Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

Anderson, California
About Craig Claver



Grandad's Summer School

Way up yonder on the mountain, where that patch of Aspen grows,
The grass is deep and green there, there's a little spring that flows—
I first saw it with my grandad, that was back in '65,
Grandad ran some cows here, when he was still alive.
I'd spend my summers on his ranch, couldn't wait for school to end,
'Cause grandad had an old bay horse, an he was my best friend.
Most times he'd barely break a trot, 'less I kicked him really hard—
Then he'd just look back at me like, "take it easy, pard!"
We move his herd from range to range, sometimes we'd stay out all night,
And grandad would tells us stories there beside the campfire light.
Then with the dawn we'd saddle up, while the air was sweet and cool—
You know, I cherished every moment of my grandad's summer school.
By June the calves were getting fat, and most the real hard work was done,
When you're only ten years old cowboyin's lots of fun!
But it seemed like'd I'd just got there when it was time for me to go,
Summers just went way too fast, and winters too darn slow.
And my grandad, he's been gone now—well it's been quite a few years,
But I remember clearly that I shed my share of tears.
And all those lesson's grandad taught me, I remember still—
Just like that patch of aspens growing high upon the hill.
You know, I miss grandad's summer school and all those tests he helped me pass,
'Cause when grandad was my teacher, "cowboy" was my favorite class.

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


The Bee

My friend called me up and said he needed a hand,
Had a truckload of calves that he needed to brand,
"Not too many," he said, "just a hundred or so...
Some later winter stuff down from north Idaho."

It was late in the spring, it was well into May—
But I told him that I could help for a day.
Now there'd be five of us mounted, but he said figure just four,
'Cause Tom's bringing a mare that's never branded before.

Now Tom's a fair hand, but I'll question the course,
Of a man come to brand up on a green horse.
But a horse needs to learn, and I reckon it's true,
It's not how they look, but it's how good they do.
So we'd give her a chance, this mare that he brought,
'Cause we still had a hundred calves to be caught.

Now left on the ground we had Jim, Bill and Stan—
Stan gave 'em vaccine while Jim ran the brand,
But Bill was the steadiest hand with a knife,
So the bull calves were his job, and he'd change them for life.
Now the fruits of his labors we gather until
The branding was over for the barbecue grill.

But the arena was dusty, because the weather was hot,
And meat bees were swarming around the old oyster pot.
In no time at all, on lighted on Bill—
And proceeded to give him an unexpected thrill.

Now Bill went to swinging with all of his might,
But the bee would fly left as Bill would swing right.
So to increase his odds of smashing him flat,
Bill started swinging his old Stetson hat!

But that bee was still giving Bill the slip,
In no time at all ol' Bill lost his grip,
His hat went sailing out through the air,
Plumb smack in the face of Tom's little green mare.

Now Tom's fairly large, and the mare sort of small,
So the distance she pitched him was surprising to us all.
As rodeos go, I've seen quite a few,
And fair buckin' horses a good number too—
But to this day, one thing I'll swear,
Is that none of them bucked like that little green mare.

She'd crow-hop and then sunfish, and come down on all four,
Then go up again just to show us some more.
While Tom lay on the ground, moaning like he was dyin',
But we were laughing so hard we were pretty near cryin'.

Well that mare tired out in a minute or so—
But she sure as heck gave us all a good show.
Tom got back to his feet and he didn't kill Bill,
Who convinced him the bee was the one he should kill.

Then after the branding we drank a few beers,
And recalled the good wrecks of the previous years.
I learned me a couple of good lessons that day—
Like don't take a green horse to a branding in May.
But the lesson I learned more important than that,
Is no matter what happens—hang on to your hat!

© 2001, Craig Claver
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


About Craig Claver:

Born and reared in Northern California, Craig Claver is a partner in C & L Livestock in Cottonwood, CA. Craig and his wife Laurie raise registered Brangus cattle, AQHA and APHA horses, and C & L Livestock ships horses and cattle interstate. Craig has worked cattle on ranches and at the sale yard in Cottonwood, and started writing his original cowboy poetry in the late 1980s.

Craig has performed at the Red Bluff Cowboy Poetry gathering during the Red Bluff Roundup for many years, and has been a featured performer at other gatherings including the Idaho State Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nampa, Idaho. Much of the inspiration for his poetry comes from the cattle gatherings and brandings that take place in the spring and fall of each year, and from living and working with cattle and horses.



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