
You're enchanted by the beauty, of yucca in bloom,
While you wonder at the colors, transformed by the sun's glow,
Your thoughts are of being, in New Mexico.
Voices of the past, warriors and pioneers,
Urge you with their stories, of laughter and tears.
An unsettled feeling, is all you have to show,
As you roam familiar trails, back to New Mexico.
Some will call her savage, some will call her wild,
In ever fleeting shadows, she remains but a child.
This boldness of character is restless and untamed,
Gentled only by The Power, that takes on many names.
You'll hear her in the night sometimes, when Westward breezes blow,
And to fill that empty feeling, you know you have to go,
For once you hold her in your eyes, nothing else can make you whole,
And you're never really home again, until you're in New Mexico.
Copyright © Debra Coppinger Hill
What could I really know of the breaks
in the land
huge canyons bleeding red cut by the wind
with the snow swirling around our tires
and fallen to a tumble like icebergs
windshield riming over with a crust of ice
we scrape madly inside
trying to keep cold out
slowing to a crawl
always on the lookout
outside line appearing and gone,
no worries about
cattle led inside to safety to be watered and fed
but what of us?
Will we be trapped clutching a candle
wanting a chocolate bar,
waiting for a tractor?
and all the flat seeming land seems to have ditches
and roof pitches and rushing trees, and a swirl
of slumbering snow
to lumber down in drifts and piles
no fire would ever warm us
until finally we see it shining in the dark
a lantern at a farm
a fleet of snow mobiles to greet us
scurry is off
before our ears turn blue,
would they fall off?
Luckily, not tonight, not in this blizzard,
we have home.
Copyright © Sheri Fresonke Harper
The Farmer woke,
Before break of day,
And for a little rain did pray.
Then hitched his team,
And plowed the land,
Given him by the Master’s hand.
The Cowboy awoke,
And a prayer he sighed,
“Please give us rain, for the prairie is dry.”
Then in the heat,
He did rope and brand,
The cattle given him by the Master’s hand.
At night, before sleep,
The Farmer read,
The words from the Bible that God had said,
“If you’ll keep my Commandments,
In it’s season I’ll make it rain,
And you shall eat,
And your land shall fill with grain.”
The Cowboy fell asleep remembering,
A verse his Ma had read,
A promise God made and the words he said,
“Love and serve the Lord God,
And it shall come to pass,
That I shall make it rain,
And for the cattle, there shall be grass.”
So each resolved, in his own way,
To be a better man,
And follow closely the Commandments,
And there-fore save the land.
And though they never met,
They prayed for the same thing,
And watched the sky for the clouds,
And the rain that they would bring.
And though it was long in coming,
The drops fell upon the land,
And revived and refreshed these special places,
Given by the Master’s hand.
The Farmer and the Cowboy,
Each prayed for the land of which they were fond,
And through their belief, they saved the Earth,
Through the Lord’s Common Bond.
Copyright © Debra Coppinger Hill
< beneath swollen ..... moon
in pasture of...... rolling hills
standing ....hind quarters
a beautiful black ...... stallion
simply took my breath ........ away
A Memory Of Beauty
Copyright © Katherine Stella
The Quakers, being religiously persecuted, set sail from expatriated England;
they were the first settlers to reach the shore of New England: a free land!
Later the Puritans came and settled in other eastern, bustling colonies
seeking the same religious freedom, but their urge was stronger than dreams.
Many moved westward on foot, on horseback and on overloaded wagons...
exploring the American wilderness plundered by indigenous Indians;
they searched for grassland everywhere, to let their cattle roam and graze;
first they built wooden shacks on vast, lush prairies full of Queen Ann's Lace.
And out of this American westward expansion, came the fearless pioneers,
who sought gold mines...despite the wild cowboys causing troubles
with heavy drinking and desire for unscrupulous women, seeking money and pleasure,
who served them more whisky and lured them to a room with a demeaning measure.
Beyond the Rocky Mountains' and the Appalachians Mountains' skies,
these diligent pioneers obtained wealth with sweat and sacrifices...
changing and shaping the wild landscapes of arable land,
avoiding the drudgery of getting stuck in mud and sand.
Copyright © Andrew Crisci
Oh lord hear the lonesome cowboys lullaby, singing beneath
The vast prairie open sky.
Hush, do they not lull the restless cattle to sleep, by a soft
Undertones sweet melody.
Drifting plains men, singing of the sorrows broken hearted,
And dreaming visions of their beloved, they've left behind.
Guitar strumming minstrels, of the fire hearth, accented
By the lone harmonica, playing off in the distance
Amongst a sea of cows, and horses.
In harmonic rhythm is this grassroots orchestra, as the fiddler
Strikes up his bow to join in, and playing ever so gently along,
To harmony's rhythm.
On the rocky cliffs mixed in the sandy dunes, the heckling
Coyotes, give an eerie ambiance, to this old western chorus.
Do these desert whyly creatures, howl in perfections tune,
To the wrangler's musical beat, of these wide grassy expanses,
That they all call home.
The rattler shakes it's tail in defiance, against the munching
Prairie dog, whom got away at the last moment.
Listen closely to the sounds of the meadow-lands, does not the crickets,
And locusts, add a natural flavor by their clicking and chirping.
Near the rivers stream, as the winds do blow, along the waters edge,
Another elements assent, is bestowed by the forcing of the reeds, to
Bend hitting them against the hollow log, causing a thumping's,
Drumming, to this uniquest of bands.
As twilight's distant starlight, flickering in the vast
Blackness above, these rambling souls whom wander so.
Down these dusty trails long journey, yearn for nothing
More than to know the quite serenity, of their home
That seems so far away.
Let your music fill your emptiness, for one nights
Beautiful dream, and remember the memory as if it
Were real, a vivid vision of illusion, and rest
In complete bliss, good night my young
Cowboy of the open sky.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
Copyright © cherl dunn
In the old, wild west
every lonely cowboy
stopped to rest at a crowded inn
surrounded by bare
rocky hills; he blamed it
on the greedy pioneers.
Traveling wasn't easy, not because
of coyotes or deadly
snakes that hid, or slept
in the blue stern grass......
they had to look out
for those Indians.
In the old, wild west
every lonely cowboy
always left his loaded gun
close to his bed
for a quick draw...unless it was
a loud brawl coming from the floor below.
Copyright © Andrew Crisci
howled ice-cold, clear-sky
and awoke the moon,
who gazed, heavy-lidded,
at the stars around her
Leaves and dust
danced sambas and pirouetted
along the desert's river,
who was shivering uncontrollably
while midnight birds
struggled to fly upstream
against the manic,
stinging, musical currents
of turbulence and wonder
Copyright © Rev. Rebecca Guile Hudson
Lying there feeling warm and replete
Looking up to the sky, this is real neat
I never thought-that I would see three
But that was just granted to little old me.
The first as I lay in the water so hot
It flashed through the sky, a plane it was not
Within twenty minutes the second one flashed by
Two shooting stars in the same bit of sky…
Before the hour was up the third came into view
What a brilliant night watching the stars that flew
Three shooting stars is my first hat trick of stars
Lying in hot tub they shot from the plough right past Mars.
Three shooting stars I wonder what that means
Were they tumblers or stars, or somebody’s dreams
A wish I would make on each star that passed by
But they still couldn’t match the stars I’d see in your eye.
© 1/11/2012 ~GG~
Copyright © Mandy Tams The Golden Girl
His rhythmic progress and sideways prance,
With flowing mane his movements dance…
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
Cowboys herdin’ cattle cross dusty trails
Sandy hooves paint ground fog in their wake
Shuffling along swattin’ flies off molty hides
Riders amble aside keeping eye on their stake
Chuck wagon camps, setting up by a creek
Beans and pan bread cookin’ over hot stones
Coffee’s meandering aroma penetrates the air
Greeting men carrying saddles over tired bones
Ranch hands scout the waters nearby
Look to the sky to judge the night
Storms a comin’ as night encroaches
Coyotes restless, cries rent last light
Cattle dogs alert to changes
Nip the heels of stragglin’ calves
Cowhand slaps his rope while coaxing
Blistered hands and lips in need of salves
Cowhands sing to calm their charges
Bedrolls gathered near the fire
Dreaming of a trail once taken
And of their loves as they retire
Copyright © Lena Pate
Upon the flushing milieu of twilight,
Vague shadows of the ranch hands brook.
A proud slow march on hackneyed legs,
In the slow emergence of autumn’s dusk.
Today’s sullied labor grimes the worn denim chaps,
In the dawn to dusk harvest of the seasons haying.
An aching exhaustion on sweat muddied faces,
The price and the pride of the old rancher’s toils.
Barns piled high from the summers green fields,
The homestead prepares for the silver of winter.
Lost in the muted glow of sunset’s backdrop,
The prairie echoes thanks with a soft cowboy song.
Copyright © Charles Fuller
As his rider gives the judge a glance,
He tosses his mane and shifts his stance;
The winner he is, without a doubt,
He trots in place and then moves out;
Not quite believing what I saw,
I watched in silence, struck in awe;
Almost as if he wants to tease;
He crosses over with seaming ease,
His perfect cadence and fluid prance;
I sat in wonder as I watched him dance.
~Write A Backwards Poem Contest~
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
Unlikely the explorers of the Wild West,
I'm bound for sheer adventure, not amazing discovery;
finding gold is far from any quest
while this clanking, slow-moving stream locomotive
will take me to places so primitive...
even a small ghost town has tales that conjure mystery!
Whistle along train as your steam puffs...
reaching clouds and turning them into raindrops,
California is still a seeker's dream for the unhappy folks living
in bustling cities enduring noise and pollution;
soundless are the canyons drifting
by without any fearless cowboy riding,
but the watchful coyotes will resent this intrusion...
whenever your whistle startles them when they are napping!
Whistle along train as your steam puffs,
I didn't bring along a single book to read not to be distracted by reality,
only a huge map showing me historic towns...
where daily shootings were as common as drinking whiskey!
Imagine seeing the ghosts of Billy the Kid and Jesse James
roam the dusty streets ready to start a gunfight;
see crowds gather and wait for the winner to shout...
it's like watching a Clint Eastwood's western movie drawing his guns!
Copyright © Andrew Crisci
There’s a legacy inside him,
As he sits upon his steed;
His heart is filled with honesty,
Not perjury or greed;
He rides the same old range,
That his father rode before;
And it’s been that way for forever,
A hundred years or more;
Pushin’ cattle, brandin’ calves,
That is a cowboy’s life;
Someday he may settle down,
And make some girl his wife;
He’s spent so many lonely nights,
Sleeping under the stars,
He hasn’t got a tattoo,
What he has are battle scars;
There’s a rip across his stomach,
From a rangy longhorn steer;
And even though it hurt like hell,
He never shed a tear;
He always outs on a brave face,
Emotions locked inside;
And for his cowboy heritage,
He feels only pride.
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
I love my Mousey,
She lives in a field in BrushCreek, Tennessee,
Walking with her her of cattle,
As happy as she will ever be.
Without this there would be only she,
And i could make her as happy as me,
I miss her immensly, for thee i wish well,
For everyday i wish she wont sell,
And I could show her in the Dekalb County Fair,
I would sell never an ounce of her.
Hehe not even one of her little white hairs.
Even when all the way over there,
Mine she is for no one but me to share, if I do so happen to dare.
Cute as a button,
A button her nose may well be,
Where I first touched her sweet little body,
Not once but twice sweetly,
For wherever she goes I could spot her, along with her sister and mother.
Many a mile away, for she is not at all,
Not at all what you would say a little grayish thing.
But a heifer who grows daily,
Only to shove the motherly tears away.
In my eyes though, she will always be, forever and always, my baby girl, my sweetie,
my beautiful girl, my Mousey
Copyright © Jessie Howell
Out west, near Black Hills, over South Dakota way,
On land where layered rocks records eons before –
Some thieves rode the badlands that hot steamy day.
Rough riding rustlers raided a ranch; stole a boar.
Those thieves took, tackle, grain, food, and wine grapes.
Two rife and rifled cowboys planned to settle the score!
Rugged and fearless with sweat on hot napes,
They rode where the rattlers and bull snakes call home.
Both galloped fast and hard … must not let thieves escape.
But they stopped with their horses when they saw bison’s roam.
Felt stillness; saw vastness; amazed, each life reshapes.
The wilderness teaches with its silent, “Shalom.”
Paused, distantly viewing weird-wonderful shapes.
Great towers of fossils that give wildlife a home.
Two soul-searching cowboys ponder nature’s landscapes.
While prairie dogs and cottontails run for the loam,
The bobcats and vultures look down on the plains.
And turtles stay still in their portable home.
The Bighorns and badgers walk gullies in rains.
Meadowlarks sing songs while pretty pronghorns prance.
There, valleys hide critters in flowers and grains.
It’s a desolate land; so, it seems at first glance.
Plenty of majestic views extending for miles,
Masking deadly dangers that stalk the great expanse.
But back on the ranch families stock up woodpiles,
They tend to the gardens, feed chickens, and cows.
Their work is quite hard but they manage with smiles.
The villains still steal and the farmers push plows.
But two soul-searching cowboys made Heavenly vows.
Copyright October 12, 2014
Written for Poetry Soup Member Contest: Cowboys in the Badlands -
Sponsor Isaiah Zerbst
Copyright © Dane Ann Smith-Johnsen
IF YOUR VERY VERY QUIET
AND VERY VERY STILL
YOU CAN HEAR HIM TALKING
AND KNOW THAT HE IS REAL
WHISPERING THROUGH THE TREES
AND THE SONGS OF THE BIRDS
CHIRPING OF THE CRICKETS
MOVEMENT OF THE HERD
THE RUSTLING OF GRASS
SOFTLY PUSHED ASIDE
BY FEET STEPPING QUIETLY
PAUSING WHILE IN STRIDE
A MARE SOFTLY COAXING
A PRECIOUS NEWBORN FOAL
THE CREATION OF LIFE
WARMS YOU TO YOUR SOUL
IF YOU LISTEN YOU CAN HEAR
YOUR HEART SLOWLY BEATING
COUNTING OUT THE SECONDS
OF YOUR SHORT LIFE FLEETING
JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LISTEN
TO ALL THE THINGS YOU MISS
WORRYING ABOUT DAY TO DAY
TOO LONG IS YOUR LIST
LISTEN TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT
LIFE GOES ON ALL AROUND
THINK NOW WHAT YOU’RE HEARING
AND THE TREASURES YOU FOUND
SO IF YOU’RE VERY VERY QUIET
AND VERY VERY STILL
YOU’LL KNOW WHO IS TALKING
AND KNOW THAT GOD IS REAL
Copyright © Tye Chisholm
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
Copyright © Virginia Frayer
I am horse
Ride saddle 'pon my back
O'er plains of outer space or
O'er wishing grounds
My spit shine for a baker's bet
Wood is shrieker
And father my horse
Lay amongst the wary
And tell the hunter
Who's skin you enter soundly
Tell to him thy name;
Thy name is horse!
Copyright © Le Sony'r Ra
He’s tender and caring in his own way,
From moving cattle to bucking hay;
He’s stubborn but gentle and hard as nails,
As he deals with all that his job entails;
He may seem distant but he’s filled with pride;
From the cattle he tends to the horse that he rides;
He’s defender of the small and weak,
And protector of the sick and meek;
He keeps the code of the cowboy way,
Standing steadfast from day to day;
Watching over and protecting from harm,
All of the beings that reside on his farm;
He’s sometimes reserved and far-away,
And he never really has too much to say;
Laugh lines cover his weathered face,
Something even time can’t erase;
He is a cowboy, born and bred,
From the boots on his feet to the hat on his head.
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
With power from his hooves,
Tough thunder. He whinnies and snorts...
Copyright © Heather Lewis