Folks' Poems

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Seaside, Oregon
Bill Hubbard




Punching Cows

We were punching cows on the Rafter O
Me and Jack and little brother Joe
Riding fence, putting up hay
Whatever it took to earn our pay

Twenty bucks a month, with room and grub
Took our bath in the old horse tub
Slept in the bunk, ate on the ground
Once a year we went to town

Had and old horse, his name was Mac
He'd throw you off when you got on his back
Bedroll and saddle, boots and hat
I traveled light, I wasn't fat

Was riding along, taking a break
Then there came a rattlesnake
Mac jumped straight up, then to the side
All I could catch was his slippery hide

Landed me on a prickly pear
The rattlesnake didn't seem to care
Leaped right up, began to run
Old Mac just laughed, thought it was fun

When you are punching cows on the Rafter O
There are not many places you can go
Riding broncs, a smoke or chew
That's about all there is to do

2002, Bill Hubbard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Duster

Seems the year was thirty one
The dust was coverin' up the sun
We were movin' some pairs tryin' to find grass
Couldn't move nothin' till that duster passed

Saw her comin' from out of the west
Looked like a big fire at its very best
The sun went out, wasn't any light
The cattle could sense it; you could feel their fright

First the wind, then the dust
The cows started millin', started to fuss
Then started runnin', you couldn't tell where
We were lookin' for cover, didn't really care

We hunkered down in a big old ravine
The wind dept blowin', it was really mean
Took my kerchief, tied it round my face
Could hardly breath, dust was all you could taste

Took us a week to find those cows
Finally found them, but don't know how
The dust so deep cows walked over the fence
Does being a cowboy make any sense?

2002, Bill Hubbard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill told us: My folks got married in 1929 and started out on the family ranch in Texas. Between the economy and the weather it was a most difficult time to be in the ranching business. Even with all the trials it is still the best way of life I know."


Bad Bull

I hit the trail when I turned sixteen
Bein' a cowboy sounded real keen
Had an old saddle and a pretty dun mare
Put us together and we made a nice pair

Got a job in Texas roundin' up steers
I was young and boastful, didn't have any fears
Life as a cowboy was treatin' me right
Till me and that bull got into a fight

He was a huge beast, color was roan
When he started to bellow, sounded like a moan
Look plumb through you as he pawed up the ground
Was the meanest cuss that I'd ever found

Took out my rope, threw it over his head
Knew I was in trouble, might even be dead
He started chargin', headin' for my dun
The horse got scared, started to run

She tripped and fell, rolled over me
Dirt in my eyes was all I could see
In all the commotion the bull just stopped
When the horse took off I heard the cinch pop

The saddle came off, the dun kept runnin'
I looked at the bull, he started comin'
Picked up the saddle, threw it in his face
He tossed it up like a piece of lace

He spun around, came at me again
That time he got me right on the chin
When I woke up, things didn't seem right
I couldn't tell if it was day or night

Knocked out my teeth, beat up my face
If you see that bull, please give him a chase
But if he stops before you and starts to paw the dirt
Just keep on a riddin', he'll mess up your shirt

2002, Bill Hubbard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Balin Wire

My hat is off to the man inspired
To invent the stuff called balin wire
Originally made to hold bales of hay
So many times it's saved my day

When the fender fell off the old Ford truck
With balin wire, I was in luck
Just wrap it tight, round and around
Best durn stuff I've ever found

When the old plow broke didn't have a wrench
But balin wire was there in a pinch
Maw needed trestles to grow her beans
Yep, it was balin wire by all means

Tyin staves or swingin a gate
Fix your saddle so you wont be late
Wrap around a hose to stop a leak
For fixin things just can't be beat

Chasin a cow across the lot
Trip and fall in you know what
Look at your boot and what do you see
Balin wire clean up to your knee

When my days are done and they bury me
What do you expect me to see?
Will it be heaven or will it be fire
Either way there will be balin wire

2007, Bill Hubbard
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Bill comments, "When you live 18 miles in the country you don't go into town very often. You use what you have to fix whatever breaks. We always had a large pile of bailing wire handy. When feeding the cows many times the wire would get left on the ground and get hung on a cows foot and cause a real problem. The wire was easily bent and very strong so it had many uses."


About Bill Hubbard:

I am retired with my wife Barbara and Golden Retriever, Reo. I was raised on a farm in Texas and spent the first fifteen years of my adult life in the Texas panhandle raising livestock and owning a grain elevator. The area was near the Palo Duro Canyon, home of Col. Charles Goodnight. I was able to visit many times on the JA and Matador ranches, also the 6666 and Pitchfork ranches. I have always been interested in the history of the west and now spend time researching the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Oregon Trail.



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