"Melancholy" Jones
Ruckus at Rhyme Central

Bob E. Lewis
Cowboy Poetry

Tim R. "Doc" Mason
Life Goes On
Educated Cowboy

Ezra Spur
The Poets

 

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Ruckus at Rhyme Central

It was quiet and hushed in Texas. Just a dry and dusty day,
and the tumbleweeds rolled lazily to a summer breeze at play.

The folk who lived in Onion Patch were mostly sleepy still;
When they heard an old steam engine give a mournful, distant shrill.

None gave a passing notion to the coming of the train;
But when HE jumped down, they knew their town would never be the same.

He was just a smart mouth kid at heart, despite his flash moustache,
But loud and clear, for all to hear, he shouted, bold and brash.

"I've ridden far to the Onion Bar to take a few folks down.
You'd best tell them all that they'd better crawl, 'cos Two-gun Pete's in town.

If you've got an ode then you'd best reload, and your rhyme had best be sweet.
For there ain't no man who can rhyme and scan as fast as Two-gun Pete.

Can you hear the tock of the old town clock? Wa'al, I'm waiting on the street!
You ain't got much time so prepare to rhyme; You've been called by Two-gun Pete"

It seemed that no one noticed, inside the old saloon;
The honky tonk piano tinkled out the same old tune.

There was never a sign nor signal from the silent rhyming men,
As in answer to their hushed response, Pete opened up again.

"I'm the best there is, I'm a rhymin' wiz; I'm the best that there can be,
And I've come to scratch in your Onion Patch, 'cos there's none as good as me.

Now I'm tellin' you, you're a motley crew and you don't know how to write;
There ain't no two guns that can match my puns, and I'm bustin' for a fight."

The double doors swung open with a slow and measured tread.
A rhymester man came walking through with old and grizzled head.

"Kid, when it comes to poems, you're just a tad too young.
Your life's a mite too empty, your songs are not yet sung.

I was up an' writin' poetry when poems had to rhyme.
Git back aboard that steamtrain, while you still got the time."

"I've heard of you old timer, you used to be real fast,
Before you got used up and slow and now your day is passed.

I don't take any pleasure in shooting up old men
But I can write a darned good fight, and you'll never to beat my pen.

Your shooter's old and rusty, your rhymin' days are done
And your old time verse is getting worse. It's time that you were gone."

"Insulting me won't cut it, though I bear no ill will.
If you think that you're a writin' man then show us all your skill.

You think my pistol's empty? I hate to tell you pard
I've got a hundred thousand words stored up in my backyard

And when this showdown's over and buzzards pick your bones
You can tell the Lord that you crossed a sword with Melancholy Jones."

Pete fought his fight with honour, came shooting, fair and square.
Returning rapid fire, rattling rhymes beyond compare.

Maybe his stance was twisted by the innocence of youth
His tenets were in poetry, philosophy, and truth.

He may have been a tad naive, and had too much to say,
But he met his match at the Onion Patch. Now Pete has had his day.

That foolish high falutin' fool who thought he was the best
Has paid the price of misplaced pride and gone to find his rest.

But listen very carefully when the moon is full and bright,
And Pete may still be riding through the small hours of the night.

His story may be over, but his spirit still bemoans
The day he tried to shoot it out
With Melancholy Jones.

Melancholy Jones
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of "Melancholy" Jones' poetry here.

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.


Cowboy Poetry

I just don't have the talent for the arts of any kind,
But to listen to this Cowboy Poetry sure does ease my mind.
Although I can't write a single line of all their trouble, fun and strife,
I've just about lived through all of them up to these later years of life.
I've laid out with the wagon on that ole upper Matador,
And spent some long ole lonely nights in an old line camp for shore.
I've been a horseback many times with from eight to twenty men,
And rode a many a mile of fence that I might have to mend.
I've seen some rank ole horses rode when we saddled up some days.
I've seen some sure good riders throwed, some in a comical way.
I've seen them take it all in stride, the pleasure and the pain,
From riding in the blowing snow, the hot sun or the pouring rain.
I've seen some good ole horses slip and fall down to the ground,
Their riders penned beneath them as they too went tumbling down.
The riders would go to them to see what harm was done,
Sometimes just some peeled up hide, other times some broken bones.
But that was part of the cowboy's life and he'd not trade a single thing.
That city life with all it's hustle, well it just didn't ring
True to his way of thinking of how his life it should be run,
All those ole tall buildings standing there just blocking out the sun.
Just living in the country watching mother nature do her thing
Has a beauty all about it that just makes a feller want to sing.
Just to watch a newborn calf a nursing is a miracle to behold,
That he would know just what to do without having to be told.
And when springtime rolls around again and everything turns green,
You get a special feeling like your living in a dream that you
Don't ever want to wake from cause it might not come back home again.
But then you get to thinking bout other spring times where you've been.
And  that great big old world out there that you've been living in.
You get to thinking bout the punchers.that have lived their life like you,
But now with other talents,they've found something new to do.
They write this "Cowboy Poetry" with it's rhythm, meter and rhyme.
While me I don't know one from the other, don't guess I've ever took the time,
To think much at all about this old Cowboy life in rhyme.
Can't sing a note that sounds half true, like some of these fellers do.
Like ole Don Edwards, Red Stegall and Jason Jones sings too,
And poets like J. B. Allen, Baxter Black, Waddie Mitchell and the rest,
And ole Michael Martin Murphey they're right up there with the best.
And then there's ole Joe Texas, a very special friend of mine.
And I'm just here to tell you I'm shore glad we have this kind,
To keep this tradition going , just keeping it alive.
But you know there's a lot of old punchers that's nearly just like me,
They kinda shuffle when they walk and some can hardly see,
But we've been in the same old wrecks and some of those same old storms,

We too have rode into those ole camps sometimes with broken bones.
But we can't recite in front of people because we're much too shy,
And we sure don't know nothing bout this cowboy poetry rhyme.
So I just kinda got to thinking since we all came down that old pike too,
That they ought to fence off one corner, with room for one or two.
That like me have tried to cowboy but just never made the grade,
But have spent their lifetime trying just to learn the cowboy trade.

Bob E. Lewis
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Read more of Bob E. Lewis's poetry here.

Bob E. Lewis    1929-2001



Life Goes On

I guess it was his eyes that caught me
As I looked down at his wrinkled skin;
The more than 90 years had taught them
To show pleasure where pain had been.
  
"Tell me how it used to be Old Timer,"
His eyes lit up as he remembered back;
"I came to this ranch in '68," he said,
"This place was known as Tiger Track.

"We didn't know about modern things.
I was 18 when the end of the war came;
The jingler boss took me on my word.
I stayed and worked at every job the same.
    
"We ran wild horses ever now and then,
Branded cattle for shipping to the East;
Me and Acey and some boys I forget rode
Night and day. Tough on man and beast.

"We made a hand, though, so I'm told
And didn't mind we never struck it rich;
Many times we talked about leaving here
But, we forever got rid of that itch.
    
"A man needs roots, my pappy used to say.
So we stayed to work for the DOUBLE T;
We rode hard for the Brand too, Son
They don't make spreads better, you see.

"Times are a changing, Son.  It's clear
That things'll never be like they usta be;
Why last year, we rode to camp in a truck
Pulling a trailer of horses.  Can you see?
 
"The Longhorns are gone, faded years ago
And Herefords now graze in their place;
They are brown, red, and yellow and big
And have white hair all over their face.

"I miss the Texas Longhorns too, Son,
They was sturdy and tough on the trail;
I've took 'em to Dodge several times
They managed to survive without fail.  

"I'm like them Texas Longhorns, Son,
I too will soon be just out of step;
The sun rises, the sun sets as well
The body once useful no longer has pep.

"Don't fret at my passing, just look ahead,"
He said in a voice that was fadin' low;
"There's a time for going, time for staying
And I reckon its time for me to go."
    
"I thank you Old Timer." I called his name
As his eyes watered for just one last time;
"You've made my trail easier for work today"
And he passed to his new world sublime.

You see, I've since learned a lesson:
The Lord planned his world this way;
For some, its leaving, some its staying,
Right now, seems its my time to stay.

While here, I've learned a lesson as well
About making life easier for those to come;
Cowboy Poets pour their hearts out in rhyme
To make life happy and pleasant for some.
  
1995, Tim R. "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Tim R. "Doc" Mason's poetry here.

 

Educated Cowboy

I sometimes get aggravated
When folks poke fun at me;
They must think I got no sense
Cause I've got me a Ph. D.

I learnt a long time ago that
Coyboyin' requires horse sense;
It comes from stable thinkin'
Else yore troubles will commence.

I give the Cowboy Life a try
But I soon had to give it up;
It seems my git up and go
Went when I was jist a pup.

It ain't that I was so lazy
But my Daddy said it best;
Young Tex don't mind the work,
But he much prefers to rest.

I shore ain't like one man I met
Educated beyond his intelligence, you see;
When he graduated he shouted, "World,
I've got my B.A., M.S., and Ph. D.

The World looked up with raised eyebrow
And trying hard not to appear upset,
Said, "Set down, Son, I'll do my best
To teach you the rest of the alphabet."
 
In my case I believe you'll find
I want to preserve the Cowboy Way;
Included in that faithful caring part
Is writin' rhymin' poetry, every day.

Some folks may like the woman
Called the Poet Laureate of the USA,
But, her style, they call it "Free Verse"
Don't make sense to me, no way.

Free Verse folks and others like her
Who learnt and promote that stuff
Ain't got no place in Cowboy hearts;
It ain't real poetry, its jist a bluff.

What I like is for words to rhyme
Whether every line does it or two;
There's many ways to make it so
And it shore is good when they do.

Cowpokes like Waddie, Baxter & Buck,
Red Steagall, our Poet Lariat of Texas,
Plus Reba & a host of Cowgirl Poets
Make these Gatherins fun for both sexes.

The Free Verse folks can go their way,
Us Cow Folks will try our very best
To assure you that what we produce
And perform will promote the Olden West.

1997, Tim R. "Doc" Mason
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Tim R. "Doc" Mason's poetry here.

 

 

The Poets

Tales where told in the days of old
O'er the camp fires of the West.
In metered rhyme with truth sublime
the listener was addressed.

They spoke of hope, the common folk
and the beauty of the range.
Of men gone bad, cows gone mad
the occurrence of the strange.

Of lover lost and outlaw Hoss,
lonesome Line Camp stays.
The taste of beans and faded dreams,
how they'd quit someday.

They'd poke fun at things they done,
find humor in catastrophe.
With hard times nigh, when most would to cry,
they laughed at the calamity.

All said and done, they were the one,
that kept the record straight.
Of the cowboy's way, in bygone days,
may their rhetoric long be great.

Tales where told in the days of old
O'er the camp fires of the West.
Those spoke in rhyme with measured time,
are the ones that I loved best.

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

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

Read more of  Ezra Spur's poetry here.

 

 

 

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