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

Janice Chapman's web site
About Janice N. Chapman


My Horse Champion           

What makes a horse be ornery
Is a thing I'll never know.
I think it's for attention,
Or sometimes just so you'll know
They like a little laughter
To brighten up their day.
And to get your attention,
They'll surely find a way!

Like when my horse, Champion, threw me
Right into a cactus patch.
I came up full of cactus quills,
And he never got a scratch.
And he snickered as I landed,
Like he'd had this all planned out.
Even though he would not have thrown me
Had I been a man, no doubt.

We had some times together
That old paint horse and me.
A better horse for a growing kid
There'll probably never be.
But he could work the cattle
Just as well as he could play.
And we did our share of working
Before he grew old and passed away.

He didn't like to be caught again
Once he'd been turned loose to roam.
And when his owners came and got him,
He got out and came back home,
To the girl he used to run from,
And tease me until I'd yell,
But if he thought someone would hurt me,
He'd fight them all the way to Hell.

Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Quick Sand
We were bringing in the horses,
My neighbor, Gary, and me.
Things were going good
Until one yearling filly broke free.

Champion and I turned with her
As she broke away.
We had to turn her back,
We couldn't let her go astray.

But then she crossed the creek,
And things got out of hand,
My paint had closed the distance,
But he hit the quicksand.

He screamed out in panic,
And I had to yell and hope.
But Gary somehow heard me,
And came back swinging his rope.

And for the first time in his life
His rope sailed straight and true,
It settled over Champ and me
Just like we needed it to.

For Champion was thrashing around in panic,
And we were sinking fast.
And even I could not get free,
Quicksand had us both in its grasp.

But it wasn't until after
Champion got his feet on solid ground,
Gary and I together
Finally got him settled down.

We cleaned the saddle with sage,
We did the best we could.
The saddle would have to be cleaned and soaped,
That was totally understood.

But then we decided to let her go,
The filly that had gone astray.
We took the rest of the herd of horses in,
We'd had enough for one day.

Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Stallion
I watched as against the late sunrise
he reared and shook his stately head,
and bugled across the valley below
before rejoining the band of mares he led.
And all I could do was stand and stare.
In the morning sunrise he was a sight to behold.
I wanted that stallion with an awful desire.
I followed that horse mile after mile,
completely consumed in my wanton desire.
I figured he'd get tired after awhile,
and he figured the same thing about me,
as onward we traveled. . . long mile after mile.
We traveled for days across grassy land,
and I can just see that stallion smile!
I swear I knew that horse had a plan.
He'd stop and turn to see if I was there,
or he'd come back and see how far he'd left me behind,
or he'd come back just to stand and stare.
He was playing with my mind.
Then he stole into my camp late one night,
like the Devil himself he tore up my camp,
drove off my trail horse and woke me with a fright.
He was a thunderous bolt of golden scamp!
He wanted to make sure I quivered in my bed.
He snorted and stamped and his nostrils flared,
and up and down he tossed his beautiful head.
But then he backed off with a "hee-hee-hee!"
And I knew I'd been beaten. . .and so did he.

Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Old Cowboy

I saw this man I've known for years,
Yet seeing him almost brought me tears.
I couldn't tell you how many miles
He's rode the range with all its trials.

Or how many years it took the wind
To carve the wrinkles in his facial skin.
The twinkling eyes I used to see
No longer twinkled merrily.

A voice so soft and baritone
That took the weariness from bone,
No longer came out soft and clear
The way it once did in yesteryear.

No songs now come out to play
To sing our lonesome blues away.
No whistled tunes will I now hear
The way I did in yesteryear.

For his breathing now comes in gasps,
And his voice is now a thinning rasp.
His smile no longer finds its place
Amid the worry on his face.

His legs are bent and yes are bowed
From years of horses that he rode.
But when it's mentioned that's what he used to do,
He makes the comment, "Yeah, I've rode a few."

His legs no longer dance to tune and rhyme
The way they did once upon a time.
His left hand is bent and filled with pain
From the years he rode and held the rein.

The hand that once held the girls on the dance floor
Is a hand he feels he can use no more.
And in spite of the ranges on which he's been,
His body is a vessel now frail and thin.

A man who shouldered life day by day,
And handled whatever should come his way.
Helped his Mother until she died,
And then with an older son's pride

He took his handicapped brother under his wing,
And treated his brother first in everything.
Does his best as a big brother to see
That happy his younger brother will be.

And though it pains him to go and do,
He'll see his younger brother through.
For brotherly love is unsurpassed
In this old cowboy who can barely gasp.

And it saddens me that I had to see
A man who'd been a friend to me,
In a situation where I cannot help, yet I know
It won't be long before he'll go.

We'll miss him here on earth,
For I guess we all know this cowboy's worth.
But God will gain in Heaven's row
The best cowhand He'll ever know.

2000, Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Little Cowpoke

He stood beside his steed
And waited for his call,
And then he rode that bucking bronc,
And not once did he fall.

He gave it everything he had,
And the crowd there cheered him on.
He'd drawn the bronc to ride --
The one they called Midnight Dawn.

That horse bucked and he bucked hard.
He bucked up and down, and to the left and right.
And with a spin tried to unseat the young cowpoke
That sat his back this night.

The eight second bell could scarcely be heard
Above the noise of the crowd.
Their cheers and whistles told the little cowpoke
That of him they were proud.

And when the cheering quit,
He felt no remorse --
He'd had himself quite a ride
On Midnight Dawn -- his favorite stick horse!

2000, Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Cattle Moving Day

The sun that scorched the prairie grass
Burned down upon the cattle's backs.
And broiled us and our saddled stock
As we tried hard to pick up their tracks,

On hardened ground and sunbaked tufts
Of grass that mostly broke beneath a critter's weight.
But we had to get them moved
And so such was our fate,

To ride amid the sweltering heat
On this breezeless summer day.
We bunched the cattle that we had
Then went for the ones that had gone astray.

The perspiration soaked our clothes
And also soaked our mounts.
And with the sun so beaming down
We finally had our counts.

The critters fought us all the way
To the corrals we put them in.
A bawling, milling, sweating herd,
And sweating weary mounts and men.

We all saw to our horses then
And cooled each one of them out.
We'll need them again tomorrow,
Of that there is no doubt.

Then weary, smelly, dust caked men
Sought a cooling water trough,
Where we could bathe and cool down a bit
And get the day's stench off.

Tomorrow will be another day,
But at least the cattle are in.
And tomorrow morn before we start,
We'll run the count again.

Janice N. Chapman, August 2, 2000, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Curse the Winter Ride


For a man or beast to face the cold
Boy, it should be a sin,
To have to find and try to drive
Strayed cattle against this cold bitter wind.

Curse the job that put me here
On this freezing mountain side,
And curse the cattle that had to stray,
Making it necessary for this ride.

I stopped to make a small camp fire,
Haunched against the cold,
Cursing everything within a distance
Of this nearly frozen soul.

Curse the wind that chills my bones,
And keeps tryin' to put out my fire,
But a meal's a must in spite of the winds that gust,
Even for a man for hire.

My horse, he snorts and stamps an impatient foot,
And shakes himself to help ward off the cold.
He probably curses a foolish man squatted by the fire,
That brought him from his warm stall out into the cold.

But the fire she finally blazed,
And the meal warmed me inside.
Then I put it out and mounted again
To continue the searching ride.

There's places it seems that cattle dream
To challenge a man's integrity--
At least it seemed that way all day today
As the cold whipped around both horse and me.

The afternoon wore on with the whistling wind,
And temperatures that dropped while I searched out the cattle.
And by the time I'd found the last in late afternoon,
I felt like I was frozen to the saddle.

My hands felt painfully cold even through I'd worn my gloves,
That cold still cut through me clear down to the bone.
Chilled in spite of the extra clothes I'd worn...I couldn't wait,
Although by now it was late, to get those cattle home.

We found a few frozen to the ground,
We'd count them in the tally of the loss.
And with the cattle in I cursed again
At the luck that put me down as boss.

2001, Janice N. Chapman, All rights reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Hard-Core Man

Even though he is known to all as a hard core man,
He is the most gentle man that I have ever seen.
He can cowboy with the best of them,
And bring them critters in from the green.

I've never seen a rope that's quite so quick
When they're brandin' in the draw.
It will down the fastest steer --
That's the rope the steer never saw.

The horse he rides may not be a beauty,
But it will work all day and into the night.
And he never has to worry about it --
That horse will do him right.

Among the men he works with,
His word, though mean at times, is law.
And if they can't follow his orders,
From him their wages they'll draw.

The men all know from none of them
He'll never take no guff,
And if you plan to cross him,
You'd best go pack your stuff.

They all know he'll treat them right,
In spite of his hard core attitudes.
And they'll go along with what he wants,
And they'll put up with his moods.

Cuss words may at times escape him,
Though with him they're a rarity.
He doesn't have the time to waste
On words of such triviality.

And when the weather turns,
Or circumstances pit him against his will,
He'll hang in there and do his work
Like he has nerves of steel.

His mind is a calculator --
It's in motion all the time,
And he can show you profit and loss
Before the pen can sit down on the line.

Pride rules him with a hand of iron;
The boss he has to be.
And out on the range, hard core
Is mostly what the men will see.

But once he steps inside the place he calls his home,
I can visibly see his changes,
As love transforms him into a gentle man,
As inside my loving heart he ranges.

1998, Janice N. Chapman, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

With Clouds Hung Low

With the whispering winds,
   And the clouds hung low,
Time seems to stand still,
   It's surely moving slow.

Wonder why I'm out here --
   I could be home in bed.
But here I am on horseback
   Hazing cows instead.

Guess about all that matters,
   Is getting them where they go.
And watchin' out for rain,
   With the clouds hung low.

They're bawlin' and they're millin',
   It's just as if they know,
There's rain on the way,
   With the clouds hung low.

They have grazed this pasture down,
   And there's another one yet to mow.
And as we're leaving this one,
   That's where they'll go.

And as I watch them plod along,
   And count each and every head,
I know why I'm on horseback,
   And not home in my bed.

And with the gentle breezes blowin'
   And the clouds all hung down low,
New grass will be a blessing
   For the cattle to graze and mow.

          2001, Janice N. Chapman, All Rights Reserved
          This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


His Little Cowboy Boots

The cowboy boots he wore to school
Did so hurt his feet,
And so he took them off
And set them in the aisle beside his seat.
His teacher spotted his cowboy boots
Sitting beside his chair,
And asked of her young pupil
Why he had put them there.
He'd have to wear them during school
She did explain to him,
And then she helped him tug and pull
And get them on again.
But they still hurt his feet,
And thus he told her so,
And looking at his booted feet,
Discovered that wasn't the way they go.
She helped him pull them off again,
And put the right foot in each boot,
And asked him why to Kindergarten
He'd worn these tight cowboy boots.
He shrugged and said to her
His brother's boots they were,
And he had to have a pair to wear
In front of the other kids and her.
With the boots in place once more,
The teacher had a thought,
And asked of this young pupil,
Where were the mittens that he brought.
The answer he gave proudly
Shook the teacher to her roots,
As he calmly replied. . .
"They're in the toes of my boots."

  2001, Janice Chapman,  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Proud Grandma

"Rocky 'orse, G'amma," he said
As he crawled upon my lap.
He rocked a little while,
And then he took a nap.

"Me wanna pony, G'amma,
Me wanna pony, too."
With smiling eyes I said,
"I'll see what I can do."

"Can you talk to Gran'pa, Gran'ma,
And see if I can have a baby horse?"
And as I looked into those eyes,
I answered him, "Of course."

His Grandpa balked a bit at that,
But it seemed he understood.
He came up with a sprintly colt,
Said, "You'd better treat it good."

How proud he was that first day
When he rode the colt his first time!
And knowing then that from then on
He'd proudly call him, "Mine."

He learned to ride and rope
And cut and brand as well.
And how to bring those cattle in
And sort them out to sell.

His Grandpa proudly taught him
Everything he had to know,
And a better cowboy you've yet to meet,
And he'll proudly tell you so.

Now the years have come and gone,
And still when he wants things done,
With a twinkle in his eyes...
To Grandma he'll still come.

And knows full well his Grandma
Will do his bidding any time,
For he doesn't just have her number,
He's got her tied with binder twine!

2001, Janice Chapman  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


My Grandson and The Stallion

I woke up this morning,
And I stretched amid a yawn;
And almost had a heart attack
At what my eyes lit upon.

In the corral with the stallion
I'd bought just yesterday,
My grandson found his legs
A delightful place to play.

And as I watched in horror
While the baby played between those legs,
I might as well have been sittin'
On a dozen powder kegs!

I could see all kinds of things
The stallion might have done,
If he was a mind to...
To my trusting grandson.

From the front legs to the back legs
The toddler stumbled and fell,
And just to break his fall
He grabbed the stallion's tail!

And he chortled the air with laughter
As between those back legs he fell.
The stallion turned his head,
And I swear he smiled as well.

He never moved a muscle
While the baby played beneath his might.
And I slowly, breath abated,
Strolled toward the sight.

I knew down deep inside
That sudden moves I didn't dare,
As I slowly made my way
Toward that unlikely pair.

The baby absently moved away,
And the stallion followed him.
He fondled the baby's face
And snickered softly to him.

The baby laughed and pelted
That soft muzzle close to him,
And those tiny fingers on his hands
Found the mane on his new found friend.

I froze as the stallion turned him
Toward the gate he'd gone through,
And then nudged him gently
To get him to come back through.

I picked up my grandson,
Relieved no harm had come to him,
And said my thanks to the stallion
That he'd turned out to be a friend.

2001, Janice Chapman  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Ol' Cord

Ol' Cord was fond of braggin'
That he could ride anything alive,
So we decided we'd just see,
And have some fun around this old dive.

For down on Clauson's Range
Lived a Tinhorn's Special Fare,
A kind of four legged varmint
That around our parts was rare.

So few had ever seen her
This long legged rangy mare,
And fewer had caught up to her
On the prairie runnin' fair.

No man had e'er been on her--
We knew that for a fact.
Now we had to figure out
How to get the mare into the tack.

We knew she'd surely show ol' Cord
Just exactly what he lacked,
While we had to sit and swallow
His long jawed braggin' as a fact.

We waited until ol' Cord
Was ridin' line one day,
To bring in that wild mare,
And in our corral invite her to stay.

Ol' Cord's eyes just twinkled
When he came in and saw the mare.
"Wal!" he said, "Boys, you've been busy.
What's this you have in here?"

"Aw, we just brought in a new one
We thought you'd like to ride."
Ol' Cord gave us an eye. . .
I know he knew we lied.

But true to his braggin',
And to all of our surprise,
He roped this rangy wild horse,
And held onto his prize.

She did some fancy dancin'
And the corral filled fast with dust.
Ol' Cord talked to her, and as he did,
He forgot the rest of us.

It took two months before dawned the day
That we could watch ol' Cord ride.
He'd gentled down this rangy mare,
And he saddled her with pride.

The ride he rode was short lived,
He'd mastered the wildness call.
And now to us his word is fact,
It ain't no brag a'tall.

2002, Janice Chapman  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



God's Cowboy

When God sat down and looked upon
Theworld that He had spun,
He told Himself just one more thing
Before His work is done.
We all know how He made Adam.
And then that He made Eve.
But when she then turned to sin,
Oh, how our Lord did grieve!
"I'll make myself a special man--
A man who'll bring me joy--
And give to him an honor code,
And call him my cowboy.
And to this cowboy I'll give a steed
To help him through his day.
I'll beautify wide open spaces,
Where he'll feel free to pray.
I'll give him gentle ways,
And uniqueness all his own,
And though his size be tall or short,
For his vallor he'll be known.
He'll be a breed most looked up to
By others near and far--
By day he'll work beneath the sun,
By night beneath the stars.
I'll give him wisdom as I see fit,
And common sense as well.
patience, endurance and faith in me,
In my cowboy will always dwell.
He'll delight my soul when he finds
A needful time to pray--
When he kneels upon my prairies,
I'll listen to what he'll say.
For yes, I'll make myself a cowboy--
He'll be a breed apart--
And he'll have a special place
Within my Master's heart."

2002, Janice N. Chapman,  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Old Time Cowboys

I never lived in days of old
When the cowboys rode the range,
And often rode it alone
Into territories new and strange.

Where they met each moment
With the best of what they had --
Though there were the times when
Those moments turned out bad.

Where dangers  lurked with every mile
A cowboy rode each day,
And he never knew when he'd be attacked
By some injured or locoed stray.

Where fence posts didn't dot the land,
With barbed wire to bar the way,
And a man could ride in any direction
Or on any piece of land could stay.

Where prayer might be at the rivers edge,
Where the banks threatened to overflow.
Or again during a summer drought
When the water was really low.

Where home might be, and often was,
A stand of pinon trees.
Where he prayed for summer wind,
Or in the winter that he'd not freeze.

Where his clothes might be skinned out hide,
And his footwear might be the same.
And bullets were too expensive
For him not to take accurate aim.

Where jobs were few and pay was low,
And food was not the best. --
But in my heart I hold a place
For those cowboys who tamed the west.

2003, Janice N. Chapman,  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Ghost Mare

She stood there silently in the round pen,
Moving only her legs every now and then.
She watched with interest as we loaded the hay,
And waited our return as we drove away.

Three other pastures shared the hay we brought,
And we fed them all without a thought.
It’s something people do for the animals they have,
Whether a small baby pig or a new born calf.

So silently she stood in her coat colored in bay,
And intently watched as we disbursed the hay.
She disappeared quickly into the night,
Whenever she was struck with any bright light.

My son feared his stud colt was out
When he finally saw the mare shifting about.
But head count in the pasture assured him
His own young stud colt was in.

Our horses have been on the place nigh a year,
But this was the first time for the ghost mare to appear.
I wondered if she had not sometime in the past
Lived, and maybe died here, and came home at last.

Perhaps she has watched us all off and on,
Appearing only at times we were gone.
I wondered why on this cold January night,
She had let us see her in the dimmer of lights.

Does she look after the herd whenever we go,
And protect them in ways we don’t even know?
Has she come back at last where she’s not alone,
To the place I’m sure she once had called home?

2012, Janice N. Chapman,  All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Janice told us, "This was a real experience that I managed to capture in verse. It was just after dark this past January (2012) when we got to the pasture with the hay, so we were having to use headlights both from the pickup and the tractor. Every now and then we get a glimpse of this ghost mare. The herd has gotten used to her showing up among them on occasion. They give her a glance and go on about what they are doing. She is on my pasture west and south of Pratt, Kansas."


Elsewhere on this site, read Janice Chapman's tribute to Louis A. Carle, Our Friend Went Home.

Read Janice Chapman's The Christmas Sleigh posted with Holiday 2001 poems.


About Janice N. Chapman:

I grew up on a farm just west of Laverne, Oklahoma. My parents were cattle and wheat people. But we pastured a paint gelding for the use of him. Most of our neighbors had horses. And I learned to love them as a youngster growing up.

A few years ago I bought a pasture near Buffalo, Oklahoma, and began to gather current top blood lines in my brood mares.

Find more about Janice Chapman at her web site,


If I Could Be a Poet
104 poems
"This work showcases the experience and life's simple things as seen through the heart of Janice N Chapman and reflects a lifestyle that is all but gone."

Find more information at her web site, and find order information at


Sage and Cattle Country Poetry
$10 postpaid


Let's Walk Away Strangers
$10 postpaid


Order from:

Janice N. Chapman
P.O. Box 5165
Enid, OK 73702



 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form. is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  


Site copyright information