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Best Poems Written by Jeff Hildebrandt

Below are the all-time best Jeff Hildebrandt poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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Haiku - L - Water

Keep a lookin' Dan
there is water in this land
and you need a bath.

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005



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The Fence Mender

Fresh Snow…
Undisturbed…
except by the horse tracks behind him
and the sagebrush, 
like polka dots on a bed sheet,
stretching to the mountains ahead.

He’s alone but far from lonely
as he rides up through the snow
along a sagging fence line
with the valley down below.
Pausing where the wire is down
this old fence mender looks around
to see if he can find a clue
of just what critter busted through.

But fresh snow…
Undisturbed
covers any sort of sign
except those horse tracks back behind.

So he picks up the wire
nails it back in its place
under gray skies that cover
this wide open space.
Then the clouds     split       apart
by shafts from the sun
as if they’re God’s spotlight
on a job that’s well done.

Shadows shorten.
Boot and horse tracks
melt together as one
and tight wire is all that’s left behind.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2004

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005

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The Crossing

Cresting the rise, a glare in his eyes.
Squinting as sharp shards of sun
reflect off the river.
His gloved hand instinctively shadows his face.

Dust in the wind, talcum powder thin
coating, caressing, coloring
grass, leaves, cowboys and cattle
all shades of sepia and cocoa brown.

The river is low, the current slow.
A turtle shell mound of mud, mid-stream,
rutted by thousands of hooves.
Punchers pause, stirrup deep,
the Cimarron soaking up through their souls.

Memories flood without warning
just like this river,
Swollen and swift, it sends cattle
crashing, thrashing, slashing.
The kid, that’s all anyone knew him as, just “The Kid”,
hung up under his longhorn-punctured pony,
was buried amidst those sycamores.
He never did see the Kansas plains.

Shifting in his saddle, blinking away the vision,
the rider’s breath catches in his chest.
A daydream?  Mirage?
Or shadows of the past, lingering,
where once they crossed the Cimarron on the Chisholm Trail?

Mopping the dust from his forehead, he rides on,
leaving the past to itself.

Jeff Hildebrandt  © 2005

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005

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The Last Day

In days when life and times were hard, a man would make his way
by carving out the wilderness for a place where he could stay.
Floyd Henry Hill was such a man who worked hard all his life
and never really had the time to find himself a wife. 
But he had land for farming grain and land where cattle roam.
He built himself a high tech barn and a big two-story home.
He bought a fancy pick up truck, a silver inlaid saddle,
and had a pool installed out back where friends could float and paddle.
From the first gold rays of morning to the setting of the sun
he¡¦d tour his ranch and look with pride at all that he had done.
But this rancher had a problem, caused by way too much success.
He was running out of storage space and suffering lots of stress.
He told his friends he¡¦d build a barn, like none they¡¦d ever known.
It would cover several acres, have a zip code all it¡¦s own.
And no matter what the weather, inside his grand construction
the climate would be perfect for the optimum production.
Why he would be the envy of folks around the nation
who¡¦d marvel at his mastery of ranching innovation.
But the one thing he did not expect on his ground breaking day
was the very thing that happened.  Floyd Henry passed away.
And all the wealth he worked for went to Uncle Sam no doubt
cause you can not take it with you when at last your string¡¦s run out
So what good did it do him, all that greed and search for wealth?
He should have done for others and not solely for himself.
See, the one truth he¡¦d forgotten, is you don¡¦t leave here alive
But, if your treasure is in heaven, it¡¦s there when you arrive.

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005

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Nadacowboy

I am not a cowboy, though I wear a cowboy hat
and the boots I wear have pointed toes and heels that ain’t near flat.
I want to be a cowboy, but I’m stopped by one condition
I just can’t get a handle on those cowboy definitions.

When you say Chaps, I think cologne, and that’s not all, there’s more
a Quarter Horse is what kids ride outside the K-Mart store
A Bull is the just first part of an expletive deleted
and Pony’s just a little keg of beer, too soon depleted.
I’m not sure what a Cayuse is, but, it’s my recollection
that the Spurs play basketball and Red Eye’s an infection.

No, I am not a cowboy, and I guess that’s clear to you
but, I read books by Cowboy Poets to find out what to do.
How I should walk, how I should talk, and even how to spit.
When to drink and when to eat and when to take a sit-
down with some pardners, play some cards and chew the fat 
about the Dallas Cowboys and topics such as that.

A fella told me “get a horse”, that’s the thing that I should do.
So, I got a little pinto, but the body rusted through.
I used to have Colt 45’s.I’d drink some every day
now, the Saddlebags it gave me just won’t go away.
Round up kills weeds, I know because I use it now and then.
When you say stirrups, all I think is O-B-G-Y-N.

Yeah, I want to be a cowboy, wearin’ jeans and denim shirts
and dance that Texas Two Step till my old doggies hurt.
I’ll eat my Texas Chili hot, washed down with Lone Star Beer.
I’ll vacation at a Dude Ranch and maybe milk myself a steer.
No, I am not a cowboy, but I think that I could be
once I get a handle on the terminology.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005



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New-Age Disappointment

Long blond hair, black Western hat,
tight leather pants.  No ounce of fat.
High heeled boots, concho belt,
imagine how he must have felt
when she just stopped and looked around
then asked if she could please sit down.
He tipped his hat and said, “you bet”.
She smiled and said “We haven’t met.  
Hello, my name is Bambi,
I’m a new-age kind of gal
who’s looking for a partner,
a buddy and a pal.”
Then she commenced to bare her soul.

He was picturing something else!

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2004

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005

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Snow Day

If I knew how to paint 
I think I’d know how a painter feels in front of an empty canvass.
Fluffing the bristles and imagining what is about to happen.  

My empty canvass is a field, 
freshly blanketed with 11 inches of spring snow 
so wet you could wring it out like a wash cloth.

I know its 11 inches.  I measured
I know it’s soggy.  I shoveled.

I know how the artist must feel.

A sculptor uncovers what’s hidden in stone.
A painter fills empty space with cobalt blue 
and burnt-umber beauty.
My kids and I will turn this blank canvass
into a snow fort, a snowman family 
and a half dozen snow angels.  

Then it will be time for cocoa 
with marshmallows, like tiny snowballs, melting too soon. 

It’s a snow day and oh, the possibilities.

Jeff Hildebrandt  © 2005

Copyright © Jeff Hildebrandt | Year Posted 2005