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Cowboy Nostalgia Poems | Cowboy Poems About Nostalgia

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

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Details | Cowboy | |

One of Texas's Best

“Back in my day” his stories all would start
I’d  lean in close to listen though I knew ‘em all by heart
He was a living legend, one of Texas’ best
Not just another lawman with a tin star on his chest

He fought along “RIP” Ford & John Coffee Hayes
When Texas was wooly & wild, back in the good old days
“One Riot, One Ranger” I’ve heard it said many times before
from fighting off Commanches to turning the tide of a range war

A Ranger never faltered, never imagined he could lose a fight
He’d  go hell bent for leather just to turn a wrong to right.
From Nueces to Salado Creek he patrolled the border land
Dealing out swift justice with a smoking Colt sitting easy in hand

Hardin, Iron Jacket & Sam Bass thought they could get away
The Rangers ran them down to ground, the stories still are told today
Great Granddad was a hero, one of Texas’s best
Not just another lawman with a tin star on his chest

He passed on the legacy & the stories I’ll now tell
as I hear his voice echo when I start off,  “ I remember well”
So tip your hat & raise your glass to the Rangers out there on patrol
and to all the Shadow Rangers, Rest in Peace, God rest your soul

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 | |

The Waxed Coat Man

In crackled tintypes bent with long ago,
Amid flaxen sunset and skies of cherry—
In worn leather-carved ancient scenario,
He dare not lie in milkweed prairie.

He rides resolute toward that sweat-tinged fame,
Always the heart’s hero of our once young eye,
As pale ivory range sighs softly his name
And we all know the real reason why.

It is high sage country that he will ride,
As that tin sun burns alabaster away—
And new birthed rains roll off his cow rancher hide,
So his soft summer’s mirage will stay.

Some see him crude – of but limited worth—
Lacking pure knowledge or certain savoir-faire—
But born of bone plain, he is of no fool’s birth—
A force of nature that’s always there. 

From coat’s patina past years slide, of course,
As lines are spurred so deep into his Sphinx face—
But he’d rather be poised high atop his horse
In no other country, time or place.

His heritage is long – it’s here he’ll die—
He rides his own land in cruel spring rains and snows—
And like that wax jacket, he’ll keep his hopes dry,
Because ranching is all that he knows.

Details | I do not know? | |

The First Goodbye

laying in your bed
watching you
get dressed
the permanent ring in the
back pocket
of your blue jeans
i’m missing you already

Details | Cowboy | |

The Whittlers

The Tom Green County courthouse was their gathering place
A Greek Revival building and a lovely public space
They'd be sitting on their benches under lofty pecan trees
Wood shavings on their ankles, a piece of cedar twixt their knees

They called them the whittlers, but that was just a disguise
They came to speak of mice and men and hang out with the guys
Born before the television went and addled peoples wits,
They could tell some stories that would cause your sides to split

They'd kid me 'bout the pile of books that I had just checked out
Said that I was apt to ruin my eyes and fry my brain no doubt
But I could see they got a kick out of their one devoted fan
Cause they would trot out all their stories and tell them once again

They told me stories of big ranches and oil boom shanty towns
How they worked on rigs as roughnecks and toured as rodeo clowns
How they used to ride the rails when no employment could be found
And the way they told those stories had me rolling on the ground

And in between a whittle and another spit and chew
They showed me how to whet a knife and tie a buckaroo
They had lots and lots of stories and lessons to impart
But I'd have to hear the cowboy code before I could depart

“Give a man a good hard shake and look him in the eye
If you mess up, tell it straight; don't cover with a lie
Always give a full day's work; live out each day with heart
A man's no good without his word, so finish what you start

Protect the weak and help them; respect your elders, too
Never leave a friend behind, nothing else will ever do
And when your time is done, according to God's plan
You can face up to the reaper, and meet him like a man.”

If that was all I learned from them, that lesson was enough
For a kid without some guidance, this life can be quite tough
I guess folks made fun of them, and thought them no account
For me they were my heroes, that I would trade for no amount

The Tom Green County courthouse still stands upon those grounds
But now those shaded benches are nowhere to be found
And where once the mighty whittlers carved and held their court
Squirrels gather up pecans and chase each other now for sport

December 28, 2013
Click "About this poem" above the title to see an image of some whittlers.

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 | Epic | |

The Darkness at Noon

     The Darkness at Noon

Tombstone never looked so good
With doomsday coming down 
On the dusty Arizona town
The OK Corral near by 
The Clanton-McLaury gang on hand
With no one else about
The Earp boys in the wings
Thinking things out
Doc Holliday also in tow for the show
The darkness at noon began 
Guns rang out
30 seconds flew by and 30 shots fired
2 cowpokes fell to the ground expired
Justice prevailed that afternoon
Though darkness shadowed the mood
A legend began that cold dark day 
When noon turned into night 
In old Tombstone
                                                                                                                   (Darkness at noon contest en

Details | Cowboy | |

In the Long Ago & Used to Be

What do you see when you look at his face
Weather beaten & etched by hard work’s steady pace?
You see a broken down drunken old fool
I see a vaquero, a cowboy old school
These cattle, those horses, this land are his life
They helped him provide for his children & wife

The Vail brothers, Escalantes, Leons, Acosta, Andrada
From the X-9 to Del Lago, Rincon Creek to La Posta Quemada
Lopez, Etheridge, De La Ossa & Daly, all hard working men
Holding strong to the traditions of a life from way back when
From the base of the Rincons, their cattle once freely roamed
These Cowboys are the lifeblood of this valley we call home

I looked up to these men & others like them when I was a youth
They taught me to work hard, stand tall & always speak the truth
They rail at the developers who never seem to keep their word
Praying that they’ll still have enough ground to run their herds
They watch as suburbia comes flooding into a valley once pristine
As ticky tacky houses turn good grazing lands into an urban scene

The word out on the city streets is that the cowboy way is gone
But as long as there are horses then the Cowboy will ride on
Somewhere up in New River, a cowboy still rides out tonight
To gaze out over a moonlit range, far from the city’s blight
In Cascabel, an Old Vaquero & his grandchild working the pen
Are doing their part to see that the cowboy way never ends

What do you see when you look in his face?
Weather beaten & etched by hard work’s steady pace?
You see a tattered old man, shaky hands & blurry gaze
I see the heroes of my youth, hear the tales of the glory days
When cattle outnumbered people & Cowboys still roamed free
Back when the West was Wild, back in the long ago & used to be

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 | |

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 | Rhyme | |

The flying censor shipment

Unlike the newspeak of today                                                                                           the media rodeo plays the bull                                                                                         clowns chasing a scripted  delay                                                                                       boxed up and ready to go fast food for the loll                                                                   the upper end following the lower end                                                                            Yet political satire's even keel will transcend                                                              while the real bull gores the clowns                                                                                 He can be ornery when being contained                                                                            coming like a federal expess roaring down                                                                        newsmail bringing the letter restrained                                                                             the same package to every town the same                                                                        package of the willing consripts freight                                                                              in the End a older railing bull holds his own wieght

Details | Cowboy | |

Small Boys Trains and Outlaws

There was  derelict old Steam engine, 
I  played on when I was ten,
I'd hear that lonesome whistle blow,
and the old west would live again,

I rode with Billy Miner's gang,
To rob The CPR,
Climbed onboard  that rusty engine,
hollering "Shorty,  check the baggage car!" 

I wonder if the ghost of ol' Bill Miner,
ever watched us at our play,
 Small boys re-enacting ,
a near forgotten day.

Forty years and more have passed...
I still hear that lonesome whistle blow 
My pony snorts impatiently ,
She knows it's time to go. 

"Pull up your masks and draw your pistols!"
We come around the engine at a run,
Three riders on fast horses,
flashing hooves and blazing gun.

That very same old engine,
I played on as a child,
Now hauls tourists back in time,
to when the West was wild.

Old railroad men and cowboys ,
re-enact a bygone day,
While the grinning ghost of Billy Miner,
watches us at play. 



Details | Cowboy | |

Rodeo's Renegade Roses

Gather ‘round younguns, there is a story to be told
About some renegade cowgirls & their ride for the gold
They made it look so easy, feathers, flowers & a smile.
Guts & grace, they had plenty, quitting wasn't their style

They snugged up their riggin' & grabbed for air
Winning Champion titles with style & flair
If Lucas, Krieg & Greenough hadn't led the way
Would any of us be here in the arena today?

Henderson, Riley, Hastings & Creed
To the "Men Only" rule they all paid no heed
They broke records & bones, faced derision & fear
Riding Broncs, Raising families, they juggled home & career

Nasty wrecks were a given but they seemed to bounce back
In one unforgettable event, Tad's girl picked up the slack
From Calgary & Cheyenne to OKC & San Antone
Though there are many others, these ladies stand alone

Hat's off to the Rodeo's Renegade Roses
At tradition they turned up their noses
Bronc busting, trick riding, a rough riding ballet
They showed us how to win & made it look like play

They were never reckless, just a bit wild & bold
Now its up to you & me to see their stories told
They left mighty big boots to fill, bless them one & all
We know that they ride with us, as we heed the siren's call

Lift a glass high in honor for those who paved the way
Three cheers for the Renegade Roses still bucking out today

Details | Cowboy | |

Trails Old & New

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

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

© January 2004

Details | Cowboy | |

The 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 | |

'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 | |

Last Suburban Cowboy

He's the last of the suburban cowboys
At the end of the cul-de-sac.
Oh, he may still have that Western Channel
To bring his memories right back--
But those days of Roy Rogers and Trigger,
They're now just fading to black--
He's riding alone in his condo home
And that's the gall dern sad fact.

He ate those sweet Sugar Pops with ol' Jingles--
Watched all those westerns on TV--
Drank down all that cold milk for Hopalong--
Wore cowboy hats and boots with glee.
He had him a fine Rifleman's rifle,
Gene Autry's new cap guns for kids to see--
But he sure did hate all that real estate
That kept him from being free.

He may be the last suburban cowboy
'Cause kids now do the video game--
But in his mind he's still young Rex Allen
Riding over that painted plain.
But he likes to think the guys in white hats
Have not all gone down in a flame--
'Cause deep in his heart there still is a part
That seeks out the cowboy's name.

Details | Cowboy | |

Ghost Town Church In Snow

Guess it was ‘bout mid-December
And a winter storm was howlin’—
Was roundin’ up strays I remember
And my belly start to growlin’.
I come upon an ol’ ghost town
I’d rode through many times now past—
There were some ol’ buildin’s left round—
I reckon most things jest don’t last.
Yet there in whirlin’ snow and haze
Stood the remnants of an ol’ church,
That had once seen much better days—
Its cockeyed cross carved out of birch.
A coat of snow made it all clean,
Made it full of hope for mankind—
The whiteness gave it a new sheen
Now at the end of its long line.
No one remembered the town’s name
Or the people that once lived here—
Its history had been reclaimed
By time and heavy snows each year.
As I straightened up that ol’ cross
And thought of folks singin’ inside—
I remembered all that we’ve lost:
Those that lived and loved and then died.
If there’s a moral to this town
And this snowy church all alone—
It’s be content with what we’ve found
At the place we humbly call home.


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 | |

' Cowboy Portrait ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 8)

I Drew A Portrait of A Cowboy
With Bronco Jumping to the Sun
The Sunlight, was Both His Halo
And Sunrays, His Blazing Gun …

As He Rode High, Against Blue Sky
And Came Down, to Earth-Dirt-Brown
He Hung Onto That Saddle Horn
And Sat It Like A Crown

A Cowboy Hat, Was Silhouette
With Its Studded, Silver-Band
Also, On His Chaps, and Spurs
And Spanish Leather, Gloved Hands

His Jaw, Was Set, in Steel
A Strong, Granite Profile
Of Determination, Skill and Handsomeness
And Hard, Big-Country Style

… and I Love That Portrait of A Cowboy
Getting Bronchoed Up In The Sun
Seeing Sun and Sky, and A Wild Stallion Try
To Buck That Son – Of – A – Gun !

Details | Cowboy | |

Try and Stop Em

Try and Stop Em
Harold Roy Miller

The longhorns were getting hard to hold
as the thunderstorm came in fast and cold.
The dark black clouds were starting to hover
as the fretful steers made a sweep for cover.

The herd had started to drift asunder,
courtesy of the loud, clapping thunder.
The wailing wind sent up a deafening cry
as lightning streaked across the darkening sky.

The daring cowhand out riding lead
was trying to prevent a potential stampede.
The clashing horns validated his fears
as he tried to mill the leader steers.

Each pointer worked to keep the herd on course
with the expert help of his trusty horse.
And the panicked drovers who were riding swing
sent gunshots skyward  with a ping.

But the struggling crew worked in vain
as the beeves took flight across the plain.
The lightning cracked, the thunder boomed;
any fallen horse or rider  was doomed.

The buckaroos rode at breakneck speed
to escape the explosive, bawling stampede.
To the four winds the herd was scattered.
But life preservation was all that mattered.

It was a vivid, graphic scene
as I stared at the television screen.
Not wanting to see how many ended up dead,
I turned off the TV and went to bed.                           

Details | Cowboy | |


   Ponytails and blue jeans 
Sat at Papaw's knee, 
Watching as he whittled 
On old branches from a tree. 
    And while he talked of cowboys 
And big old Texas ranches, 
He trimmed away the rough spots, 
While I dreamed of pony dances. 

     A wild stick horse remuda 
Began to run and play,
With every loving stroke,  
As he peeled the bark away.
     Using his "Old Timer"  
And carving in my brand, 
The best that he could find
And cut and shape with his own hand. 

     Now, each one of them was special,
And I felt I was too, 
As they kicked up dust behind 
This cowgirl buckaroo. 
     With reins of pink hair ribbon, 
Shoe strings and baling twine, 
There was "Buckin' Birch" and "Oakie," 
And "Ole Sticky" made of pine, 

     "Sassafras," and "Blackjack," 
"Willow," "Blaze," and "Scat," 
I never did corral 'em -- 
I just left 'em where they sat. 
     But next mornin', on the front porch, 
'stead of roamin' wild and free, 
They'd found their hitchin' rail, 
‘cause Papaw lined 'em up for me. 
     Along our trails together 
There were many lessons learned, 
Like bein' a cowboy through and through 
Is something that you earn 
     We'd partner up together, 
And team up in cahoots,
Once he defied my Mama,
Bought me red cowboy boots. 

     And often, when I wondered 
What to do on down the road, 
He'd always tell me, "little girl, 
When you get there you will know," 
     Sometimes you have to let things go, 
Sometimes you stand and fight, 
And anything worth doin', 
Is still worth doin' right. 

     With my wild stick horse remuda, 
We rode the range for miles, 
I knew I'd won my Papaw's heart 
By the way he'd laugh and smile, 
     I still have his sweat-stained Stetson, 
His boots, and his old knife, 
Sometimes I take them out 
Just to measure up my life. 
     And hold him closer to my heart, 
And know I have to try, 
To live up to the honor 
Of the wonder-days gone by. 
     On my stick horse remuda,
I learned the cowboy way, 
I’d give up everything I own 
To ride with him today. 

    My wild stick horse remuda 
Was quite the varied band, 
Born and bred with me in mind 
And trained by his own hand. 
     I’m longing for the legends, 
And the way we used to roam, 
With my wild stick horse remuda, 
And the man that we called "Home." 

Details | Cowboy | |

Circles Made of Stone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |


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 | |

Cubicle Cowboy

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

' It Was A Cowboy Knight ... ' (Cowboy Poem # 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 | |

Partners With the Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

' The 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 | |

I'd Like to See Those Days Again

Oh, I’d like to see those days again
When our jeans were tight but not outgrown—
When there was no TV or internet
And you could really be alone.

Yes, I’d like to watch a B western
Where all the good guys wore those white hats—
When humor was funny and not obscene,
And congress was not full of rats.

I want back our days of innocence
When cowboy was not a four-letter word—
And we all rode for America’s brand
And discouraging words were not heard.

And I’d love to see us give respect
Once again to the presidency—
And there was no need to lock all our doors
Or worship cult celebrities. 

I want to relive those better times
When men were honest as their handshake—
And criminals didn’t get off scot-free—
And lips and bosoms were not fake.

Yes, I’d like to see those days again
Where heroes rode off into sunsets,
And all our stories ended happily
And all our lives had no regrets. 

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 | |

A Cattleman's New Year

There was just the wind 
in the tall swaying grass, a whisper
and no other sound.
The cattle were fed and 
we were on the way home
when we saw a newborn calf on the ground.

The calf flicked an ear, but stayed 
in his spot where his 
mother told him to stay
when we had called 
with the honk of horn
to come as we threw out the hay.

Now we watched, while the day 
had come to its close the sunlight
lengthened and died
the air was filled with a cows low
moan and she ran as her newborn replied.

We sat holding hands as the 
evening crept in and the stars
stood out in the sky
sharing that moment, a breathe in time
and a bovine lullabye.

Our New Year unfolded on the prairie
that night with a little black calf
on the ground, the whisper wind
in the tall swaying grass, a whisper 
and no other sound.

Details | Cowboy | |

The Roy Rogers Range

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Mustang Band

Up in the pinion covered highlands,
I came upon a wild horse band. 
I counted six rangy horses, grazing there,
including the Stallion and the lead mare.

It was truly a range cowboy's delight.
there were four bays, a roan and one mostly white.
The  muscled stallion stood watchful up on a rise,
and followed my every move with his eyes.

Then the stallion somehow signaled the lead mare,
in a language only wild horses can share.
She led her charges up a winding trail,
and her movement broke my hypnotic spell.

I admired their surefootedness and their survival skills,
as they quickly ascended the rocky hills.
The Stallion was last, bringing up the rear,
It was self preservation, not nervous fear.

it was awe inspiring as I watched them flee,
but a melancholy wistfulness came over me.
The Mustang, like the cowboy,symbol of the west,
drifted into the sunset, and went over the crest.

Details | Cowboy | |

No God West of Ft. Smith

There is no Sunday west of St. Louis
And no God that’s west of Ft. Smith—
So says the frontier adage that’s truest
And confirms the last Old West myth.

Wild Bill Hickok had him a dead man’s hand—
They found John Ringo ‘neath a tree.
Billy the Kid was shot where he did stand—
They never found Butch Cassidy.

Jesse was shot unarmed by a young creep,
Belle Starr was shot-gunned in the back—
Wyatt Earp died years later in his sleep
And the Dalton boys all got whacked.

Dirty Dave Rutabaugh did lose his head,
Doc Holliday died of TB—
And Wyatt Earp shot Curly Bill stone dead,
But what became of “Buckskin” Leslie?

John Wesley Hardin was shot in a bar—
Frank James lived to a ripe old age.
Cole Younger wrote down most of his memoir,
Buffalo Bill soon was the range.

Now west of St. Louis Sundays do thrive
And west of Ft. Smith they’ve found God—
But the frontier is no longer alive
And the Old West is a smile and a nod.

Details | Cowboy | |

Sunset Cowboys

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

White Thanksgiving

We dream of it for Christmas Eve,
The swirling pearls of snowy down--
Its blanket grows and does not leave
And covers homes and barns around.

The horses stay within their stalls,
Thinking cowboys this day won't ride--
Far from the busy shopping malls,
Where folks seem so empty inside.

Yet, still the family gathers
On this rare white Thanksgiving day,
To thank the Lord for what matters--
Share their abundant feast and pray.

Though some are here in memory,
We love and laugh with them in death--
Knowing to cherish things that be
And relish our time with each breath.

So at tables we say prayers
Over food this white Thanksgiving--
As we put away all our cares
And thank God and kin still living. 

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 | |

I Wish We Had Our Own Trails

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

' Western Shows ... '

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |


Sweat-stained Stetson, 
On the wall, 
Muddy boots, 
In the hall, 
Stand and wait, 
Sometimes they call, 
Saddle-up and ride. 

Spurs left hanging, 
On a chair, 
Saddle, oiled, 
Over there, 
Sit and wait, 
With patient care, 
Saddle-up and ride. 

Slow and quiet, 
Horses walk, 
Softly nicker, 
Hear them talk, 
Endure and wait, 
But never mock, 
Saddle-up and ride. 

Cowboy spirits, 
In the night, 
A haunting dance, 
A lonesome sight, 
Sway and wait, 
For day’s first light, 
Saddle-up and ride. 

Saddle up and ride under stars and moonlight,
its the only thing that's left that's right,
Saddle up and ride.

Details | Cowboy | |

Things Ain't the Way They Used To Be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

On That Range We'll See No More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

The Last of the Last of the Cowboys

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Prospector at the Intersection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Grandpa's Shaving Mirror

On life’s sweet sage trail, there are many things we see:
Like grandfather’s ranch house where good times used to be.
There’s a ancient shaving mirror hung on a nail,
That he used to shave his face each day without fail.

You wonder as you gaze, what that mirror could tell—
Before time’s closing night darkened the light and fell.
Did he see an old man or what he used to be?
Or only wild roses when he was young and free?

Was he like us now, and remembered just the best?
Or did his scars go deeper to his final rest?
And as we look into that old shaving mirror—
Will we think on life’s doubts and then see them clearer?

For all the world’s a looking glass we stare into—
And what we see must please us before we are through.
Yes, I still have that mirror, but I seldom look—
In it I see gramps and he reads me like a book.

So now I hide it away like grandpa’s old spurs
And endure these modern times as this old world whirs.
Yet in darkest moments, I look into that glass
And know that like grandfathers – things we love must pass.

Details | Cowboy | |

Gabby Hayes Was Right

Gabby Hayes once said it best
Of an icon of the West:

“It’s Hoppy’s laugh I recall
As we rode on down the line—
Like water over a fall,
Makin’ the whole world just fine.”

Memories now ride the night,
Knowing Gabby Hayes was right.

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.

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 | |

The Ol' Hitchin' Rail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

All Alone

Walking up a sandy draw-
Out in the desert land...
An oddity is what I saw,
Have buried in the sand.

“Saddlebags!” is what I thought,
“Dried up, and nearly gone.”
I wondered how they came to be,
Here in the sage and stone.

I dug them up, but underneath,
I caught a glimpse of bone.
And realized that it was, here,
Some traveler died alone.

Rotted cloth, a rusted gun,
Among the grim remains.	
“He almost made it,” mocked the the wind,
“His payback for his pains.”

I peeled apart the rotten bags,
And in my search I found-
A journal wrapped in oilcloth,
And it was leather bound.
I opened it, began to turn,
The pages I did bend-
“Where to start?” I asked myself,
Then started toward the end.

“Phoenix, May, of eighty-one-
Charley Wade, and me-
And when we pick the Pima up,
Our total will be three.”

He wrote about the journey,
Southeast, toward Mexico...
He spoke of virgin silver...
Of which, the three did know.

Apaches did for Charley-
Not far from Kitchen’s Well.
Buried near a watershed,
They left him where he fell...

The Pima died of snakebite,
The man was left alone...
Yet still the silver beckoned,
The fortune lured him on.

“I broke my leg at sundown-
And now my horse has run.
If Apaches do not get me first,
I just might eat my gun!

“Thirsty!” was what he wrote next-
“Ah, God, the sun is hot!
And I keep seeing water-
In places that it’s not!

Buzzards keep a circling-
I guess my race is run...
A shame a Tennessean.
Has to die here ‘neath this sun!”

I left him as I found him,
Half buried by the sand-
And realized that men like him,
Had founded our great land.

The guts to saddle up and go,
Where no one else has gone,
And fortitude, if need be,
To die there all alone.

Details | Cowboy | |

Hold On To What You Got

You’re nineteen years old and fancy
That you’re fast as that Wild Bill—
You ride and shoot and go crazy—
Drink rye whiskey to your fill.

You bet that you’ll live forever
And never see a sick day,
Till some sense is knocked in your head 
That soon won’t go far away.

That buddy you said you’d kill for
Lays dead because he was shot—
And there was nothing you could do,
But hold on to what you got.

So you grow wrinkled and wiser
And think what you need is gold—
To buy your dreams and your lovers
As days and years make you old.

But the gold comes and then it’s gone
And only your kin stand by—
As you watch them die one by one
And all you can do is cry.

So you tighten up your cinches
And delight in God’s sad plot—
Then savor those you love the more
And hold on to what you got.

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 | |

The Songs of Campfires

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

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

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

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

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

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


Details | Cowboy | |

The Prairie In Your Head

Your horse is just a rockin’ chair
And now you feel half dead—
But you have your ol’ memories
Of the prairie in your head.

You drink your Joe by the furnace
And dream of those campfires—
Your saddle a well-worn cushion—
Your hip held in place by wires.

The brand you ride for’s a rest home—
They bring chuck on white trays—
You use a wood cane for walkin’
As your mind recalls those days.

Your gun’s just a TV remote—
It can bring you respect—
Your hat’s a sweaty baseball cap,
That the nurses disinfect.

You’ll wait for the foreman to come—
There won’t be much that’s said—
Then you’ll just go out a ridin’
On the prairie in your head.

Details | Cowboy | |


He wore a floppy, chewed-up hat
And he came to replace Chester,
Who limped off to a better deal
And then let sad feelings fester.

On Gunsmoke they called him Festus,
But his real name was Ken Curtis—
At first no one knew what to think,
Because Chester’s leaving hurt us.  

His talk was high and real scratchy
And he spoke with a mountain twang—
Of course it was just put on thick,
For we all knew that he once sang. 

Seemed like he needed a close shave,
His whiskers were mangy and wild—
He screwed up his face like Popeye—
It was hard to tell if he smiled.

It just seemed that he was cranky—
Most times had loud words with old Doc—
Out of fun they always quarreled—
Guess we thought that they’d never stop.

There was Marshal Dillon, Newly,
Sam the barkeep and Miss Kitty—
And those jingling spurs of Festus,
Long silent now – it’s such a pity. 

Doc, Kitty and Sam are gone, too,
And Gunsmoke is long off the air—
Didn’t know how good Festus was,
Till we looked around and he wasn’t there.

Details | Cowboy | |

Why Andy Was Devine

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Those Halcyon Hero Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Equine Knocks

Oak leather and loose latigo
Wash wind as saddles sing—
Splashing cool creeks the horses know—
Humming hoofs summers bring. 

Sun sparkles dappled trees ahead
As we now gallop on—
Our eyes are clear and faces red 
As we race to the pond.

We’re twelve years old and full of spunk
As my horse rears to buck—
Then I fall hard and go kerplunk 
And run clear out of luck!

Just as I hit upon my bun,
I think that I have died—
But then I see my luck’s not done—
That cow pie is all dried!

Oak leather and loose latigo
Takes us on that short ride—
With nothing broke or left aglow 
Except my own dern pride! 

Details | Cowboy | |

Such a Thing as a Cowboy

When there was such a thing as a cowboy
And the open range was still wild and free—
When there was such a thing as the Old West—
A man could be what he wanted to be.

When the far plains were ripe with the longhorns
And buffalo thundered the sage for miles—
When there were still railheads and Dodge City—
We raised our glasses to life with all smiles.

When the blue of western sky was endless
And prairies spread as far as you could see—
When there was such a thing as wild horses—
This was still the heart and land of the free.

When there was such a thing as a man’s word,
You could seal bargains with just a handshake—
A solemn vow was as good as pure gold—
The look in your eye was all it would take.

Yes, there is such a thing as a cowboy,
There is a part of him still in us all--
He was someone that we could look up to—
He’s why we ride in our saddles real tall.

And when there’s no such thing as a cowboy,
The whole world will be an emptier place—
But there IS such a thing as a cowboy—
God rides the sky with a cowpuncher’s face.

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!