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Page Seven 

 


 

No More 

No more shall I trade hats with you,
   Or hear your many tales.
No more shall we just shoot the breeze,
   As we toss a couple bales.

No more shall I admire your horse,
   Or tell ya how he's grown.
No more shall you advise me,
   On the things I should have known.

No more shall I borrow your gun,
   And keep it way too long.
No more shall you recite a poem,
   They turned into a song.

No more shall you encourage me,
   To meet your expectation,
No more shall I not understand,
   Your love for this great nation.

No more shall I say later Pa,
   As I walk out the door,
No more shall you just smile and wave,
   No more, No more, No more.

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


"Cotton"
Verlin Marvin Pitt Sr.

 1919-2002 

 

I'll Be Go Ta Hell


The man was old and tired
as he lay there on the bed,
and except for a fringe of silver
there weren't much hair upon his head.

His eyes were closed most all the time,
even when he was awake.
And those hands, those hands that once had seemed so strong
would tremble, twitch, and shake.

My momma was his daughter,
and I'd loved him all my life.
He'd taught me how to ride a horse,
and use a pocket knife.

But now he lay here dyin'
and there was nothin' I could do.
Oh, occasionally we'd talk a bit
whenever he'd come to

And then we'd reminisce
'bout horses we had known,
and folks that both had come and gone,
and the wild oats we both had sewn.

But then one day he told me somethin',
I've since come to understand,
about life and death and dyin'
and livin' best ya can.

He said "Dan boy, I'm eighty-five years old
and I've lived a life complete.
I've owned good stock, and I've rode the best,
and my wife's been true and sweet."

"And I think I've finally figgered out,
this life I've lived so well,
but I've also come ta understand
this thing that we call hell."

"Ya see, in my mind I'm stll eighteen'
I'm young and strong and free.
But I'm trapped inside this old man's hide
with no mobility."

"I still want ta do all those things
that I could used ta do,
but this old man's body can't get it done'
I'm saddle worn clear through."

"So if it's all the same
I think I'll mosey on my way
ta some other spot where this worn out riggin'
won't get in the way"

Well, Grandpa died , and went away
happier bein' free.
And he left his worn out body here
with his love and his memory.

But I remember what he told me,
'bout bein' trapped inside that shell,
and I reckon it wont be too long
'till I'll be "go ta hell."

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


Ken Tanner
1982-1972

My grandfather was Ken Tanner.  He was born January 1892 and died March 1975.  He owned the best livestock in his valley, and was almost as proud of them as of his family.  He was the kind of Grandpa every young boy needed.  I had no need of super heroes when I was growing up.  I had My Grandpa.

 

Definition of a Cowboy
In loving memory of W.H. Cheek ( Papa)

You can tell a cowboy by his looks,
Even read of them in history books.
Rowdy, rugged and tough,
They'll never holler enough is enough.
He rises before the morning sun,
For there is always work to be done.
Saddled up, he'll head on out,
Upon his sturdy old mount.
Ridin the range all day,
He would have it no other way.
A cowboy you can't tame,
It would be a disgrace to his name.
Like a bull out of chute number ten,
His heart would never mend.
A cowboy he will always be,
He's a legend unlike you or me.

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


 

Papa and Me

I was driving by the time I was three,
Sitting high upon my Papa's knee.
We would lie in the bed of his ole truck,
and wish on the stars for luck.
Our own fun we would make,
I even drove his tractor into the lake.
I'm as on'ry as can be,
only because my Papa taught me.
Laughter, teasing and tears,
he taught me to conquer my fears.
Jeans, boots and cowboy hat,
Can you imagine him without that?!
on Whirlwind his horse we rode,
those memories I'll always hold.
He'd threaten to "tan my hide"....a lot
But he never did.. it was never my fault.
In my heart he will always be
The memories of just Papa and Me.

© 6-25-01, Michelle Strickland
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Michelle writes: This poem was written for my Papa on June 25, 2001, two days before he passed away. As he fought for life, the poem was read to him by my mother, as she read the poem a tear ran down his cheek. The poem was then folded and placed back in his hand and he would not let anyone take it out. He
left this world and took this poem to heaven with him. A copy of the poem was read at his memorial service as a tribute.


Papa and Me

 

Never Forgotten

W. H. Cheek
1927 - 2001

 

Read more about Michelle Strickland here.


Grand Daddy's Swing

Route 1, Box 322, Leander, Texas,
Whitestone School District,
A small, clapboard three bedroom house,
With rolled tarpaper simulated brick outside walls.

Where I spent happy, summer days
My grand parents small farm,
Listless days of summer heat,
Cool evenings in Grand Daddy's swing.

He would sit and swing and read dime-store westerns,
Of heroes and villains and damsels in distress,
To the sounds of passing cars, on the Old Jonestown Road,
Just sitting, swinging, and reading.

Front yard inundated with garden flowers,
Purple morning glories, clinging tightly,
To blue Mustang grape vines,
Hovering over red tipped Texas Star pot-plants.

The old cedar tree groaning and creaking,
To his shifting weight, to catch the fading light,
Rusty chains squeaking, pleading for oil,
Whip-o-wills calling, Bob-Whites cherking.

Grand daddy's swing, a place secure,
No monsters under the swing,
Light fading, soft snoring, a resting place,
Grand Ma softly calling to bedtime.

Cars passing, people waving, friends or stranger,
Sharing a moment of time, or a second of space,
Being close to our solitude of soft movement,
Swinging in the front yard, with Grand Daddy and me.

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

Jim Kitchens told us that when he was in school recently where the other students were much younger than he, they teased him about living in the "Dark Ages."  Jim says that inspired him to write this poem, and he explains:  "My Grand Dad had a swing in the front yard of his little farm in Leander Texas. This swing was large enough for two people to sit and swing slowly. Grand Dad and I sat there nearly each evening, he read his 'dime store' westerns and I just listened to the surrounding sounds until we both were sleepy and the went into the house and bed.  No electricity, so when it got dark we went to bed, and got up when it got light."  Jim got his Master's Degree from Sul Ross in 2002.  You can read more about him and his poetry here at the BAR-D.

 

 

College Cowboy

Dad and me had always been real close,
But then college seemed to get right in the way--
I got my degree and started out to teach,
And when we talked, we didn't have much to say.

Time went by, Dad began to show his age--
Started phoning for me to lend him a hand;
Guess he depended on me more since Ma died--
Calling all time of day to upset my plans.

"College cowboy," one morning Dad's voice said,
"Got a mare that's foalin' and need some help."
Said I'd be over--I hung up the phone--
When my bare feet hit that cold floor, I gave a yelp.

Must have been about 5 A.M. that snowy morning
When my car slowly drove down that icy road--
As I pulled up by the barn, Dad was grim;
Standing by the mare, he looked tired and old.

He called me "college cowboy" as a joke,
Since I left the ranch and was out on my own--
He didn't understand then and was hurt
I wasn't ranching and had left him alone.

Now I helped him out whenever I could--
Guess he was getting too old to run the spread--
He'd not admit it and I liked the work,
Using my back and muscle as well as my head.

"They's somethin' not right," my Dad slowly said,
As the mare flailed in the hay and kicked and moaned--
"At least it's not breach," I replied as I pulled hard
On the new colt's tiny hooves and groaned.

But the colt wasn't coming like it should
And my Dad and me knew something was real wrong--
"Have ta use the puller," Dad then said--
We hooked it up, ready to help her along.

"Not too hard or fast," Dad said as I cranked;
"Ya don't want ta tear her up," he declared with dread--
Finally, the colt came loose from the womb,
But by the smell we both knew it was long dead.

The mare trembled hard--and looked back at her colt
As we then sadly watched the bloody display--
Not only had we lost a colt to death--
We'd have to end the injured mare's life that day.

The snow in the field turned to a pastel pink
As I helped Dad clean up that hopeless mess;
I then washed up and headed into town
To get ready to give my college students a test.

It seems nature has a way of using death
To right what's gotten twisted in the wrong ways--
I found myself spending more time on the ranch
Alongside my Dad in his dwindling days.

Dad never called me "college cowboy" again--
And then he passed away last year in late fall;
The ranch is now mine, I rent out the land--
But each morning, I keep half-expecting Dad to call.

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

 

Glen Enloe adds that the inspiration for this poem came from his pard Mark Sheel, who "wrote a fine short story about him and his dad helpin' with the birth of a calf."  Mark worked with Glen on the poem, and Glen changed the calf to a colt and introduced the theme about communication that was closer to his own experience.


Big Red Lowell

He had dark copper hair, oil-slicked straight back,
A red, clean-shaven face rock hard and all stern--
A man you respected that gave you no slack,
The kind of man you trusted without concern.

His name was Wesley, but we called him Big Red,
Stood six-foot four inches, near three hundred pound.
He was stronger than most men I heard it once said--
He could win bets lifting a horse up off the ground.

He tried to teach me right and keep me from bad
As I gave it my best, learning cowboy ways--
And sure enough I was proud to call him Dad,
Though I wasn't up to snuff on rough riding days.

Seems every horse I mounted bucked me high,
No matter just how gentle or old it be--
And each cow I herded, ran off on the sly,
Seemed like that cowboy pride I'd just never see.

Well, I suppose at some point Big Red gave up;
Realizing his ranching life wasn't my real style.
And though I sensed disappointment with his pup,
I didn't want to admit it for awhile.

Then the two of us alone on the trail one day
Stopped atop a hill--and Big Red, who seldom spoke,
Said, "Son, each of us has ta find his own way."
And with those simple words, it seemed I awoke.

Then I knew I wasn't cut out to ride the West
And tend the cow herds, as was my father's skill--
You have to be true to yourself and do your best
With whatever talents the good Lord has willed.

So I put words on paper as seemed my art
And left the ranch and home of Big Red Lowell--
Yet when he died from sickness to his old heart,
It was like I'd lost a piece of my very soul.

And though the cowboy life wasn't in me then,
It's now part of these words I pen on this night--
I think back to my Dad and remember when,
We made our own decisions, and we both were right.

© 2003, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Glen Enloe's poetry here at the BAR-D.

 

 

Father's Boots

I like to wear my father's boots
   and act just like him too;
'cause he is just the nicest guy
   a feller ever knew.
 
He lets me go outside with him
   and help him do the chores;
he's showed me how to swing a loop
   and ride my little horse.
 
I hope when I am all grown up
   his boots will fit me then;
'cause if I am a father too
  I'd like to be like him!
 
© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Glen Hollenbeck in 1945 -- in his dad's boots
Reprinted with permission from 
Where Prairie Flowers Bloom
by Yvonne Hollenbeck, 2002


The Fiddler

 

In the fall of 1997, I was asked to entertain at a Cowboy Poetry Gathering
at Devils Tower.  I took my dad, Harry Hanson of Gordon, Nebraska (a many-
times Champion Old Time Fiddler) with me to help entertain the folks.  I
wrote this poem to introduce him:


There's been lots of stories 'bout days long ago,
of cowboys and roundups and such;
and one thing we've learned from those stories of old
is folks then were rugged and tough.

We know that the life on those big cattle drives
was hard on those men on the trail;
but they ended each day in their own special way
with good entertainment, they'd tell.

They claim they would gather 'round the campfire
as some cowboy strummed a guitar;
they'd sing songs of women and horses and wars
and fights they had won in a bar.

But the best entertainment them cowboys would get
was when one to the wagon would fetch
a fiddle and bow, and every boot toe
would start tapping, and 'twas a sure bet

that you'd hear lots of hoe-downs and waltzes and songs
that would take their minds back to their home;
some guys would get up and jig 'round the fire
while others would sit all alone

just remembering the time when a pretty young gal
was a-dancin' with him way back home,
while a fiddler played all those tunes of the day
as they danced to the Strawberry Roan.

So I brought this here fiddler for you folks to hear
some songs that came up on the trail.
It's a story that no one can write in a poem
and no writer of stories can tell.

 

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

 

 

Yvonne had told us previously about her father, whose music is featured on her CD, My Home on the Range, which was named the Academy of Western Artists' Best Poetry CD in 2003:

 

He's won over 200 first place trophies at contests in the past and won the National Championship at Weiser, Idaho, in 1967.  He was born in a sod house in a Norwegian settlement in northern South Dakota (real near the North Dakota border) where he was raised.  He started playing for house dances when he was 7 years old and would stand on a chair because he was so small, and from what I was told many times by older relatives and neighbors, was as good or better than any of the men fiddlers.  He's the kindest, sweetest person the sun ever shown on and we have had a lifetime of fun together.  He taught me to chord with him when I was little (he says I was 4) and we've spent many hours making music together.

 

This photo is from Spring, 2009, of Harry Hanson, age 94:

 

She sent us the photos above and this one:

 

 

and wrote that it was taken .... 

 

"...10 years ago on Mother's Day (hence, the blooming lilacs in the background). He hasn't aged a bit since then, but I certainly have. He will be 90 on August 23, 2004 and stands up straight (he's a little over 6'), doesn't have an once of fat on his body, and his fingers are as nimble as a youngster's. He still plays that fiddle so well and as the cowboy poet and musical entertainer, Howard Parker says: 'Harry Hanson has the keenest knowledge of old-time tunes of anyone I know. If you want to know how a tune goes, he knows it and knows it right.'"

Read more of Yvonne Hollenbeck's poetry here at the BAR-D.

 

Daddy and Me 

This story is about so much love,
The tears run down my face.
It's hard for me to tell it,
So I'll try to keep my place.

It was the year of '86,
Around Thanksgiving time.
Bill's folks and I had never met,
We thought that it was time.

We were living near L.A.
And they were north 800 miles.
We drove our bitchin' '98,
Through mountain pass and stiles.

We drove for almost all the day,
And clean into the night.
We ran through thunder, fog, and rain,
And finally saw the light.

We entered through the back door
Mom met us at that place,
She took my face between her hands,
And stared into my face.

I gave her back her look for look,
And she nod her head.
It was as if she saw in me
As if I had been read.

When I met Dad it was as if
He knew of me already.
He smiled and then he took my hand,
His look was very steady.

Now Mom is pretty strong,
And Dad kept a steady pace.
But I kind of got the feeling.
He could keep her in her place.

Daddy used to go and hide out
In his step van in the yard.
To get away from all the noise,
Which for him was very hard.

I did the chores assigned to me,
But when they all were through,
I'd go and seek ole Daddy out
For some whiskey or some brew.

Sometimes we'd sit there in the dark
In silence we would talk.
The peace and calm were shattered
By someone coming down the walk.

One day we went out to the springs,
And to the Glory Hole.
Dad thought a soak in sulphured warmth
Would ease his troubled soul.

We were left inside the car alone
When Dad gave me his blessing
He said he didn't think he'd last
'Til summer to go messing.

He said,"I like you pretty well,
and you'll fit this bunch real fine."
The tears sprung up into my eyes,
'Cause Dad was out of time.

A month later Dad was gone
Up north again we came
Much against Mom's wishes
As the weather was the same.

Having said good-bye to Daddy
We headed back as planned.
I felt that I was lucky
To have met this mighty man.

The weather chased us through the trip
It threatened really bad,
We hadn't any money
But a credit card we had.

We got close into Bishop
On the Nevada side,
The weather started clearing
And the sun began to slide.

I looked up in the silvery clouds
To offer up a prayer
I jumped and beckoned Bill to look
At what was written there.

It was like Dad had guided us
Although the storm got close
He led us both to safety
'Cause the clouds said,"Adios"!

We got on into Bishop
And the headlights went clean out.
We stopped at a gas station
Got them fixed. but had a doubt.

And sure enough a few more miles
When we got to the junction
The car went dead, refused to run,
The engine wouldn't function.

Bill got so mad, he left the car
And went into the trunk
He raised the hood and with a bar
Beat that engine with a thunk.

He got inside and cranked it
And she started the first pop
Just like nothin' happened
And she ran just like a top.

Bill looked at me, I looked at him
And we headed on for home.
Dad never really left us
We were never on our own.

There have been a couple  times
I've sought Daddy's intervention
He's never ever failed me
And though this defies convention.

There was a bond between us two
That never will be broken
With that patriarchal blessing
And the love that is its token

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

 

Debbie Burdic's "Tales of the Burdics" come from the lives of her husband's family.  She told us that this poem was written in honor of her father-in-law on the first anniversary of his death.  She says "He was a great story-teller and he was the reason I started to write."

You can read more of Debbie Burdic's poetry here at the BAR-D.

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

 

Hand on the Wheel

There I was
Driving
The old red pick-up truck
With peeling paint
And dented fender
Dusty seats and
Cluttered dashboard
Driving
‘Round the field
On the bank
Of the swift-flowing river
We were tucked in
Underneath vertical hills
Of the rugged river canyon
Out of sight
Of the big ranch house
Where Mama was cooking supper
I drove
All by myself
As the sun was going down
Behind the canyon walls
While Dad pitched hay out the back
Of the flat bed
Me, so small in a big cowboy hat
That I had to push it back
Out of my eyes
To see
Had to sit up high on my knees
To reach
That big ol’ steering wheel
And look out the windshield
Just barely
With the gear stuck in neutral
Old truck going slow
Shaking along, inching forward
Round and round the field
In a spiral
Of fragrant alfalfa
Calves bawling, cattle mooing
Ambling towards us
I drove
With tiny hands on that big wheel
So slowly
Round and round
Till all the cows had been fed
Every last one
And a day’s work had been done

© 2008, Sharon S. Brown
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Sharon told us: "I originally wrote this poem for my dad, Don Fouste, on Father's Day in 1997, and have revised it since then. I was living in southern Florida at the time, and he in my hometown in Washington State, a million miles away. Because of the distance, I wasn't able to spend that holiday with him, so I wrote him this poem instead. I didn't know at the time that I had only one more shot at Father's Day with him until his crossing to the Other Side.

"'Hand on the Wheel' captures a warm memory of spending time with my dad on the cattle ranch where I spent my early childhood. Our ranch was named Rogersburg, and you can read more about it in my bio. I was under the age of 5 in this 'snapshot.' Such an idyllic childhood I had in those early years on the ranch. A daydreamer's delight."

 

Read Sharon Brown's poetry here.


Grampa Is A Feisty Sort

Grampa is a feisty sort:
He'd be the first to tell ya so.
Then he'd cuss and yell and snort
And prob'ly tell ya where to go!

He rode the bulls at rodeos
And a county fair, or two.
To this day, nobody knows
Exactly who was throwin' who!

Once I saw ol' Gramps get drunk
And shoot his foot (not once, but twice)
When he was aimin' for a skunk:
He didn't sound or smell too nice!

When his life of worldly cares
Finds him buried, 'neath the clover,
Satan hopes he heads Upstairs:
In Hell, who knows?  He might take over!

© 2003, Bruce Satta
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

You can read more of Bruce Satta's poetry here at the BAR-D.

 

Two Wolves

When I was just a little boy
Of all the cowboy stories
I'll always remember Grandpa's
Round the campfire's glory

The light would dance its amber glow
As the sun was going down
The moon on high in the August sky
By the campfire miles from town.

The tales he told bout the old days
And stories of the west
Made us laugh and cry with wonder
At the ones he told the best

But I'll never forget this one
I know this story's true
"Two Wolves" he called it proudly
I'll share this tale with you

His voice was calm and quiet,
Like a whisper in the wind
He told of Wolves in the mountains
And Wolves we had within

He said there's two Wolves inside of him
 Both fighting hard to win
One Wolf is mean and evil
 Full of hate'n greed, and sin

The other wolf is good, and fights for peace,
Happiness, friendship, kindness, and love
All the things we hold dear
With guidance from above

He said two wolves are in all of us
That includes both you and me
Each Wolf fighting for their cause
It's not so hard to see

Well, I thought about his story
Then with a big Ol' Grin
I looked at Grandpa straight away
And ask which one will win?

He paused for just a moment
 His advice I'll always heed
He said the answer's simple son
It's the one you feed

© 2003, R. L. Brinegar 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

You can read more of Ron Brinegar's poetry here at the BAR-D.

 

Daddy Was a Good One

Our daddy sure was a good one,
of that there ain't no doubt.
But tellin' folks that he loved 'em,
was somethin' he could not get out.

When I was just a youngster,
he's my hero, as you might guess.
Though he'd straighten me out in a minute,
just as quickly he would bless.

My daddy always worked real hard,
and he often was in pain.
But always he had time for me,
and he never did complain.

He could tell which tree a squirrel lived in,
just by lookin' at a leaf.
When Grammaw died I saw him cry,
from a heart that was filled with grief.

And, he told us boys that ladies
was a gift from God to man.
And treatin' them with great respect
was part of God's own plan.

My daddy showed his love for us
in a thousand different ways.
Though he wasn't much for talkin',
he was always quick to praise.

The last time that I saw my dad,
he was sick and in his bed.
I told him that I loved him then,
and "Back atcha," is what he said.

Yeah, our daddy was a good one,
of that there ain't no doubt.
But tellin' folks that he loved 'em,
was somethin' he could not get out.

© 2014, Hal Swift
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Hal comments, "He was an Indiana farm boy, whose father was a country carpenter. He emulated his father in many ways, including his difficulty in expressing his love for family. This pretty much describes, not only my father, but his father, too." Hal also included a photo:

Read more of Hal Swift's poetry here.

 

 

 

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