Hard Life, Well Spent

Written by: Lena Pate

Cowboys herdin’ cattle cross dusty trails
Sandy hooves paint ground fog in their wake
Shuffling along swattin’ flies off molty hides
Riders amble aside keeping eye on their stake

Chuck wagon camps, setting up by a creek
Beans and pan bread cookin’ over hot stones
Coffee’s meandering aroma penetrates the air
Greeting men carrying saddles over tired bones

Ranch hands scout the waters nearby
Look to the sky to judge the night
Storms a comin’ as night encroaches
Coyotes restless, cries rent last light

Cattle dogs alert to changes
Nip the heels of stragglin’ calves
Cowhand slaps his rope while coaxing
Blistered hands and lips in need of salves

Cowhands sing to calm their charges
Bedrolls gathered near the fire
Dreaming of a trail once taken
And of their loves as they retire