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Cowboy Time Poems | Cowboy Poems About Time

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

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Details | Verse | |

The Winds of Time

One day I was passing time
And wrote these words upon the lines,
I know not where they came you see
The Winds of Time were there for me.

If I could open a door to the past
And there before me were the paths
I'm not quite sure which I would choose
But The Winds of Time would see me through.

The vastness there before God's Hand
Then came the heavens, the seas, the land
Eden, Noah and the Christ Child's birth
Is the path that I see first.

I'm not into Knights or dragon days,
Nor Robin Hood and his saving ways,
But give me a Viking as he crosses the seas
And I'll dream of the lands so wild and free.

The music of Irland calls to me,
Where Kathleen's heart has ever been,
And for Danny Boy the fifes do call
I'll shed my tears lest he should fall.

As Immigrants touched upon our shores
The Indians prepared to fight once more,
But fate stepped in and eased the sore
They'd live in peace forever more.

The  battles fought upon this land
To protect us from Tierney's hand,
The Civil War for Freedom's right
The Alamo where comrades died.

At Little Big Horn where our soldiers died,
As Indians defend their homes with pride,
The government later took a hand
And put them on Reservation land. 

I remember well, when I was quite young
The days of World War II
And how my father's life did change
When the family business he assumed.

Twenty-four seven was unheard of then,
But that was their working day,
They helped keep our nations trucks on the road
Their battlefield was here in the USA.

I'll choose the path with pastures green,
Horses, cattle and the cowboy scene,
This is the land of my mother's birth
The most precious land to me on earth.

I chose this land and took a stand,
Married a cowboy and we ranched the land.
Though now retired and family gone
This land will always be our home.

The Winds of Time, know well my soul
I'll rest at night with days of yore.
And as I wake a prayer I'll say
Please God, may we have Peace today?

                       Cile Beer

Details | Cowboy | |

All Hat and No Cattle

They hung around the beer joint with the finest Western wear
With thumbs tucked in their belt loops and such a studly air
But those boots weren't made for stirrups and were polished to a sheen
And on those fancy cowboy hats not a sweat stain could be seen

You could be sure they hadn't spent much time around a branding pot
For the only brands they recognized were ones on stuff they bought
And if they ever passed the time just musing 'bout their spread
I'd be the one around their middle or the one they put on bread

Just a bunch of blowhard braggarts in a cowboy masquerade
But they had the biggest pickup trucks that Detroit ever made
The beds were big and beautiful without a scratch or scuff inside
'Cause the only thing they hauled around was a horse's big backside

As they stood around outside the joint, in a smart-ass state of mind
In pulled an ancient pickup with an old horse trailer hitched behind
The truck an old green Chevy, year 'bout nineteen sixty-nine
With two high wooden sideboards and hay bales bound with twine

Out stepped a skinny hombre, with steel-blue eyes and bandy legs
But he had a rippling six-pack while all the boozers sported kegs
His cowboy hat was sweat-stained, high-heeled boots were dusty gray
He kicked off a chunk of cow pie, then he grabbed a bale of hay

He was mighty parched and dusty, but he wouldn't quench his thirst
'Cause you're not an honest cowboy unless you water horses first
The pack of fools gave out a hoot, yelled "Hey there, Texas Pete!
Get yourself a man-sized truck and take that geezer off the street!"

As he finished with the horses, up walked two ladies smokin' hot
The cowboy promptly doffed his hat, while the posers there did not
The cowboy got a long admiring look and the rounders just a sneer
As the sham was so apparent when a real cowboy was near

They flashed the dusty cowboy a big ol' smile 'bout ten miles wide 
Said "Honey, would a gent like you care to escort us gals inside?"
He winked, then gave the trucks a look and spat a stream of juice
Said, "Boys, y'all's might be bigger, but mine gets a sight more use."

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 | |

I'll Go a Ridin' No More

I’ll go a ridin’ no more through blue stem or chaparral,
Just lead my horse to pastures of green.
I’ll watch those rose ruby suns ease on past the ol’ corral—
Think back on the things I’ve done and seen.

Oh, you can’t go on a ridin’ for all your livelong days—
You’ve got to know when to settle down.
You’ll gently pet your ol’ horse as you put her out to graze
And soon life won’t seem so bad in town.

But when blue bonnets and the high plains send their callin’ card,
Your restless feet start to feel that itch.
Then it don’t matter if you’re stove-up or your butt is lard—
That feelin’ calls to the poor and rich.

Just once more I’ll go a ridin’ in the sorrel and sage—
Testin’ my ol’ horse for all it’s worth.
And I know that time cannot stop me, even at my age,
From ridin’ free of the reins of earth. 

Details | Free verse | |

Clever Insanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Borrowed time

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

Details | Quintain (English) | |

No Chapeau

One time in the past, I saw a picture of me.
I was a child; I wore a cowboy suit with cowboy hat.
I don’t remember this, but it was still part of history.
There was only, one other time, other than that.
This time I wore, baseball cap and helmet at bat,

I knew early on, my head would be bare eternally.
For my head was too big and also to flat,
Believe me whoever I asked, would definitely agree.
The thing I would use a hat for, would be to swat a gnat.
So I really have no favorite, definitely not, a Top Hat.

written for
Sponsor Carol Brown 
Contest Name My Favorite Hat or Bonnet 

Details | Cowboy | |

The Last Time You Rode the Range

It was a small forgotten town
With general store and a grange,
Where a small boy asked the old man:
“When’s the last time you rode the range?”

The old cowpoke just paused and grinned,
And puffed on his old briar pipe—
He thought kids these days didn’t care,
With minds all full of games and tripe.

But here was a boy that did care,
And that hung on his every word—
That wanted to be a cowboy—
Of that one fact, he was assured.

“Son, it was back in the ‘30s,
A long time fore your folks was born—
It was the last gasp of the West,
Fore towns made the range forlorn.

“A man could ride on forever
On a wide range that did not end—
Just a man, his horse and his God,
And the free wind that was his friend.

“Yes, a man knew who he was then—
About life there was no debate—
There was right and wrong and true love—
And when called he was never late.”

But Jess,” the boy asked once again,
“When’s the last time you rode the range?”
The man smiled, but held back a tear,
“When I got old and the world got strange.”

Details | Prose Poetry | |

There Ain't Nothin' Better Then A Cowboy Lover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She wanted him, to put her heart in his pocket

That was the night 
she gave her heart away

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Georgia I'm Coming Home

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |


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 | |

ABC's of Love

Don't get hurt in the summertime
love sure hurts in the summertime
love burns hot in the summertime
I'm tellin you!
Don't love much in the wintertime
love is tough in the wintertime
there's not much you can do with love
in the wintertime.
Spring is a bad time to love someone
before you know it they're up and gone
Autumn is no time 
to fall in love.
Don't fall in love in the Fall
that's all.
Love sucks.

Details | Cowboy | |

Moccasin Moon

It slides softly in the night sky,
That pale moccasin of the moon—
It lights up a snow-bleached prairie—
Whispering summer comes too soon.

We trace the trail of coyotes—
Avoid the dark dens of the bear—
The full light of your white footprint
Lures us now to your fatal lair.

Oh, we chant into the black dome
Of all the things that used to be—
There’s no more Indian summer—
Long gone are Cree and Cherokee.

Yet, still the silky stealthy tread
Brings back images bright and keen—
Of lost Native Americans
Where so few are now seldom seen.

But moons do not let us forget
All the wild blood shed on both sides—
As we trace steps of moccasins
To where the dark of the moon hides.

Yes, it walks gently in tall sky,
That faint moccasin of new moon—
So gently it illuminates
As we dance mutely to its tune.

Details | Cowboy | |


By day you work the fence, you’re out stretching the wire. By night you read of Grace and stare into the fire. Come morning you fix a breakfast to last you all day. Come evening your supper is a better reward than pay. Come morning you eat a breakfast fit for a king. Come evening you’re so hungry you’ll eat ‘bout anything. Coffee warns of eggs and biscuits and such. Supper comes along usually ‘bout dusk. Tending a herd on the wide open plains. Gives a body time to think of all sorta thangs. Thangs like how great a country we live in today. Here in America, the good ‘ole U. S. of A. A country so vast, with big cities on each side. But here in the wide-open middle is where I reside. A country founded on God, they sat sail for where ever the wind leads. Strange how we all seek the same God, how some get off in the weeds. No one knows freedom better than the American Cowboy. Freedom’s nothing to sneeze at and it certainly ain’t no toy. Some folks don’t like our freedom and man, with out a clue. Stole some planes and right into our life they flew. Last week these guys tried to take our freedom away. Hurt some folks in the most barbaric way. On the prairie they’re snakes and all kinds of varmints. But nothing as mean as these guys that came here to harm us. If critters are out and pose some kind of threat. Yank a hog-leg, fire a round, you’re good to go I’ll bet. Hear me Lord as I stare into the fire and say. Rid their minds of this evil thinkin’ is what I pray. We can’t reason why things like that happen. You’re the only one that knows Lord, I reacon. Our leaders have shown Your Spirit as their witness. Our countrymen have followed suit, just as You’ve convicted us. I’m thankful all I do is stretch fence and rope in an occasional stray. Than to have to do what Bush has had to do the past few days. Lord; be with us, guide our leaders with what they “Have” to do. Thanks for uniting our country, You’re faith we must prove. By the fire I read where we’re here today and gone tomorrow. Life’s short, live it to the fullest, ain’t no time for sorrow. Come morning breakfast has been better here of late. Come evening supper has been especially great. Seems we have an awful lot to appreciate. Since the time of the attack, to date. Lord; guide the boys, give them wisdom with what they do and say. This ‘ole cowboy is fightin’ the war on my knees as I pray. By Jim "Ish" Fellers Copyright ©: September 18, 2001 ~ Tuesday

Details | Cowboy | |

Concrete Cowboy

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Border's End

I did not drive the roan that day,
Just saddled up my old dark bay,
To check out fences far afield
And breathe in life with all its yield.

Near border’s end I came upon
A fresh, dead cow down by the pond.
I wondered why it had died here
With water and spring grass so near.

I spurred my horse and reined away
But something said that I should stay—
I creaked down from my saddle’s reach
And saw the cow had died in breech.

I knew they should be buried soon,
By light of day or dark of moon. 
I left them there, that calf and cow
And rode back home in thought somehow.

I had forgot that scene of death
Till summer quickly took my breath
And once again I passed that shell
Of twisted skin and faded smell.

The worms had done their work it seems 
On frenzied flesh and faltered dreams.
Yet, still I stared like at a grave—
Thought how we took but seldom gave.

Then autumn came and tinted trees
With colors each low creature sees.
So on my horse I sought them out,
To answer what this life’s about.  

A mute Madonna—sticks of bone,
Still nestled there so all alone.
We live and die, the season’s dawn,
We’re all breech born before we’re gone.

In winter’s wind the world turns cold
As cow and calf and man grow old.
Yet, now there’s no sinew or hide 
To hint of life or what’s inside.

Death’s passion passed and so did I
To pay respects and say goodbye.
For man and beast all die as kin—
I will not ride this trail again.


Details | Cowboy | |

Forgotten Cowboy of the Sandhills

The Spade Ranch had the beef issue
For the Indians at Pine Ridge
And each time that he's take the herd
Mollie'd go along with Sid.

The Spade had been good to them
By now they numbered four,
The time had come for them to find
A ranch that was their own.

They took a homestead east of Gordon,
At last they had their chance.
And when Sid's brother joined them it became
The Irwin Brothers Ranch.

They later leased the Ross Ranch
And here was born child three,
A sickly little daughter
So delicate, so wee.

To complete their preemption
A homestead they did seek.
Southeast of Gordon near Lavaca,
Down by the Ol' Pole Creek.

Here a daughter and a son
Were added to their life,
Then fire struck and they were left
With hearts full of Strife.

For years they wandered here and there
Seeking out each lead
A hope or promise was all they asked
For their ailing daughters need.

Though the years were fruitless
And no cure was found
Their last child was born to them
A daugher in health abound.

Time took it's toil a short seventeen
Their daughter would laugh no more,
So many years they searched in vain,
And now their hearts were sore.

The long years over, at last they came home
To the hills so sandy and green
On a ranch south of Cody, down by the Niobrara,
So sparkling fresh and clean.

Sid first lost a son,
Then two weeks later his own Mollie too,
With two such blows he hung up his spurs
His cowboy days were through.

His life wasn't easy thought it was long
He died at age ninety-three
In the same sandy hills that a lad of fourteen
Once said, "You'll be home to me."

                                         Cile Beer

This poem first appeared in the Centennial Edition of the 
Nebraska Cattleman Magazine.

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 | Couplet | |

Girls Night Out

It's the girls night out
 at the local country bar.
This time we'll have to try
 not to go too far.

We'll have no more 
than seven shooters each,
And no more standing on the table 
giving a slightly slurred speech.

On with our cowboy boots 
and skirts a bit too short
To entice a dance partner,
 a cowboy is a good sport.

We'll try and talk the band 
into playing our favourite tune
And sing along like coyotes 
howling at the moon.

We'll dance a few, and sing a few, 
then maybe a few more.
We won't start a fight like Friday night 
and get escorted to the door.

It's all in fun, we're just kids at heart, 
going out to play.
It's time to unwind and let down our hair,
 after all we've worked all day.

There's karaoke and two-stepping 
and flirting with the guys
And telling stories, some of them true,
 most of them little white lies.

We don't do this nearly enough,
 at least that's what we think.
So here's to us, the local cowgirls, 
now would someone buy us a drink.

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 | |



What’s so good about saying “goodbye”?
Me thinks one should say “good cry”
Because tears flow when ONE HAS  to go
And the only good thing about tears is they can make flowers grow

Simply stand near to your garden’s wall
The daisies, daffodils lilies and all
Let your tears water the arid earth
Since that’s about all saying “goodbye” is worth

I’ve heard those words too many times before
And said them twice that many times as I walked out the door
Never to see a part of MY life ever again
Only the light and the darkness of remembering when

Recalling the first time you saw someone’s eyes
Reciting the words you spoke, both winsome and wise
The first time you tasted the sweetened lips of a lover
And felt as if you were a hummingbird born to hover

So I ask once again about the word “goodbye”
As one sits alone on a divan and waits for their eyes to dry
Trying earnestly to forget the days of merriment and mirth
So tell me, what is the word “goodbye” really worth?
   © 2011.….Phreepoetree  ~free cee!~  

Details | Cowboy | |

Rhyme of the Ancient Rodeo Rider

Travel trailers, trophy buckles
And Blue Ribbon bottles,
Litter my ol’ lonely landscape
Of rodeo battles.

I lost a few and won a few
And traveled down the road—
I lived for that 8-second ride—
Thought town jobs were a load.

I cowboyed up and cowboyed down—
Touched too many a heart—
I never realized all those dreams—
Greet folks at the WalMart.

Trailers, trophies and stale warm beer—
Rodeo don’t seem real—
They’re all just empty as my life—
Now I know how cows feel. 

Details | Cowboy | |

The Cowpokes Song

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

The Fourth of July Hat


We used to celebrate July the Fourth when the kids were young—
Till they grew up and moved away and life became far-flung.

Yes, once we toasted freedom’s day and shot off big fireworks—
Now I sit here in this dark bar surrounded by some jerks.

We used to ride our horses on this Independence Day,
We barbecued and downed a few and for our nation prayed.

Then the show of fountains, Roman candles and Black Cat—
Till judges and town laws ruled: “You aren’t allowed to do that!”

Slowly the country lost its way and now it seems insane—
Shredding our constitution with rights of eminent domain.

Now Addie’s gone and I’m alone to tend to this old spread,
Till slickers come and crowd me off and I’m just left for dead.

Now holidays don’t mean too much and good times just don’t last,
I wonder if folks understand sacrifices of our past?

So on this Fourth I watch fireworks upon a bar room screen,
My wrinkled skin like leather now, but oh, what I have seen…

They’re playing our nation’s anthem and I’m sure liking that,
When some young tough rudely yells: “Cowboy, I can’t see through your hat!”

But I feel a bit stubborn and cling to what I have left
And sit there till he says, “Old man, are you a little deaf?”

Slowly, I take that hat off, and feel for something inside—
Then put on an old folded army cap with deep love and pride. 

Then as the last fireworks fade, and loud rockets burst and whir—
That young man shakes my hand and says, “Happy Fourth of July, sir.” 

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 | Narrative | |

A Blessing In The Heat (Part 2)

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Life is a Rodeo!

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Dark Days

                               As I walk from the dark days of my life..
                      I leave a pass behind in my life...Days of partying
                      and drinking and doing drugs...And chasing women....
                      are gone..And being angry at the world is gone.....
                       I guess being a rebel comes age+wisdom...
                       and a time to slow down and having a family is more
                        important ..The days of hell raising are gone and
                        lighted days are here..time and memories are that's
                        all that is left....The dark days are gone...Man it is hard
                           getting old.............................

Details | I do not know? | |

Good News And Bad News

An old cowboy went in for his annual medical examination
He was polite, plain spoken, sometimes he would growl
Did not like doctor, hospitals, pretty nurses were alright
He tried to be nice, was not looking for a confrontation
All the doctors that knew him, expected something foul
Most of the time they were right

The doctor he had that day, was just the opposite
Did not have time for nonsense and someone with an attitude
Salty, with answers in sort of the same way
"Doc, I came in here today to see if I am going to kick the bucket"
The doctor grizzled, "Do you always have to be so crude"
"Well now, it all depends on what you have to say"

"No need in checking my vitals, I am still breathing"
"Just sit down and shut up"
"My old ticker is ticking, can't afford any cholesterol"
"Well according to these chart, don't stop praying"
"Done run out of Poly Grip, my old teeth are in a cup"
"Now please , look at the eye chart on the wall"

The old cowboy covered one eye, "Well By God, I can still see the Big E"
"Well that is good, utterly amazing"
"Kind of worried about my blood pressure, might be up a point or two"
"You making all those funny faces, what do you see"
"Getting kind of quiet, what are you calculating"
"Are you fixing to tell me I am about through"

Then the doctor said,  "Well I have got good news and bad news"
"The bad news is not all that bad, the good news is not all that great""
"But just wanted to make it all clear"
"Some you win and some you lose"
"But, I don't think that you will have to sit around and wait"
"If you are still alive, come back and see me next year"

Details | Cowboy | |

Old As Dirt

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Deadwood Hill

(At Wild Bill Hickok’s Grave)

Those bold Black Hills of South Dakota,
Darkly murmur of all your Badlands—
You have left now like the Lakota—
On that hillside your monument stands.

Hills pulse under Ponderosa pines—
Strong night breezes have yet much to say—
Legends linger on lips and pale shrines—
They know that Wild Bill once passed this way.

You sleep long in this last resting place,
That now overlooks sinful Deadwood—
It is here that we still see your face,
Yet ponder if you were bad or good.

They moved your petrified form it’s said—
Casket opened, though some thought it wrong—
Your dark face yet perfect, though long dead—
Your fair hair still so flaxen and long.  

Jane Cannary lays mute beside you—
A calamity that is no more—
As you study those cards in the blue—
Play that dead man’s hand from a far shore.

Saffron leaves and stern winds shape your grave—
And your name’s one that we all know still—
As you raise dark death’s ante and save,
One last red ace to trump Deadwood hill.

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 | |

Dear Charlie

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

It Used To Be An Open Range

In these dark days of war and death, in these days of turmoil and change—
In these days of political correctness, it sure does seem strange,
How once we did what we wanted – it used to be an open range.

I know now how it must have felt when they strung the range with barbed wire—
An era ended on those plains; the land and men put up for hire—
A way of life and freedom gone – a hard rain that put out the fire.

And nowadays in word and rhyme, it seems poets are all fenced in—
To write of history and yesterday, just seem to be a sin—
They only want these modern ranching times and not those way back when.

We know the world has changed a lot and all our freedoms have a cost—
It seems liberties’ now another word that comes each year with frost,
As mournfully we gaze on sunsets and dream back on all we’ve lost.

So hoist another cup of Joe and raise your drink for one last toast—
Like phantom bison and wild horses, our free ways give up the ghost
And sadly we lean back in saddles and lose the thing we love most. 

In these dark days of war and death, in these days of turmoil and change—
In these days of political correctness, it sure does seem strange,
How once we did what we wanted – it used to be an open range.

Details | Cowboy | |

Some Place That Used to Be

It’s some place that used to be
Where all things would fall twixt—
A beat, battered, broken shell
Off old Route 66.

He rode a Silverado
That was a dusty gold,
His clothes were worn and ragged—
Their style was odd and old.

They watched him as he walked in
To Wally’s Waffle Place—
With silver spurs that jingled,
A hat that hid his face.

He strolled up to the counter
And placed two gold coins there—
“I’ll take a big heap,” he said,
“Of yer fine dinin’ fare.”

Well, he sat down on a stool—
Pulled makin’s from his vest—
“No smokin’!” growled the waitress,
“This here ain’t the Old West!”

Well, the stranger tipped back what
Looked like a cowboy hat
And then slowly rolled his smoke
And grinned just like a cat.

“I don’t mean no disrespect,
But this here’s open range—
Though I must of wandered off,
‘Cause you folks sure is strange.

“See, I had to leave my hawse
When he done pulled up lame—
Then found that hawseless carriage—
Got me here all the same.”

It’s some place that used to be
Where all things would fall twixt—
A beat, battered, broken shell
Off old Route 66.

“Seems some things has changed ‘round here—
They caught the James Gang, yet?
And how ‘bout Wild Bill Hickok?
He’s still real fast, I bet!

“And what ya hear of Custer
And all of his good friends?
Heard he’s clearin’ our country
Of all the Indians!

“Reckon I’m out of touch some—
Been ridin’ ‘round so long—
It feels like forever
And that now I don’t belong.”

The waitress stared – told the cook
To dial up 911—
She knew something was not right
With this old cowboy son.

“Now, we don’t want no trouble,”
She stated in soft words—
“But all I want is my grub,
‘Fore I rides to the herd.”

“Say, mister – you all right?” that
Waitress asked all concerned,
But then she saw his six gun—
“Well, now I’ll be goll-derned!”

Then that cowboy disappeared—
The Silverado gone—
With tire tracks toward the desert,
Lost in the purple dawn.

And so all the legends go—
But these are just the facts:
They say they found that old truck,
Then just a horse’s tracks.

So when you go to Wally’s—
If that’s what you must do—
You’ll find a deserted shack
Closed in 1992.

It’s some place that used to be
Where all things would fall twixt—
A beat, battered, broken shell
Off old Route 66.


Details | Cowboy | |

The Return of Dan McGrew

Some of the local thugs were tipping their mugs in the Malamute Saloon;
The music box sat still, as the keep slammed the till and wolves howled at the moon.
Then there appeared, right back of the bar, an apparition that no one knew;
Down in the dumps, that once Queen of the Trumps, sat the lady known as Lou.

It had been thirty years to the day it appears, that the famed shooting took place,
As Lou saw the scar on the man by the bar, she slowly recognized his face;
She quickly clutched at her throat for he had gotten her goat as she turned blue;
Because for all the world, playing a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew.
The now old man that plays the music box was starting a sad waltz song,
When in drifted a miner cold from the creeks that had prospected much too long.

Though most of the gold had long left the fold, a miner’s dust still had some joys,
He relished his women, booze and smokes, and bought drinks all around for the boys.
His eyes were the eyes of a man half-dead – a man that the world’s forgotten;
And Lou did think she’d seen him before, but lately her memory was rotten.
He toasted her health and counted his wealth, then drank long with that sodden crew;
And we wished him good cheer, then hoisted our beer to Dangerous Dan McGrew.


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 | |

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 Old Night Herder's Dance

(2nd part continued)

Then late one night before coosie did howl,
I woke up and took me a walk by chance,
Down by the sleepin’ cow herd and ol’ Rowel 
When I heard his soft song and watched his dance.

He was just waltzin’ alone off his mount,
Like some ballroom dancer that was plum mad—
Kept twirlin’ around more than I could count—
It was all sort of comical yet sad.

I crept away thinkin’ then I’d done wrong
And climbed back in my bedroll on the range—
But I could still hear that night hawker’s song
And in my mind that lonely dance seemed strange.

Summers last forever for a young buck,
Yet somehow for me this one seemed too short—
But I knew my fate had changed with my luck
And that old chaff blew away in the sort.

Then one day Rowel packed gear in a hurry—
And I knew I’d heard his last herder’s song—
Said he was headin’ home to Missouri—
That he’d been at the ol’ dance much too long.

Then Rowel said something I still remember
About livin’ out your life as you age:
He said savor sunsets in September,
Because life’s a short sashay on the sage.

So now night herds are silently sleepin’—
And for years I’ve been here where I belong—
The night herder’s song is in my keepin’
And I sing it as I dance to the song. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Grass and Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

One Old Cowpoke Went Riding

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

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

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

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

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

Details | 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 | Couplet | |

Autumn Cowboy

The cowboy in cascading leaves has lingered much too long,
As he sings amid red and gold, summer’s last dying song.
The sky is clear and blue this day, but change is in the air—
Far mountains shine with crisp, white caps and blow cold wind through hair.

He softly spurs dreams into a stampede of falling leaves—
Wishing that the best of worlds would bring bad men to their knees. 
He turns his horse to the north and heads for that old line shack—
Hoping that the larder’s full and come spring he’ll be riding back. 

He trails sweet salmon sunset as brass leaves rustle the breeze—
Far sky melts to shining white as snow is held back by trees.
He knows hard winter’s coming, its cold silver slides in fast—
For a time he savors summer, knowing good things don’t last.

The cowboy in cascading leaves has lingered much too long,
As he sings amid red and gold, summer’s last dying song. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Mighty Fine Spurs

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear,”
My ol’ grand pap used to day.
When I came up shy when braidin’ hair
From my ol’ dun horse or bay.

It was just his way of tellin’ me
That I come up a bit short,
In some endeavor I could not see
And did not care for a snort!

I did not quite know what grand pap meant
‘Bout those spurs I did not have—
I thought it just some talkin’ ill spent
To heal my young wounds like salve.

But on that sad day my grand pap died,
I knew the truth of his words—
He gave me those silver spurs and cried
As I heard the sound of birds.

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear,”
My grand pap said on that day,
“So wear them proudly and do not care
What some fool folks just might say.”

And though those spurs are ol’ and tarnished,
I wear them with all my pride—
‘Cause grand pap told the truth unvarnished
On the final day he died.

“Ya got some mighty fine spurs to wear”—
Those words stick now in their way—
“I got some mighty fine spurs to wear”—
My son will wear them some day. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Ridin' That Ol' Chuck Line

Seems this winter is a long one,
But things will work out fine,
As I trail on from ranch to ranch—
Ridin’ that ol’ chuck line.

Been unemployed since fall shippin’,
But that’s a cowboy’s life—
Line camp’s too confinin’,
Just like a nosey wife.

What money I earned from trail drives
Was spent on gals and cards—
So now I ride this ol’ chuck line
Or borrow from my pards.

Each ranch has its grub to offer,
Though we have not a thing—
We’ll take those beans, stew and biscuits
And jobs that come with spring.

Yet while each winter’s a hard one,
Ol’ cowboys do not whine—
We just keep our horses movin’—
Ridin’ that ol’ chuck line.

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 | |

A Devotional Toast

May you keep your spurs a jinglin’—
May you cross the flooded ford—
May you ride the range forever
Next the horse that seats our Lord.

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 | |

The Old Night Herder's Dance

The Old Night Herder’s Dance

I still remember it like yesterday
And see it in my mind from one brief glance—
I can hear the soft song still drift my way—
See again that hauntin’ night herder’s dance.

I rode in to hire on at the Bar-T—
Said they was all full up, but though,
If I wanted to tag on they’d look see—
Said that the ol’ night guard they’d soon let go.

They said that ol’ Rowel had turned peculiar,
But he’d once been the best of the cowmen—
That the story was one too familiar—
It was sad but just the way of things then. 

So I rode that trail expectin’ no pay—
Still had me a stake from my folks back home—
Thought I could make ‘em a hand any day
And this was good as any place to roam.

Seems that Rowel was a frail little old man,
Him and Shorty both took turns at night hawk—
Sometimes I wondered how they could plum stand
Night tendin’ all that loud bellerin’ flock.

One day I sat down and done asked ol’ Rowel
If that there really was his Christian name—
Said no, weren’t sure how he got it no how—
But it was better than Ralph all the same.

And I asked Rowel if he’d do it over,
Would he still follow the night herder’s ways?
And he smiled, but he looked at me sober—
As he talked and remembered the old days.

He said you know that you’re on your last legs,
When they put you out on that ol’ night guard—
But he’d lived life full and drank down them dregs
As all his young years rode by fast and hard.

They say days go quick when they’re passin’ good—
But sometimes it’s just more than you can stand.
Yet I had to finish I understood
And do all that it took to make a hand.


Details | Cowboy | |

Riding Down the Decline

The plains have their moments of wild beauty
As you ride with morning wind in your hair---
The sage and wide open spaces thrill you
As you ride free on that celestial stair.

But the hill country is another thing,
Although you and your horse start out just fine—
You both have to carefully watch your step
As you ride down that steady old decline.

At first, you don’t really notice a change—
A misstep or a small ache in your back—
Then you sense you can’t do things you once did
And to your thinking there’s a certain lack.

Oh, you can still out ride all those young dudes
And you’re still relied on in a real pinch—
But your step’s a little slower these days
And you give slack when once you gave no inch.

Gone are the days of those endless trail rides—
Your tail bone ain’t the rock it used to be—
You’d rather be riding soft rocking chairs,
Than on the range where it’s rough and still free.

So you slow up your horse on that ride down
And look ahead to the clouds and sunshine—
As you steady your reigns and your old horse
And slowly ease down that long last decline.  

Details | Cowboy | |

Old As Dirt

You know that you’re old as dirt
When ever thang done hurt—
And you trades a cane for quirt
‘Cause you’s too old to flirt.

And when you have to trim hairs
From your nose and your ears—
You done knowed those creepin’ years
Has justified your fears!

It ain’t that you’s gittin’ old
Or Father Time is bold
Or that last crow has done crowed,
It’s jest sittin’ till ya mold!

Old sport, jest what’s the matter?
You ain’t no mad hatter—
You ain’t old, that’s jest blather—
You is jest gittin’ better!

But if time comes a knockin’,
Don’t let it be shockin’—
Don’t with yer tack go hockin’,
You’s jest rollin’, not rockin’!

So when you lose all yer friends
And seems life never ends—
You’ll know ya ain’t on the mends
When ya end up in Depends!   

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 | |

Gone to the Mountains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

The Last Cowboy

Silent sage and chaparral
Gather ‘round the old corral,
Like the cowhands way back then
When the Old West did begin.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

He’ll soon sell his saddle, too—
Thinkin’ now that he’s all through,
But he lingers ‘round the gate
Still uncertain of his fate.

Though no wages does he draw,
He still works for grub and chaw
And still by the fire at night
He tells stories of his plight.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

Yet, still he comes ‘round the spread
Like a phantom of the dead—
We let him stay in the bunk
To spin windies and get drunk.

But his days now dwindle fast,
Still sad those times did not last—
But that cowboy never dies
In our songs and words and lies.

Too soon gone are all the days
Of the cowboy and his ways—
He’ll be herdin’ now no more
Like he did in times before.

Silent sage and chaparral
Gather ‘round the old corral,
Like the cowhands way back then
When the Old West did begin. 

Details | Cowboy | |

Rodeo Roy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

The Old Man Rode Forth

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

The Music of Memories

A gray and black life sketch – small man in overalls—
Somber as his guitar, lifted high all those times—
Playing Ozark tunes with those wild figure-eight squalls—
Glasses glint raw reason as that happiness chimes.

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers—
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives—
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters—
The music of memories that molded our lives.

Music rests in remembrance and lingers on winds—
It wasn’t merely one – it was many guitars—
Whispering that bright music like long scattered friends—
Quilting its melodies in our lives and the stars.  

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers—
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives—
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters—
The music of memories that molded our lives.

Reunions bring photographs with smudges and frays:
Dad and his first cousin in that photo still clear—
They strummed and they fiddled all those songs of past days—
As we cherished our friends and held family near. 

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers—
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives—
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters—
The music of memories that molded our lives.

Details | Cowboy | |

Ain't It All Just One Long Ol' Ride?

Me and Ben were fresh-scrubbed farm boys
Come to Wyoming fer the thrill,
We had twenty dollars twixt us,
But knew we’d climb the highest hill.

Then Ben got suckered in card games
And I spent the rest on bar gals—
We was down and out in Cheyenne,
Then started hangin’ at corrals.

Jest ‘bout the time I sold my horse
And almost called this a bad joke,
A tall, dark trail boss then offered
Me and Ben jobs as new cowpokes.

Sam Nightshade showed us some respect,
He didn’t want to hurt our pride—
He knew we wren’t cowboys and said,
“Ain’t it all just one long ol’ ride?”

Then he took the time to train us
And ‘fore long we were ridin’ herd,
And we would have both killed or stole
If Sam had only said the word.

Well, the years stampeded by fast—
We knew Sam was on his last legs,
Then he told Ben ta be the boss
And live life to its final dregs.

And as Sam put his horse in a trot,
His body went limp and he died,
But we caught him ‘fore he hit ground,
“Ain’t it all just one long ol’ ride?”

Though sad, I was soon resentful
‘Bout Ben bein’ the new trail boss—
Wasn’t Sam eatin’ me inside,
Reckon it was the double-cross.

Never said a word ‘bout it for years
But it gnawed a hole deep in me—
And I oiled up my .44
And practiced on an ol’ ash tree.

Then one night alone on the trail,
I found Ben where he could not hide
And shot him once clean through the head,
“Ain’t it all just one long ol’ ride?”

Details | Cowboy | |

$weet Violent

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

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

Heck, I Ain't No Cowboy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | 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 | Narrative | |

Old Cowboy


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

Details | Cowboy | |

Spring Part 2

	Since the spring saw us calving out fifty or more first time heifers it 
was a lot more important to have help from a night herder.  Well I fit that bill.  Billy 
had all the daily work and to give him a nights sleep (except for emergencies) I 
became Dr. # two.  Since I wasn’t very busy, we only had four young ones,  I didn’t 
need to worry about missing any sleep, I could make it up during the daytime 
when I wasn’t busy.  Did I mention our four little ones? During these years I can 
only remember one time I had to wake him for assistance.
	The fall was less hectic because the feeding had not begun.  There 
were years Billy helped the neighbors with harvest chores and it was up to me to 
watch the springers.  I had graduated to taxi driver by then, for our school kids, so 
stepping in during times when Billy was off working for the neighbors wasn’t any 
problem.  This one year I was on duty again.  I had made the rounds about five-
thirty and was busy finishing meal preparations when Billy got home.  I asked if 
he had checked the cows.  He said he had.  I asked  if number thirty-nine had her 
calf yet. “ She’s not ready yet,” was his reply.   “Yes she is,” I insisted.  “No she 
isn’t.  What makes you think she is ready?” he asked.  “You can just tell by 
looking at her,” I came back.  “Number seventy-two is closer than thirty-nine,” he 
stated.  “I don’t know what you are seeing,” he grumbled as he drank his 
tea.  “You can tell just by the look in her eye.  She’s ready to have her calf.  It‘s 
clear to see you never had a baby.”  “Mom I thought you knew by now, you are 
looking at the wrong end,” he said as I set supper on the table and the kids came 
from all directions.  “She looked at me the same way I looked at all the nurses 
and Dr. when I was waiting for ours to be born.  Get this thing out of here!”

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 | |

The Day Old Queenie Died

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |


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 | |

The Charlie Russell Range

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

When Wind Waltzes Through the Wheat

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

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

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

Details | Cowboy | |

Searchin' For the Elephant

He was a roustabout ranahan always movin’ on,
Ridin’ over that next hill for dreams to rely upon.
No one tried to stop him – didn’t know the meaning of can’t,
The boys knew he was restless – searchin’ for the elephant.

He could have been the ranch’s top hand or a fine range boss,
But there were too many rivers and tall mountains to cross.
He’d be fine a few weeks, then you’d see far sky in his eyes,
As he longed for blue horizons, green range and red sunrise.

Then when he got some older, his ramblin’s slowed down a bit,
They’d see him more on the high point where he’s stare and sit.
Soon he married and settled down on a government grant—
Till one day he just vanished – searchin’ for the elephant.

Details | Cowboy | |

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 | |

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!