Folks' Poems

Back to Lariat Laureate Contest
Back on home
Back to the list of Folks' Poems

Nashville, Tennessee

About Diane Durrill

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


Unique Mule for Sale

Ol' Toot had finally bit the dust at our house, ya might say.
She was in the Stock Review as "For Sale" the very next day.
The ad read "Unique Mule" and "Absolutely One of a Kind."
The purchase of ol' Toot would surely be one chance in a lifetime.

I didn't know what Dad intended to say if people asked why the mule is unique.
How could he say, "I'm gonna kill this mule in the time it takes to blink."
The next day we got some calls on Toot and Dad sure raved and raved.
Ya'd never know he didn't like her much, his wrath he'd saved and saved.

New shoes had to be on ol' Toot when buyers came the next few days.
It hadn't ever been an easy chore, from her first pair she was crazed.
As Dad got out the shoes and nails, to him this was quite a craft.
The horses lined up along the fence and almost seemed to laugh.

They knew they were in store for entertainment as Dad bridled up ol' Toot.
He even holstered up his gun, though never intended to shoot.
I watched my Dad with anticipation, as he looked her in the eye.
"Now Toot, this is the very last time, and I don't want you to die."

I think Toot must have known that day my Dad was at the end.
She stood so still and lifted each leg right into his hand.
They had come to an understanding that day after all this time.
All four done, she turned, and walked away as if she didn't mind.

That afternoon came way too fast as the truck sped up the lane.
Dad and the buyer went to see ol' Toot, the man limped and used a cane.
My Dad stood and looked at Toot and said leaning on the fence rail,
"Sorry Mister, you drove all this way, this mule's not for sale."

Diane Durrill
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Grandpa's Shrine

The old guitar, in a battered case, held a special place for him.
It was a shrine to yesterday and memories growing dim.
I watched my grandpa pick it up as if it were made of gold.
And from his weary lips came songs of stories never told.

He always looked at it and touched it before he began to play.
A ritual never forgotten done in such a gentle way.
It brought a smile to his lips as he began to sing.
Who'd think there were such memories stored up in that old thing.

He sang of cowboys, movin' on from one place to another.
Of cattle rides and moonlit nights, and, of course, he sang of mother.
His crooked fingers strummed out tunes as he sang song after song.
I used to think he made them up as he went along.

I sat for hours at his knee and listened so content.
For every word from that quivering voice I knew he really meant.
He seemed so far away as he sang and played each tune.
I wasn't sure sometimes he knew I was in the room.

It was a time of peace for him and as he looked into my eyes.
He said , "This will be your s someday and you must realize.
The value of the little things just like this piece of wood.
You can't replace with somethin' new and you never should."

He was teaching me to know him and the life he'd lived so proud.
He could never be remembered as a face just in the crowd.
He had an inner spirit I now know and understand.
I wish I would have told him then he was the greatest man.

He's passed on now and, yes, I have kept that old guitar.
It sits in its battered case though from me never very far.
I pick it up from time to time, look at it and touch it so gently.
Who knew one day it would become a shrine to him for me.

Diane Durrill
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Last Big Ride

They were two of a kind in most every way.
Ridin', ropin' , and sharin' each day.
Strummin' guitars, singin' off key,
Rovin' the west, forever pardners to be.

They knew that God created these mountains they would roam.
Anywhere they hung their hats quite quickly became home.
The stars watched overhead at night, the sun rose to light the day.
As these two cowboys poked along each trail that led the way.

They knew no fear of critters that might be close around.
They respected each other's space upon this mighty ground.
Fulfilling each others needs taking only what was required.
Laid on the ground, a small distance apart, when they would get tired.

Stoppin' by to say "hello" in each town along the way.
Hit the saloon on main street  for a few hands of poker to play.
Told their tales to local folks who listened with great zeal.
Drank a beer, then on their way, after a full meal.

They never did linger in one place very long.
Growing roots for them was a signal to be gone.
Always feared their welcome someday would be worn.
And this travelin' life was meant for them since the day that they were born.

Mountain men and native tribes they traded for supplies.
Panned for gold, though never rich, they were in each other's eyes.
Givin' up the family life to live the great outdoors.
It was simple, no attachments, and no inner wars.

These two old cowboys were growin' old through the passing years.
They could not withstand the cold of night and the winds brought only tears.
Ten hours in the saddle, they could no longer take.
The boots came off, the groans began, as their feet went in the lake.

The ramblin' days of these two old boys were coming to an end.
But they alone could tell you the meaning of a trusted friend.
They settled in Montana somewhere along the great divide.
And began a new way of life, they called their last big ride.

Diane Durrill
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Each Line

Each line on this cowboy's face told of years and years of toil.
One by one, I was sure, well-earned by working this earth's soil.
Every wrinkle looked like it was placed there by a loving hand.
I read in his face his love of his country and his land.

His horse was brushed and fed and ready for the night.
This would be the first face he would see in the morning light.
His saddle was his pillow, a thin blanket to keep warm.
His trusty dog lay by his side keeping him from harm.

As I sat across the campfire from him and looked into his eyes,
I saw a weary, lonely man that brought a tear to mine.
The hands that held that old guitar were roughened by the sun.
His legs were bowed, he had a limp, that rodeo had surely done.

I couldn't help but tell him how he had touched me so.
The stories he must have locked inside were ones I yearned to know.
I begged him to share his life with me, one line at a time.
He looked at me like I was nuts and said, "I'm only 29!"

Diane Durrill
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



About Diane Durrill

I'm just a little girl from Idaho all growed up and trying to focus on the good in life.  My travels around this great country have given me the opportunity to explore and appreciate a variety of God's scenery.  I love the mountains, the ocean and the desert. Wishing not to leave these wondrous places behind, I have written prose and poetry about them and gathered mementos along the way; maybe a rock, a seashell or a bit of sand poured into an old bottle.  I am not a renowned poet or artist by any definition, I just write what I feel.  I am big on feelings.  At first view in my youth, I did not comprehend the big picture.  As I have now reached my so-called mid-life years, my sight has turned from out to in.  I believe I have been blessed with that extraordinary country spirit.


Passage Publishing Company




 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form. is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

Site copyright information