Featured at the Bar-D Ranch

"Moonlight Gathering"
by Richard Galusha



Back on Home

Search CowboyPoetry.com

The Latest
     What's New
        Subscribe (free!)

Be a Part of it All 
     About the BAR-D
     Join us!

The BAR-D Roundup

Cowboy Poetry Collection
     Folks' poems
     Honored Guests
     Index of poems

Poetry Submissions  
    Current Lariat Laureate

Events Calendar

Cowboy Poetry Week

Featured Topics
    Classic Cowboy Poetry
    Newest Features
        Poets and musicians
        Cowboy poetry topics
        Programs of  interest
        Gathering reports
        In memory
   Who Knows?

Cowboy Life and Links
    Western Memories
    Books about Cowboy Poetry  

The Big Roundup

Link to us!
Give us a holler


line.GIF (1552 bytes)

See the Art Spur introductory page here


It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem.  In Art Spur, we invite poets to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry.

Our twenty-fourth piece offered to "spur" the imagination is a special Winter/Christmas selection, "Moonlight Gathering," an oil painting by noted ranch-raised artist Richard Galusha of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Read more about Richard Galusha below and in our feature here, where there are additional examples of his art.

Read more about "Moonlight Gathering" below.

Poetry submissions were welcome from all, through December 16, 2010. Submissions are now closed.

Find the selected poems below.

"Moonlight Gathering"

Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"Moonlight Gathering" © Richard Galusha, www.wildhorsegallery.com

 Richard Galusha comments:

Moonlight Gathering is about friends visiting with one another. Friends who have come
by to sit by the fire and share their lives. Friends who make our intimate
moments worthwhile and lasting.

"Moonlight Gathering" is available in giclee prints from the Wildhorse Gallery in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


"Moonlight Gathering" was chosen by the Yampa Valley Boys, Steve Jones and John Fisher (www.yampavalleyboys.com) for their 2009 Christmas CD, The Christmas Trail. Richard Galusha's painting, "Close to Home," graces the cover of their earlier CD, Close to Home.

Our thanks to the Yampa Valley Boys for inspiring this Art Spur choice.

About Richard Galusha

Richard Galusha grew up on his family’s ranch in West Texas where he developed a love and understanding for horses, which he has expressed in his art from a very early age. In his early teens his family, consisting of nine brothers and sisters, moved to Boulder, Colorado. After attending public school, he joined the Navy and traveled to the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. Richard had a studio in the barracks on the island of Guam and completed many drawings and paintings of island life, portraits of the sailors' sweethearts and paintings of Navy aircraft. After the Navy, Richard completed his BFA in Art at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

Richard’s real love is painting in
plein aire and portrait painting, as well as western genre. He enjoys painting landscapes near his home in the Hahn’s Peak/Steamboat Lake area and taking painting trips with his artist wife, Shirley Stocks, and their dogs, Sierra and Zorn, to various locations around the country. He has shown in many local, regional and national shows and his works are in private collections throughout the United States. He and his wife own the Wild Horse Gallery of Steamboat Springs.

During the summer of 1990 he traveled to Africa for a safari hunt in Tanzania and Kenya where he studied and painted the wildlife, local people, and landscape. In the summer of 1996 he traveled to Greece with his wife, Shirley, and they painted a variety of subject matter on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. The English countryside became their subject matter during the summer of 1997 and in 1998 they traveled back to Greece to paint for three weeks. In November of 1998 they painted and trekked in Nepal. In the spring of 1999 they traveled to Paris. In June of 2000 they traveled to paint in Botswana and Zimbabwe, Africa. November of 2000 brought a trip to the British Virgin Islands where they painted many paintings from the boat as well as on shore. They also traveled and painted on an extensive trip of Europe in June and July of 2001 which included, London, Paris, the French countryside, Swiss Alps, Venice, Assisi, Rome, Siena, Florence, Monte Carlo and Nice. In 2007, they sailed in the Ionian sea around Kaflonia and painted many of the ports. In the fall of 2007 they traveled to Florence, Italy and based their stay in the former villa of Mona Lisa’s family summer home while they traveled around Italy and painted.

Richard Galusha's education includes: Loveland Academy of Fine Arts, Loveland, Colorado; Jackson Hole Art Academy, Wyoming; The Fechin Institute, Taos, New Mexico; Art Students League, New York, New York; Scottsdale Artists School (summer), Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Adams State College, Alamosa, Colorado (Masters); Rice University, Houston, Texas; University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado (BFA); University of Guam, Guam.

He has studied with Richard Schmid, Clyde Aspevig, Harley Brown, Ned Jacob, Ted Goerschner, Ray Vinella, Bill Reece, David Leffel, Don Stone, Zhang Wenxin, and Jim Norton.


2006 March Show at Wild Horse Gallery, Steamboat Springs.
2005 Named Official Artist of the Connellee Hotel and Museums, Eastland Texas
2005 National member of the Rocky Mountain Plein Painters of America
2004, 2005, 2006 , 2007, 2008 Colorado Governor's Show, Loveland Colorado
2002 and 2001 Voted Best Artist in Steamboat Springs
1998 Realism in Contemporary Art of the American West, University of Wyoming Art Museum
1998, 1996, 1994, 1993, One Man Shows, Steamboat Springs Arts Council
1998, 1997, Spring and Fall Auctions, Texas Art Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1997, One man show, G.C. Lucas Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana
1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, Oil Painters of America National Shows
1995 Award of Excellence and Signature Membership, Oil Painters of America
1995 Salmagundi Show, New York, New York
1995, Western Heritage Classic, Abilene, Texas
1995, 1993 Western Spirit Art Show, Cheyenne, Wyoming
1993, 1991, NEA/SSAC Fellowship Grant


Find more in our feature here.



A Fine Art Gallery
Specializing in Contemporary Realism

P.O. Box 770879
802 Lincoln Ave.— Downtown
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477


"Moonlight Gathering"
Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"Moonlight Gathering" © Richard Galusha, www.wildhorsegallery.com


Christmas Gathering by Bette Wolf Duncan of Iowa
The Third Horse by the Trees by Glen Enloe of Missouri
Moonlight Gathering by Joyce Johnson of Washington
Grand-Dad's Moonlit Ride by Susan Matley of Washington
When Her Three Sons Came Home by Merv Webster of Australia
Moonlight Vigil by Del Gustafson of Washington




Christmas Gathering

The moon was painting shadows
on the fresh new coat of white
that lightened up the darkness
of the lonely, lonely night.
It was Christmas on the prairie;
and we stopped to say, “Hello,”
to friends that we’d last visited
too many moons ago.

It wasn’t lonely anymore,
with windows gleaming gold,
inviting us to come on in
out of the bitter cold.
And we walked into a cabin
that was filled with Christmas cheer.
It was Christmas…and the fireplace glowed;
and friends were gathered near.

We watched the sparks leap from the fire
as folks all stirred and stoked.
We reminisced about the past.
We sang and laughed and joked.
And fondly, we remembered
the good times that we’d had;
but we remembered, also,
when the good times turned to bad.

Our friendship, it then struck me,
resembled so those sparks;
it somehow glowed the brightest
when the brightest hours turned dark.
When all our dreams were shattered;
and the times were growing sour,
our friends stood right beside us
and sweetened every hour.

Our hearts and souls communed again
till it was time to go;
then joined our tethered horses
that were waiting in the snow.
We left with quite the finest gifts!
We left with memories
and knowledge of how blessed we were
to have such friends as these!

© 2010, Bette Wolf Duncan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Third Horse by the Trees

I rode on to Wal’s land while the soft snow still fell—
The full night moon was magic as it cast its spell.
The old ranch house was lit with an internal glow—
All the earth seemed at peace in pale moonlight on snow.

It was late Christmas Eve and old Walter had writ
He wished to see me again before his heart quit.
Most all his kin and friends were gone or in the past
And he reckoned that I was just about the last.

But there tied by the trees next to Wal’s faithful roan
Was the pale appaloose always rode by ol’ Sloan.
It took me abackI had figured him long dead—
Looked like Wal had also wanted him to break bread.

As I tied up my bay, I checked out Sloan’s pale horse
And it looked just like I had remembered, of course.
When Wal came to the door and I’d shook off the white,
I didn’t see old Sloan as I looked left and right.

Before I could speak Wal commenced to palaver—
I couldn’t get words in sideways through his blather.
So I reckoned Sloan left as I came, it did seem—
We talked about old times and when we were a team.

Soon night was near up as our memories went fast
And we were caught up in those stories of the past...
I was getting weary and had to ride back home—
I thanked Wal for that night and not being alone.

As I waded through snow to set out on my course,
Next to Wal’s roan and my own, was still that third horse.
I looked in the snow; there were no tracks to be found—
Just my own and old Wal’s as they scrimshawed the ground.

I trudged back to the houseasked if Sloan had been there—
Wal’s smile disappeared and he just stood and did stare.
“I thought you knew,” Wal said kind of sad and real slow,
“Sloan died out by those treesI found him in the snow.

“It was one year tonight; guess that’s why I done wrote—
Didn’t ya get my letter?” Words stuck in his throat.
“He’d hitched up his appaloose right there in them trees—
I found ol’ Sloan frozen stiff, as hard as you please.

“But his horse was alive, so I left it right there—
Wouldn’t budge from that spotseemed that it didn’t care.
I brought out water and feedLord knows how I tried—
But it just waited and waited – then it done died.

“Guess Sloan stopped for a visit,” he said and pauses—
“I’d been gone all that weekwas natural causes.
Funny thing, too, ‘bout Sloan’s horse,” he said with a frown,
“Folks swear they can still see it when the sun goes down.

“But I do miss ol’ Sloan and times when we was free—
Reckon some day they’ll find me, too, out by that tree.”
I said my thanks againfearing for the last time,
As I mounted my horse like a mountain to climb.

It was then that I saw that the third horse was gone—
Only old Wal’s dark roan was still there in the dawn.
At valley’s edge I turned in my saddle once more—
In the distance I saw the third horse like before.

Oh, the years canter by; then come in a fast trot,
As we take for granted what memories we’ve got.
Each Christmas I wonder as I’m humbled on knees
If I’ll see once again the third horse by the trees.

© 2010, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Moonlight Gathering

The patient mounts are wondering
Why they’ve been taken from warm stalls.
One horse belongs to the small town doc,
Who is used to these late night calls.
One is that of the nearest neighbor
Who came when she heard the phone.
Knowing that she was needed,
Her son saddled up her roan.

The other one is her son’s mare.
He rode with his ma to be sure
That she’d arrive there safe and sound,
Without perils to endure.
The phone had rung out loud and clear
Alerting all of the neighbors

That someone’s help was needed,
Calling them from other labors.
Maggie McDonald listened in
And heard from the little bride,
That her young one was coming soon.
She wanted a friend by her side.
They got the teakettle heating,

Readied sheets so there’d be no delay
They set the Mr. to chopping wood
Just to keep him out of the way.
The pains were closer together
Mother-to-be was in distress.
How soon the doc would get there
Was just a golly or a guess.

Then Maggie heard the hoof beats,
Too much snow to drive the car.
The horse was guided by moonlight
And one big shining star.
The cold blew in with the doctor.
Until they slammed the door.
He quickly turned to his patient,
When she cried with pain once more.
He caught the baby in his arms
And took the blankets of down.
He’d hardly had time to doff his coat
Before he saw the crown.
“Here is your baby Mary”,
As she clutched at his sleeve.
“He is a perfect baby boy,
Born to you on Christmas Eve.”

The horses’ wait is over,
Unaware it’s Christmas Day.
They only know they're going home
To their stall and mound of hay.

© 2010, Joyce Johnson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Grand-Dad's Moonlit Ride

In somber hills of snowy pine
South of the Canadian line
Lies the little town of Border,
A boom-town built from golden mines.

As winter holidays drew near,
With hopes of bringing season’s cheer
To Grand-Dad, living all alone
In the family’s first cabin home

Up near the mine they called Knob Hill,
Where Grand-Dad’s Da had batched until
He’d time to save the steep train fare
To bring his wife and young son there,

Three cowgirls rode with Yuletide gifts,
Their Grand-Dad’s winter gloom to lift.

Ma sent two home-made mincemeat pies,
And Da had gone to town to buy
A pint of whiskey, not too much,
To warm old Grand-Dad up a touch.

The girls packed up their saddle bags,
Their ponies taking icy crags
In stride, as they were mountain-born.
Their trip began late Solstice morn,

But days were short and dark soon came.
At Grand-dad’s place a bright fire flamed

In the fireplace built from rude stone.
For seven years he’d lived alone
Since Gran’s passing. He’d done all right,
Was glad to see the girls that night

Though, ‘cause winter-time was lonesome.
‘Twas better when the lamp light shone
Upon young, untroubled faces
As he welcomed their embraces.

Katie, the eldest, thought to ask,
“Tell us, Grand-Dad, of Christmas past.”
Nora, the second-born chimed in,
“Which Christmas would you live again?”

“Where to start, my girls, where to start?”
The night sky lost its fearful dark
To moonlight, bright on virgin snow.
“The very best one that you know!”

Cried Aidan, the youngest, named for
Gran. “That’d be the time, for sure,
I was a lad of nearly ten.
Ah, how I’d love that ride again!”

“Tell us, Grand-Dad!” the three did shout.
“The story how you raced about . . .”

His memory stirred; their cries brought fro
A moonlit ride three-score ago.
He’d carried joy to men who mined
Around the clock at Christmas time.

“Saddle your ponies, we’ll live it!”
An extra oil lamp then he lit
And to the barn they trod, all four.
His bay whinnied as stable door

Swung open with a promised ride.
“Come, Pete, it’s no night for fire-side.”

The ponies weren’t as eager but
The girls coaxed them into a trot
With Grand-Dad in the lead. His voice
Rose clear, in lyrics to rejoice.

They rode that night the path he had,
In distant past when just a lad,
Past the Quilp, Surprise and Lone Pine
The Knob Hill and Tom Thumb, the mines

Of yesteryear, now fast asleep
Under winter white, there to keep
In dark and silence played-out ore
Where golden veins had pulsed before.

Songs of light, and hope and the babe
Who came with all mankind to save,
They sang to ghosts of seasons past.
And when they trailed back home at last

They threw the fire another stick
And ate a meal of bread, cut thick.

Grand-Dad spun his tales until dawn
Of his own Da, so long passed on
From dust inhaled o’er thirty years.
True Irishman, he shed a tear

For those who’d gone. He gently poured
A whiskey drop in milk mugs four.

The girls dozed off to Grand-Dad’s words:
“The finest thing I’ve ever heard
Is you girls singing Christmas songs
From olden days. The years seemed long

Ago before tonight. Now I
Feel so young I would dare defy
That robber, time, who weakens heart
And soul, and one day makes us part.”

He did live on, in memories blessed;
His gift of moonlit ride the best
Katie, Nora and Aidan knew.
They gave it to their grandkids, too.

© 2010, S.D. Matley
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


When Her Three Sons Came Home

All three riders reined up by the leafless pine trees,
then dismounted and shrugged off the cool mountain breeze.
It had been near a decade since they rode away
and at last they were home and it was Christmas day.

They remembered as boys growing up in those hills
and despite real tough times, and a life free of frills,
they were loved by their Mama and Poppa to boot
while their house was a home and life there was a hoot.

Their old Pa he had settled the place years ago
and had battled the winters, its blizzards and snow.
The family had eked out a living up there
felling trees for its timber; each lad did his share.

And they learnt all the skills timber cutting required
but days end often found them all dogged and tired.
Still their Ma she would keep the old place warm as toast
and her cooking was what these three sons loved the most.

Then demand for logs slowed and it soon became clear
that their sons would be leaving; the time getting near.
Though it broke their Ma’s heart and tears welled in her eyes,
she would hug each one dearly and say her goodbyes.

Each son’s journey had taken them both far and wide
but the one thought that plagued, that they could not hide,
was the fact that they’d now been away for so long
and not one lad had written; they knew they’d done wrong.

As they strode t’wards the cabin each shouldered regret
and they wondered just how they would repay the debt
of not keeping in touch through the years that had passed
and the guilt had hearts pounding and eyes were downcast.

Still the love of a mother can turn wrongs to right
and the three forms before her were such a delight.
Yes she’d sensed through the years that her son’s they would roam,
but her heart told her...one day...her sons would come home.

© 2010, Merv Webster
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Moonlight Vigil

The saddles are empty,
Where are the young hands?
They are protecting our freedom,
Off in far distant lands.

In craggy cold mountains,
Or blowing desert sands,
They keep the night’s vigil,
Rifles ready in their hands.

On every morning,
we should kneel and give thanks,
To all the eleven Bravos,
And the Cavs in their tanks,

To the Marines and Airmen,
And the Sailors who serve,
Our prayers should be filled,
With the thanks they deserve.

And those who have fallen,
Should be honored and blest,
Their names should be recorded,
As America’s Best.

Pray for victory in Afghanistan,
And democracy in Iraq,
And may those ponies be waiting,
When those good cowboys come back.

© 2010, Del Gustafson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Thanks to all who participated.

Support CowboyPoetry.com


If you appreciate programs such as Art Spur, please show your support.


Become a supporter and make a donation, perhaps in memory of someone who treasured our Western Heritage: Make a difference.

Read some of our supporters' comments here,  visit the Wall of Support, and join us!

Read all about our history, the Center, and about how you can be a part of it all right here.

You can make a donation by check or money order, by mail (please use the form here for mail to PO Box 330444, San Francisco, CA 94133) or by a secure, on-line credit card payment through PayPal (a PayPal account is not required):

CowboyPoetry.com is a project of The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, a tax-exempt non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Act. Contributions to the Center are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes.





 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.


CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  


Site copyright information