Folks' Poems

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Southern Idaho
About D.T. Johannsen



Them Broomtail Nags

The horse was standin' hipshot,
at the old XIT.
His tail just a'markin' time,
like some clock in a belfry.

His coat was coarse and matted,
and splotched with a dozen brands.
It was plain that he'd shown the light,
to a lot of old cowhands.

With his ears just a'layin' back,
and an 'ol "wall-eyed" stare.
You could see that the Devil,
was a'lurkin' 'round in there.

So, I tosses up my deck,
with a fast, and easy, jerk.
Pullin' the cinch up quick,
a'fore he goes berserk!

The bronc jumps up high,
just all fulla' starch.
'Ol Jake says, "He's a'lookin',
just like that 'ol "Saint Louie Arch!"

That "hoss" he screams and bellers,
and switches at both ends.
I knew when it was over,
I'd be really sick with spins!

The cayuse came down hard,
and landed on all fours.
It jolted me so bad,
that it split right up my drawers!

It was just about then,
that old "hoss" and I parted ways.
Me a'standin' on my head,
and him a'runnin' with the strays.

And as Jake rode on up,
me a'holdin' up my britches,
I called that danged 'ol nag,
like a "something of it itches!"

Well, there's more just like him,
that "four-legged" clown!
From up there in Montanny,
to old Laredo town.

So, remember this my friends,
this puncher's true, fair, brags.
Ya' better keep plumb clear,
of them 'ol broomtail nags!

2003, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission a different tune 

They say to, "Bury me Not,
out on the lone prairie".
But, that just doesn't hold water,
to a feller such as me.

I want to watch the cattle grazin',
in that summer month of June.
And to hear the lonesome coyote,
as he cries out to the Moon.

I want to smell the sage a'bloomin',
and to touch the growin' grass.
I want to listen to a bull Elk,
as he bugles high in the Pass.

I want to hear the cowboy's singin',
ridin' past on their way to town.
And to see the stars a'twinklin',
just after the Sun goes down.

Boys, you might as well beat your drum,
and go ahead, play that fife.
'Cause friend, she's been a "Good-un".
I've loved this cowboy life.

So, this is where to place me.
Out under that western sky.
Just bury me out on the prairie,
to spend eternity when I die.

2003, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

We asked D. T. how he came to write this poem and he said: I had been thinking about my Dad, who has made the last drive (1999).  He pretty much made me who I am. He taught me how to work the cow critter and how to "top-off" the broncs.  He was definitely a "top hand." We miss him around here.  I know that's where he would have liked to rest. So, in lieu of that I wrote the poem for him.

Cow Camp

The moon is shinin' bright,
and coffee's on the fire.
I'm here tonight at cow camp,
with hardly a need or desire.

A lone coyote calls shrill,
out into the night,
as the saddle-stock slumbers,
until the mornin's soft light.

As I sit here readin' some,
rhymes from the bard,
I'm at peace with my life,
though this cowboyin's hard.

For where else on earth,
can a man be so free,
to ride a good horse,
across such wild country?

To hear the wind in the cedar's,
and watch the cows in the grass.
Or see a cougar in the rocks,
so stealthy in it's pass.

So, I sit here tonight,
by this lantern's faint hiss,
and know there's no leavin',
a life of such bliss.

This life; Oh, so lonesome,
and yet, so divine.
With this cow camp, so quiet,
I'm feelin' just fine!

2005, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


A Part of the Landscape

As I sit upon this bluff,
my 'ol pony, he's a'dozin'.
While I gaze across this valley,
where time just seems frozen.

Like an artist's fair conception,
of a vast, painted landscape,
the lofty green of the spruce,
with their needles all a'drape.

With a blue river curling 'round,
all a'sparkle in the sun.
Full brimming with the salmon,
as they make their desperate run!

A lonely cloud passes over,
to cast it's flickering shadow,
across the backs of the cattle,
as they drift on through a meadow.

A graceful deer jumps abruptly,
and then disappears into the brush.
Eliciting a throaty warble,
from a startled Mountain Thrush!

And as I wonder of this artist,
who would portray a scene so grand?
I realized that, it already had been painted,
by the Creator's artful hand.

2002, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


Never Say Die

We were layin' in our soogans,
all the stars to admire.
My thoughts were a'wanderin',
as I stared into the fire.

I asked my 'ol pard,
"Mad Jack" was his name.
Just how he felt now,
that he'd been so long at this game?

What kept him going,
throughout these long years?
All the trials, and tribulations,
all the laughter and the tears?

Well, my friend sat right up,
and tipped his hat back.
Looked me in the eye,
and says, "As a matter of fact.

It ain't that it's so cold,
in the danged July heat,
or that 'cookin'' sensation,
when the snow's at your feet.

Or gettin' 'bucked-off,'
and swearin', 'That's it!'
Hell, the fall's not what kills ya'.
It's when ya' say 'Quit!'

And when an old steer,
stomps ya' to the ground?
It's the gettin' back up,
and not stayin' down!

So, how do I feel?
Well, not so darn spry.
But, I'll be here 'tomorra,''
'cause, 'ya' never say die!'"

2001, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


The Old Bronc Stomper

As he gazes from the cabin,
on pastures of green,
he's lookin' back on the old days,
and ridin' broncs that were mean.

To ride them rank ones,
that he surely would!
At the round-ups and reunions,
entering all that he could.

He rode 'em quite well,
and gainin' much fame
Ridin' 'hosses like Hammerhead,
or Steamboat, by name.

If he got "banged-up",
he would surely be bitter.
But, he wasn't long on that fence.
For there, was no quitter!

Well, the years, they caught up,
and like a "flip of the card",
an "outlaw" tossed him off,
and he landed too hard.

That Doc fixed him up,
when he checked him all over.
He said, "Son, yer' bronc days are done,
for you, it's out on the clover"!

He now lives at camp,
a'lookin' after blooded stock.
He's all crippled up,
and can hardly even walk.

So, now he looks out
at the hills and the haze,
at dreams of yesterday,
and his "bronc-stompin' days."

2001, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission



I may never go to college.
No, a lawyer I shan't be.
But, it really doesn't matter much,
for I've learned, Cowboyography!

I'll never be a pilot,
flyin' high above the ground.
So, if it's all the same to you?
I'll just watch the cattle grazin' 'round.

I won't ever drive a racecar.
No, Daytona, I won't see.
I'm plumb happy on this pony,
he feels just right to me.

I'll never be a sailor man,
sailin' upon the stormy seas.
It's horses in the pasture,
that puts my mind at ease.

I've not been a preachin' man,
leadin' folks into the light.
But, I've caught the moon a'shinin',
on the Mary's River late at night.

I don't work as a barber,
trimmin' beards or cuttin' locks.
I've had the satisfaction,
of pickin' up, "double-hocks!"

No, I guess I won't amount to much,
as far as expectation.
But, I'm proud I've had the chance,
to a cowboy's education!

2004, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission

D.T. told us, "The poem was the result of coming into contact with someone who, although not a cowboy, had been detailed to oversee a cowboy poetry gathering. Now, I won't say who it was, but, the main idea was that although a 'professional,' this person was less than enthusiastic about his current responsibility and was even less enthusiastic about cowboys. His demeanor prompted me to write what was in my heart and soul..."



Cowboy Mornin'

The horses are all saddled,
and the coffee is all gone.
That 'ol sun is just a sliver,
and it's gettin' close ta' dawn.

A lonely cloud is a'hangin',
'round the top of that tall peak,
and an 'ol coyote's a'lurkin',
on down there by the creek.

There's a new calf in the brush,
tryin' real hard ta' hide.
I'll hafta' go and get him,
In the wagon's where he'll ride.

The chuckwagon starts ta' rollin',
and the team puts up a "fuss",
But, they'll be settled soon enough,
when 'ol Cookie starts ta' cuss!

As the herd get's ta' movin',
on through the mornin' haze.
The cow's start in ta' bawlin',
and to hunt up "little strays."

A typical "cowboy mornin',"
out here on the range.
I'll hope for the same tomorrow,
and pray that it will never change.

2004, D.T. Johannsen
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission





Read D. T. Johannsen's A Cowboy's First Christmas, posted with 2005 Christmas poems.



   About D. T. Johannsen:

I grew up working cattle and horses with my Dad, W. E. (Bill) Johannsen here in southern Idaho. After a "stint" in the Army (101st Airborne), and a couple of years rodeoin', I ended up buckarooin' on some of the fairly larger ranches in Nevada.

Hawks Ranch, Nevada circa 1992




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