Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

About Ann Sochat
Some Poems
Books and Recordings
Contacting Ann Sochat

About Ann Sochat

Winner of the Will Rogers Award as best female cowboy poetry performer for 2000 by the Academy of Western Artists, Ann Sochat hails from Canutillo, Texas, and is president of the Texas Cowboy Poets Association.  She has been a featured performer at cowboy symposiums and gatherings throughout the West.  The granddaughter of a cowboy and ranch foreman, she is a published author who has spent the last years interviewing cowboys, young and old, and doing research, much of it on horseback, on aspects of cowboy life. Her original poetry, traditional in style, is tinged with humor, sadness, and always respect for the men and women who settled the West and are still found ranching it today.  Known for her entertaining style of delivery, she is a storyteller in rhyme.  Her book of original poetry, Cowhide n' Calico, won the Will Rogers Award for outstanding cowboy poetry book for 1997 from the Academy of Western Artists.  Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and she has co-authored a book on Dutch-oven cooking and one of stories and poems about ranch life.

A Few Poems

Heroes
Cowboys Don't Cry
Hoof and Mouth Disease
American Cowboys
Grandma
A Good Lickin'
The Coyote
And How I'd Ride
Tracking the Cat
Cowboy Romance

 

 

Heroes

The books are filled with stories of the men who rode the West,
Whose ability and valor were put to every test,
And over the years we've made them almost mythical in size,
And certain areas of their lives we tend to romanticize.
But we can't deny the skills they had, nor the courage they possessed,
Nor the love of the open spaces that beat within their breasts,
Nor the dangers that those cowboys faced on every cattle run.
Modern knights in chaps and Stetsons, they were heroes every one.

They busted broncs, they branded calves, built windmills, and strung wire,
Spent winter months in line-camp shacks, pulled cattle from the mire.
They blazed the famous cattle trails that brought the nation beef,
As they baked beneath a burning sun that gave them no relief.
They worked to bring the cattle feed when snow covered the plains;
Forded cattle over rivers that were swollen from the rains.
At times, the justice that they sought came from a smoking gun.
Independent hearts and spirits, they were heroes every one.

What's that? You say the world has changed?  The heroes are all gone?
Well, we've a different cowboy now that we can depend upon.
Oh, they're still working cattle, but they are cowboys that
Will change their well-worn Stetsons for a volunteer fireman's hat.
And they'll race all day and hurry home, fighting their fatigue
To change their clothes and drive to town where they coach the Little League..
And they tend the cattle and tend the land, and tend a heritage they'd sustain,
For the cowboy way of living is a lifestyle that they'd retain.
And they ride and they rope and they roundup, working hard till day is done,
For they've chosen to live a cowboy's life.  They are heroes every one!


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



Cowboys Don't Cry

When I was six, my dad came home with a calf across his saddle.
He'd found it on the north range as he was checkin' cattle.
He brought it home for me to raise because its ma had died,
So I fed it from a bottle, an' I named that baby "Clyde."
I guess, since I had raised him, I thought he was my own,
But they rounded him up an' sold him when he was fully grown.
And Ma said, as she comforted me, "Honey, dry yer eyes.
It's a lesson to be learned in life.  A cowboy never cries!"

Then I had a paint horse when I was just eighteen,
And she was the best ropin' horse that I have ever seen.
And she had so much heart, she made workin' cattle fun.
We spent many days together from dawn till settin' sun.
One day there was an accident;  my horse an' I went down.
I knew what I would have to do as she lay upon the groun'.
And as I said "good-bye" to her, I felt like I would die,
But I pulled the trigger, an' walked away, "A cowboy doesn't cry!"

The seasons passed, the years went by, not always as I planned.
My children grew up ranchin' on the vast an' open land.
It certainly weren't no glamorous life, despite all the cowboy lore,
But we never stopped an' wondered bout what we were workin' for.
We handled all the problems that life seemed to bring around
Until that day they brought my young son's body from the town.
As we buried him upon our ranch, my mind was screamin' "Why?"
But I calmly held my shakin' wife, "Cowboys never cry!"

I worked hard all my life, I never asked for no free ride.
I grew to be an old man with my grandkids at my side.
I watched the ranchin' way of life goin' through a change
As folks with brand new notions flocked to life upon the range.
With the comin' of the railroads, we knew the die was cast,
Cattle roundups, as we knew them, became part of ranching's past.
But when I saw the grasslands fenced, I did realize
I'd seen the end of an era come, an' tears sprang to my eyes.
An' I realized that long ago, I had learned a lie
When my ma had said to me, "Cowboys never cry!"

Cause there are times in all our lives that this rule does not apply.
Mama, there are times when even cowboys have to cry!


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



Hoof and Mouth Disease

What is it that makes people sometimes act so ornery?
What makes them say and do some things is a mystery to me.
People with their own lives become so self-engrossed,
They'll say anything to get their way - exaggerate and boast.
"Putting foot in mouth" is a term that to only human beings applies.
No sooner did man learn to speak than he learned how to tell lies.
And the language that some people use would make a sailor blush,
And some folks' language is so bad, it would make a toilet flush!

Now, they say that hoof and mouth disease is one that cattle get,
And they haven't documented a case in humans yet,
But I'll tell you truthfully, from all the things I've seen,
Maybe it is humans that ought to be in quarantine!

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




American Cowboys

From Ireland, from Mexico, from other lands they came
To settle this great country, the wilderness to tame.
They learned to work the cattle as they struggled to survive
They learned to break the mustangs, watching cattle ranching thrive.
Their love of the open spaces, their burning desire to ride free
Became a living symbol of all that our country would be:
A nation filled with courage, a nation filled with pride,
Embodied in the cowboy and the horses he would ride.
Not afraid of working hard, not shrinking back from danger,
Generous at helping out both the neighbor and the stranger.
There were cowboys in the trenches and on the beaches of Normandy,
In Korea, in Vietnam, in the naval ships at sea.
Within every American, though it isn't in plain sight
Lives the spirit of the cowboy, who won't back down from a fight.


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

 

Grandma

I remember my old grandma in visions sharp and clear.
I can hear her voice. I can see her face as if she were still here.
She was a feisty lady, a working cowboy's wife,
And you could tell by looking that she'd had no easy life.

Though her wrinkles showed the years she'd lived, a girl's twinkle was in her smile,
And she'd waltz me 'round in her kitchen in an energetic style.
She had married my granddad when she was just sixteen
And stayed right by his side when times were good, and times were lean.

Through the children, sons and daughters, to which she joyfully gave birth,
Through the heartbreak that they faced returning two sons to the earth.
Side by side, they stood together; through the years they both did toil.
They were aged oak trees sheltering us, roots firmly in the soil.

And Grandma's was the heart and hand that kept us all together.
She gumptioned up the meek of us; the wild ones, she'd tether.
And when she dished out treats, she saw that each one got his part,
But she always saved the biggest piece for Grandpa, her sweetheart.

As she patted Grandpa's head or bent to kiss him on the cheek,
More love passed between those two than words could ever speak.
I can see her figure standing by her old wood-burning stove,
Or stepping spryly up into that pickup truck she drove.

My gandma gave me honest talk and the wisdom of her years.
My grandma gave me cookies as she wiped away my tears.
My grandma gave me spunk and grit to make it through each test,
But it's the love that Grandma gave that I remember best!

December 9, 1994, Ann Sochat
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(Posted also in the collection of poems about
Cowboy Moms and Grandmoms)

 

A Good Lickin'

I'll tell you something about mama cows.  They're protective as can be,
And they show deep, attentive care to their young progeny.
And one thing of which human parents might stand in awe:
Young calves are taught to pay attention.  Mama's word is law!
From the time they draw their first breath, and their eyes take their first blink,
She provides discipline and security, as well as milk to drink.
Calves will stagger to their shaky feet and with Mama go along,
Never venturing from her safe side until they're feeling strong.
And she'll bed them down in shelter if she has to go away,
And they'll stay right there and wait for her, even if she's gone all day.
Because all of those cows to you and me might look alike,
You would think that findin' Mama might confuse the little tyke,
But to find his mama, all he has to do is just inhale,
And his nose will lead him right up to his mama, without fail,
For, like women wearing perfume, I guess you could allow
That each mama's scent is different, though they all wear "eau de cow."
And if that baby calf could talk, like a small boy, he would shout,
"Really now, you've licked enough!  Come on, Maw, cut it out!
I can hardly keep my balance!  You're gonna knock me off my feet!
What is it with you mothers?  What's so great 'bout clean and neat?"
But he'll endure his mama's fussing, and in a year he'll be all grown,
And Mama will have a new calf, so he'll be on his own.
Life's cycle pushes onward.  We take each change in stride.
But there's something special about those days with our mama at our side.

April 2, 1998, Ann Sochat                               
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(Posted also in the collection of poems about
Cowboy Moms and Grandmoms)

 

The Coyote

Now I understand why ranchers think the coyote's a real bane
I will admit there have been times when I have cussed its name,
But I also have some feelings that I cannot obscure
Which admire the coyote's ability to endure.
They're cunning; they are crafty; they're strong, and they are tough.
They adapt to any type terrain, be it wooded, dry, or rough.
And many the ranch hand can give you anecdote
About experiences he's had with an old coyote.

You don't often see them, but you always know they're there
By the yipping and the yapping that they do outside their lair.
In the stillness of the evening, it is easy to denote
That the wailing you are hearing is the song of a coyote.

Are they calling out for company?  Do they shout out their pain?
Are they hoping with their lonely song another's heart to gain?
Do they sing an ode to freedom that they keep at any cost?
Do they mourn because each day more open land is being lost?
Is their howl a song of joy in praise of stars and moon?
Is there pride, or is there anger in the shouting of their tune?
With head thrown back, the haunting wail flows forward from the throat,
A cry of independence echoed by the wild coyote.

You may hate them; you may hunt them, but admit that they are smart,
For they know that open spaces are the best for someone's heart.
If it's true that only the fittest will remain alive,
Only time will tell if man or if coyote can survive.
If man should prove the fittest, then we will surely gloat,
But chances are the inheriting meek will be the lone coyote.


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


And How I'd Ride

I never will forget the very first time that I saw it,
There I was a-walkin' down the street.
We had come in to the general store to pick a few things up,
An' Pa gave me a nickel to buy some sweets.
As I moseyed to the ice cream parlor to buy some penny candy,
Somethin' in Joe's window caught my eye,
The prettiest saddle I'd ever seen was sittin' on a stand,
I can't describe its beauty, but I'll try:
It was smooth an' shiny-lookin',  not too fancy nor too plain,
With a little leather toolin' on back an' side,
An' I knew that if I just could put that saddle on my horse,
Gosh, Almighty, I would have the finest ride!

And I'd ride out on the desert,
Out amongst the sage an' brush,
And I'd feel the joy of bein' young and free,
And I'd chase them ole jackrabbits
'Roun' the sand hills with mesquite,
And I would be so happy to be me!
-- And how I'd ride!


When I went into the store just so's I could touch the saddle,
There was loving admiration in my eyes!
And Mrs. Joe, she came right up and said, "Why don't you try it?
I do believe it's just about your size!"
And my, but it felt fine when I climbed into that seat.
I said, "Thank you kindly, Ma'm, for lettin' me try it.
I hope that saddle doesn't sell, cause I'm gonna save my nickels
And when I've got enough, I'll come an' buy it!"
And I ran to tell my pa about it,  but he just looked sad
And stood there with his hands down at his side,
"Now, don't you git yer heart set,"  but he didn't understand,
If I only had that saddle, how I'd ride!

And I'd ride up in the mountains
Over thin an' rocky trails,
And I'd look out as far as you can see,
And even hawks would envy me
As they flew all about,
'Cause I would know the joy of bein' me!
-- And how I'd ride!


Throughout that year I kept that saddle foremost in my mind,
I saved my nickels, though they were mighty few.
I worked hard for my pa and even went to nearby ranches
To ask if there were chores that I could do.
When we would go to town, I'd go into the saddle shop,
And spend as much time there as Pa'd allow.
Mrs. Joe would let me polish up the saddle with a cloth
An' she'd ask, "How much do you have saved up now?"
But then one day we went to town and the saddle had been sold,
And I can't tell you just how much I cried.
My hopes had all been scattered like gold dust in the wind,
No longer could I dream of how I'd ride!

Of how I'd ride among the canyons
With their shadows cool an' long,
Explore each crevice with the greatest glee,
And my laughter would scare out coyotes
Hidin' in the caves,
Because I'd be so full of bein' me!
--And how I'd ride!


For a month or so, I moped around like my heart had clean been broken,
No coyotes howl would have been as sad as mine.
But my pa kept me a-workin' and he made me ride my horse,
It was spring and gettin' close to calfin' time.
Ma also kept me busy doing chores around the house,
Cleaning out the barn an' oiling up the tack.
Then the morning of my birthday dawned, and my folks led me outside
To my horse with that special saddle on his back.
How I yipped n' hooted n' hollered, and I even hugged my pa,
And when I kissed my ma, she up and cried.
Then I jumped upon my horse and like a bullet we shot off
To take that long-awaited, magic ride.

As we rode off towards the desert
And the canyons and the hills,
Every living thing that watched could clearly see,
Like a dust-devil a-growin',
Too strong to be contained,
I was full of life an' happy to be me!
And I'd never lose the joy of ridin' free!
--And how I'd ride!


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

 

Tracking the Cat

The morning dawns so still and clear.  It will be a sunny day.
I quickly dress and gather gear that I will need that day.
A cup of coffee, a couple of eggs, I haven't time to lag.
I place water, food, and binoculars into my saddle bag.
The dogs get all excited as they see me grab my hat.
They seem to know this is the day that we will track the cat.

We've seen its tracks around the ranch.  We'd hoped it would go away.
No such luck! We found a calf that it had made its prey.
So I saddled up my mule.  Who knows where we'll have to climb.
For sure-footedness, she will beat my horses every time.
And she is not so skittish 'bout the things that she will pack,
And that's important, cause I aim to bring that cougar's carcass back.

We head out toward the gully where the calf's remains were found.
I check carefully for tracks.  The dogs sniff all around.
And then, the dogs are on the scent, me following close behind.
A tortuous path, through brush and trees and rocks it seems to wind.
The sun has passed the midday point, and I am thinking that
It may not be such an easy job trackin' down that cat.

We finally reach a place of crags, ledges, and scruffy pines.
It's here that of the cat we're tracking, we find many signs.
The dogs are running, noses low;  they're headed for some trees.
I look and see the moving cat.  I see it turn... and freeze.
My rifle's out;  I spur the mule.  This is the moment that
Primordial blood does stir within.  I rush to face the cat!

I won't tell you of the crouching and the springing and the growls.
I cannot describe the snarls and the hissing and the howls.
Nor the sharp crack of the rifle as I fire straight ahead,
Nor the blessed sigh I utter when I see that it is dead.
Nor the fearless valor of my dogs, charging to combat.
It's a moment in slow motion... the killing of the cat.

The dogs are licking scratches as we stop to eat and drink.
I'm not so much hungry as needing time to think.
I reckon life's a tracking game we have to do each day.
We follow winding trails and paths and try to find our way.
Staying the road's the easy part.  I've decided that
The true test of each person comes... when you have to face the cat!

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


Cowboy Romance

Now, listen to me, Ladies, if courtship's on your mind,
When it comes to pickin' cowboys, beware of what you'll find!
They'll make you fall in love with them if you give them half a chance,
But there are certain cowboys that don't know much 'bout romance.
They're used to ridin' all alone and not sayin' very much,
And most of their communicatin's done through just a touch.
They're most comfortable praisin' you the way they would their horse,
And my last cowboy boyfriend told me this, without remorse:

"I'll never understand just what you ladies want from men.
Just when I think I've figgered it out, I find I'm wrong agin!
It'd sure be nice if when your ladyfriend broke into tears,
You just could reach right over and scratch her 'tween the ears.
And if you could give her a carrot or two, and she'd whinny a lovin' call,
And if when you didn't want her 'round, you could put her in a stall,
And when she was especially good, you'd give her a sugar lump
And show her that you really cared by pattin' her on the rump.
It'd be nice if women'd be satisfied with a single set of shoes,
And you could rein them in just like a runaway cayuse.
If you didn't have to call 'em up an' ask 'em for a date,
And you could tie 'em to a hitchin' post and they would patiently wait.
If women weren't so squeamish 'bout rollin' in the dirt,
And you could come a-callin' without wearin' a clean shirt.
I guess you could say my horse and I, we have an understandin',
And I sure wish that womenfolk could be so undemandin'!"

Well, needless to say, that cowboy an' I didn't make it very far.
He rode away on his stallion; I drove away in my car.
So before you pick a cowboy, Ladies, just as a matter of course,
Be sure that you check out the way that cowboy treats his horse!


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

Books and Recordings 

 

All of the books and tapes can ordered by sending a check to:

Ann Sochat
120 La Nell
Canutillo, TX 79835

If you would like the book to be personalized, please include a note stating whom you would like it autographed for.

Books


  Cowhide 'n Calico: Poetry of the West

Poetry for all ages...this book surveys the many different aspects of life in the West, and portrays the real people who forged more than a frontier with their dauntless strength of character, their firm values, their humor, and their hard work.     $10.00, plus $1.50 S & H



  Dutch Oven Cooking with Tony Cano   

A complete Dutch oven cooking guide -  from selection and seasoning to care of cast-iron cookware -  including 74 delicious recipes for outdoor use, utilizing charcoal briquettes, or indoors, utilizing your conventional stove top burners and oven.   $10.00, plus $1.50 S & H



  Echoes in the Wind : Ranch Recollections & Poetry            

A collection of essays and original poetry of the authors' true ranch-life recollections.  Humor, sadness, joy, nostalgia, and exciting incidences...all are found in this one-of-a-kind portrayal of Western life!     $10.00, plus $1.50 S & H



  Chuck Wagon Heyday: The History and Color of the Chuck Wagon at Work
       
This is an excellent reference book for any person aspiring to learn more about one of the most important cornerstones of cowboy Western history.  A book focusing specifically on Charles "Chuck" Goodnight's famous invention, the chuck wagon and its master, Coosie the camp cook, portraying the necessary details of trail life and capturing the wit and humor of those men who branded the pages of history as they branded cattle.     $10.00, plus $1.50 S & H


Tape

  Cowboys 'n Critters
This audio cassette of original poetry looks at the life of the cowboy and all the various critters, from necessary to nuisance, that are involved in his life.  Cowboys 'n Critters was nominated for outstanding tape/CD for 2000 by AWA.   $10.00, plus $1.50 S & H

Contacting Ann Sochat 

For more information, contact Ann Sochat at 
(915) 877-4584
FAX (915) 877-4485
or by e-mail 

 

   

 

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