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CHRISTINE GILLETTE BENRUD
Coaldale, Colorado
About Christine Gillette Benrud

 

 

 

The Last Cowboy

More'n seventy years of ranchin' since he started as a kid,
chasin' cow 'n workin' hard was all he ever did.
He'd strung a thousand mile of fence 'n mended more'n that,
a lifetime of smiles n' memories lay beneath the cowboy's hat.

His tan leather face now crinkled at the thought of his ol' friend,
a man that taught 'im all he knew, the tough but gentle Ben.
They'd broke a hunnered horses so that any man could ride,
the day Ben let 'im shoot a bear 'n learned 'im how to tan the hide.

That time the roan had throwed 'im, bustin' his leg 'n arm,
seemed Ben came out of nowhere to protect 'im from further harm.
He'd set his limbs with aspen sticks secured with balin' wire,
'n give 'im his first taste of whiskey, warm in front of the fire.

Those early snows back in '32', searchin' for stranded cow,
even though they damn near froze to death, he'd give anything to be there now.
Ol' Ben had cut 'em shelter 'n butchered one of the steers,
the smell of the steak 'n the campfire drifted in across the years.

Although his vision was fadin', he could still make out Summit rock,
where ol' Ben stored survival gear, their place to rest 'n talk.
A million images showed themselves behind a tear filled eye,
he cleared his throat 'n rolled a smoke; too damned old to cry.

So he rode his horse to Ben's cabin down by the river stream,
a ghost voice said:   C'mon in kid!,    Jus' an ol' man's dream.
He turned his dunny back toward home 'cause it was gettin' late,
'n there wasn't any reason now, but out of habit, he closed the gate.

2006, Christine Gillette Benrud
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Christie told us that the her poem was inspired by her aging husband, "who had broken his back in a ranching accident and by all aging ranch folks whose spirit and memories are young and free."


Bull Fright

The bull was kickin' 'n slammin' the chute
As I slowly pulled on my cowgirl boots.
Parta' me looked for a place to hide
Yet prayin' for only a one second ride.

That bull was ugly 'n downright mean
With the biggest ol' hump I ever seen.
He glared at me with an evil eye
My name was called 'n I sure thought I'd die.

He sudden like got all quiet 'n still
Like a moment of silence before the kill.
I somehow climbed atop the gate
'N straddled the demon who'd choose my fate.

Lacin' my shakin' hand to the rope
Jus' stayin' alive was my only hope.
A snortin' 'n gruntin' he lowered his head
In jus' a few seconds I'll prolly be dead.

I swallered real hard 'n sucked a breath
Maybe my last before my death.
Now what the Hell!  He turned around
The splinterin' wood made a loud crackin' sound.

Backwards he twisted outa that hole
Torqued a high dive 'n started to roll.
Beneath me the ground was comin' up fast
I uttered a word, it'd sure be my last.

But suddenly now I was flipped up right
I wondered how I could hang so tight.
OH GOD! I was livin' my greatest fear
My hand was caught in the riggin' gear.

Buckin' 'n bellerin' he whirled again
The force of a hoof caught me in the chin.
He flung me about with a snap 'n a jerk
That crazy bull had done gone berserk.

The clowns came a runnin' to free my arm
Knowin' that bull could do great harm.
One grabbed his tail, the other his ear
So I could cut loose 'n get outa here.

The crowd watched the bull 'n the clowns in suspense
As I hightailed it fast 'n ran for the fence.
With a vaultin' leap I grabbed the top rail
That roarin' big devil was on my tail!

He shook his horns in a menacin' threat
As if he weren't quite done with me yet.
Then he stormed by the fans livin' up to his name
Tornado really loves this game.

The announcer was yellin' somethin' real loud
"N I feared what I heard even over the crowd.
Now I was startin' to feel real sick
He weren't never cinched nor buzzed with the stick.

My mouth hung open in absolute shock
Tornado got out ahead of the clock.
He looked at me with what seemed like a grin
Dang! I gotta ride that beast all over again!

2007, Christine Gillette Benrud
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Christine told us: When I was fourteen years old, in the sixties, I was the only girl in the rodeo in Paola, Kansas. I rode my horse Little Joe in barrel racing but I always wanted to ride a bull. Fortunately, in hindsight, my parents' wouldn't allow me to do that.  The power of a bull has always fascinated me as they are magnificent creatures. I watch bullriding on television and marvel at the tenacity of bull and rider alike. Thankfully, just writing my poem Bull Fright has satisfied that crazy old dream of actually riding one of those powerful beasts. My hat is off to all of you who have the guts to straddle the demon who can choose your fate.

 

About Christine Gillette Benrud:

Christie grew up in Paola, Kansas and as a teenager rode her horse Little Joe in local rodeos and in the American Royal  She moved to Prescott, Arizona and raised her son Mitch (who starred as Jesse James in a PBS special in February 2006). She has herded bulls on the Perkins Ranch near Jerome, Arizona and was a trail guide for Donnelly Stables in the Superstition Mountains. She moved to Coaldale, Colorado in 1998 and trained
endurance horses for many years for Kismet Arabians in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.  She rode a 3 day, 150 mile endurance ride on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and also performed her poetry there.

Christie was an invited poet to the 1999 Western Heritage Festival in Las Vegas and has performed at the Awards Banquet of the Colfax Coal Rush endurance ride in Raton, New Mexico.  She has also performed in Salida and Howard, Colorado.

Christie and her husband Ben were featured in Darrell Arnold's Cowboy Magazine in the fall 1995 issue under 'cowboy news'.  They had stopped by La Veta, Colorado on their way back from Tioga, Texas where Ben had picked up his new saddle that Hayden Petrie had made for him. Ben was a mule wrangler and guide on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at that time.     

Christie has written a book of poems called Poetry of the West, with most of them being inspired by her beloved Arizona life. She has also written and designed "Flower Fantasy," 50 unique greeting cards with a
different flower on each and a 4 line poem depicting that particular flower.

Christie can be reached at christie@davisp.com  or by writing to her at: P. O. Box 172, Coaldale, Colorado 81222.

 

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