Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

near Big Rock, Tennessee
About Festus Turp



Jingle Bull

Long before old Rudolph, the North Pole was mighty wild.
And Santa Claus ran some cattle there, in the good old Western style.

Every year for his big trip, he'd pick out a brand new bull...
to tote those bags of toys around, for all the Boys and Girls.

While saddling his mount one year, the elves thought they'd play a prank,
and instead of hanging jingle bells, they put a bucking strap on his flank.

Well, when Old Man Claus jumped on him, and the head elf turned him loose,
That old bull roared and jumped up high, like a dog-goned scalded moose.

He launched the old man to the stratus-sphere, (That’s a-ways up in the air)
and Santa did three full back-flips while he was hangin' there.

The elves all thought it was a hoot, until they heard a wild-man's shout,
For Santa had lit on the old bull's back, and began to spur him out.

Round and round the old bull spun, with the fat man on his back
A blinding blur of horns, white beard, and assorted Christmas tack.

Toys went flying everywhere, it was raining dolls and bears
Rooty-toots and rummy-tums slung around without a care.

Santa spurred him up and down 'til the bull had had enough.
And then he yelled: "You rotten elves ! Start picking up this stuff !"

So they got it all reloaded, and things got settled down,
And Santa shook the snow off, then set off to make his rounds.

As he rode off into the Northern lights, the head elf heard him say
"Cain't believe I fell for that, There just ain't no way,
I'll let them fools pull that again.
Next year I'm gettin' me a sleigh...."

© 2012, Festus Turp
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

The Buffler and the Turp

... You may have heard me mention once, ‘bout my Buffler-induced fears,
Well, If you’ve got a minute, there’s a tale you need to hear.

...It was a just a month or two ago, while we were hauling up The Trace,
When the Boss pulled over and made a stop at the dog-gone Buffler place.
I could see those wooly boogers, out there pacing back and forth,
With big fat heads and humped-up backs, they were makin’ funny snorts.
When all at once this Buffler bull, he comes chargin' to the fence,
Spits out his cud and clears his throat, and thus he did commence:

“I see you in there Paint Horse, and I know what you’re about,
And I’d give a buffalo nickel, if your boss would let you out.
‘Cause I’ve got a bone to pick with you, you scrawny little dude,
If I could only hop this gate, I would surely whip you good.

"See, you and all your Injun friends, chased my kind across the Plains,
Runnin’ ‘round with bows and spears, you caused us lots of pain.
Seems the least that you could do, for all that aggravation,
Is cough up that there hay-bag, we’ll just call it 'reparations.'”

“Now hold up there, Pard,” I said, “I hardly think that’s fair”
“‘Cause this here hay is mine, you see. I earned it fair and square.

". . . And about that Great Plains-chasin’ thing, why,
That big bull roared, jumped up and down, and I thought it’d be my death,
He shook his hoof and glared at me, and I smelt his nasty old cud-breath.
“Doggone you, little Paint Horse, now you hand me down that bag,
Don’t make me come on in there and stomp you into rags.”

Well all this time un’knownst to me, throughout this conversation,
Another Buffler was takin' 'vantage, of my divided concentration.
He reached right through the back gate, and with his slimy Buffler tongue,
Tied my tail in a great big knot, . . .guess he thought that would be fun.
Well it wasn’t very funny. No, I did NOT appreciate,
That impromptu horse-hair hitchin’ that went on through the gate!

So, I‘ve got a knotted tail now, and the Bufflers took my hay.
I’m pretty sure I’ll hate ‘em all, until my dyin’ day.
And I can’t switch the flies off now,
. . . there just ain’t no way.

So now I hope you understand, why those critters give me chills,
If they ever cross my path again, I’m headed for the hills.
Those Bufflers traumatized me, and I can’t even bear the thought
Of getting my hay stole again. . .
. . . or another danged old “Buffler-Knot.”

© 2012, Festus Turp
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

Jeff Pudil comments, "The road we take to trail ride in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, is known as The Trace. The government maintains a small buffalo herd there in a pasture alongside the highway. I have often wondered what Festus’ reaction to those wooly critters might be, if he ever found himself in their company. When he managed to turn up one day with a nasty knot in his tail, I suspected he may have had some kind of a run-in with something. So I asked him what happened, and this is the story he told—straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say. He’s as honest a horse as I’ve ever come across, but I think he might have stretched the truth on this one a bit."


Ol’ Strawberry Speaks
      as told to Festus Turp, by Strawberry his self

You rolled up on the buckboard, like you owned the whole durned place,
And I knew that you had come tuh ride, from the grin upon your face.
A bronk fighter’s look about you, I could tell you’d fanned a few.
Over-confident and braggin’, I guess that’s how I knew
that you’d soon slip the surly bonds, a-headed towards the sky,
When I turned ‘round on a nickle, and launched you up on high.
Now the saddle’s ‘neath my belly, and the girth’s across muh back,
Fence rails busted, broken reins, and a busted-up hay rack.
These acker-batics ain’t too easy. No sir, I’ll have you know.
I ain’t done, so friend, just lie there now, while I finish this here show.
Your saddle’s tree ain’t busted yet, and the bags ain’t quite unlatched,
The blind’s still hanging off muh ear, an’ three shoes are still attached.
I’ve got some work tuh do yet, but I think you might agree,
that this latest fit’s my best one yet, the durnedest blow-up you’ll ever see.
You think it started over nothin’? That I ain’t got no sense?
Well pard, this thing was all devised tuh chunk you through that fence.
I ain't some ol' crazy outlaw bronk, like you might have first believed
as you stood beside the old corral. No sir, you were deceived.
It was all part of my game plan, tuh pay you back for what you said,
‘bout how muh pin-ears was too small, and that I got pig-eyes in muh head.
Talkin’ bout muh lower jaw, then you said I had an ol’ yew neck,
spavined legs, and a Roman nose? Yessir, you deserved that wreck.
You even made fun of muh left hip-brand- That purty double-squared-ed iron.
Just climb back on me, smart-mouth, if you’re of a mind to keep on tryin’.
If you think that was sun-fishin’, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet
And if you don’t apologize, you're gonna need a cow-poke’s vet.
“Ain’t no man alive kin stay” with me, I’ll take the liberty tuh quote
The words you muttered, lying there. Now who’s squealin’ like a shoat?
Don’t e'er bad-mouth your mount, Pard. Under any circumstance.
Or you’ll find yourself all upside down, with ripped up, muddy pants.
Listen to me close now, so next time don't turn out so mean……

Whatever bronk you piles on, Pard.....

.... ‘s the best one you’ve ever seen!

© 2013, Festus Turp
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


The Smilin' Man

An ol’ Paint was in a field one eve, watchin’ the sun go down;
Like he’d done a thousand times before, since he'd first been around.
But the light was somewhat off tonight; kind of blurred, a little dim;
And the crickets didn’t seem so loud, as they sang their nightly hymn.

The wind was down, like it always is, around that time of day;
So he could barely catch the drifting scent, of a field of fresh-mown hay.
Then the strangest thing just happened - he saw a blinding light;
And the Paint sank to his knees there, while the sun sank out of sight.


He came-to out of darkness, and seen his Mother lying there
His coat all wet and sticky, and he could feel the ice-cold air.
Fresh shavings there beneath him, in the giant birthin’-stall;
And a Smilin’ Man, just smilin’, perched up there on the wall.

Then once again he tasted, that sweet warm Mother’s Milk;
Felt a warm spring breeze a-blowing, through his bristly mane of silk.
Pitched a fit - squealin’ and buckin’, as he saw his first young calf;
And clear across the pasture, came the Smilin’ Man’s big laugh.

Rolling in the late-Spring grass, ‘neath the dull-orange mid-day sun.
The ground streaking underneath him, as he finally learned to run.
A gentle kick now from his Mama, then him tumbling in the grass;
And the Smilin’ Man just snickerin’, as he tried another pass.

Then he was standin’ at the snubbin’-post, with a saddle on his back,
Sound of jingling, creakin’ leather, that pleasant smell of well-oiled tack.
A strange weight there in his middle, he felt himself begin to balk;
Then the Smilin’ Man just rubbed his neck, and they moved off at a walk.

Dusty summers ran together; heat, sweat, and frozen winters too.
He busted ice along the creek, with some old mares he knew.
Long rides through crunching fallen leaves, driving rains so cold and wet;
And the Smilin’ Man right with him, chucklin’ like he’d won a bet.

He stretched out fast as he could go, while the man, he swung his rope.
Chased a stray back to the bunch with ease; in that care-free, gentle lope.
Trotted ‘long a ridge-line, picked his way through broken shale;
While the Smilin’ Man sang to him, or recounted some wild tale.

Things started flashing faster then, the years flew away like birds:
Drives and brandings, all the ropings; he tasted dust from all the herds.
Fights with other stallions; some he won, and some he lost.
The Smilin’ Man, there with the Vet, sayin’ “Don’t care what it costs!”

Standing in the pasture now, with aches (but not too many cares);
Nickerin’ cross the ol’ fence-line, at all the young brood-mares.
Grazing out there in the sunset light, after their last ride;
The Smilin’ Man just quiet, as they stood there side-by-side.


He thrashed some, as he lay there; then went still, a-breathing slow.
Not quite sure how he’d got there, but knowing it was time to go.
Then two rough hands slid 'round his neck, and his heart, it leapt with joy;
The Smilin’ Man cradled the ol’ Paint’s head, sayin', “I’m glad I found you, boy.”

‘Fore that blinding light came back again, to carry off his pain;
He saw the Smilin’ Man weren’t smiling, and felt somethin’ like warm rain.
Heard, “Pard, ride on now without me. Oh!, your life was grand and wild!”

Then he closed his eyes and heaved a sigh,

And I believe the ol’ Paint smiled.

© 2014, Bent Nickel Publishing (Jeff Pudil/ Festus Turp)
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

About Festus Turp:
provided 2012

Festus Turp is an American Paint Horse (who happens to write poetry) from the Bent Nickel Ranch, near Big Rock, Tennessee. He resides there with his owner, scribe, and translator Jeff Pudil, a test pilot for Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas and a recent Army retiree.




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