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Below are track descriptions, an introduction to The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two, and additional references for the poems included on the CD.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007) is a compilation of contemporary recordings of some of today's best classic and contemporary cowboy poetry.

This second annual CD includes Badger Clark's vintage recording of his first published poem, "Ridin'"; recent poems considered modern classics, recited by their authors, including "Breaker in the Pen" by Joel Nelson and "The Horse Trade" by the late Sunny Hancock; noted reciters Randy Rieman and Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks performing classic poems by Bruce Kiskaddon and Katherine Fall Pettey; Gail I. Gardner’s famous “The Sierry Petes” recited by the late J. B. Allen, and “Hail and Farewell,” by Delia Gist Gardner, delivered by Gail Steiger, songwriter, filmmaker, rancher, and the Gardners’ grandson; and a second selection of poetry from “Grass,” cowboy poetry’s masterwork by the late Buck Ramsey, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, recognized as the modern spiritual leader of the genre.

There are many additional tracks (27 total), most from poets who frequently delight audiences from contemporary gathering stages, including: Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, Paul Zarzyski (reciting S. Omar Barker's "Hosses vs. Horses"), Jay Snider, Smoke Wade, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Peggy Godfrey, Ken Cook, Darrell Arnold, Pat Richardson, DW Groethe, Don Kennington, Kent Rollins, Virginia Bennett, Janice Gilbertson, Rod Nichols, Diane Tribitt, Yvonne Hollenbeck, and Jim Thompson (reciting
Arthur Chapman's classic, "Out Where the West Begins").

 

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two CD includes a radio Public Service (PSA) Announcement by poet, humorist, and radio host Andy Nelson (listen below). Andy Nelson engineered and co-produced both the 2006 and 2007 editions of The BAR-D Roundup.

 

Read more about the The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two on the previous page, here.  

On the previous page:

About The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007)

Order Information

What They're Saying ...

Listen to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry Public Service Announcement

About the cover art and inside photo

About The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007) and Cowboy Poetry Week 2007

How to submit images and poems for consideration for future compilations 


Support CowboyPoetry.com





Introduction

Cowboy poetry is the voice of the working West—as alive today as it has been for over 125 years—telling the stories of ranching life. Its enduring popularity is celebrated at CowboyPoetry.com.

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007) is a compilation of outstanding contemporary recordings of some of today's best classic and contemporary cowboy poetry.

 

This second CD includes South Dakota Poet Laureate Badger Clark's vintage recording of his first published poem, "Ridin'." The poem is in his 1915 book, Sun and Saddle Leather, a volume that has never gone out of print.
 

Two more recent poems, both considered modern classics, are recited by their authors. Joel Nelson recites "The Breaker in the Pen," from his Grammy-nominated CD of the same name, said to have "raised the bar for cowboy poetry for 1000 years."  The late Sunny Hancock's poem, "The Horse Trade" is included.

 

Two classics are in the hands of the the top practitioners of their craft: Master reciter Randy Rieman renders a flawless performance of Bruce Kiskaddon's "When They've Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall."  Noted reciter Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks delivers the evocative "Mornin' on the Desert," a poem long attributed to "Anonymous" (the rightful author was uncovered in research for this CD: Katherine Fall Pettey).

 

Gail I. Gardner’s peerless classic, “The Sierry Petes” is recited by the late J. B. Allen. Gardner's wife, Delia Gist Gardner, also wrote poetrya fact discovered after her death. Her moving poem, “Hail and Farewell,” is delivered in a singular performance by Gail Steiger, songwriter, filmmaker, rancher, and the Gardners’ grandson.

 

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two includes the first chapter of Grass, cowboy poetry’s masterwork by the late Buck Ramsey, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, recognized as the modern spiritual leader of the genre. (The 2006 edition of The BAR-D Roundup includes the well-known and widely known Prologue to Grass, "Anthem," a poem that has been called "the finest contemporary piece of writing in this tradition.")


Popular Canadian poet Doris Daley's poem, "A Letter to Mr. Russell," addresses the famous cowboy artist, bringing him up to date on current parlance in her own artistic words that weave in the titles of some of his best-known paintings.

 

Baxter Black has praised Elizabeth Ebert's extraordinary poem, "He Talked About Montana," saying "If her poems were mountains and the verses peaks, this would be the eagle soaring over all.
 

Paul Zarzyski, the self-described "Polish-hobo-rodeo-poet," recites S. Omar Barker's "Hosses vs. Horses," a recording from the award-winning Spurrin' the Words, a Cowboy Poetry Project from the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development. 

 

Oklahoma rancher and gathering audience favorite Jay Snider combines talent and wisdom in his tale of "Tyrone and Tyree."

 

Smoke Wade draws on his experience in the days of trailing large herds of cattle out of the Hells Canyon of the Snake River, times that are "gone now, along with the cattle ranches in Hell's Canyon," in his poem, "Trailing the Herd."

 

Native Utahn Jo Lynne Kirkwood explores the labor and rewards of ranching life in her lyrical, four-part poem,  "A Cowboy Season."

 

Colorado's Peggy Godfrey delivers ranching reality in "A Country Graft," a poem from a recent film about her life, Cowboy Poetry: A Woman Ranching the Rockies.

 

South Dakota rancher Ken Cook honors his late grandfather and the generations of cowboys in his family, with his poem, "Grandpa."

 

Tracks by Darrell Arnold, Pat Richardson, and DW Groethe present the lighter side of today's cowboy poetry scene. Darrell Arnold pokes fun with "Cowboy Poultry Gatherin'"; the irrepressible Pat Richardson observes a cowboy poet from his dog's point of view; and quirly DW Groethe's "A Bunny Poem" is a tale of road-weary cowboy poets.

 

Beloved veteran poet and farrier Don Kennington, recites one of his most-requested poems, "The Last Nail" and rancher, poet, humorist, and famous chuckwagon cook Kent Rollins pays respects to another farrier, in his poem, "Horseshoes and Heaven." 

 

Poems by friends and horsewomen Virginia Bennett and Janice Gilbertson complement each other: Virginia Bennett's wistful and reflective "As You Ride," sets the scene for Janice Gilbertson's life-affirming poem about horses and friendship, "Night Time's Promise."

 

Rod Nichols, Diane Tribitt, and Yvonne Hollenbeck speak to the spirit. Texan Rod Nichols' poem, "Talent," is about sometimes-hidden virtues, and a hope to be blessed with "just half of such talent to shine as a light before men." In Minnesota rancher Diane Tribitt's poem, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights," a widow rancher's calls on her faith. Lauded South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck speaks of a reverence that is a part of a way of life in "Nature's Church," with a touch of Jean Prescott's "In the Garden" echoing behind the meaningful poem.

 

Popular broadcaster, poetry lover and booster, and seasoned reciter Jim Thompson  creates a perfect ending, with a flourish, with the recitation of Arthur Chapman's classic, "Out Where the West Begins." In its day, the poem was known throughout America. It hung in the office of the Secretary of the Interior, was quoted in Congress, used as Western governors' campaign material, was found on cards and postcards, printed in magazines and advertisements, and turned into a popular song.

 

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two CD includes a radio Public Service (PSA) Announcement by poet, humorist, and radio host Andy Nelson. Andy Nelson engineered and co-produced both the 2006 and 2007 editions of The BAR-D Roundup.

                                                                                                                                 Margo Metegrano, April 2007


Track Descriptions
Page two

Below:

15. DW Groethe, "The Bunny Poem" 1:59
16. J.B. Allen, "The Sierry Petes" (Gail I. Gardner)
2:56
17. Don Kennington, "The Last Nail"
3:01
18. Kent Rollins, "Horseshoes and Heaven"
2:55
19. Buck Ramsey, "The Story: One"
5:04
20. Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks, "Morning on the Desert" (Katherine Fall Pettey)
2:09
21. Gail Steiger, "Hail and Farewell" (Delia Gist Gardner)
2:11
22. Virginia Bennett, "As You Ride"
1:27
23. Janice Gilbertson, "Night Time's Promise"
:59
24. Rod Nichols, "Talent"
1:49
25. Diane Tribitt, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"
2:30
26. Yvonne Hollenbeck, "Nature's Church"
1:25
27. Jim Thompson, "Out Where the West Begins" (Arthur Chapman)
:55
28. Andy Nelson, Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry (PSA)
:30

Page 1:

  1. Charles Badger Clark, Jr., "Ridin'" 1:38
  2. Randy Rieman, "When They've Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall" (Bruce Kiskaddon)
5:07
  3. Doris Daley, "A Letter to Mr. Russell"
2:05
  4. Joel Nelson, "The Breaker in the Pen"
5:37
  5. Sunny Hancock, "The Horse Trade"
4:54
  6. Paul Zarzykski, "Horses vs. Hosses," (S. Omar Barker)
2:04
  7. Jay Snider, "Tyrone and Tyree"
1:59
  8. Elizabeth Ebert, "He Talked About Montana"
3:00
  9. Smoke Wade, "Trailing the Herd"
1:16
10. Jo Lynne Kirkwood, "A Cowboy Season"
5:20
11. Peggy Godfrey, "Country Graft"
1:33
12. Ken Cook, "Grandpa"
1:32
13. Darrell Arnold, "Cowboy Poultry Gatherin"
1:30
14. Pat Richardson, "Shep's Poetry"
2:48 

 

All rights are reserved by the artists and owners of the included tracks.
Poems and permissions were generously donated by poets, musicians, families, publishers, and filmmakers.
The BAR-D Roundup is produced by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, with generous funding support from sustaining donors

Most biographies were supplied by the poets and reciters.


Track 15: DW Groethe, "The Bunny Poem"

About the track, "The Bunny Poem"
About the poet, DW Groethe
The poem, "The Bunny Poem"
Additional links

About the track, "The Bunny Poem"

"The Bunny Poem" is from DW Groethe's CD, What Ever it Takes. It is also included in his book, West River Waltz.

DW Groethe comments that the poem is, "As close to reality as is humanly possible, except it was a Buick, not a Chevy...go ahead...you rhyme Buick.


About the poet, "DW Groethe"

DW Groethe, grandson of Norwegian pioneers and homesteaders, was raised on the Northern Great Plains by parents who instilled in him a deep appreciation for place and heritage. A University of North Dakota alumnus, he holds a fine arts degree in theatre.

Since 1991, Groethe has called Bainville, Montana (population 139) home. He doesn't own a television, reads with a voracious appetite and happily spends his days associating with cows.

He is a poet and a songwriter and has been invited to appear at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Library of Congress and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., and the National Folk Festival.

DW Groethe's recordings include Tales from West River, and What Ever it Takes, and he has a book of collected poems and lyrics, Western Poetry: West River Waltz.

 

   

DW Groethe photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.


The poem, "The Bunny Poem"

The Bunny Poem

Drivin' through the midnight hour
     Clippin' down the trail,
We was headin' back from Utah
     On the last leg of 'r tale.

Twenty hours ridin' hard
     From down the ol' southwest
We was more'n plenty tired
     An' 'r brains was cravin' rest.

Then we finally hit the Black Hills
     An' the end was nigh in sight
So we caught 'rselves a second wind
     An' flew back in the night.

Now from Belle Fourche up to Bowman
     Is a mighty lonesome haul.
Ain't much to keep you comp'ny
     Sides that hauntin' coyote's call.  

The moon was full upon us
     An' the prairie was aglow
When out the corner of my vision
     Come a scene that froze my soul.
 
There was bunnies in the ditches,
     'Neath the sagebrush, in the air.
There was millions there was billions
     There was bunnies everywhere.
 
Them beady little eyeballs
     Was a glarin' mean an' hard.
I could smell the trouble brewin'
     When the first one rammed the car.
 
Suicidal little buggers
     Was on a lemming kick!
I thought even for a bunny
     This is gittin' perty sick!
 
They careened out on the highway
     Not a care for life an' limb.
We was turnin' furry bunnies
     Into prairie cherubim.
 
They was wrapped around the axles,
     They was gummed up in the tires,
Parts was flipped up on the engine
     On the manifolds an' wires!
 
Others wacked against the floor boards
     After kissin' that ol' bumper,
Now I know why Disney called ol'
     Bambi's bunny buddy Thumper!
 
It was bowlin' in the badlands
     With a strike at every throw.
A bunny Armageddon
     In a P. T. Barnum show!
 
'Til at last they started thinnin' down
     As Ludlow slipped away
An' we crossed that North Dakota line
     In one bunged up Chevrolet.
 
I breathed an everlastin' sigh
     A knowin' that from here
All's we had to worry 'bout
     Was open range an' deer.

© 2005, DW Groethe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Additional links

DW Groethe feature at CowboyPoetry.com
DW Groethe's appearance at The Kennedy Center, archived video broadcast

 


Track 16: J. B. Allen, "The Sierry Petes" by Gail I. Gardner

About the track, "The Sierry Petes"
About the reciter, J. B. Allen
About the poet, Gail I. Gardner
The poem, "The Sierry Petes"
Additional links

About the track, "The Sierry Petes"

"The Sierry Petes" by Gail I. Gardner, recited by the late J. B. Allen, is from the J. B. Allen: Classics CD.

"The Sierry Petes" was written in 1917 and said to be Gail I. Gardner's first poem. It is based on his own experiences. An excellent discussion of the poem by Warren Miller appears in Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry, edited by Elaine Thatcher and David Stanley. "The Sierry Petes" appears in Gail I. Gardner's 1935 book, Orejana Bull: For Cowboys Only. A modern classic, "The Sierry Petes" is often recited and sung at gatherings today.


About the reciter, JB Allen

J. B. Allen, born in 1938, was a working cowboy for over three decades. He was a frequent performer at gatherings, including the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nara Visa, and the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering in Prescott. His poetry is included in many anthologies; in his own books, including Water Gap Wisdom (1990) and The Medicine Keepers (which includes a CD); and on his recordings, J. B. Allen: Classics, Kindred Spirits, and Treasures. The Medicine Keepers received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award in 1998.

J. B. Allen died in 2005. A book of his poetry, JB—The Circle, was released in 2007.

   

Painting of J. B. Allen by Duward Campbell


About the poet, Gail I. Gardner

Gail I. Gardner (1892-1988) was born in and died at Prescott, Arizona. Though he was educated at Philip Exeter Academy and Dartmouth University, his desire was to work as a cowboy, which he did. Later in life, he became the postmaster of Prescott.

There are colorful stories written about Gail I. Gardner, notably by Katie Lee (see one here) and Warren Miller, past Curator of Education for the Sharlot Hall Museum. Miller comments on "The Sierry Petes" in Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry, edited by Elaine Thatcher and David Stanley.

See a photo of Gail I. Gardner at the Sharlot Hall Museum web site here.


The poem, "The Sierry Petes"

The Sierry Petes (or, Tying Knots in the Devil's Tail)

Away up high in the Sierry Petes,
Where the yeller pines grows tall,
Ole Sandy Bob an' Buster Jig,
Had a rodeer camp last fall.

Oh, they taken their hosses and runnin' irons
And maybe a dog or two,
An' they 'lowed they'd brand all the long-yered calves,
That come within their view.

And any old dogie that flapped long yeres,
An' didn't bush up by day,
Got his long yeres whittled an' his old hide scorched,
In a most artistic way.

Now one fine day ole Sandy Bob,
He throwed his seago down,
"I'm sick of the smell of burnin’ hair,
And I 'lows I'm a-goin' to town."

So they saddles up an' hits 'em a lope,
Fer it warnt no sight of a ride,
And them was the days when a Buckeroo
Could ile up his inside.

Oh, they starts her in at the Kaintucky Bar,
At the head of Whiskey Row,
And they winds up down by the Depot House,
Some forty drinks below.

They then sets up and turns around,
And goes her the other way,
An' to tell you the Gawd-forsaken truth,
Them boys got stewed that day.

As they was a-ridin' back to camp,
A-packin' a pretty good load,
Who should they meet but the Devil himself,
A-prancin' down the road.

Sez he, "You ornery cowboy skunks,
You'd better hunt yer holes,
Fer I've come up from Hell's Rim Rock,
To gather in yer souls."

Sez Sandy Bob, "Old Devil be damned,
We boys is kinda tight,
But you ain't a-goin' to gather no cowboy souls,
'Thout you has some kind of a fight."

So Sandy Bob punched a hole in his rope,
And he swang her straight and true,
He lapped it on to the Devil's horns,
An' he taken his dallies too.

Now Buster jig was a riata man,
With his gut-line coiled up neat,
So he shaken her out an' he built him a loop,
An' he lassed the Devil's hind feet.

Oh, they stretched him out an' they tailed him down,
While the irons was a-gettin hot,
They cropped and swaller-forked his yeres,
Then they branded him up a lot.

They pruned him up with a de-hornin' saw,
An' they knotted his tail fer a joke,
They then rid off and left him there,
Necked to a Black-Jack oak.

If you're ever up high in the Sierry Petes,
An' you hear one Hell of a wail,
You'll know it's that Devil a-bellerin' around,
About them knots in his tail.

Gail I. Gardner, 1917
reprinted with permission of the Gardner/Steiger family

 


Additional links

Feature about Gail I. Gardner and "The Sierry Petes" at CowboyPoetry.com.

Warren Miller writes about Gail I. Gardner in an article, "Real Men Do Write Poetry" at the Sharlot Hall Museum Site.

Katie Lee writes about "Gail Gardner and the Sierry Petes" in an article in the Journal of Arizona History, Summer 1977

 

Feature about J. B. Allen at CowboyPoetry.com.

Article about J. B. Allen in the Dallas Morning News.

Feature about J. B. Allen at Texas Public Television, KACV

J. B. Allen recites "I'd Like to Be in Texas" at the Western Folklife Center web site.

 


Track 17: Don Kennington, "The Last Nail" 

 

About the track, "The Last Nail"
About the poet, Don Kennington
The poem, "The Last Nail"
Additional links

About the track, "The Last Nail"

"The Last Nail," by Don Kennington, is from his CD, The Last Nail, and is also included in his book, Trail Dust V.


About the poet, Don Kennington

 

Don Kennington was born and raised on a Idaho/Wyoming cow ranch where he herded cattle 20 years for the Bear Lake Cattle Association. He moved to Ogden, Utah where he was a horseshoer for 40 years, shoeing over 33,000 horses. He has been a cowboy poet for over 25 years, writing and performing his own poetry from coast to coast.

   


The poem, "The Last Nail"

The Last Nail

There's pain a throbbing in my back.
Sometimes my knees are stiff and sore.
Guess I'd better see the doctor
Don't get around good any more.

But, I know just what he's going to say,
"You've got to quit that shoeing Don.
I know it's something you enjoy
But you've been doing it too long.

But he just doesn't understand
That it's the center of my life.
I love it more than anything
Except the kids and my dear wife.

'Cause when I'm under that ol' hoss,
I'm just as good as any one.
Those folks think that I'm important
We laugh and joke a-having fun.

I've been out there shoeing horses
And making friends  o'er thirty years.
And when Doc says, I ought to quit
I start a fighting back the tears.

'Cause I love a shoeing horses.
Yeah, I suppose that sounds kind of dumb
But then I feel good inside
That's when I really am someone.

My shoeing friends don't laugh at me
And they don't call me stupid names.
They treat me like I'm one of them.
They act like we're all just the same.

And when I see them somewhere else
They usually honk and wave at me.
And so I grin and wave them back
Then I feel good inside you see?

We're supposed to tend God's creatures.
But some folks get a little rough.
That's when some of God's creatures
Live a life that's pretty tough.

Like when you walk up to a pony
And he's a-shaking like a leaf.
You whisper and you scratch him,
Ain't hard to tell he's had some grief.

And you keep scratching and a-whispering
'Cause you're trying to be a friend
And that pony starts to relax
And he starts to comprehend.

Finally that pony licks his lips
And you can feel him settle down.
Then you won't have any trouble
Working his feet up off the ground.

And when that pony walks away
His legs are swinging straight and true.
And it really is amazing
At what a little love can do.

Oh, it hasn't been all roses,
But for the most part it's been fun.
I've met a lot of real, nice folks
And come to love near everyone.

Yeah, I've been kicked and knocked around
By horses been abused a lot.
That's when you've gotta keep yer cool,
Use all the patience that you've got.

So let me drive just one more nail
And snug that shoe down good and tight.
My back is hurtin some
But I've just got to do it right.

"There now.  That's a little better.
That pony's ready for the trail.
But I won't be coming back
'Cause I've just driven my last nail."

© 1998, Don Kennington
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Additional links

Feature About Don Kennington at CowboyPoetry.com.

Don Kennington recites "My Last Nail" on a WGBH podcast.

Don Kennington is on the Utah Arts Council roster; he performs with Stan Tixier and Michael Robinson in a group called "The Sidekicks."
 


Track 18: Kent Rollins, "Horseshoes and Heaven"
 

About the track, "Horseshoes and Heaven"
About the poet, "Kent Rollins"
The poem, "Horseshoes and Heaven"
Additional links

About the track, "Horseshoes and Heaven"

"Horseshoes and Heaven," by Kent Rollins, is from his CD, Kent Rollins: Live in Branson. The poem is dedicated to Kent's father, "Wash" Rollins, who was a farrier. On the track, Steve Schick plays the guitar, Snuffy Elmore plays the fiddle, and Kent Rollins "plays the anvil."


About the poet, "Kent Rollins"

Kent Rollins was raised in southwest Oklahoma near the banks of the Red River. He grew up around the cattle business and has never been able to get away from it—not that he'd want to.  He learned to cook from his mother at an early age and has turned that into a first class business.

Kent, his wife Donna and son Jeffery, are the owners and operators of the Red River Chuckwagon and they operate a cow/calf operation along the Red River south of Hollis, Oklahoma. 

Kent and his 1876 Studebaker Chuckwagon were voted Chuckwagon of the Year in 1996 and 1997 by the Academy of Western Artists. Also a poet and storyteller, Kent received the Skinny Rowland Humor Award for Best Humorist and Storyteller in 2002.

Kent has entertained and cooked from Hollywood to Branson and many points in between. He has been featured on the Food Network, the Family Channel and QVC.

For more than a decade, Kent has described life on the range through poetry and storytelling. This working cowboy first began preserving the rich history of the old west with his business Red River Ranch Chuckwagon, by catering traditional western meals at company picnics, weddings and other gatherings.

"Cowboy poetry was a way for me to tie cooking and entertaining together. I share the old stories and let people know what went on in the 1880s so they can see life wasn't really like what they've seen on the silver screen."


The poem, "Horseshoes and Heaven"

Horseshoes and Heaven

He was covered all with sweat
As I tied my ole horse there in the shade
He said an ole horse that will stand still
For more than five minutes
Why I don't think there's ever been one made

He wore an old ragged pair of leggins
That had been cut off just below the knee
His old hands were hard and callused
And his arms were like two big limbs
Hanging off a giant oak tree

He said you reckon you could hold this old feller
He seems to have a lot a trouble standin' still
Why I don't know why I ain't quit this
You'd think after 45 years
I had enough to get my fill

He let that ole horse's leg down
And went to his anvil to shape a shoe
Awe I guess being a cowboy and doing this
Is about all I ever really knew

He said trimming & shoeing these old horses
Is sorta like dealing with life
Nobody said it was gonna be easy
But if you'll do it with pride and honesty
You can get through the times of trouble and strife

With that shoe in hand and a mouth full of nails
He went back to resume his chore
Pick it up old feller he mumbled
We just like this one and one more

Well he nailed that shoe on pretty quick
He never missed his aim
He said sometimes in life
You've really got to struggle
If there's gonna be any kind of gain

He said take that ole anvil there
That I use to shape a shoe
Sometimes we've gotta have a little adjusting
To keep us all straight and true

Now take these old horses some are pretty good
And some act awful ill
But it's just like everyday livin,
Cause sometimes you just don't get a fair deal

Well I watched him untie this old horse
His back still slightly bent
And in my mind I wondered about the many hours
Under an ole horse's belly that he had really spent

His shirt by now was salted down
Soaked by the summer's sun
It didn't take him long a trimmin'
And my ole horse was done

Well I thanked him for his story
And paid him for his time
And as I was riding away
I could hear his ole anvil a ringing
Making a perfect chime

There ain't a day that goes by
That I don't think of him and his advice
I'd stopped by an seen him every week
Usually once or twice

But now his old anvil is silent
The horses ain't lined up no more
His old chaps hang there empty
And his hammer lays still there on the floor

Sometimes I go to wondering
And it makes me feel sorta sad
Now I know the good Lord needs a farrier
And this makes me sorta proud
Because I know he got a good one
When he came and hired my Dad

© Kent Rollins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


 Kent Rollins' father, "Wash" Rollins, at age 17

 


Additional links

Feature about Kent Rollins at CowboyPoetry.com.

Kent Rollins' web site.

Kent's poetry, cooking, and cowboying are featured in a PBS Gallery documentary, It Ain't Shakespeare.

Kent Rollins' Chuckwagon Bootcamp are featured on the Food Network's Roker on the Road


Track 19: Buck Ramsey, "The Story: One"

About the track, "The Story: One"
About the poet, Buck Ramsey
About the poem, "The Story: One"
Additional links

About the track, "The Story: One"

"The Story: One" recording, by Buck Ramsey, is included on a CD that accompanies the book, Buck Ramsey's Grass, with essays on his life and work, published by Texas Tech University Press, 2005. The track is from Buck Ramsey's masterwork, "Grass."

In an introduction to the recording, Andy Wilkinson tells how this recording was made, not long after Buck Ramsey had finished the first draft of the poem, and after Buck "... had made a new friend of his long-time idol, folk singer Ramblin' Jack Elliott. They'd met at the Elko Cowboy Poetry gathering in one of those famous after-hours jam sessions at the Stockman's Hotel where Buck and Jack swapped poems and songs into the small hours of the morning... Ramblin' Jack was especially taken with one of the poems he'd heard Buck recite and suggested that Buck get it down on tape, mentioning that he had a friend in Nashville, musician John Hartford, who had a nicely-appointed home studio...."  Wilkinson comments that this track is from that tape, "the first ever made of the modern cowboy classic 'Grass.'"  

Wilkinson adds, "There's one more small, but important, part of the story.  When Texas Tech University Press came to reissue the poem, Buck's widow Bette suggested that they use this recording, the one that Buck had always thought of as his best, his favorite.  But the only copy she had was damaged, and as John Hartford had also since died, there was little hope of reclaiming it. Luckily, Buck's long-time friend Eddie Reeves had saved the original and was able to track down a studio with the machinery to transfer it into a contemporary format from which the engineer was then able to restore the damaged parts.  So as you listen to this piece of history, remember that it's one that would have been lost but for the circle of friendship.  And that's pure Buck Ramsey."

Read the entire introduction here, in our feature about Buck Ramsey's Grass, with essays on his life and work.

Permission for inclusion of this track was kindly granted by Texas Tech University Press.


About the poet, Buck Ramsey

BuckPortraitWeb.jpg (36314 bytes)

Buck Ramsey is recognized as the “spiritual leader” of cowboy poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, who died in 1998.  Hal Cannon, founding director of the Western Folklife Center, home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, has commented on Buck Ramsey's writing and music, "His work 'Anthem' is probably thought of as the finest contemporary piece of writing in this tradition..."

See much biographical information about Buck Ramsey, with many comments about him from contemporary poets and others in our feature here

Buck Ramsey made two recordings that received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Museum, Rolling Uphill from Texas and My Home it Was in Texas. In 2003, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Buck Ramsey ~ Hittin' the Trail, and that recording also received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award.  Buck Ramsey was the author of two books, And As I Rode Out on the Morning (1993) and Christmas Waltz (1996). In 2005, Texas Tech University Press published Buck Ramsey's Grass, with essays on his life and work. His work has been recorded by many others and is included in many anthologies.

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[Photo of Buck Ramsey by Scott Braucher, used with permission]

 


About the poem, "The Story: One"

"The Story: One" is the first chapter of Buck Ramsey's book-length poem, Grass. It follows the prologue, "Anthem," which is included on the first edition of The BAR-D Roundup (2006).

In her introduction to Buck Ramsey's Grass, with essays on his life and work, Bette Ramsey writes, "Buck Ramsey's epic poem Grass began as a short story called 'A Beginning.' Later he rewrote it for a magazine and named it 'The Wagon Incident.'  The poem [was] originally published in 1993 as And As I Rode Out in the Morning..."  Read the entire introduction here.

Buck Ramsey has written, "I took the stanza scheme from Pushkin and the plot from a short story I wrote, called 'A Beginning.' The poem is meant to be the beginning and a very small part of a story of cowboys on the plains."  

Grass follows the life and experiences of Billy Deaver, who leaves the farm at 15 to pursue a cowboy's life. Poet Joel Nelson describes the poem, "From the leaving of home and kin, through the stirrings of adolescence, to the making of a hand in a tribe of men who 'the gods had chosen well,' there is nothing a cowboy could ever want to say that Buck hasn't covered in Grass."


Additional links

Buck Ramsey feature at CowboyPoetry.com
Buck Ramsey's Grass feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Texas Tech University Press web site
Andy Wilkinson's web site

The BAR-D Roundup (2006)

see additional links in our feature here


Track 20: Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks, "Morning on the Desert" by Katherine Fall Pettey

About the track, "Morning on the Desert"
About the poet, "Katherine Fall Pettey"
About the reciter, Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks
The poem, "Morning on the Desert"
Additional links

About the track, "Morning on the Desert"

"Morning on the Desert" was written by Katherine Fall Pettey, and appears in her 1910 book, Songs from the Sagebrush.

The poem had long been printed and recited—as "Mornin' on the Desert"—with no credit to an author, sometimes said to be "found written on the door of an old cabin in the desert." It was the subject of popular postcards in the 1930s and 1940s. In considering the poem for inclusion on The BAR-D Roundup, we set out to locate the rightful author. The list of holdings at the Fife Folkore Archives' Skaggs Cowboy Poetry Collection gave us a clue. We saw there was a book with a poem with a close title ("Morning" rather than "Mornin'"). We located a copy of the book, and found the poem.


About the poet, Katherine Fall Pettey

We've researched numerous sources looking for more information about Katherine Fall Pettey, and so far have not turned up any biographical information. Her table of contents in Songs from the Sage Brush indicates that some poems are included "courtesy of" a few periodicals: Sunset, Out Door Life, and West Coast.  No biographical information was included in any of the magazines we viewed.


About the reciter, Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks

 

Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks of Sevier, Utah, is known as a respected reciter throughout the West.  She's been an invited performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Colorado Cowboy Poets Gathering, and many other events. She worked for many years as a miner in Utah.

2006 Jerry Brooks photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.


The poem, "Morning on the Desert"

Morning on the Desert

Moring on the desert, and the wind is blowin' free, 
And it's ours jest for the breathin', so let's fill up, you an' me.
No more stuffy cities where you have to pay to breathe— 
Where the helpless, human creatures, throng, and move, and strive and seethe.

Morning on the desert, an' the air is like a wine;
And it seems like all creation has been made for me an' mine.
No house to stop my vision save a neighbor's miles away, 
An' the little 'dobe casa that berlongs to me an' May.

Lonesome? Not a minute: Why I've got these mountains here;
That was put there jest to please me with their blush an' frown an' cheer.
They're waitin' when the summer sun gets too sizzlin' hot— 
An' we jest go campin' in 'em with a pan an' coffee pot.

Morning on the desert! I can smell the sagebrush smoke; 
An' I hate to see it burnin', but the land must sure be broke.
Ain't it jest a pity that wherever man may live, 
He tears up much that's beautiful, that the good God has to give?

"Sagebrush ain't so pretty?" Well, all eyes don't see the same;
Have you ever saw the moonlight turn it to a silv'ry flame?
An' that greasewood thicket yonder—well, it smells jest awful sweet 
When the night wind has been shakin' it; for smells it's hard to beat.

Lonesome? well, I guess not! I've been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert with its stretches wide and brown;
All day through the sagebrush here, the wind is blowin' free. 
An' it's ours jest for the breathin', so let's fill up, you and me.

by Katherine Fall Pettey, from Songs from the Sage Brush, 1910



Additional links

Jerry A. Brooks (Brooksie) feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Katherine Fall Pettey feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Sam Nielson's extensive bibliography concerning "Morning on the Desert" and his page about the poem.

 


Track 21: Gail Steiger, "Hail and Farewell," by Delia Gist Gardner

About the track, "Hail and Farewell"
About the poet,  Delia Gist Gardner
About the reciter, Gail Steiger
The poem, "Hail and Farewell"
Additional links

About the track, "Hail and Farewell"

"Hail and Farewell" is by Delia Gist Gardner (1900-1990).

In the notes to his CD, The Romance of Western Life, Gail Steiger writes:

My grandmother homesteaded a section of ground in 1917. She built a cabin by herself, pretty much, and lived there till she met my grandfather, Gail Gardner. He wrote a bunch of poems, and he'd perform them at the drop of a hat. People were always coming by to be entertained, and Granny probably listened to Papa tell his poems a million times each. She always just smiled and nodded along. We found this one she'd written hidden away in her stuff after she died.

The anthology, Cowgirl Poetry, which includes the poem, includes this note with the poem, "Reflection from a cabin in Skull Valley, Arizona, over an old Indian camping ground, about 1945."


About the poet, Delia Gist Gardner

Delia Gist Gardner staked her own Arizona homestead at age 18. Later she married Gail I. Gardner, the author of "The Sierry Petes" and other poems, and for many years the postmaster of Prescott. A biography at the Sharlot Hall Museum quotes Gail Gardner, "I found a girl who was worth a whole herd of Broadway stars... so before she could get away I married her." "I got breakfast," Gail recalled on tape, "for 40 years, as long as I could see... Just breakfast, you know. I'd get up and know what I wanted. Delia and I lived on the ranch for 11 years. I'd get up and get my own breakfast... her breakfast, too."


About the reciter, Gail Steiger

 

Gail Steiger is the grandson of Delia Gist Gardner, a songwriter, filmmaker, and cowboy who has been the foreman of the remote Spider Ranch in Yavapai County, Arizona since 1995.

His acclaimed Ranch Album film, released in 1988, is often cited as one of the best portrayals of cowboy and ranching life on film. From the producers' description, "Nationally released as an hour-long PBS special, Ranch Album celebrates rough country ranching in Northern Arizona and shows real cowboy life. Season by season, the people of this film describe what they do and why they do it. In the process, they reveal a sense of something more important - a spirit and culture that have survived in the American west for a very long time." 

Gail Steiger is a frequent performer at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering and the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. His music CD, The Romance of Western Life, includes a recitation of his grandmother's poem, "Hail and Farewell."

  

2007 Gail Steiger photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.


The poem, "Hail and Farewell"

 

Hail and Farewell

Think not on my brittle bones mingling with dust, for
These
Are but a handful added
To those gone before.
Think, rather, that on this borrowed hilltop
One lived joyously, and died content.

In this dark soil
I found reminders, saying:
"You, too, will pass; savor for us
The wind and the sun."

From the smoke-blackened earth
I dug
A frail shell bracelet, shaped lovingly, skillfully,
For a brown skinned wrist, now dust.
The broken piece of clay
Was a doll's foot and leg, artfully curved ,
Made for brown-eyed child.

Pottery shards saying:
"Yours for a little time only
Take delight in this, as we did."

The tree will die; the vine wither and rattle in the wind.
For I broke a law of Nature.
I carried the water to the hilltop. Nevertheless,
For those after me there will be
These things I have loved:

Morning sun rays, slanting across the hilltop,
Lighting the great trees in the green meadow.
Wind, the great blue sky,
Peace of the encircling hills
And flaming glow of sunset.

© Delia Gist Gardner, reprinted with permission
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the written permission.


Additional links

Feature about Delia Gist Gardner at CowboyPoetry.com.

Feature about Gail I. Gardner at CowboyPoetry.com.

Feature about Gail Steiger at CowboyPoetry.com.

Delia Gist Gardner biography at the Sharlot Hall Museum Sharlot Hall Museum site


Track 22: Virginia Bennett, "As You Ride"

About the track, "As You Ride"
About the poet, Virginia Bennett
The poem, "As You Ride"
Additional links

About the track, "As You Ride"

"As You Ride" is from Virginia Bennett's recording, Canyon of the Forgotten. The poem is also included in her books, Canyon of the Forgotten and In the Company of Horses.

In her book, In the Company of Horses, she writes about the poem:

Arriving back at the ranch in Winthrop, Washington after participating in the Gathering at Elko one year, I quickly donned my coveralls and woolen cap, and with flashlight in had, went out on the 10 pm shift to check the calving cows. I thought of the closeness of the cowboy poetry family who meet each year in Elko, and while I trudged over the frozen ground, Northern Lights illuminated the sky. I wrote a verse a night for four nights.


About the poet, Virginia Bennett

Virginia Bennett has been performing cowboy poetry since 1988. Regularly featured at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, Virginia has also shared her work at the Smithsonian Institute, and has been featured many times on PBS  and NPR specials. She has been working on Western ranches since 1971, alongside her ranch manager husband, Pete. She started colts for the public for 20 years,  has shown hunter/jumpers, driven draft teams for a living, and drawn cowboy wages on big outfits. She continues to write for many publications as well as reciting original, traditional verse.

Virginia Bennett edited Cowgirl Poetry, One Hundred Years of Ridin' and Rhymin' (Gibbs Smith Publishing); and Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion (Gibbs Smith Publishing), which was printed in celebration of the 20th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Her work is included in many anthologies. She has published volumes of her poetry, including Canyon of the Forgotten, Legacy of the Land, and her newest collection, In the Company of Horses. She also has a recording entitled Canyon of the Forgotten.

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The poem, "As You Ride"

As You Ride


As you ride the high sierras
with your packstring and your pony
and your heart beats strong and lonely,
as the waves upon the sea,
does that eerie pull which drew us
into this moth-like dance,
cause your musings `neath the moonrise
to ever stop and think of me?

Do you ever take my picture
from your saddlebag of mem'ries,
hold it backlit by the campfire,
view its facets in the flame?
And when the coyotes' music
rings out over lonesome ridges
on a starry eve, I wonder,
do they ever sing my name?

When the breezes comb the treetops
of a spruce and aspen forest,
and the stones of unforgotten longing
make you toss upon your bed,
do you lie awake and listen
to wind sweeping through the valley
wishing you could somehow capture
whispered words of what I've said?

I will watch, with glances lingering,
the rimrock trail above my cabin,
and strain to see your silhouette
against a twilight sky.
I will bide, in expectation,
to hear your bit-chains jingling,
and hope to soon see northern lights
reflected in your horse's eye.

© 1994, Virginia Bennett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Additional links

Virginia Bennett feature at CowboyPoetry.com
Cowgirl Poetry feature at CowboyPoetry.com
Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion feature at CowboyPoetry.com

 


Track 23: Janice Gilbertson, "Night Time's Promise"

 

About the track,  "Night Time's Promise"
About the poet, Janice Gilbertson
The poem,  "Night Time's Promise"
Additional links

About the track, "Night Time's Promise"
 

"Night Time's Promise" was recorded for The BAR-D Roundup, Volume Two. It was Janice Gilbertson's "end of the year" poem in 2004; she writes one each year for her friends.


About the poet, Janice Gilbertson

Janice writes, "My husband, Ron, and I live in the beautiful foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the west side of the Salinas Valley in California. I was born and raised here in the valley. I have been horseback since I was four years old. My father ran cattle here all of my growing up years. I began riding in these hills nearly fifty years ago and I am still doing just that. I am a lover of the land and all God's critters and it seems those things become more and more important as my time goes by. I write my poems from past experiences and a darn good imagination. I learn about myself when I write a good poem. It makes me reach deep to find a way to express something that is not only a thought, but also a 'feeling.' At the same time, I love humor, so things that make me smile are worth writing down."

Janice has appeared at gatherings across the West, and has been an featured at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada.

She has a CD of her original poetry, My Western Point of View and is working on a book of her poetry.


The poem, "Night Time's Promise"

Night Time's Promise

Let's ride at night through a blue-shadowed canyon under a night-light sky.
Let's choose a trail that is North star bound under a high moon's watchful eye.

Ride your best horse and I'll ride mine too, and we'll trust them to travel a surefooted trail.
Let's use fancy spurs we've been saving for someday and silver bridle that hangs from a nail.

Let's laugh at old stories sing old cowboy songs and share hopes for time still ahead.
We'll shed daylight worries, sad thoughts and bad thoughts and wrong things that somebody said.

Let's take this ride together, giddy on fancy and freedom and dreams.
Let's shoot for the stars up that silver-lit trail, track promise by the light of moon-beams.

We'll ride a good ride through the night time air t'ward the renewing dawn
With reinchains swingin' and spur rowels jinglin', let's meet the new day head-on.

© 2004, Janice Gilbertson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
 


Additional links

Janice Gilbertson feature at CowboyPoetry.com
 


Track 24:  Rod Nichols, "Talent"

About the track, "Talent"
About the poet, Rod Nichols
The poem, "Talent"
Additional links

About the track, "Talent"

"Talent" is from Rod Nichols' CD, In God's Hands.


About the poet, Rod Nichols

Rod Nichols

Rod Nichols was born in Nacogdoches, Texas. He died December 22, 2007. See a page of tributes to Rod Nichols here.

His poetry has been published in anthologies and publications. His poem, "Heading Out," was included in former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's memoir, The Lazy B.

Rod Nichols has several recordings, including Yep, A Little Bit More of Texas, Cowboy Christmas Mem'ries, and In God's Hands. His book of poetry, A Little Bit of Texas, received the Will Rogers Medallion Award from the Academy of Western Artists. He published two additional books, Drover Diaries and Old Tress 'n Tumbleweeds.

      


The poem, "Talent"

Talent

Lord knows why the boss ever hired him,
he wuzn't what you'd call a hand,
he stayed in our way or in trouble,
not much of a cowboy that man.

I think that the boss would've fired him,
just waited to find the right way,
til after our supper one  evenin'
he took a mouth-organ and played.

It might have been Red River Valley
or Down In The Valley so low
or Kathleen or Come To The Bower,
to this day I don't rightly know.

But that doesn't really much  matter
cause whatever tune that he played,
when that rascal pup started playin'
we all wuz right glad that he'd  stayed.

Have you felt the warm wind on the prairie,
the soft mourning call of a dove,
then you may have some sort of feelin'
for what we wuz all thinkin' of.

The cares of the day soon forgotten,
they vanished without any trace,
there wuzn't an hombre among us
without a big smile on his face.

The Lord gives to each man a talent
to use or to hide as he may,
there wuzn't no doubt 'bout his talent
whenever that feller had played.

Lord grant me just one little favor,
please help me a bit now and then,
to call on just half of such talent
to shine as a light before men.

©  2002, Rod Nichols 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Additional links

Rod Nichols' feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Tributes to Rod Nichols at CowboyPoetry.com

Rod Nichols' web site

 


Track 25: Diane Tribitt, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"

About the track, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"
About the poet, Diane Tribitt
The poem, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"
Additional links

About the track, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"

"Prayer Under the Northern Lights" is from Diane Tribitt's CD, Trail Mix.

Diane comments, "I wrote this while I was reflecting on the fall of 2004, when I was going through a tough time. Only a few months after being widowed I was really needing our calf crop to pull me through financially. People kept telling me to sell the ranch. The more I heard it the more determined I was to fight to keep it. I knew I needed help, and I knew where I needed to turn for it. So I wrote 'Prayer Under The Northern Lights' in a let-go-and-let-God mindset."
 


About the poet, Diane Tribitt

Dianetribitt2007.jpg (18039 bytes)

Diane Tribitt is a rancher from Hillman, Minnesota. She also runs a construction crew that erects grain bins across the United States, and has served on the rodeo circuit for many years as an events secretary. Diane brings this wealth of experience to every poem she writes. But the special feelings that her works evoke is also rooted in a deep spirituality and faith that comes from years of hard work in the open air, the special love of family and friends, and devastating losses that raise the question of what life is really all about.

Diane loves crossing trails with other poets, musicians and audiences as she travels to various cowboy gatherings.

She is a featured poet at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, in 2008.

Diane has two recordings, Ranchin' Rhymes and Trail Mix; a book, Trail Mix; and other publications.

 


The poem, "Prayer Under the Northern Lights"

Prayer Under the Northern Lights

She sat alone out on the fence. Her hat was in her hand.
The Northern Lights surrounded her and danced across the land.
A silent tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t know or care;
For deep in thought she asked the Lord to answer one more prayer.

“Dear Lord, this is the widow Roe from up by Cavalier.
I need another favor’cuz it’s been a real tough year.
Folks say it’s time to sell the ranch and get a place in town;
I hope that you are listenin’ and you won’t let me down.

You see those calves I just weaned off? I’m shippin’ them tonight.
And, Lord, they need to bring enough to pay my debts outright.
The banker and the vet both want their notes paid up in full.
I needed feed, so had to sell my purebred Angus bull.

The kids all need some winter clothes. My gosh, they grow so fast!
Their dentist and their doctor bills were due ‘bout two months past.
I’ve chewed a lot of gravel, Lord…Been dusted and run dry.
I just can’t play a lone hand when the stakes are so darn high.

I know one rain don’t make a crop; But none will finish me.
And, Lord, I’ll ride out if I must, for then it’s meant to be.
I hear the trucks a’comin’, now. Bless each calf that they load;
And watch the market prices as they travel down the road.”

When she stepped down from that old fence she left her troubles there
Knowing God would pick them up to sort through the despair
And as she turned to walk away God blessed the widow Roe
As Northern Lights reflected on her footsteps in the snow

©  2006, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Additional links

Diane Tribitt's feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Diane Tribitt's web site

 


Track 26: Yvonne Hollenbeck, "Nature's Church"

ywhatwouldcd.JPG (8943 bytes)

About the track, "Nature's Church"
About the poet, Yvonne Hollenbeck
The poem, "Nature's Church"
Additional links

About the track, "Nature's Church"

"Nature's Church" is from Yvonne Hollenbeck's award-winning CD, What Would Martha Do?  The track includes background music and vocals by Jean Prescott.


About the poet, Yvonne Hollenbeck

Yvonne Hollenbeck writes about her life as a Clearfield, South Dakota rancher's wife. While helping her husband Glen tend to the cattle and the registered quarter horses they raise, she often finds humor in the everyday duties of being a rancher's wife and quite often writes poetry or stories on the subject. As the daughter of a National Champion Old-Time Fiddler, she grew up in an environment that encouraged her to become an accomplished musician. She's a champion quilter, having won many state and national awards. Her favorite pastime, however, is writing and performing poetry.

A native of Gordon, Nebraska, she likes calling South Dakota cattle country her home. She feels very much a part of the state, as the great-granddaughter of Ben Arnold, a well known old-time Dakota cowhand who came to the state with the Texas trail herds and led quite an adventuresome life as a South Dakota pioneer. 

She has been a featured poet at many gatherings, including the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Her poetry is included in several anthologies and a part of the four-poet CD, Where the Buffalo Rhyme.  She has published four books of poetry: Blossoms Beneath the Snow, a Tribute to the Pioneer Ranchwomen; Where Prairie Flowers Bloom, which received the Will Rogers Medallion Award; and From My Window, which also received the Will Rogers Medallion Award, She has five CDs, My Home on the Range, Prairie Patchwork, and Winter on the Range, What Would Martha Do? and Pieces of the Past.

Yvonne Hollenbeck was named the Top Female Poet in 2005 by the Academy of Western Artists and named the Top Female Poet by the Western Music Association in 2006 and 2007. She's received numerous other awards.

 

      ywhatwouldcd.JPG (8943 bytes)

 


The poem, "Nature's Church"

Nature's Church

Did you ever see the mountains that are covered up with snow,
or see a sun set in the West with purple afterglow?

Have you ever seen a newborn calf a-wobbling to its feet,
and though it's only minutes old it knows just where to eat?

You can't climb upon a saddle horse and cross the prairie sod,
or see an eagle on the wing and not believe in God.

A cowboy doesn't worship in a building made of stone,
but worships with his Maker out with nature all alone.

His church is in the great outdoors; the valley, heaven's gate,
his favorite hymn's a coyote that is calling to its mate.

He makes his own communion as a choir of songbirds sing,
as he cups his hands and drinks the fresh cold water from a spring.

With the budding of the springtime and with autumn's goldenrod
a cowboy lives with nature and the wonders of his God.

So, when you hear a meadowlark that's singing from his perch,
he's inviting you to worship with him there at Nature's Church.

© 2004, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Additional links

Yvonne Hollenbeck's feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Yvonne Hollenbeck's web site

 


Track 27: Jim Thompson, "Out Where the West Begins" (Arthur Chapman)

About the track, "Out Where the West Begins"
About the reciter, "Jim Thompson"
The poem, "Out Where the West Begins"
Additional links

About the track, "Out Where the West Begins"

"Out Where the West Begins" was recorded for The BAR-D Roundup, Volume Two. It appears in Arthur Chapman's 1917 book, Out Where the West Begins.

Perhaps few western poems are more widely known. Legend has it that Arthur Chapman (1873-1935) dashed off the poem for his "Center Shots" column in the Denver Republican when the Western states' governors were arguing about where the West begins, and that he was amazed at the attention it received.

The dust jacket of his 1921 novel, Mystery Ranch, has this to say about the poem, " . . . Today it is perhaps the best-known bit of verse in America. It hangs framed in the office of the Secretary of the Interior at Washington.  It has been quoted in Congress, and printed as campaign material for at least two Governors.  It has crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific, while throughout this country it may be found pinned on walls and pasted in scrapbooks innumerable. . . [his poems] possess a rich Western humor such as has not been heard in American poetry since the passing of Bret Harte."

The poem appeared on postcards and other souvenirs, and was set to music. The poem was "adapted," without attribution, for particular states (see some postcards here) and was parodied (read one here).

   


About the reciter, "Jim Thompson"

Jim Thompson is a two-term State Senator, has been named Sports Broadcaster of the Year three times, is a nationally recognized rodeo announcer, motivational/entertainer presenter and host of top radio shows including Heritage of the American West and Live! with Jim Thompson.

Jim Thompson was inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame on April 14, 2007. The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history. Each year outstanding athletes, coaches and contributors are selected to the Hall of Fame. A total of 177 people have been so honored since the Hall of Fame was established almost 40 years ago. Jim Thompson is only the fourth rodeo cowboy to be included (Casey Tibbs, Clint Johnson and Jim Sutton are the other three). 

2006 Jim Thompson photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.


The poem, "Out Where the West Begins"
 

Out Where the West Begins

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
    That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,
    That’s where the West begins.

Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where friendship’s a little truer,
    That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
    That’s where the West begins;

Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,
    That’s where the West begins;
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And a man makes friends without half trying —
    That’s where the West begins.

From Out where the West Begins, 1917


Additional links

Arthur Chapman feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Live! with Jim Thompson feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Live! with Jim Thompson web site

There's more about "Out Where the West Begins," including other versions, parodies, images, and history at this link.


Track 28: Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry Public Service Announcement, Andy Nelson

About the Public Service Announcement (PSA)
The PSA
About Andy Nelson
Additional links

About the Public Service Announcement (PSA)
 

The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two CD includes a radio Public Service (PSA) Announcement by poet, humorist, and radio host Andy Nelson, who engineered and co-produced the 2006 and 2007 editions of The BAR-D Roundup.

 


The PSA  

This is Andy Nelson, cowboy poet and co-host of the Clear Out West radio show.

Cowboy poetry is the voice of the working West...as alive today as it has been for over 125 years, telling the stories of ranching life.

Learn more about it and Cowboy Poetry Week at CowboyPoetry.com, a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

 

Listen to the 30-second public service announcement from the CD and to an expanded 60-second version.


About Andy Nelson
 

Andy Nelson is a modern day cowboy with a somewhat twisted funny bone. His original writings combined with his unusual facial expressions and body language leave audiences holding their sides and trying to catch their collective breath. Andy Nelson travels the west goofing off for everyone from poetry gatherings, to old west celebrations, to lunch room lady conventions. He is in great demand as an emcee.

Nelson grew up in the small town of Oakley, Idaho, where he spent most of his formative years learning to shoe horses at the hand of his father, Jim. Traveling all over southern Idaho, northern Nevada, and northern Utah plying the farrier trade with his father allowed Andy the best education possible in the cowboy school of hard knocks. Now living in Pinedale, Wyoming with his wife Jaclyn and their children, he no longer makes his living as a farrier, but the cowboy way of life is forever branded on his hide.

Andy Nelson and his brother Jim Nelson  broadcast their weekly radio program, Clear Out West (C. O. W.), throughout the West, bringing "news and entertainment of the cowboy culture" to a wide audience.  

Andy Nelson has three recordings, Full Nelson Shoeing, Harvey's Moon and Land Mines, and a book of his poetry and illustrations, RU Lazy 2?, includes a companion CD. Andy Nelson was named the 2006 Top Male Poet by the  Western Music Association, and he and his brother Jim were named the 2006 Top Disk Jockeys by the  Western Music Association.
 

    anlandminessmj.jpg (14200 bytes) 

 

2007 Andy Nelson photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski; see her gallery of western performers and others here.



Additional links

Audio: The 30-second public service announcement from the CD and an expanded 60-second version.

Andy Nelson feature at CowboyPoetry.com
Clear Out West feature at CowboyPoetry.com

Andy Nelson's web site
Clear Out West web site


 
Additional track descriptions are on page one...


 

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