Rod Nichols
Cowboy Poetry
In God's Hands
A Cowboy Poem

TR Stephenson
The Lie

 

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Cowboy Poetry

Just what is cowboy poetry
I've many times been asked,
why might a cowboy start to write
and will that writing last.

I've had some time to ponder this
as the years have drifted by,
so if you'll sit and rest a bit
I'd sorta like to try.

When you've spent a lifetime pardner
doing what you love the best,
there's a thing inside you can't deny
that's a truth about the West.

He wouldn't trade a single day
for the mem'ries he has stored,
the men he's known both young and grown
fill a life with cowboy lore.

He's ridden herd and mended fence
cut 'em out and branded steers,
been wet and dry with grit in eyes
when the trail dust finally cleared.

He's lived outdoors neath starry skies
round a campfire blazing bright,
sung cowboy tunes neath a prairie moon
seen the face of God at night.

He knows his place without a doubt
in the circle we call life,
it's no surprise to reason why
a cowboy starts to write.

And will it last I'd have to say
til the cowboy life is gone,
and even then in the hearts of men
it'll always find a home.

2000 Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.

 

A Cowboy's Poem

When a cowboy sets his mind to write a poem
he don't just take a pen and start to write,
he thinks about those things that he has known
so words are true and gets the mem'ry right.

He don't just try to come up with a rhyme
or count each line to set a metered beat,
or cater to whoever might be buyin'
with pretty paint or duded-up deceit.

A cowboy's got a lot  more sand than that
he shows it in the thoughts that he may write,
a way for him of holdin' on at last
to mem'ries of a passin' way of life.

It ain't you see to always get a laugh
or cause someone to shed a tear or two,
or glamorize some tale by clever draft
or try to take a lie and make it true.

A cowboy says at last what's deep inside
you'll find in truth that ever' thought reflects,
a greater depth of character and pride
for a life he loves and men that he respects.

2001, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.


In God's Hands
(A cowboy's poem)

There was laughter and trail talk that evenin'
as the campfire had slowly grown dim,
then the usual joshin' and grumblin'
as the boys got themselves settled in.

I could see by the small fire still burnin'
that one of the boys was up late,
he was writin' a letter I reckoned
with his paper laid flat on a plate.

I watched for a spell then I drifted
these old bones just needed to rest,
and I slept through til daylight was breakin'
then washed off my face and got dressed.

Two biscuits and one cup of coffee
some sidemeat and breakfast was done,
a blanket then up with my saddle
firm cinched for a brisk mornin' run.

The day started off like the others
I'd chased down a couple of strays,
when I spotted some cowboys a-wavin'
so I headed my pony their way.

There's a hundred bad things that might happen
when a man's herdin' cattle it's said,
and a cowpoke had slipped from his saddle
been dragged, broke his neck and was dead.

There wasn't much talkin' among us
we each saw our end in his fate,
then I got a good look at that cowboy
the same one I'd seen stirrin' late.

I spotted the note he had written
in the dirt by his tattered old jeans,
"What's that?" asked a hand as I read it
"A poem he had written it seems."

"Well read it fer us," said another
"Jest what did the boy have to say?"
"It ain't very much," I responded
"but I think he would want it this way."

"There's a time in each life," the poem started
"when a cowboy has done all he can,
and it's then as he faces the long night
he puts all his cares in God's hands."

"That's it?" asked a soft-spoken cowboy
"That's it," was my only reply,
"That's enough," said a somber-faced trail boss
"and more when it comes time to die."

So we buried him there before sundown
with a marker of stone for his head,
the date of his passin' and three words
"In God's Hands" was all that it said.

2001, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.

 

The Lie

My mother thinks I have a job, as a bouncer in a brothel,
She shore don't know I sell the poems I write,
I hate to think about the way my father would react,
If he found out that I never have to fight.
There is no way I'd ever sink, so low that I would tell them,
There's some things that a real man will not do,
I'd rather have the reputation, of a man who works in sin,
Than have them know the sissy thing I do.

It ain't my fault I learned to read, and write and do my sums,
Hell, bein' smart's the natural way I be.
If some folks enjoy my way with words, I sure will let 'em,
As long as I can keep it secret, from my family.
I wear a gun, a stick and knife, and really do look mean,
Although inside I'm gentle, meek and mild,
I admit I sometimes slip, with my girl down at Nelly's
Of course she thinks my talkin', gives me style.,

If ya'll will keep my secret, I'll whip you up a verse.
About the men who herd the longhorn cows,
How they come to down to drink, and really shoot their guns off,
Then wind up spendin' all their cash, on women anyhow.
Cowboys do not have, an inkling of an idea,
About the things a woman ought to know,
They think they paint and powder, and lie and simper some,
Before the cowboy's hurry up and go.

I'd rather be an Indian, livin' in a teepee,
Or eatin' chile peppers from a pot,
Than let my parent find out, I make my livin' writin',
Them verses that are passed around a lot.
I don't think I will ever be, no Browning nor Longfellow,
For sure I ain't no Edgar Allen Poe,
I'm just a whiskey drinkin', worthless lyin' cowboy,
Who found a better, cleaner row to hoe!

T. R. Stephenson 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of TR Stephenson's' poetry here.


 

 

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