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

McKinney, Texas
About Jeffrey Campbell




Christmas Eve Rain

The shopping was over, the Christmas parties too
Toys for tots given out and the train rides were through
People were home with family and friends
All anticipating the Big Day to begin

I sat and listened to the sound of the rain
Watching the droplets roll down the pane
Nobody dreams of a Christmas thatís wet
But remember last summer, how can we forget

Those 40 consecutive 100 plus days
The fires of September that ravaged and razed
When ashes and smoke choked out the sky
The ground like a moonscape, cracked open and dry

Rivers turned to creeks and creeks were just gone
Pastures turned brown and so did the lawns
The faces in shelters, that lost everything
And those of my neighbors, of what tomorrow would bring

The forests, farms and homes that we lost
Personal treasures, you canít measure the cost
The unceasing inferno that brought so much pain
When weíd give anything for one drop of rain

So as the kids get excited, the adults reminisce
And sweethearts with mistletoe steal a quick kiss
As the showers continue, you wonít hear me complain
About the precious gift of a Christmas Eve Rain

© 2012, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



East Texas Christmas

After work, yesterday, we all headed into town
For the Christmas Tour of Homes, just helping folks get around
Directing traffic, pointing out a good place to eat
Helping a Grandpa or Grandma to get across the street
Three ladies from Lufkin even got their car stuck
Thank Goodness John R had his winch and his truck
As the temperature dropped the crowds wound down
Mainly just the Middle School Choir, caroling around
So there was some time, for a short coffee break
Pulled my Carhartt jacket tight, as I sat on my tailgate
I could hear those young voices caroling, ďSilent NightĒ
As I looked at all the houses with their bright Christmas lights
I smelled the smoke of a chimney, that hung in the air
The smiles on strangerís faces, that didnít have a care
Then a car pulled up, with the window rolled down
Blaring some racket, they call a top 40 sound
That peaceful moment was broken and gone
Like the stars in the heavens at the first light of dawn
At first I got mad and then I wanted to shout
But then I got to thinking what Christmas is about
Itís not the presents you get, the trinkets or toys
Not the latest and greatest commercial marketing ploy
Itís a call from your parents, when theyíre so far away
A cup of coffee, with your wife, to start Christmas day
A kitten in your lap, a dog by your side
The rustle of the leaves, on a morning trail ride
These are things youíll remember, when youíre back on the line
Like that Christmas Moment, in the East Texas Pines

© 2012, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem was a winner in the Adult category of the National Cowgirl Museum 2011 Holiday Poetry Contest.

One Last Ride

I limped down to the arena
I knew I shouldnít go
To watch those young cowboys
Put on a bullridiní show

I know exactly how I sound
Just like a bitter old man
Itís torture when your body canít
But your mind thinks you can

I got a pin in my left shoulder
A resurfaced right hip
Half my ring fingerís missiní
And a big scar across my lip

Every bone in my body aches
At the touch of winterís breeze
Got no spurs on my boots
Just in my ankles and my knees

Kay said itís a bad temptation
Condemn me to a wheelchair
But if a wheelchairís just confinement
Hell, Iím already there

Cause once there was a time
Way back in the day
When for those eight seconds
I could stick it and stay

So this all comes down to
Just an old droverís pride
But I would give anything
Just for one last ride

© 2013, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Ode To The Alabama Cowboys
(Looking Back)

Back in North Alabama close to Tennessee
Thereís a big tree farm, where a ranch used to be
And just like those trees, my roots are there
Husky blue jeans on a buckskin mare

My Daddy heís a Western Pleasure man
Held those reigns gently in his hand
And thatís the same way that he raised me
He only got firm when he had to be

And Mom said to strive for straight Aís
But short of that, be the best behaved
Yes mam, no mam, thank you mam, please
Will take you as far as a college degree

Stories about Bear Bryant from Uncle Paul
Alabama Crimson Tide, Kings of football
That thereís not a horse that canít be rode
But thereís not a cowboy that canít be throwed

I remember riding bare back with my cousin
Make a little money, selling eggs by the dozen
Pitching horseshoes, flying June bugs on a string
Learn to read and write from Western Horseman Magazine

I realize those days they shaped my life
Made me a good husband to a good wife
That you always ride hard for the brand
Be a faithful steward for the open land

For many years that ranch has been gone
But as long as I breathe it still lives on
And its lessons always keep me on track
Thatís what I cherish, when Iím looking back

© 2014, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Jeffrey comments: My Great Uncle Paul had a farm/ranch in Valley Head, Alabama, at the base of Lookout Mountain. I spent most of my childhood weekends there. When your a child all you know is that your having fun but as you grow older you realize that during those years your family is teaching you ethics and building your confidence. That my Family was truly teaching me the "Cowboy Way" and all I will ever do, even if its just treat people with dignity and respect, is because of their influence.


They carved out this wildlife refuge
As the suburbs start to sprawl
A place for natureís creatures
Of beauty that enthralls

A place for the birds to fly
And for the fish to swim
For the squirrels and the blackbirds
To chatter, out on a limb

As we build more homesteads
Their natural homes are lost
Consider the price of progress
A barely acknowledged cost

I ride out here when works done
Shake off the dust of the day
And contemplate in silence
What nature has to say

To amble along a ridge line
And view the openness below
To sit down on the river bank
Sanctified by the flow

And then I realize this space
Created for the wild and free
Is not only for their sake
Itís a refuge that saves me

© 2014, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Five Strings and a Lonesome Soul

My recent banjo fascination
Is it really a longing for home?
For those foggy Blue Ridge Mountains
And the hollers I used to roam

Now I love the wide open spaces
The life that I have chosen to live
Fresh air over a corner office
The freedom a cowboy life gives

But sometimes up on the high plains
I yearn for that high lonesome sound
An old tune wanders through my mind
When thereís nothing but cows around

And itís still quite a contradiction
About the dreams we hope to find
Sometimes you have to cut the rope
And leave some things beloved, behind

Last week I made a trip to McKinney
To go by the bank and pick up feed
I saw a pawn shop in my review
Decided thereís something else I need

I found a good one for fifty dollars
It just needed dustiní and new strings
And after a few weeks of practice
I could make that old banjo sing

And so after a hard dayís work
Retire to my good sitting chair
And I let those three fingers roll
And a hand-me-down tune fills the air

Now I donít have any aspirations
Of ever taking the Elko stage
And I donít have any delusions
Of ever givin up my daily wage

Just let those five strings connect me
Back to the place that I call home
Those foggy Blue Ridge Mountains
And the hollers I used to roam

© 2015, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Jeff told us, "Since Sam Houston and William Travis, Americans have headed west for a better life. This poem is for all of us who have moved to a new place for new opportunities. Because even though we leave the place where we were raised, it's important to stay connected to our roots."



Calm in the Storm

Thereís a feeling of calm
As I ride beside a stream
The rhythm of the hoof beats
Letís my mind drift off to dream

And thereís a sense of calm
Down at the fiddle contest
A Texas Waltz with my Wife
Her heartbeat against my chest

But calm is not so easy
When the storms start rolling in
The thunder and the lightning
Hard to hear above the din

I feel my breath grow shallow
And my heart rate starts to rise
Horses are getting nervous
See the darting in their eyes

Hindquarters shake and tremble
Their nostrils begin to flare
Their ears are on a swivel
They sense danger in the air

But from the time I was young
And could saddle my own horse
My Father and my Uncles
Prepared me for this course

So I trust in my knowledge
And I also trust my skill
I put trust in my partners
As the fierce wind starts to shrill

We start working the horses
While the rain muddies the ground
I breathe in deep and focus
Calm, with chaos all around

It seems like it last forever
Then you realize itís done
Stormís passed, horses changed
Clouds break away for the sun

And just like in our lifetimes
The tempests they never last
Courage, strength and calmness
Until those dark clouds pass

© 2015, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Jeff told us, "I was first inspired by the Gary Morton painting, 'Crash of Thunder' and it made think about my younger days in school. One time I was worried about taking a test and the teacher told me if I was prepared then there was nothing to worry about. It's advice that has stuck with me. Throughout my life I have been blessed to have mentors to help me prepare for life's challenges. That's what this poem is about."


Also, see Jeffrey Campbell's

Ode to the Black Ace


Gifts, an Art Spur poem


About Jeffrey Campbell:
                                                  provided 2012

Jeffrey Campbell grew up on a small farm in Georgia, spending his weekends on his Uncle's Alabama ranch. A graduate of Northwestern State's Heritage Resources Program, he is currently the Co-Director for the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation.



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