We started the Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project in conjunction with Cowboy Poetry Week, which we celebrate the third week of April each year, during National Poetry Month.
We welcome your comments all year. See Page 1 for more background information.
This is Page 3 of 5
pages of comments.
The index of all poets and poems mentioned is on Page 1.
Jane Morton contributed the following:
When I was in the fifth grade our class had poetry time Friday afternoons. During this time we could recite any poetry we'd memorized. Using my mother's old poetry books as a resource, I found and recited, "Barbara Fritchie," "The First Snowfall," and "Casey At the Bat" among others. I couldn't wait for Fridays to come. I think now that I learned rhyme and meter from that poetry. My mind still registers those rhythms. Later on in high school and in college Emily Dickinson became a favorite.
However, once I learned of cowboy poetry and read some of the classic poems, I knew this was the poetry I wanted to write. If I have to pick a favorite poet, and that is difficult because there are so many, it would be Sharlot Hall. Just reading her "Smell of Rain" dries my throat and parches my lips. "The Old Ranch Mother" makes my heart ache for that poor woman and all she suffered with a husband that just wants to "spit and chaw." Although I love "When Maw Turned the Stampede," I never could recite it. The picture Sharlot conjures of Maw "swingin' her apern an' yellin': 'Shoo'" chokes me up, and brings tears to my eyes. The people in her poems are real. Sharlot
touches my deepest emotions.
Jane Morton is:
You can read more about Jane Morton and some of her poetry here; she is a Lariat Laureate at CowboyPoetry.com.
Sharlot Hall, born in 1870, wrote two books of poetry: Poems of a Ranch Woman (which includes the poems mentioned above) and Cactus and Pine, Songs of the Southwest. The Sharlot Hall museum in Prescott, Arizona, home of the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, was inspired by her work. The Sharlot Hall Museum Press publishes her poetry books and other writings by and about her. The museum's web site has interesting biographical information.
Smithsonian Folkways' Cowboy Poetry Classics (2003) includes an excellent recitation of Sharlot Hall's "The Smell of Rain" by Virginia Bennett. See the cross-referenced index of poets, poems and reciters on this CD in our anthology index and read a review here. You can read more about the CD at the Smithsonian Folkways site.
Dick Morton contributed the following:
So many wonderful poems written by the early day cowboy poets make me wonder how I can say which are my favorites. I guess it's those that touch my heart. Charles Badger Clark's, "The Lost Pardner" is one. When I recite it, it is difficult because I think of a boyhood friend I lost. Without him my days were empty, I didn't want to believe he left me and I would look for him whenever I passed his house and want to relive the times we spent together. When I came across "The Lost Pardner" I couldn't wait to learn it--it's one of my favorites.
We have features about Charles "Badger" Clark and some of his poetry here.
The Lost Pardner
I ride alone and hate the boys I meet.
Today, some way, their laughin' hurts me so.
I hate the mockin'-birds in the mesquite--
And yet I liked 'em just a week ago.
I hate the steady sun that glares, and glares!
The bird songs make me sore.
I seem the only thing on earth that cares
'Cause Al ain't here no more!
'Twas just a stumblin' hawse, a tangled spur--
And, when I raised him up so limp and weak,
One look before his eyes begun to blur
And then--the blood that wouldn't let 'im speak!
And him so strong, and yet so quick he died,
And after year on year
When we had always trailed it side by side,
He went--and left me here!
We loved each other in the way men do
And never spoke about it, Al and me,
But we both knowed, and knowin' it so true
Was more than any woman's kiss could be.
We knowed--and if the way was smooth or rough,
The weather shine or pour,
While I had him the rest seemed good enough--
But he ain't here no more!
What is there out beyond the last divide?
Seems like that country must be cold and dim.
He'd miss the sunny range he used to ride,
And he'd miss me, the same as I do him.
It's no use thinkin'--all I'd think or say
Could never make it clear.
Out that dim trail that only leads one way
He's gone--and left me here!
The range is empty and the trails are blind,
And I don't seem but half myself today.
I wait to hear him ridin' up behind
And feel his knee rub mine the good old way
He's dead--and what that means no man kin tell.
Some call it "gone before."
Where? I don't know, but God! I know so well
That he ain't here no more!
from Sun and Saddle Leather, 1915
Badger Clark is:
Janice Chapman contributed the following:
Rod Nichols has a talent for putting poetry into words that identify with our innermost emotions. Rod, whom I met at the New Braunfels, Texas, Poetry Festival April 6th, 2002 and who had not long been out of surgery, wrote a beautiful poem, "Cowboy Service," shortly after his return home.
Janice Chapman is:
You can read more about Janice Chapman and some of her poetry here.
Rod Nichols was the first Lariat Laureate at CowboyPoetry.com. You can read more about him and his poetry here. Don't miss a visit to his fine web site, where many of his poems are enhanced by beautiful images and accompanied by music.
One Sunday mornin' mistin' rain
beneath a Texas oak,
a canopy had been set up
where cowboy poets spoke.
Some cowboys had already 'rived
this early time of day,
so I sat down to rest a bit
and hear what they might say.
"Dear Lord" I heard a cowboy say
"We thank you for this time
and for the chance to praise your name
and speak our hearts and mind.
To some a cowboy may seem rough
and not what folks might say
would be the type of character
to ever stop and pray.
But Lord you know the hearts of men
and you know that ain't true,
no man could live the life we live
and not believe in you.
Perhaps it takes a cowboy Lord
who lives close to the land
to see the handiwork of God
and understand his plan.
Our work is neverending seems
and sometimes we forget
and sometimes we might slip a tad
or wander off a bit.
But given time we will return
on such a day as now
and raise our voice in thankfulness
beneath these oaken boughs.
And so we come in praise of thee
our Father's will be done
and ask your blessings as we go
God keep us ev'ry one."
I sat there at the service end
in silence, not a sound
and prayed dear Lord I thank you for
this cowboy church I'd found.
© 2002, Rod Nichols
Rod Nichols is:
Hawk Lessard writes:
My favorite cowgirl poet is Debra Coppinger Hill. She wrote a poem called "Yellow Slicker." Until I read this poem and of course had to re-read many times, I had no idea that women of the West were so talented. Her poetry just brought me to tears. I will also have to say my favorite cowboy poet is Mr. Jay Snider. These two should get together to write a book.
(To "Miss Oleta" Nichols, Pioneer, Lady, Texan)
She wore his yellow slicker,
Though it almost drug the ground,
It seemed to make things easier,
As if He was still around.
He’d left her some big boots,
She was gonna’ have to fill,
But his old yellow slicker,
It seemed to give her the Will.
The Will to keep on going,
The Will to be wise and strong,
The Will to make their dreams come true,
And remember, where she belonged.
She wore it to feed the cattle,
And when she cleaned the stalls,
She hung it on that high nail by the door,
And remembered He was tall.
She wore it every time,
Storm clouds came rushing in,
She even wore it sometimes,
Just so the tears would not begin.
She wore it to keep the wet out,
And to hold the cold at bay,
It eased the hardness of the ground,
Each time she knelt to pray.
She wore it to chop the tanks,
And when she mended fence,
She wore it on the best of days,
And on the ones that made no sense.
She wore it when it was ragged,
And had completely lost it’s charm,
Because, if she was inside of it,
She was back inside his arms.
It’s just an old yellow slicker,
But it made her life complete,
It reminded her what’s important,
And it kept her on her feet.
She wore it across a lifetime,
And she never felt alone,
She raised their kids, she raised their cows,
And she made their farm a home.
And when she’s gone, she tells the kids,
Just hang it on that nail in the barn,
Then look at it, and in your hearts know,
His yellow slicker, saved the farm.
© 1996 Debra Coppinger Hill, All Rights Reserved
Jean Prescott's recording of "Yellow Slicker" appears on Debra Coppinger Hill's CD, "Common Sense, Men and Horses." Jean Prescott also recorded "Yellow Slicker" on her own recent "Tapestry of the West" album, which is available from SilverCreek Books and Music (where you can listen to sample tracks) and from Jean Prescott's web site at GiddiupGo.com.
Dennis Gaines contributed the following:
You can put me down for "Clancy of the Mounted Police," by Robert Service, and "Cowboy Sign," by Duane Reece, a cowboy in Arizona whom I have never met. "Cowboy Sign" is in Voices and Visions of the American West, by Barney Nelson.
"Clancy" is a stirring account of a Mountie who gave his all, in the self-sacrificing way that cowboys often do in their own pursuits. Although Clancy's sacrifice went far above the call of ordinary duty for anyone, we must keep in mind that cowboys throughout history have given their lives in storms, stampedes, and swollen rivers.
You could also include Eugene Manlove Rhodes' epic poem "The Hired Man on Horseback" in this category.
For a contemporary selection, it's hard to fault "Cowboy Sign," which is a sterling example of fierce and unapologetic pride in a way of life and a heritage that few in this country will ever know. My hat's off to Duane Reece.
Dennis Gaines is:
Dennis Gaines is an Honored Guest here at CowboyPoetry.com; you can read more about him and some of his poetry here.
We have a feature about Robert Service. Following is the poem mentioned by Dennis Gaines:
Clancy of the Mounted Police
In the little Crimson Manual it's written plain and clear
That who would wear the scarlet coat shall say good-bye to fear;
Shall be a guardian of the right, a sleuth-hound of the trail--
In the little Crimson Manual there's no such word as "fail"--
Shall follow on though heavens fall, or hell's top-turrets freeze,
Half round the world, if need there be, on bleeding hands and knees.
It's duty, duty, first and last, the Crimson Manual saith;
The Scarlet Rider makes reply: "It's duty--to the death."
And so they sweep the solitudes, free men from all the earth;
And so they sentinel the woods, the wilds that know their worth;
And so they scour the startled plains and mock at hurt and pain,
And read their Crimson Manual, and find their duty plain.
Knights of the lists of unreknown, born of the frontier's need,
Disdainful of the spoken word, exultant in the deed;
Unconscious heroes of the waste, proud players of the game,
Props of the power behind the throne, upholders of the name:
For thus the Great White Chief hath said, "In all my lands be peace",
And to maintain his word he gave his West the Scarlet Police.
Livid-lipped was the valley, still as the grave of God;
Misty shadows of mountain thinned into mists of cloud;
Corpselike and stark was the land, with a quiet that crushed and awed,
And the stars of the weird sub-arctic glimmered over its shroud.
Deep in the trench of the valley two men stationed the Post,
Seymour and Clancy the reckless, fresh from the long patrol;
Seymour, the sergeant, and Clancy--Clancy who made his boast
He could cinch like a bronco the Northland, and cling to the prongs of the Pole.
Two lone men on detachment, standing for law on the trail;
Undismayed in the vastness, wise with the wisdom of old--
Out of the night hailed a half-breed telling a pitiful tale,
"White man starving and crazy on the banks of the Nordenscold."
Up sprang the red-haired Clancy, lean and eager of eye;
Loaded the long toboggan, strapped each dog at its post;
Whirled his lash at the leader; then, with a whoop and a cry,
Into the Great White Silence faded away like a ghost.
The clouds were a misty shadow, the hills were a shadowy mist;
Sunless, voiceless and pulseless, the day was a dream of woe;
Through the ice-rifts the river smoked and bubbled and hissed;
Behind was a trail fresh broken, in front the untrodden snow.
Ahead of the dogs ploughed Clancy, haloed by steaming breath;
Through peril of open water, through ache of insensate cold;
Up rivers wantonly winding in a land affianced to death,
Till he came to a cowering cabin on the banks of the Nordenscold.
Then Clancy loosed his revolver, and he strode through the open door;
And there was the man he sought for, crouching beside the fire;
The hair of his beard was singeing, the frost on his back was hoar,
And ever he crooned and chanted as if he never would tire:--
"I panned and I panned in the shiny sand, and I sniped on the river bar;
But I know, I know, that it's down below that the golden treasures are;
So I'll wait and wait till the floods abate, and I'll sink a shaft once more,
And I'd like to bet that I'll go home yet with a brass band playing before."
He was nigh as thin as a sliver, and he whined like a Moose-hide cur;
So Clancy clothed him and nursed him as a mother nurses a child;
Lifted him on the toboggan, wrapped him in robes of fur,
Then with the dogs sore straining started to face the Wild.
Said the Wild, "I will crush this Clancy, so fearless and insolent;
For him will I loose my fury, and blind and buffet and beat;
Pile up my snows to stay him; then when his strength is spent,
Leap on him from my ambush and crush him under my feet.
"Him will I ring with my silence, compass him with my cold;
Closer and closer clutch him unto mine icy breast;
Buffet him with my blizzards, deep in my snows enfold,
Claiming his life as my tribute, giving my wolves the rest."
Clancy crawled through the vastness; o'er him the hate of the Wild;
Full on his face fell the blizzard; cheering his huskies he ran;
Fighting, fierce-hearted and tireless, snows that drifted and piled,
With ever and ever behind him singing the crazy man.
"Sing hey, sing ho, for the ice and snow,
And a heart that's ever merry;
Let us trim and square with a lover's care
(For why should a man be sorry?)
A grave deep, deep, with the moon a-peep,
A grave in the frozen mould.
Sing hey, sing ho, for the winds that blow,
And a grave deep down in the ice and snow,
A grave in the land of gold."
Day after day of darkness, the whirl of the seething snows;
Day after day of blindness, the swoop of the stinging blast;
On through a blur of fury the swing of staggering blows;
On through a world of turmoil, empty, inane and vast.
Night with its writhing storm-whirl, night despairingly black;
Night with its hours of terror, numb and endlessly long;
Night with its weary waiting, fighting the shadows back,
And ever the crouching madman singing his crazy song.
Cold with its creeping terror, cold with its sudden clinch;
Cold so utter you wonder if 'twill ever again be warm;
Clancy grinned as he shuddered, "Surely it isn't a cinch
Being wet-nurse to a looney in the teeth of an arctic storm.
"The blizzard passed and the dawn broke, knife-edged and crystal clear;
The sky was a blue-domed iceberg, sunshine outlawed away;
Ever by snowslide and ice-rip haunted and hovered the Fear;
Ever the Wild malignant poised and panted to slay.
The lead-dog freezes in harness--cut him out of the team!
The lung of the wheel-dog's bleeding--shoot him and let him lie!
On and on with the others--lash them until they scream!
"Pull for your lives, you devils! On! To halt is to die."
There in the frozen vastness Clancy fought with his foes;
The ache of the stiffened fingers, the cut of the snowshoe thong;
Cheeks black-raw through the hood-flap, eyes that tingled and closed,
And ever to urge and cheer him quavered the madman's song.
Colder it grew and colder, till the last heat left the earth,
And there in the great stark stillness the bale fires glinted and
And the Wild all around exulted and shook with a devilish mirth,
And life was far and forgotten, the ghost of a joy once dreamed.
Death! And one who defied it, a man of the Mounted Police;
Fought it there to a standstill long after hope was gone;
Grinned through his bitter anguish, fought without let or cease,
Suffering, straining, striving, stumbling, struggling on.
Till the dogs lay down in their traces, and rose and staggered and fell;
Till the eyes of him dimmed with shadows, and the trail was so hard to
Till the Wild howled out triumphant, and the world was a frozen hell--
Then said Constable Clancy: "I guess that it's up to me."
Far down the trail they saw him, and his hands they were blanched like bone;
His face was a blackened horror, from his eyelids the salt rheum ran;
His feet he was lifting strangely, as if they were made of stone,
But safe in his arms and sleeping he carried the crazy man.
So Clancy got into Barracks, and the boys made rather a scene;
And the O. C. called him a hero, and was nice as a man could be;
But Clancy gazed down his trousers at the place where his toes had been,
And then he howled like a husky, and sang in a shaky key:
"When I go back to the old love that's true to the finger-tips,
I'll say: 'Here's bushels of gold, love,' and I'll kiss my girl on the lips;
'It's yours to have and to hold, love.' It's the proud, proud boy I'll be,
When I go back to the old love that's waited so long for me."
Robert Service, from Ballads of a Cheechako, 1909
Dennis Gaines mentions Duane Reece's poem "Cowboy Sign" in Barney Nelson's book, Voices and Visions of the American West. Barney Nelson is a professor at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas. There's information about her here, and a page of personal information here. The Western Folklife Center posted excerpts of a letter she wrote in recognition of the 10th Annual Alpine Gathering, here. Her book, Voices and Visions of the American West is now scarce and used copies are often priced at about $200. You can find a bit more information about the book at an Amazon link here.
Another of Duane Reece's poems, "No Imposter," is included in the anthology edited by Hal Cannon, Cowboy Poetry, a Gathering, which grew from the Elko gatherings (click the image for an Amazon link, which includes more description):
That book describes Duane Reece as coming from "a ranching family that takes great pride in working with the wildest cows on the roughest land."
Eugene Manlove Rhodes was born in 1869, and spent much of his life in New Mexico. Dennis Gaines tell us that the poem mentioned, "Hired Man on Horseback," is included in a book called Recognition from the Tularosa Basin Historical Society in Alamogordo ($10). See their web site here. It is also included in the out-of-print book, The Best Novels and Stories of Eugene Manlove Rhodes," by the University of Nebraska Press.
Rhodes' first published poem, "Charlie Graham," appeared in Charles Lummis' magazine, Land of Sunshine, in 1896. (A book of letters between Lummis and Rhodes,, Sandpapers: The Lives and Letters of Eugene Manlove Rhodes and Charles Fletcher Lummis, was published several years ago. You can read more about the book here at Amazon.) Rhodes' wife wrote his biography in 1938; the book shares the name of his famous poem, Hired Man on Horseback.
The University of New Mexico describes its Rhodes Collection here: "During 1941 a complete set of the first editions of Eugene Manlove Rhodes' works were acquired for the library. Eugene Manlove Rhodes, novelist, essayist and poet, is one of New Mexico's most beloved writers. Gene Rhodes' fiction was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post; adapted for motion pictures, television and the stage; and published in hardcover, paperback, and Armed Services Editions. The collection includes almost all published items by or about Rhodes."
George Bourbeau contributed the following:
I think I'd have to nominate three, two old timers and one new.
First would be Bruce Kiskaddon's "When They Finish Shipping Cattle in the Fall." Second is Badger Clark's "A Long Half Hour." I think they reflect some basic cowboy thoughts and feelings and paint some beautiful mind paintings.
My contemporary favorite is Baxter Black's "The Buckskin Mare" That is such a powerful story, and his wording is so descriptive, that even though I've read it at least a hundred times and listened to the tape and least as much, my heart rate still increases to machine gun velocity every time. Baxter is a master poet, storyteller and songwriter and, I guess, a pretty fair veterinarian. He's one of my modern day heroes.
You can read more about George Bourbeau and read his poetry here.
We have features about Charles "Badger" Clark and some of his poetry here. This is the poem mentioned by George Bourbeau:
A Bad Half Hour
Wonder why I feel so restless;
Moon is shinin' still and bright,
Cattle all is restin' easy,
But I just kain't sleep tonight.
Ain't no cactus in my blankets,
Don't know why they feel so hard—
'Lesst it's Warblin' Jim a-singin'
"Annie Laurie" out on guard.
"Annie Laurie"— wish he'd quit it!
Couldn't sleep now if I tried.
Makes the night seem big and lonesome
And my throat feels sore inside.
How my Annie used to sing it!
And it sounded good and gay.
Nights I drove her home from dances
When the east was turning gray.
Yes, "her brow was like the snowdrift"
And her eyes like quiet streams,
"And her face" — I still can see it
Much too frequent in my dreams;
And her hand was soft and trembly
That night underneath the tree,.
When I couldn't help but tell her
She was "all the world to me."
But her folks said I was "shif'less,"
"Wild," "unsettled.,"— they was right,
For I leaned to punchin' cattle
And I'm at it still tonight.
And she married young Doc Wilkins—
Oh my Lord! but that was hard!
Wish that fool would quit his singin'
"Annie Laurie" out on guard.
Oh I just kaint stand it thinkin;
Of the things that happened then.
Good old times, and all apast me!
Never seem to come again—
My turn? Sure. I'll come a runnin'.
Warm me up some coffee, pard—
But I'll stop that Jim from singin'
"Annie Laurie" out on guard.
One of the best loved modern performances is done by Don Edwards and Waddie Mitchell, as they perform "A Bad Half Hour" and "Annie Laurie." The moving collaboration is found on their recording The Bard and the Balladeer and you can listen to a part of it at Amazon.
In Don Edwards' excellent book, Classic Cowboy Songs from the Minstrel of the Range, he tells about how he came to set the poem to music, after playing with a Scottish folksinger at a Texas Scottish festival. Don Edwards writes "...Badger's poem came to life like never before -- a magical musical moment to say the least -- and I've been singing it like that ever since." Limited copies of this book are available from Don Edwards' web site:
We have a description of the book here.
You can read more about Baxter Black here at CowboyPoetry.com and you can visit his web site. His web site describes "The Buckskin Mare" tape "Baxter calls this poem 'a cowboy's nightmare . . .Edgar Allen Poe in spurs.' The title poem (15 minutes) is a story about one cowboy's obsession with a wild, invincible mustang."
Our friend and poet Jeff Streeby contributed the following:
Knibbs, Henry Herbert--
"The Shallows of the Ford"
"The Long Road West"
Reason: Perfection of form and sentiment
"Pardon-- Son of Reprieve"
Reason: strength of narrative/naturalness of rhyme
"The Mist of the Wild Rose"
Reason: strength of imagery
Allen Wayne Damron & Tim Henderson
"The Gringo Pistolero"
Reason: conciseness/strength of imagery & characterization
D. J. O'Malley
"The D-2 Horse Wrangler"
Reason: strength of rhyme and authenticity
Jeff Streeby is:
Jeff Streeby can be a man of few words; he saves them for his poetry. You can read more about Jeff Streeby and some of his poetry here; he is an Honored Guest at CowboyPoetry.com. We are proud to have selections from his work in progress, Sunday Creek, here.
See our feature on D. J. O'Malley here, which includes "D2 Horse Wrangler." Cowboy Miner, in cooperation with Dallywelter Press and the Montana Historical Society, has published a collection of his prose and poetry:
Henry Herbert Knibbs was born in 1874. Cowboy Miner Productions published a definitive collection of his work. You can read more about him and his poetry in our feature here and read his poem, "Boomer Johnson," at the Cowboy Miner site:
Montanan Ken Overcast is an acclaimed poet, songwriter, singer, and broadcaster. "Mist of the Rose" is included on his Prairie Poetry album, which includes his description "I've had more requests for this than anything I've done. It's a fantasy about a cowboy and an old set of abandoned buildings. It seems they're all over the place out west, and at one time, all contained families with dreams. Who were they? Where did they go? Why did they leave? What happened to their dreams? See his Bear Valley Tales here, read about his radio program, The Cowboy Show here, and visit his web site here.
"The Gringo Pistolero" is in Tim Henderson's book, Sweeping up Dreams, Lyrics as Poetry, which is mentioned here. His collaborator, Texas singer, songwriter and entertainer Allen Wayne Damron was the co-founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival. He performs the song on a recording with the same title, Sweeping up Dreams and on another album, 35 Years, noted here, where you can listen to the song.
D. J. O'Malley was born in 1868. We have a feature about D. J. O'Malley here.
The University of Arizona's great Music of the Southwest site has information about D. J. O'Malley here, and a selection of his poems, including "The D-2 Horse Wrangler" here.
In 2000, working with the Montana Historical Society, Cowboy Miner Productions published D. J. O'Malley's book-length manuscript, Reminiscences and Poems of Early Montana and the Cattle Range, which O'Malley had prepared before he died in 1943. The book is an extensive collection of poems, prose, and photographs. You can read more about the book, D. J. O'Malley, and read his poem "Where the Sagebrush Grows" at the Cowboy Miner site:
Smithsonian Folkways' Buck Ramsey ~ Hittin' the Trail (2003) 2-CD set includes Buck Ramsey singing "The Tenderfoot," which the liner notes explain was "originally known as 'The D2 Horse Wrangler.'" Read a review of the CD set here. You can read more about the CD at the Smithsonian Folkways site.
Gwen Smith writes:
My favorite Cowboy Poet is Waddie Mitchell... Please all of you cowboy poets never stop writing and telling your stories with poetry...
See our feature on Waddie Mitchell right here.
Linda Kirkpatrick contributed the following:
I must say that "Old Yellow
Slicker" by Debra Coppinger Hill is probably the most touching poem
that I have ever read or performed. I first heard Debra recite the poem in
Lubbock several years ago. It was there that I first met Debra. The
more I thought about her poem the more that it touched me. I asked for
permission to recite the poem and she graciously allowed me to use it.
Well then I had to practice it for about 2 months before I could stand and say
it without crying. I must say that I have been reciting it all across the
state for the last several years and in every audience one or more are in
tears. Frank Roberts and I now do "Old Yellow Slicker" together
with "Amazing Grace." We began doing it this way at about the
time we had to put my dad in a nursing home so again it is hard to do without
spilling a tear or two but in a more loving kind of way. As many times as
I have recited it the tears just welled up when I heard Jean
Prescott sing it for the first time in Lubbock. Debra had told me what a
great job that Jean did with it and she was right.
It is a poem that will tug the strings on everyone's heart.
My favorite classic poem is
"Bronco Twister's Prayer" by Bruce Kiskaddon. This is a poem
that I have recited many times and when reciting it I can just picture in my
mind the whole poem from beginning to end. I have always tried to bring
out poems that mention the women of the west and even though this poem is about
the twister one can just see the widow and the "two women with weak voices."
It also paints a pretty vivid picture of the strength of these old cowboys when
the chips are down and they have to take up the slack.
Linda Kirkpatrick is:
You can read more about Lariat Laureate runner up Linda Kirkpatrick and some of her poetry here. Linda is the author of an outstanding new AWA-nominated book, Somewhere in the West, Texas Women Who Left a Legacy - Poems and Legends," which you can read more about here.
You can read more about Debra Coppinger Hill and some of her poetry here; she is an Honored Guest at CowboyPoetry.com and is featured in The Big Roundup. "Old Yellow Slicker" is posted above, and is followed by information about Jean Prescott's recording and Debra Coppinger Hill's CD, "Common Sense, Men and Horses."
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