Van Criddle
I Don't Live on the Ranch Anymore

John Gentry
Cowboy Slam

Dan Blair
The Wanted Man

Omar West
Elaboration

Bruce Satta
The Cowboy Poet

 David Dague
How to Write a Poem in Cowboy

"Doc" Dale Hayes
Accuracy in the Medium

 

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I Don't Live on the Ranch Anymore

I've straddled many good ponies
And I've my herded my share of beeves.
I've sorted, cut cows and calves
And dealt with smells that gave me the heaves.
I've pulled calves that wouldn't be born
And then mothered 'em up to the cow.
I've worked 'em in all kinds of weather
But now sometimes  I sure wonder how.

I've started and finished some colts.
Some outlaws jarred me clear to my soul.
A few were smart and quick to learn
Ya knew they'd never be on the dole.
They'd earn their keep with their savvy
And they'd be quick to tackle each task.
They'd respond to every demand
No matter what it was that was asked.

Life takes many a twist and turn
and sometimes it sure alters life's course
to make a livin' some other way
instead of on the back of a horse.
I now live at the edge of town
And travel down Interstate five.
Managing people's like herdin' sheep
Some days I feel I'm barely alive.

I wrote a few poems for my wife,
For Christmas, about ten years ago.
The words came down in cowboy prose
About the life of her loving beau.
She urged me in to sharin' some,
At Baker City  some few years back.
Since then life's sure been a frolic
And has been on a really fast track.

Oh, I'd never trade in my life
Or change anything 'bout where it has led.
I don't live on the ranch anymore
But those mem'ries will never be dead,
And sharing' my rhymes and stories
Of cowboyin' when I was sprout
Put's a real big smile on my face
When they touch a cord and I hear a shout.

2007, Van A. Criddle
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more of Van Criddle's poetry here.

Cowboy Slam

Well, I rode through the west just to have a look
    For myself at a cowboy's life
On the open range where the wind blows free
    And the lonesome trail is rife

With the perils of the desert sun by day
    And rovin' wolves by night,
In wild harm's way of the hoof and the horn
    And the quick sidewinder's bite.

And I watched him rise at the streak of dawn
    And blaze a small campfire
For bacon and beans and a black joe pot
    Hangin' by a twist o' wire.

A little white smoke rose up in the air
    From the cowchip fire he'd made,
And he saddled a pony with a stockin' foot
    As the dawn began to fade.

Then double-checkin' the cinch and the reins,
    He swung up on that bay,
And twelve hard mile he'd ride, or more
    Before the end of day.

And I wrote down all I larned on a pad
    Of a cowboy's life out west--
From his wrangler ways to the ring of his spurs
    And the leather fringe on his vest.

Then I worked for a week on yarns and rhymes,
    Which I finished one afternoon,
And brought 'em down to the Cowboy Slam
    At the Buckaroo Saloon.

But I wondered some if the real cowboys
    Would cotten to my prose,
Or my cowboy poems and stories when I
    Weren't wearin' any cowboy clothes.

But up I went in my city duds
    When they called my name at last,
And I spun 'em a yarn of the trail in rhyme
    Of old cowboys from the past.

And as they twirled their mustachios
    They listened with squinted eyes,
Then roped, hog-tied and branded me
    And told me I'd won first prize.

2005, John Gentry
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Wanted Man

I saw this wanted poster someone nailed to a post.
It seems there was a cowboy that the Sheriff wanted most.
So I saddled up my buckskin and diamond-hitched my packin' mule...
me and that wanted cowboy were about to have a duel!
I went lookin' for his hideout.  I didn't have far to ride.
I don't think he saw me comin' 'cause he didn't try to hide.
But when I roped and tied him, it caught him by surprise.
I can't repeat the words he used on me meant to chastise.
He really did concern me with his scorching vocabulary.
I half suspected, just with words, he could set fire to the prairie.
But I stuffed my ears with cattail fuzz to keep his ragin' down,
and hog tied to my pack mule, I lugged him into town.
All the way, I math-motized the fortune I would hoard,
'cuz as bad as he was wanted, there must be one swell reward.
I tied Ol' Buck and my pack mule outside the County Jail.
I left them and the wanted cowboy all tied up at the rail.
"Sheriff," says I, "you gotta see what's tied up tight out front."
"But first put on some earplugs, 'cause this cowpoke won't be blunt."
"He hollers out his innocence in the MOST scorching terms."
"He claims there ain't no reward like this poster here confirms."
As the Sheriff grabbed the poster, a deputy charged through the door,
jumped over the desk and landed with one foot in the cuspidor.
"Holy Moses, Sheriff!"  "You just won't believe your eyes
when you see what's hog-tied to a mule with diamond-hitchin' ties!"
The deputy locked himself inside a cell as the Sheriff stepped outside
just in time to see the wanted cowboy come untied.
He turned to me and says "Sonny, there's one thing you surely need."
"To be a Bounty Hunter, you must first learn how to read!"
"This poster's an invitation and a "reward" to hear The Best."
"You've hog-tied a Cowboy Poet by the name of Omar West!"
So if any of you see MISTER Omar, please tell him I'm a sorry fool,
and I hope he'll find it in his heart to give back my horse and mule.

Dan Blair 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

 

Read more of Dan Blair's poetry here.
                                                    


The Cowboy Poet

He writes about the days gone by, of life out on the trail:
Of cattle towns, and cowboys actin' way beyond the pale,
The mornin' smells, when Cookie had a pot of coffee brewin'
And a batch of sourdough biscuits that was almost fit for chewin'.

He writes about the rodeo; the buckin' bulls and broncs,
And cowboys drinkin' way too much in run-down honky-tonks
While they relive the day's events, and even demonstrate
How bad ones sometimes threw 'em, or how they rode for eight.

He writes about life on the ranch, of calving in the spring
And the helpless feeling summer wildfires never fail to bring.
Often, he has written 'bout the roundup in the fall
And winters at the line camp, when there's no one 'round at all.

He writes about the horses that he's known throughout the years:
The way they mean "all business" when they've cocked their tails 'n ears.
He's written 'bout the "Zebra Dun," "Blue Rocket," and the "Roan."
He is the cowboy poet, and his story is my own.

2004, Bruce Satta
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

Bruce told us he was proud to have this poem posted on Gene O'Quinn's web site during Cowboy Poetry Week '04.  See our feature about the annual celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week.

 

Read more of Bruce Satta's poetry here.
                                                    

 

Elaboration

On the range, communication

doesn't take much conversation

the exchange of information

is of minimal duration

just a single exclamation

or a plain gesticulation

tells a cowboy the location

       of a problem with the herd.


Without verbal explanation

In his chosen occupation

It's the cowboy's obligation

to commence investigation

and with firm determination

he'll resolve the situation

to the foreman's expectation

       all of that without a word.


But a campfire recitation

is the cowboy's recreation

where verbose elucidation

of a windy dissertation

full of wild exaggeration

with bizarre interpretation

and complete obliteration

       of a single word that's true.

Though it's pure prevarication

filled with factual fabrication

it provides exhilaration

for the campfire aggregation.

There's a Western declaration

that a cowboy shuns oration

but he loves that long narration

       when they tell it as they do.

Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


Read more of Omar West's poetry here.

 

How to Write a Poem in Cowboy

I try to write my poems in Cowboy,
but I'm still learning half the words.
I try to rhyme, most of the thyme,
so groups of cattle now are herds.

When you are writing Cowboy,
you always drop the final g,
That turns moving. into movin,
sounds more Western don't you see.

You say yur in place of your or you're,
don't know the reason why.
Cuz instead of 'cause because,
cowboy poets are so wry.

Make sure your poem is family friendly,
privy humor has no place.
Don't throw a community loop on any group.
We're all members of the human race.

Remember some folks do take umbrage,
at the words that you might write.
So write with care, try not to swear,
if your readers laugh, you're writing right.

But I guess it would be easier,
if some words had other sounds.
Out in the West, words sound the best,
but is their meaning still in bounds?

Cowboy poets use antediluvian words,
archaic, obscure and obsolete.
The things they say, sound best that way,
with words they don't repeat.

Cowboy poets mess up proper names,
of this I hafta warn ya.
"West to Californy" to me sounds corny,
because we still call it California.

Then select your special meter,
one that you can use throughout.
Just write a poem, that doesn't roam,
and wander all about.

For me it really is a challenge,
to write a good cowboy poem.
Right from the start, write from your heart,
you may even write a tome.

My poems sometimes still revert to English,
It's the lingo, er, language that I know, er, knew.
And ya never let go of yur latago,
of course, I knew that, didn't you?

There's a formula to the Cowboy poem,
a rule you shouldn't bend.
The formula's fine, if in the closing line.
The west still roams free in the end.

2001, David J. Dague
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

Read more of David Dague's poetry here.

 

Accuracy in the Medium

"He said he was a cowboy poet and I guess he looked the part.
He walked the walk and he talked the talk,
'Cause when he recited it came from down deep in the heart.
He thrilled the crowds and gloried in the thunderous applause,
Whether he was roping the bear or pulling the thorn out of the cougar's claws.
He excelled at heading the herd and doing all that
While his wild rag flapped in the wind and he waved his Stetson hat.
He was "cowboyed up" and he swore he could put the bacon in the pan.
I believed him, until I heard him orating on
About the renegade steer that was untouched by human hand!"

  2001, D. Hayes, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

Read more of "Doc" Dale Hayes' poetry here.

 

 

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