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Clay County, Texas
About Doc Wood





Small Ranch Fer Sale

I had a good wife when I bought this place.
Been six years or so since I seen her face.
Got tired of ranch life, said I wern’t too smart.
She deevorced me and now works at Wal-Mart.

There ain’t a lot left uv my little ranch,
‘Cept a parrot-mouthed stud; a mare named Blanche.
Got a danged ol’ bull that’s somewhat senile.
The cows ain’t seen him fer a long, long while.

And speakin’ uv cows, the herds down to five,
That is if all of ‘em er still alive.
Last time I seen ‘em wuz in the mesquites,
Grazin’ on the beans fer somethin’ to eat.

Used to have six till hunger took over.
Wuz them er me so I ate Miss Clover.
‘Nuther few weeks when the freezer gits bare,
Be down to four cows, my bull, stud and mare.

Lost mos my grass in a July 4th fire.
The fences er down to two strands uv wire.
My pickup broke down bout four months ago.
Four wheeler got flats, mesquite thorns ya know.

Not enuf rain fer the hay field this year.
I’ll bale johnson grass fore winter gits here.
Course I wudn’t need hay if I kud sell
all of my cattle ‘n horses as well.

That wud jus leave me with four dogs to feed
‘n fifty-three cats who eat, sleep and breed.
Now, the dogs chase rabbits; ketch quite a lot.
The cats feed on mice I shoot with rat shot.

That about does it, exceptin’ fer me.
I’ll find me sumpin’ you jus wait an’ see.
I’m givin’ up ranchin’, it ain’t much fun;
Freezin’ my tail off, bakin’ in the sun.

Now let’s see whut I can write in my ad
To tempt somebody to wont this place bad.
It’s gotta sound like sumpin’ I wud buy,
Caint tell ‘em the truth, jus gotta be sly.

Ten lovely acres way up on a hill;
A stock tank on top jus’ waitin’ to fill.
Livestock goes with it, five cows and a bull;
Trade ‘em fer sheep if ya’d rather sell wool.

Plenty of firewood fer cold winter nights.
Cut it yerself since you’ll have owner’s rights.
Whenever it rains, the grass will turn green,
Will save buyin’ feed, yuh know whut I mean.

Yer wife will certainly luv the great view
As long as she’s livin’ up here with you.
You kin ride the range on yer mare named Blanche,
As the proud new owner of Dead Broke Ranch.

© 2007, Doyle R. (Doc) Wood
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Doc comments: We have what is known as the Texas Veteran's Land Program in Texas (of course). Individuals who were residents of Texas, when they entered any branch of the military services, can purchase acreage (minimum 10 acres) at low interest rates, on long terms and with little money down. When the program first became popular, many a qualified man sought out his plot of 10 acres and dragged his wife from the mall and out to the country. Most had dreams of becoming Texas ranchers on their little plot only to find out that one needed a bit more than 10 acres for a ranch and a bit more knowledge of livestock, animal medicine, and common sense than many of them had. Wasn't long thereafter, that a lot of marriages were on the rocks and a number of "small ranches" were on the market. Thus, "Small Ranch Fer Sale" came to mind.



Country Boy

I never cease to be amazed
at all kids have today,
and wonder if they’ll ever know
just what it means to play.

Dad built a wagon for me once
from four, short, split pine boards.
He found the wheels beside the road;
it’s tongue, two old lamp cords.

A length of rope tied to a limb
of one of our big oaks;
one worn out tire attached below;
great swing for country folks.

A rifle was a long, straight branch
chopped off a tall, slash pine.
It doubled as a fishing pole
by adding hook and line.

My swimming pool, a spring fed pond,
was cool and crystal clear,
although I had to share sometimes
with horses, cows and deer.

My dad and God worked hand-in-hand
to see that I had all
the things a country boy should have
when I was very small.

© 2007, Doyle R. (Doc) Wood
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Doc comments: It seems as if the older I get, the more appreciative I am of my rural roots and upbringing as a country boy. My father, an East Texas preacher, always taught me that God would provide all of our needs, and, a lot of our wants. Those words were the inspiration for “Country Boy,” and, as I look around today, I am saddened by the fact that so many of today’s youths will never experience the pleasures that I was fortunate to experience. We had so little, and yet, I had everything, all provided by my father and our Heavenly Father.

Yesterday I Dreamed

‘bout bein’ a cowboy
while followin’ behind dad’n our ol’ mule,
as he plowed through the dry clods
in our victory garden,
down at the edge of the woods,
durin’ the cool of the early mornin’,
when I was near my fifth year.

I wuz Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Johnny Mack Brown,
all rolled inta one when I was seven,
walkin’ into town to the Rio Theater
with my big brother, on Saturday mornin’,
wearin’ my double-holster pair
of matchin’ six-shooters,
loaded with red, roll caps,
waitin’ in the ticket line
for the cowboy double feature.

We all moved to west Texas when I was eleven.
Rode my first horse without a mop head—
ol’ mare, twenty-three, one gait—fast trot—
traveled in one direction to the farthest fence—
stop, dismount, turn her ‘round, mount up agin,
fer the return trip, as always, to the barn door.
Carried a rifle that shot real lead.
Outlaws were rats, rabbits, skunks’n coyotes

That wuz yesterday long past.

Now twice retired, salt ‘n pepper on the roof,
got land, barns, more house than I need
with horses outnumberin’
my brains ‘n hired hands,
my redhead cowgirl still ridin’ on my flank.

Got all those things I dreamed ‘bout

Tired of haulin’ hay sun up to sundown,
breakin’ ice on water troughs,
muckin’ out stalls, stretchin’ barb wire,
drivin’ T-posts, burnin’ in the sun,
mares foalin’ in 10 degrees ‘n freezin’ rain,
livin’ in dread of drought ‘n range fires.

Always dreamed ‘bout bein’ a cowboy
when I wuz young.

that wuz yesterday.

© 2009, Doyle R. (Doc) Wood
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Doc comments: Although most of my poetry is written in rhyming verse, once in a while a poem just sorta slips out in free verse as if the words and thoughts take control of my pen. “Yesterday I Dreamed…” just happened to be one of those. Although it’s been many a year since I actually followed behind dad, a country preacher, and our old plow mule, those thoughts of yesterday are as vivid as if they only just happened. The realization of those young dreams kinda took a roundabout way of coming true. You might say I married into the life of the western cowboy when I married my redheaded cowgirl. It didn't take long to realize that my dreams of being a cowboy, and the life of the real cowboy, were not closely related. My redhead had horses when we married and they became a part of my life throughout my dual careers as an Army officer and teacher. About a year ago we sold off the last remaining horses and the time for recalling those dreams of yesterday began. As the words to this poem began to fill the page, it was as if I was that child once again and, once again, the dreams began. Chances are we’ll likely run across a horse or two that needs a home at some point in the future and the dreams of yesterday will become a reality all over again



Out on my front porch relaxin’ a bit,
rolled me a Durham n’ just got it lit’,
waitin’ fer supper, long day since I ate,
then I spied sumpin’turn in the main gate..

Pert near to sunset n’ light gittin’ dim,
saw a roadrunner n’ then I seen him.
Ol’ dog wuz skinny, but he could shore run,
wuz racin’ fer food, wern’t racin’ fer fun.

Caught that danged runner ‘n didn’t say grace’,
jus’ dropped ‘n et him, lef’ nary a trace.
Thought to myself I could use a new dog.
Last one got kilt by a wild momma hog.

Stepped off the porch, started walkin’ his way,
but he started growlin’ as if to say,
“Only stopped by here to have a quick bite,
since I jus’ had one lets call it a night.”

Growlers don’t scare me but I saw beneath
that long, skinny snout, hiz long, sharp, white teeth.
Decided this dog wuz not worth the chance
of losin’ a hand ‘er seat of my pants.

Dog turned ‘n trotted off past the bunkhouse,
Jus’ as I heard the sweet voice of my spouse,
“Supper is ready, if yew wont yur chow,
git yerself warshed up ‘n in here right now.”

Supper put that ol’ red dog outta mind.
Sweet One then drawed me a bath to unwind.
Mornin’ wuz gonna bring one of those days,
down in the south range, a’ roundin’ up strays.

Breakfast ‘fore sunrise, had biscuits ‘n ham,
eggs ‘n tomaters, ‘n homemade plum jam.
Then I heard sumthin’ that made mah face scowl.
Sounded jis’ lak that ol’ red dog’s deep growl.

Pored a fresh cup of hot black joe to go,
kissed Sweet One goodbye ‘n walked out real slow,
lookin’ around in the light of the dawn,
hopin’ that danged ol’ red dog had done gone.

Crossed the back porch, down the steps to the yard,
no sign of that dog, I let down my guard.
Soon as I did, he came outta the dark,
growlin’ like hell, not a yelp, not a bark.

Spilt that hot coffee all over my clothes;
yelled as I tripped ‘n fell head over toes.
Knowed I wuz flyin’ n’ graspin’ fer air,
right before landin’ in Sweet’s prickly pear.

Ain’t really certain jist how long I sat,
or whut I wuz sayin’ after the splat.
One thing fer sure is I knowed I wuz loud,
‘cause when it wuz over, had a big crowd.

Looked up n’ saw Mister Quak, the ranch cook.
Most all the cowhands had come fer a look.
I sat there yellin’ in pain ‘n disgrace,
red dog kep’ growlin ’n lickin’ my face.

Tried to git up but wuz nuthin’ to grab,
each time I moved, felt anuther sharp stab.
Yelled when my foreman grabbed me by the arm,
guess dog thought Skinny wuz doin’ me harm.

That’s when he lept ‘n he took a big bite
uv Skinny’s rear end, he held on real tight.
Coupla mah twisters, Big Tiny ‘n Dreg,
each got a loop on a different dog leg.

Big Tiny yanked while Dreg pulled to the right,
stretched til ol’ red dog done give up the fight.
Grabbed Skinny’s hand, pulled myself to my feet,
from Sweet One’s cactus patch made my retreat.

Waved to the boys, sent ‘em to the south range,
wouldn’t be ridin’ with them fer a change.
Rear full of cactus spines, head in a spin,
may never sit in my ol’ kak agin.

Made my way back to the house mad as hell,
wonderin’ how to explain how I fell.
I knew my Sweet One would laugh till she cried
if I tol’ the truth; would be best if I lied.

Not much excitement to add to these lines,
Sweet One’s sharp tweezers plucked out all the spines.
She pulled, I yelled, as I lay cross the bed
with red dog a sittin’ right there by my head.

Follered me all the way back to the house
lickin’ my hand, actin’ tame as a mouse.
Guess I misread his deep growl from the start,
wuz only his greetin’ from down in his heart.

That’s the whole story ‘n mostly its true,
real name was Raymond, stuck with me like glue.
He wuz a red Chow, a real special friend,
‘n he wuz a growler, right to the end.

© 2009, Doyle R. (Doc) Wood
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Doc comments
: "Growler" is based on a true life incident, although, I might add, the incident occurred some (many) years ago. And, there are numerous differences between the actual incident and the story as presented in the poem. In justification of the liberties taken in creating the poem, I was only six years old when the original incident took place. I feel as if that gives me the right to be somewhat creative in recalling the details of an embarrassing day in my young life. One thing I've retained explicitly is the dog who growled and took his role as my guardian angel seriously.


Once Wuz Enuf

When I heard daddy call,
I wuz down at the barn.
At the time didn’t wanna be seen.
My eyes were near crossed,
sweat wuz pourin’ like rain,
‘n my face wuz a pale shade of green.

I knowed if I didn’t
answer daddy real soon,
he’d come lookin’ fer me wondrin’ why
I wuz hidin’ from him,
down behind the ol’ barn,
‘n lookin’ mos’ ready to die.

Well I sorta yelled,
though it weren’t real loud,
at the time wuz the best I could do.
My stomach was up
in the back of my throat
with my breakfast and lunch pushin’ through.

When daddy saw me
hangin’ onto the fence,
with nary a word he sat down.
He waited fer me
to quit heavin’ my guts,
his face wuz haf grin ‘n haf frown.

When the ground had stopped spinnin’,
and my innards dropped down,
from my knees I looked up at dad’s face.
I tol’ him I knew it,
I shouldn’t have eaten
those green pears from our neighbor’s place.

Dad pulled himself up
from his seat on the ground,
walked over, helped me to my feet.
He looked down at what
I throwed up ‘n he said,
“You sure that was pears that you eat?”

But before I could speak
he reached in my hip pocket,
pulled out half a plug of Brown’s Mule.
Then dad spoke agin, said,
“I done the same thang,
when I was yer age and a fool.

If you’re plum determined
to chew plug tobacco,
there’s a few rules that you gotta foller.
I think you just learned
the most important one.
Whatever you do, just don’t swaller.”

Then dad just slapped me
on the back ‘n he left
after handin’ me back that darn stuff.
I pitched it as fer
as I could tord the woods.
I figgered that once wuz enuf.

© 2010, Doyle R. (Doc) Wood
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Doc comments:  In most instances, experience is the best teacher. This is especially true when you're young and feel like you just gotta try everything that life has to offer. This poem provides a good, and 100% true, example of learning from experience. There is little, about the experience described that has faded with time. My first and last chaw was 59 years ago when I was 8 years old and that experience is still quite vivid in my mind today.


  About Doyle R. (Doc) Wood:

Guess one might say that I’ve been more of a “horseboy” than a “cowboy” from the time I was born in the piney woods of Deep East Texas, back in the early 1940’s, throughout my career as an Army officer, and, during my 23 years of teaching following my Army career. Never did care one heck of a lot for cows but my Redhead and I always had horses to go along with the dump dogs and a wide variety of cats.

I began writing poetry only 3 years ago, at the age of 61, but, since that time, have won numerous local awards and several state awards in the Poetry Society of Texas. I have been published in the PST Book of the Year. Although I have written poetry in almost every form known, I prefer cowboy poetry and poetry about country folk and country living. I enjoy performing poetry about as well as writing due to my background in theatre. Give me an audience of no less than one matching set of ears and I’ll perform till the sun comes up.

I'm still living the country life, in rural Clay County Texas, and plan to remain here as long as my sun’s still shining. Got a lot of poems to write and a fence or two that needs splicing from time to time. And, I still got my Redhead who has a book or two of Honey Do’s to keep me occupied on this side of Heaven.

COLOR CHIPS in Variegated Verse


Following my retirement (for the second time) in 2003, I began writing poetry as a catharsis. I joined my local poetry society and became the first male member since the society was founded in 1931. The ladies of my society took me on as a project and began teaching me the various poetic forms. As a member of the local society, and the Poetry Society of Texas, I began entering various local, state and national competitions. At the same time, I started performing poetry at various venues in my area. Having been a “horseboy” for most of my life, cowboy poetry began to creep into my repertoire. And, although a lot of my performance material was borrowed (with permission from the poets), my own poetry was becoming more popular and winning awards. My performances became 100% cowboy poetry in short time and people began asking where they could get my poetry at the conclusion of performances. My usual response was,” I’m writing a book which should be out soon.” At the insistence of a poet/college professor friend of mine, I sat down and began to put truth into my words.

COLOR CHIPS in Variegated Verse was published last September (2009). I finally had a book to sell at the conclusion of my performances. In addition, copies of the book were purchased by the state historical commission for resale at park stores at historical sites. The state parks where I perform also purchased copies for resale in their park stores.

While not all cowboy poetry, a number of my most popular cowboy/country poems are included in the book’s 83 pages of verse and photos. “Growler,” “Small Ranch Fer Sale,” “Leavin’ Heaven,” “Little Red Wagon,” “Showdown,” and “The Legend of Donald the Donkey,” and others can be found between the covers. In addition to the cowboy/country poems is a collection written in a variety of poetic forms including sonnets, cinquains, minutes, free verse, blank verse, villanelles, prose poems, as well as simple rhyming verse and other forms.

COLOR CHIPS sells for $13.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling. For ordering information, send an email to:

NOTE: My next book, Cowpokes ‘n Country Folks, should be out by late April 2010, and, there are now 4 males in my local poetry society.



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