CowboyPoetry.com    Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch


photo by Faust Photography

of Hillman, Minnesota

Lariat Laureate

recognized for her poem, "Half the Hand"

 

About Diane Tribitt:

Diane Tribitt, Minnesota's Cowgirl Poet, 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.

Diane was a featured poet at the 24th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Her poetry is featured on the 2007 edition of The BAR-D Roundup. She was the Senior Executive Editor of I.M. Cowgirl magazine and is the creator of CowboyLegacy.org.

You can email Diane Tribitt and visit her web site, www.cowgirlpoet.com.


 

We asked Diane why she writes Cowboy Poetry and she responded:

Poetry is the window to the heart and soul of a poet. I write with passion and intensity, determined to help someone know something, or to understand something, or to feel something…that they wouldn’t have otherwise known or understood or felt…especially when it comes to the cowboy way of life. 

Cowboying is about battling every imaginable obstacle out there to maintain that position. It’s about surviving the droughts, blizzards, diseases, floods, and heck: even the banker! It’s about living and working with God.  It’s about raising your children to know, understand, and appreciate this lifestyle. It’s about getting up every night to check on first calf heifers and feeding cattle in wind chills of -50°. It’s about round-ups and roping the renegades.  It’s about the perils and mishaps; the romance and love. It’s about the horses and the cow dogs. But mostly, it’s all about the cowboys and cowgirls who keep it all alive.  

 

This is Diane Tribitt's's winning poem:

Half the Hand

I gazed upon my mother’s hands
That rivaled those of any man’s
                         Undoubtful
The hands that taught me wrong from right
Enfolding mine to pray at night
                         Devoutful

Those callused hands told voiceless tales
Of ranchin’ life and weary trails
                        They’ve weathered
Kept wild mustangs lizzy-tied
Until their devils deep inside
                        Were tethered

They’ve throw’d down calves in Satan’s lair
While turnin’ hide and singen’ hair
                       Transcended
They’ve strung up miles o’ fencin’ wire
And under stars a kindled fire
                       They’ve tended

They’ve punched out dough and put up chow
Pulled calves out of the rankest cow
                       And branded
They’ve scattered dirt on broken sod
When those she loved rode off as God
                       Commanded

And should God let me live to be
As tough as her I guarantee
                       I’d ruther
But if He don’t, I’ll understand
Just so He makes me half the hand
                       As mother…

© 2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Diane told us about her inspiration for this poem: 

Diane told us this poem was written with with Georgie Sicking, well-loved octogenarian poet and cowboy—the term Georgie prefers—in mind.

In a 1992 interview in American Folk's Biscuits and Gravy Quarterly, Georgie talked to interviewer Jack Lamb about being a woman who wanted to be a cowboy and a mother:

...I've spent a lifetime of doin' things that couldn't be done. And yet I look at it now, and it's been worth while. I feel like I've lived, I haven't just existed. I had women tell me, "you'll never find anyone that will marry a cowboy like you, and someday you'll want kids and you won't be able to because you'll be in a wheelchair from your work." It was cruel, but the friction they gave me made me more determined to be straight and be somebody.

It's been a tremendous fight, but I know I have enjoyed the best of two worlds. I know what it is to rope a wild mustang and have him hit the end of the rope, and I know what it is to rock a baby. I think I've truly lived...


Georgie Sicking, in a photo taken
 at a carnival while on her honeymoon

Georgie is the subject of an inspiring and award-winning documentary, Ridin' & Rhymin', and the author of several poetry collections. Her poem about "mustanging," "The Greatest Sport," is included in the 2006 and 2008 editions of The BAR-D Roundup. Read some of her poetry and more about her, here.

Diane continues about her inspiration for the poem:

I had only met Georgie once at the time, at a gathering in Arvada...and was mesmerized by her. After fencing one day I was whining about my hands to Yvonne Hollenbeck. She chuckled and said it sounded like a poem coming on.

Later I thought about Georgie, and I remembered her hands. I thought about all the things those hands had done—as a woman, a horseman, a cowboy, a mother, a widow. I just plain admire her. I admire what she stands for. I admire what she’s done in her life. I thought about how she lived, and I thought about her children...She probably has no idea of how inspiring she is to us. She has earned every right to be called a cowboy, and she is one of the best ever.

 

 

Previously, Diane Tribitt was named one of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up

Recognized for her poem, "Upgrading the Herd"

 

Upgrading the Herd

I rode through the herd and decided the ranch was sure need'n a change.
My cows were ready for wheelchairs and my calf crop looked just as strange.

The daddy's of those acorn calves were mostly tankers at the best;
Just some high fallootin' eaters that couldn't pass a semen test.

I needed some education on genetics and EPDs;
So I asked our local Beef Team to teach me 'bout pedigrees.

They shook their heads in disbelief as they checked out my sorry lot.
We ran the whole works through the chute and the Beef Team began to plot.

We culled out the thin and shelly cows, and sold those that forgot to calf.
By the time my old bulls were loaded my herd size was down to one-half.

I went and bought some replacements, black heifers that were Angus bred,
and bought some Angus bull power, in top five percents, black and red.

The Team said synchronization cut calving time down a few weeks;
We A.I.'d some and utilized some embryo implant techniques.

We used the new bulls for clean up. Our plan was exact and ideal.
I sure was anticipating new babies with Angus appeal.

Rumors 'bout upgrading my herd spread 'round at the coffee shop.
And city folk come drivin' by to check out my Angus calf crop.

With a renewed sense of cowboy pride I rode through that herd day and night.
But when the first calf hit the ground I dang near fainted at the sight!

This calf looked like an imposter with hair all red-speckled and white,
Standing there sucking a black cow...And two more were born that night.

I put them in the far pasture, tryin' to hide 'em from public view.
But those calves stood out like a sore thumb, and 'fore long most everyone knew

The word had spread like wild fire that my registered Angus bull
Threw red-and-white Shorthorn babies, and my pasture was darn near full.

But no-one asked why my black cows had Shorthorn calves on the ground
And the simple genetic deception made my herd "unique" and "profound!"

I've learned that embryo transfers don't boggle the fine minds of some
on ways of bovine reproduction...But how could the rest be so dumb!

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

 

We asked Diane about her inspiration for this poem and she told us:

With the help and advisement of the University of Minnesota Beef Team , we made some major changes in my cow herd. We decided to incorporate an embryo implanting program (for a shorthorn producer) into the plan, so when the calves started to hit the ground I was constantly answering questions about the strange, new calf crop. Some folks "got it,"…but some didn't. At any rate, it sure looked funny seeing the shorthorn babies out in the pasture! And I had fun spoofing a few people that just didn't know any better!       

 

 

 

The Roundup

Majestic ribbons of red slowly rise
As morning sun lights up Badland skies
From the ranch we watch with coffee in hand
As dawn spreads its wings over glorious land

Our mounts are saddled, we're ready to ride
From daylight till dusk, searching far and wide,
To round up all of the pairs we can find
Hoping we won't leave a critter behind

From Red Shirt Table we trailer our load
Out east on a hypothetical road
We park our rigs where land meets the skies
Awed by the vision that befell our eyes.

From north to south lay true beauty exposed
And from east to west, pure Heaven disclosed
I wonder as I gaze down from the hill
If this was how God enforces His will.

Is He tending His herd, as we are now
Searching the draws for every calf and cow
Rounding them up with such infinite love
Out of dry gullies to grasslands above?

Is He our herd master bringing us in
Branding our hearts to exonerate sin
Roping us in if we stray from His path
To watering holes for our Baptismal bath?

He has a corral that will hold us all
Though there are some who won't answer His call
He knows some will stray, and some will come late,
But cowboy He is, He'll stay by that gate.

His herd is mixed color, sizes and breed
But He made them all to follow one creed
So when it's our time He'll hold the gate wide
For us to pass through and stay at His side.

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


 


Diane and Bermuda 

This photo was taken at the roundup last fall (2004).



Bermuda Bay

We bought him down in Mexico.  He was in the crowbait pen
He weren't no looker, that's for sure, and ain't improved a bit since then

We named our horse "Bermuda" and folks just laughed, but I suppose
They only saw a jug head horse with a big, old Roman nose

They jawed about his broom-tailed mane and said his hair's as course as straw -
That he's wall-eyed and big footed, and just a plain equine outlaw

Now, it's tough to catch that rebel - He's like Houdini in the pen
But once you lay a rope on him you're his master once again

He's good withered for a saddle and he's got heart as well as brawn
When the farrier comes to trim him up that horse 'bout puts his own shoes on

The kids rode him at county fairs and rented stalls for hay and feed
They wrote BERMUDA as his name and MEXICAN as his breed

He's cowy and he loves to work.  His ears lay flat.His nostrils flare.
He'll ride through brush and woods and muck - that horse will go 'bout anywhere

My husband was a pickup man and he loved to ride that bay
But a bronco horse took them down and only one survived that day

So that horse and I decided we'd work together, him and I,
We'd ride the ranch and work them cows and somehow we'd get by

He's trailed my kids a hundred miles.  We've roped cows and gathered up stock.
We've rode through Dakota's Badlands climbing tables of solid rock

If you've ever had a horse like him you know what I'm trying to say
Though soon I'll have to turn him out, I'll always love Bermuda Bay

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

 

Diane told us about Bermuda: He's the kind of horse you don't feel you can ever replace, the kind you trust your life with.  I know that soon I'll need to turn him out because he's old.  He started stumbling and I'm worried he'll either get himself (or me) hurt.  It breaks my heart to think I can't ride him much longer.

 

What's It Take

He studied them intently while he watched them disappear
"What's it take to be a cowboy, mom?  Why can't I ride this year?"
I searched for words of wisdom and prayed he'd understand
That blood and sweat and tears were prices paid by every hand.

While pulling calves and eating dust and riding fence all day
Don't sound too tough; those men all knew the price they had to pay.
"If money's what you're after, son, you'd better change your mind.
Go work in town from nine to five and leave these dreams behind."

I slowly sat down next to him and looked him in the eye
To tell him of the things he'd need to know to get him by.
I figured cowboy ethics would be difficult to teach,
But a whole lifetime of learnin' just transpired into a speech.

 "Cowboys reach beyond themselves; they don't complain or whine.
They know each time they saddle up their life is on the line."
  Some day you might be forced to fight for things that you believe in.
A cowboy knows there's right and wrong, and nothing' in between 'em."

"The work is hard, especially when bad weather plays a part.
You'll have some chores you won't much like, but finish what you start.
When wrongs are done you set them right.  Stand firm and never run.
A cowboy rides through hell and back to do what must be done."

"A handshake is your solemn word that keeps your dealings square.
Treat others how you'd like to be.  Be tough, but still be fair.
Cowboys don't like lyin' ways and cheatin' just ain't done.
If you make a promise keep it, son, else don't be makin' none."

"When signing on for wages you are riding for a brand.
Just work like it was your own spread and be a top-notch hand.
You'll listen hard and speak your piece, and joke around a bit.
But when there's nothing more to say, you don't be saying' it."

"Kind deeds are done without repay, but give more than you take.
Be good to folk both young and old and true to friends you make.
Treat women with your best regard, no matter who or where,
And take the time to stop and help the poor and sick out there."

"It won't be long you'll pack your bags and ride out with them, too.
Just hold on tight, and do it right, and make me proud of you.
When that day comes just saddle up your hopes and dreams and ride,
And don't forget that Jesus will be riding at your side."

When I got done I swear I saw amusement in his eyes.
He pulled the brim down on his hat and said, to my surprise,
"Some day I'll ride with all those men and be the best, you'll see.
And thank you, ma'am for your advice...but dad is teaching me."


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

 

 

Tribute To A Cowboy

In Loving Memory of
Randy Tribitt
March 15, 1950 - July 4, 2004

Sadly Missed, Always Remembered, Forever Loved

I'm sure God has a ranch in Heaven
A place for cowboys to call home
With dusty trails and deep passes
Where cows and horses freely roam

I picture you up on a ledge
Gazing at the draws below
Leaning forward with your Thirty X
Stetson hat pulled way down low

I can 'bout hear the leather creaking
When your gelding switches feet
Your spurs softly jingle in the wind
Your rope's tied on and coiled neat

There is contentment on your face
You're happy, but I can't pretend,
Though I'm glad you've made God's journey,
That I can truly comprehend

In my earthly ways I question
The reasons God took you away
I guess the timing was exactly right
To enter Heaven on that day

The only comfort I have found
That puts my grief to rest
Is that God only takes the top hands
Because His crew's the very best

We still cry and we sure miss you
And all the things that might have been
But God needed one more cowboy
And He felt you'd fit right in

So He sent down all His ranch hands
An extra horse stood at their side
Then he softly whispered to you
"Saddle up, my friend, let's ride"

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

 

A Cowboy Farewell


The mountains are covered in blankets of snow.
Don't reckon I'll be 'round to see you this spring.
The owl has been callin' from way over yonder,
now he sits by my window and I know what he brings.
 
My cowboyin' days, they were truly amazing
Found life before death in the clear mountain air
Now I'm ready to wander new pastures up yonder
And I'm ready to ride the four winds that blow there.
 
Adios, mi compadres.  Farewell, Corazon.
Goodbye to Chinook winds that sing soft and low.
Don't wanna be late when my pals are all waitin'
for me, and my spirit is restless to go
 
I've rode all the rank ones
down to my last run.
I've bulldogged the devil in three seconds flat.
My years have been many.  True love's found me plenty.
Ain't a cowboy on earth who could want more than that.
 
Instead of a halo I'd like a gold buckle;
Some jingle-bob spurs with my brand on each side;
A riggin' bag waitin' at those pearly gates where
there's broncs, bares, and bulls for us cowboys to ride
 
Adios, mi compadres.  Farewell, Corazon.
Goodbye to Chinook winds that sing soft and low.
Don't wanna be late when my pals are all waitin'
for me, and my spirit is restless to go
 
I'll soon walk the Red Road, and join the great circle
To sing cowboy songs from the sweet bye-and-bye
I'll waltz 'round the stars to the strum of guitars
Till we meet up again at that ranch in the sky
 
© 2006, Diane Tribitt and Will Dudley
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Diane told us: Will Dudley and I agreed (to try) to resurrect some song lyrics he had started working on over 2 years ago.  His original lyrics had come after a discussion he had with a friend regarding a dying cowboy's thoughts.  He had a start on it, but could not get it to the level he wanted, so set it aside. He emailed it to me, and I rewrote it.  We sent it back and forth, changing it several times.  During this process Will had gone back to college and needed time to focus on pursuing his teaching degree, so we decided to just leave it as a poem! 

 

 

Redwood Cupboards

I’ve put up fence and pounded nails—one handy gal without a doubt
But I know what my limits are, and when it’s time to contract out
My husband’s views aren’t quite the same when we install new tiles or shelves
He figures out how much we’d save if we just did the job ourselves

When it comes down to ranching chores he is the “Master” of his trade
But when we’re talking carpentry… He’s Rambo
lock, stock, and grenade
It’s like my husband disappears, and Rambo shows up in his place,
A pencil tucked behind one ear;   a rabid look upon his face 

Now here’s the thing that gets my goat when he goes on a “fixin’ spree”  
His projects each require that we partner up…just him and me
I like detail, and he likes speed, and Lord, its tough to work like that
He times his jobs for bragging rights, and limits them to three hours flat

Now, cows don’t care if there’s bent nails, or that their pen is out of square
The coop was built from old fence posts, but, heck, I’m sure the hens don’t care
I love that man, but his techniques don’t change when we work on our house
It’s ‘Git R Done’, and he don’t care ‘bout how it looks to his dear spouse

Last week I asked if he would buy a redwood cupboard set for me
They have them at Menards, I said.  They’ll bring ‘em out, and install free
Then yesterday, right after chores, he turned from Jekyll into Hyde
He had that funny rabid look, and said today we’d work inside

I figured he had trucks enroute - with redwood cupboards from Menards
But all too soon I figured out they weren’t exactly in my cards
See, Rambo said that he could build a “custom” redwood cupboard set

“If redwood cupboard’s what you want - then redwood cupboards you will get!

Now at his mercy, beck and call, I dug for tools stashed in the shed
“And while you’re out there stop and check that newborn calf” my hubby said
I found his hammer in the loft; his tool belt buried in the truck
The drill was in the chicken coop
completely caked with chicken muck

I lugged his tools back to the house, reflecting on our marriage vow
To love and honor until death
as sweat was running off my brow
I stood by him and leaned in close, to softly whisper in his ear,
“I’ve never hated you as much as I do now, I swear, my dear.”

He drawled, “Back at you, sweetheart”, as he pulled out a nail with a jerk.
I gave his arm a loving pat.  And I said, “Let’s get back to work”…
Now cherish I will, those cupboards of wood - that he ripped off the side of the shed

A three hour job for a lifetime of love
and, bless him, he painted ‘em red.

© 2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

My Birthday Gift

I'm a cattle-ranchin' woman
who works from sun-up till sun-down
I rope and I ride
at my hubby's side
on a ranch two hours from town

The kids ain't around to help us
so the crew is just hubby and me
there ain't time no more
to mop up the floor
to cook, clean or watch some TV

My garden is sorry lookin'
The weeds are all blue-ribbon size
Theres six hundred head
of cows that are bred
and new calves are droppin' like flies

My birthday went by unnoticed
so hubby was filled with remorse
He said I should find
a nice gift inclined
to head off a bitter divorce

I thought of the things I needed
and pondered which made the most sense...
A saddle and reins?
Some calf-pullin' chains?
Or pliers for barb-wire fence?

But when we got in that evenin'
from workin' all day in the sun
the house was a mess
and I must confess
it's a month since laundry's been done

I wanted my gift to be something
I could use each day of my life
So I figured out
without any doubt
what I needed the most was .... a wife!

© 2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Poetry Rodeo

It takes a lot of cowboy-tuff to step out of a chute
Competing for a buckle and a chance to win some loot.
You scan the crowd with wary eyes, because deep down you know
That every word and every rhyme could cost you the short-go.

Five judges watch with pen in hand and timers sit close by.
It's time to start reciting, but your mouth is awful dry!
Your words spill forth to fill the room with hearty tears or laughter
While goin' for the perfect ride, to get the score you're after

As judges' scores are tallied you forget about your fate
because a friend is saddled up and riding through the gate.
Though some may win a buckle, or take home well-earned pay
We all go home much richer in the friendships forged that day.

© 2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Diane wrote this poem after competing in the 2007 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo.

 

 

My Heifer Pen

My Angus bulls are registered.  I sell the yearlings off my herd,
Except the gals—I keep one-third
out in my heifer pen!

A farmer called me up to say his Holstein bull had gone astray
He saw him headed out my way, towards my heifer pen!

I grabbed my rope, and grabbed my gun.  I grabbed my dog, and grabbed my son.
I grabbed my horse and went to run out to my heifer pen!

That Holstein bull didn't miss a beat.  He cleared my fence by two whole feet
and mounted one in standing heat
right in my heifer pen!

I shook my loop out fast and slick, but that old bull was smart and quick
He heard me call the dog to sic him from my heifer pen

He had three heifers soundly bredbefore I fired past his head
He kicked my dog and dropped him dead, right in my heifer pen!

He jumped the fence, but stood outside, ‘cause he still wasn't satisfied
For there one stood...all cowy-eyed…inside my heifer pen!

She backed up to a wooden rail and coyly lifted up her tail
He somehow managed to assail her through my heifer pen!

It was too late for guns and ropes.  I’ll have a crop of cross-bred dopes!
I may as well raise antelopes out in my heifer pen 

Now, how can Holstein’s with one nut breed half the county when they rut
while my beef bull's just prance and strut around my heifer pen?

© 2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Diane told us, "One of the producers that we do custom grazing for had several 'Steiners' in the mix of his calf crop. He used registered Angus sires on his commercial beef cows, so this was his story…..(kind of)!"

 

 

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.

Diane told us, "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."

This poem is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007).

 

 

That Old Barn

I couldn't say how many times I've sat by that old barn
To jaw a bit with Farmer Joe and spin a bit o' yarn.
His barn was 'bout as beautiful as any barn could be
So came a day I asked him if he'd sell it off to me.

Joe said I must be crazy, and my pickings must be slim,
'Cuz my idea of beautiful sure beat the likes of him!
It's seen a few tornadoes and a fire once or twice.
It's felt the fury of the winter's wind and snow and ice

It's baked beneath a sun so hot she'd take your breath away!
The paint was gone or faded, and the wood's turned silver-gray.
The barn was leaning' quite a bit, and looked run-down and tired.
But that old rugged beauty was the thing I most admired.

Those boards would decorate my home.  Yes, they'll grace every wall!
Where I could sit and marvel at the beauty of them all.
Though not a word was spoken Joe and I both understood
That only nature's miracles produced that kind of wood.

That's when it really dawned on me, as we were standing' there,
That Joe was like that vintage barn; as weathered and as bare.
Old Joe was leanin' quite a bit, and looked run-down and gray
Unlike the years when he was young and always full of say.
 
We're all like that, I reckon, as we weather through the years,
Obtaining our own character through laughter and through tears.
Each season beautifies our soul, as nothing else can do,
So as we weather, like old wood, our beauty shows up, too.
 
The day we took that old barn down and hauled it to my place,
I understood the meaning of the Lord's redeeming grace.
For when we stand, like that old barn, with nothing left to give,
'Tis when the Lord will haul us home so we can once more live.
 
A few days after moving that old barn out to my spread
A neighbor called to let me know Old Farmer Joe was dead.
I stood there thinking', like his barn, for season's he's been through,
Old Joe would sure add beauty to our Father's home spread, too.
 
©  2007, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Feedin' Cake

Ed is a well-seasoned rancher
who tends to his chores with great pride,
but when it come time for feedin',
he takes along Frieda, his bride.

Now, Frieda ain't no spring chicken,
she's bossy and or'nry, besides,
but she's right handy at ranchin'...
Puts most men t' shame when she rides.

They both got into the pickup,
'n drive thru the herd to feed cake.
Ed was ecstatically countin'
the profits his calf-crop would make.

Frieda hung half-out the window
t' shoo calves away from the truck.
Fin'lly she said, "Let me git out.
You'll kill one fer sure, with your luck."

She ran ahead of the pickup,
on footing as slimy as ice.
Ed hollered, "Now, watch what yer doin'!
Those critters are worth a high price!"

As Frieda chased down a bull calf,
a'dartin' from left side to right,
A heifer snuck back behind her,
so Ed tried to keep it in sight.

He bellered out of the window,
"That's five hunnerd bucks, don'tcha know,
if one gits under my tires,
so move 'em out steady and slow."

When Frieda tripped on a cow-pie
and landed face down in the muck,
Ed wasn't payin' attention,
and drove over her with the truck.

Frieda was rantin' and ravin',
a-cussin each inch of his hide.
Ed, thinkin' he killed the heifer,
told Frieda to get back inside.

Fixin' to load the dead heifer,
condemin' his wife and his luck,
Ed mourned his five-hunnerd dollars,
and slowly got out of the truck.

Freida was brushin' off tread marks,
when Ed appeared, shakin' with fright,
and runnin' straight to the heifer,
he blubbered, "Thank God, you're alright!"

©  2008, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Diane told us: Sometimes I have to make fun of things that happen on the ranch, especially ones that could have ended up as a real catastrophe. It’s my way of dealing with them. This incident could have been a real disaster for this rancher lady. She’s a great cowboy, but as a poet I couldn’t pass it up. I’m really glad she’s okay!


 

Live Life Backwards

Why does it take a whole lifetime to finally figure out
the secrets of success, and love…and what life’s all about.

I’m sure you’ve said these very words, “If only I had known,
when I was young, what I know now, my troubles wouldn’t have grown.”

By then we’re in our “senior years,” and it’s too late to try
to put our knowledge to good use, because it’s time to die…

So, I was thinkin’…

If I could live my life again, I'd make just one small change:
I'd like to live it backwards, so the years would rearrange.
I'd like to start my life out dead—so THAT'S out of the way,
Then wake up in a rest home, feeling better every day.

I'd soon get way too healthy, so they'd have to boot me out.
I'd draw my pension while I fished, and traveled all about
Sportin' big 'ol buckles from the rodeo's I'd won
And I wouldn’t owe a penny to the bank or anyone

My spouse and I'd get younger, and our hair would lose its gray
I'd start a job and get a nice gold watch on my first day!
I'd put my forty hours in, then head to rodeos
To rope and ride with cowboy pride in cowboy slim-cut clothes!

I'd run my ranch with great success and top-notch cowboy skills
This ranchin's downright easy when a guy can pay his bills!
I'd get a little dumber, though, the younger I would get
Then pretty soon I'd lose the ranch, rode hard and put up wet

But, by that time I wouldn't have a spouse or job, you see,
We'd be too young, and I'd be working on my PhD.
And when my college years were done, I'd rodeo full-time.
I'd date too much, and learn to slam Tequila shots with lime.

But then I'd have to quit all that, and move in with my folks
To drive 'em both plumb crazy with outlandish pranks and jokes
I'd ride the old ranch pony, till I reached the age of three…
Then grow into a baby, and they'd hug and kiss on me.

I'd spend nine months free-floating in a spa-like cavity,
where everything was built-right-in for fetal luxury.
Then like a shooting star that streaks across a prairie sky
My trail will end, and I’d become the twinkle in dad’s eye.

©  2008, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 


Cowboy's Premarital Test

Young couples now are paying fees to take a marriage course
before they marry, so the two don't end up in divorce
They're counseled on their views and dreams, and how they work and play;
and expectations of a spouse when trouble heads their way

Now here's a thought: Imagine all the money I could make
by charging them for marriage tests...the ones us cowboys take...
I'd saddle up a horse for each, the man and his soon-bride,
then send 'em out to gather cows and work 'em, side by side

Now, where I come from, more than one man constitutes a "crew"
And, thus begins the marriage test—before they say "I do"
The lovebirds have just sixty cows (that don't cooperate),
to gather up and trail back home—ten miles—to the gate

If they are still on speaking terms when this small task is done,
they'll dehorn, tag and vaccinate beneath a blazing sun.
The man would want the role of "Boss," so he will work the squeeze,
then tell the gal to run cows up; and add a half-fast, "please."

She'll risk both life and limb in her attempt to bring cows straight
into the alley, through the tub, up to her loving mate.
As body fluids from the cows are flung into the air,
she's covered with their snot and slime, with cow-dung in her hair.

The "Boss" will miss the charging cow, and this is how we test
abilities important to a marriage, in the West.
I'd test them on compassion, and compatibility.
Do they forgive, or outright lack in sensitivity?

I'd judge their personality as Type A or Type B.
Can "A" deal with submissiveness, or "B" profanity?
Will he take orders from a gal, yet praise her womanhood?
Will she grab slack, and watch his back, when things are not-so-good?

If they are still on speaking terms, no urge to kill or maim,
by end of day, they're free to wed, us cowboy's would proclaim!
Two hundred bucks is bound to be the best they'll ever spend
to know they have a life-long mate, a partner and a friend

The ones who fail would not be filled with doubts or great remorse
because their fees were awful cheap—compared to a divorce!
So, if you know a couple who've been hit by Cupid's bow,
I'll hire out to test 'em on the things us cowboy's know..

© 2009, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Weaning

Lonesome bawlin'
  sleepless
  endless
Separation

Constant callin'
  skittish
  childish
Desperation

Fence line crawlin'
  reckless
  pointless
Navigation

Semi's haulin'
  tearless
  fearless
Relocation

© 2009, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Diane told us that she wrote this poem on a challenge "to write a poem with as few words as possible." She said the poem "... came to me as I listened to weaned calves bawlin’ over the hunting season. Of course, some of the hunters were bawlin’ as well, because they figured the calves were scaring all “their deer” off!"
 

Song of the Nighthawk

The thundering hoof beats
Pulsated like heartbeats
As they raced through his veins
With fire of their own.
He longs for the days when
The earth sang beneath him
And a thousand wild horses unshod and unknown

     In dreams he’ll recapture
     The rhythm and rapture
     A song of the night hawk is what he'll repeat
     Cancione de caballos
     Bajo las estrellas
     To the drumming and jingle of unshod feet
     The song of the nighthawk and unshod feet
        

Wild mustangs of past day
Now tempered to man's way
Corralled for the day work;
Freed by the night
To run free of tether
And lather-stained leather
As spirits of broken and wild reunite 

     If he could recapture
     The rhythm and rapture
     The song of the night hawk is what he'd repeat
     Cancione de caballos
     Bajo las estrellas
     To the drumming and jingle of unshod feet
     The song of the nighthawk and unshod feet

Sounds dear to the Nighthawk
Rose from the remuda
As he wrangled 'em home
‘Fore the breaking of dawn
Manes sweeping, tails flowing
No bits of steel glowing
Flanks untouched by boot spurs,
The herd thundered on 

     He longs to recapture
     The rhythm and rapture
     The song of the nighthawk is what he'll repeat
     Cancione de caballos
     Bajo las estrellas
     To the drumming and jingle of unshod feet
     The song of the nighthawk and unshod feet

No trilling of songbirds
No soft whispered love words
Could be so enchanting,
So hauntingly sweet
As the thundering sound
When bare hooves strummed the ground
And the Earth sang the music of unshod feet.

     And oh, to recapture
     The rhythm and rapture
     The song of the nighthawk forever repeats
     Cancione de caballos
     Bajo las estrellas
     To the drumming and jingle of unshod feet
     The song of the nighthawk and unshod feet

© 2013, Diane Tribitt and Juni Fisher/Red Geetar Music ASCAP 
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.
 

Diane collaborated with Juni Fisher on turning her poem into a song, and it is included on Juni Fisher's new CD, Listen.

Shee told us about the work's inspiration, "I was sitting on the corral fence watching the horses at the ranch one evening. We had just turned them out after a long day of work. I was close enough to feel their hoofbeats run through me, like drums. As I felt this, I wondered what the horse felt like after being saddled and worked all day only to run free in the darkness of night under star-filled skies as they once did (or their ancestors did), perhaps pretending to again be something from long ago, if only for a little while. I guess it’s all about a horse dream, and a romantic Nighthawk who hears their music, as I did."

Juni Fisher comments, "Diane Tribitt is a cattle rancher from Minnesota. She has a deep reverence for the land and for those who have been a part of it. I was honored that she shared her touching and heartfelt poem with me. I had put it away after first reading it. When it resurfaced, the time seemed right to see if I could find a melody deserving of her beautiful writing."

The original poem was a part of the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur.

 

  Read  Diane Tribitt's

Lost Babies of the Prairie in our Art Spur project

and

copyright 2009 by Lori Faith Merritt ( www.photographybyfaith.com) "Heading In"
© 2009, Lori Faith Merritt
 www.photographybyfaith.com

Heading Out in our Art Spur project

and

Song of the Night Hawk in our Art Spur Project

and

Where Time Has Stood Still in our Art Spur project

and

Learnin' the Ropes in our Art Spur project

and

Love's Devotion in our Art Spur project (which was turned into a song by Curly Musgrave
and is on Curly Musgrave and Belinda Gail's CD, Forever West)

and

A Campfire Christmas Eve in our 2007 Christmas Art Spur project

and

Great Day to be a Cowboy in our Art Spur project

and

At His Own Pace in our 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur

and

Bringing Home Christmas in our 2006 Christmas Art Spur project

Leadin' a Spare in our Art Spur project

and

American Heroes, a tribute to Utah cowboy Braxton McCoy of Scipio,
 who was seriously wounded in action in Iraq 

and

 A Christmas Tale in our Art Spur project

 


Diane Tribitt was featured with Minnesota's Heartland Symphony Orchestra in "A Tribute to the Cowboy," October 13-14, 2007. The program received standing ovations and curtain calls after each performance.

You can listen to an audio track from the program, with Diane Tribitt reciting her poem, "What's it Take to be a Cowboy," accompanied by the music of the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, here.

Symphony Music Director Daniel O'Bryant comments:

I’ve never seen audiences so appreciative as those who attended the Heartland Symphony’s fall concert with guest artist Diane Tribitt. Many, many people were sincerely touched by her authenticity and her natural ability to engage an audience. She made them laugh and she made them cry, literally! During her final poem, "A Tribute to the Cowboy," set to the music of "Amazing Grace," even the orchestra was losing its composure, with several of the players in tears.

What is so wonderful about her art is that it is based on her real life experiences as a cowboy/rancher. It is not snobbish nor intellectual, but is perfect in its childlike simplicity, colorful expressions, and humorous irony. Not only did she bring her poetry to the concert but also two very accomplished trick ropers/dancers, who also fit in perfectly.

The concert was so successful that I’m afraid the bar has been set too high for our future events. Players and audience members alike will always think of the “cowboy poetry” concert as the standard by which all other concerts should be measured. It was just that entertaining. My feeling is that there is a great need in the fine arts for fresh new ideas, especially when it comes to symphony orchestras. This concert brought new life to an otherwise dated tradition, and in so doing helped validate the belief that all true art, whether old or new, is timeless in its nature. For the people of central Minnesota, Diane’s poems have earned a place among the great classics of our western tradition. Hats off to Ms. Tribitt for a truly wonderful show.

Sincerely,
Dr. Daniel O’Bryant
Music Director, Heartland Symphony Orchestra
Director of Orchestras, St. Cloud State University
 

Diane told us the concert’s poetry and music were specially handpicked, set to the life of a cowboy, starting out with a little cowboy, and  following his life, up to his death. Three of her six poems were accompanied by the symphony's music. This was the program:

"Rodeo, Four Dance Episodes" by Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
"Buckaroo Holiday," by Aaron Copland
"Minnesota Cowgirls", by Diane Tribitt)
"What’s it Take to be a Cowboy," by Diane Tribitt and "Corral Nocturne," by Aaron Copland
"The Wedding Poem," by Diane Tribitt and "Saturday Night Waltz," by Aaron Copland
"Hoe-Down," by Aaron Copland

Intermission

"Redwood Cupboards," by Diane Tribitt
"Theme From Gunsmoke," by Rex Koury
"Dances With Wolves, Concert Suite," by John Barry
"That’ll Leave A Mark," by Diane Tribitt
"Grand Canyon Suite, On the Trail," by Ferde Grofe
"Tribute To A Cowboy," by Diane Tribitt and "Amazing Grace," traditional, Arranged by William Ryden




Dianetribitt2007.jpg (18039 bytes)  About Diane Tribitt:

Diane Tribitt, Minnesota's Cowgirl Poet, 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.


Diane can be reached at tribitt@brainerd.net.  Visit her web site: www.cowgirlpoet.com.


Diane and singer Belinda Gail have joined together for performances, seminars, and workshops as "Cowgirl True." The collaboration is described, "Our mission is to spiritually uplift our community and work towards a greater good through our inspirational seminars, music and poetry...."

Find more at their web site, www.cowgirltrue.org.


 

Out of the Chute
Cowgirl True—Belinda Gail and Diane Tribitt

Includes 13 tracks (8 original poems by Diane Tribitt, 2 original songs and one cowrite with Jack Hannah by Belinda Gail). This CD also includes songs by Patsy Montana, Sam Weedman & David Lloyd, Denver Darling, and Les Buffham, and features the music of Curly Musgrave, Jean Prescott, Jill Jones, Roger Kay, Dennis Mack, Rich Callachi, Rich Dixon, Ryan Shupe, Bill Dutcher, Gary Bruzzese, and Ted Sistrunk. For this CD, we have recreated our show, taking songs from previously-released CDs as well as newly-recorded arrangements that incorporate our music and poetry.

Find Out of the Chute order information at http://cowgirlpoet.com/Out_of_the_Chute_CD.htm and at www.cowgirltrue.org

 
 


 

Ranchin' Rhymes

Diane Tribbit's material is fresh and tells of the cowboy life from the ladies' point of view. She is keeping the cowboy spirit alive with her poems about the ups and downs of ranching and living the life. Some of the poems are funny and some will tear your heart out.

Dallas McCord, co-host of Cowboy Culture Corner, a 2007 AWA Disk Jockey of the Year

I thoroughly enjoyed this album! I chuckled, I laughed, I shed tears, and I just outright cried at times. Heckuva writer, heckuva talent. I've never given anybody a 5-star rating... until now. Man oh man!

Poet Hal Swift, first posted at CDBaby

Includes 16 tracks (14 originals as well as 2 recited poems that were written by Mountain Memories cowboy author and poet James Whilt) as well as one song track as an introduction to a cowboy friend( Paul Larson) from South Dakota performing “The One I Never Could Ride” by R. W. Hampton. Most all of the tracks are set to either music or audio clips (or both!) that will put you smack-dab in the middle of cowboy country, no matter where you are!

The front cover artwork was created by Colorado Springs, Colorado artist Lorrie Beck, titled “Devotion.”  Lorrie has many other sketches available for purchase at www.lorriebeck.com.

The inside cover relays my heartfelt thoughts by stating: A special “thank you” to my fiancé, Sam, for everything he does to help make my dreams transpire; to my friends, family and fans for always believing in me; and to God for the special gift He has bestowed me with.

Includes:

1. Birthday Gift 01:36 - Diane Tribitt
2. Rancher Lips 01:42 - Diane Tribitt
3. Spring, A Cowboy's View 03:34 - Diane Tribitt
4. Upgrading The Herd 03:11 - Diane Tribitt
5. The Practice Pen 03:19 - Diane Tribitt
6. You Can Squat With Your Spurs On 04:24 - Diane Tribitt
7. Great Day To Be A Cowboy 01:50 - Diane Tribitt
8. Cookie's Cuisine 01:16 - Diane Tribitt
9. Cayuse Bill 04:14 - Diane Tribitt (James Whilt)
10. Half The Hand 02:04 - Diane Tribitt
11. His Own Pace 03:24 - Diane Tribitt
12. Ain't That The Truth 02:45 - Diane Tribitt (James Whilt)
13. Live Life Backwards 02:28 - Diane Tribitt
14. Heifer Pen 02:37 - Diane Tribitt
15. Busy Writin' 00:56 - Diane Tribitt
16. Tribute To A Cowboy 01:48 - Diane Tribitt
17. Intro to track 18 00:25
18. The One I Never Could Ride (R. W. Hampton) 03:28 - Paul Larson

 

Ranchin' Rhymes is available for $18 postpaid from Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, MN  56338, 320-277-3389, www.cowgirlpoet.com; and from Amazon.

 


Colors of Christmas

  

Diane describes her children's coloring book, Colors of Christmas, as a "Christmas poem I wrote about a little girl named Johanna, as she discovers the meaning behind the colors used at Christmas time, along with biblical references to these colors. Every coloring book page also has a corresponding page with lines for the child to write their thoughts and a place to draw their own pictures." The book is illustrated  by Corbett Vanoni.

Colors of Christmas is available for $10 postpaid from Diane Tribitt, 38034 193rd Street, Hillman, MN  56338, www.cowgirlpoet.com; 320-277-3389.

 


Trail Mix Book

Original cowboy poetry, cowboy lingo, cowboy sayings, poker terminology, rodeo terminology,
Native American tribes and sayings, and real working-ranch pictures.

 

Diane's work and the book have earned praise. South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook comments: 

"If you ever have the opportunity to attend a cowboy poetry gathering and Diane is performing...sit near the front...and take a deep seat because you are in for a memorable ride. Ranching is not an easy life, but Diane captures its heartfelt reality and unending humor in her poetry. Poems from the heart have a tendency to reach mine and Diane's poetry does just that." 

Colorado singer and songwriter Will Dudley writes: 

"Diane Tribitt is an amazing poet. Her strength of character and dedication to the cowboy way of life has won her friends and fans across the country. With her crystal writing style, using themes common to modern American cowboys, her poems are as clear to me as the oil on the canvases of Charlie Russell."

 

Read a review here by Smoke Wade.

304 pages

available for $17.95 postpaid 

Order from www.cowgirlpoet.com or by email Tribitt@brainerd.net, phone 888-410-7774, or by mail by check or money order:

Diane Tribitt
38034 193rd Street
Hillman, MN  56338

www.cowgirlpoet.com


 

Trail Mix CD

7 original poems, commentary and a song by Will Dudley

includes:

Introduction to Trail Mix
Introduction to cowboy poetry
What's it Take
Prayer Under the Northern Lights
The Roundup
That'll Leave a Mark
Rodeo Poem
The Ranch Boss
Tribute to a Cowboy
One Coyote Howlin at the Moon, by Will Dudley

available for $15 postpaid 

Order from www.cowgirlpoet.com or by email Tribitt@brainerd.net, phone 888-410-7774, or by mail by check or money order:

Diane Tribitt
38034 193rd Street
Hillman, MN  56338

www.cowgirlpoet.com

 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

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