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near Vermilion, Alberta, Canada
Jenn Crundwell's web site
About Jenn Crundwell


Jenn Crundwell



Cowgirl's Lament

There is no justice in life
We still live by horn, hoof, and knife
There is nothing we have that is under control
Always unwanted, uncharted, unknown
Things happen that we cannot explain
Causing us joy, anger, and pain
We do what we can, it’s never enough
For some it comes easy, for others, it’s rough
Why we continue, I’ll never know
Existence is futile, yet we still grow
Life is uncertain, pointless some say
But I do my best, day after day
I watch some come into success
Most achieve something much less
Some lose out, not everyone wins
We all go back and try it again
It might be crazy, call us insane
We keep doing it, snow, wind, or rain
It’s a hard life, I’ll be the first to admit
Anywhere else, I don’t think we’d fit
But this is the country, this is where we thrive
Green hills and lush pastures keep us alive
What do you call this crazy group?
Well, we’re the rodeo cowboy fools

The Farmer's Wife

She wasn't born a farmer
Yet here she is today
Shovelling out pails of chop
And rolling out the hay

Never asked to be outdoors
To rope cows or to pull calves
But she's the type of woman
Who doesn't do things by halves

Up at three to check the cows
Praying they'll wait for daylight
Back to sleep until the morn
When the sun comes into sight

To see her now, you'd not guess
That she is city bred
She puts her back to the wind
And bows her weary head

Why does she do it, you ask?
It's for the love of a man
Though she craves the city lights
By his side is where she'll stand

She'll wash his clothes, cut his hair
And stretch the wire while he pounds
She'll bring him food, drive the truck
And like the way his snore sounds.

She'll cook, clean, and scrub for him
And go shoot gophers for fun
Won't mind missing her birthday
So he'll get some more work done

Not very many ladies
Would give up the easy life
But day by day, by his side
She's the perfect farmer's wife.


A Tribute to Dad

I've seen the joy on his face
When his grandson took his first walk
Seen the worry and anxiety
When he listens to all the drought talk

I've watched as he held a kitten
So tenderly in his big, rough paws
Softly stroking, lips curved in a smile
When the kitten bats at a straw

I've seen him laugh at newborn calves
Their antics as they run, buck, and play
And I've seen the tears in his eyes
When things just aren't going his way

Like when he loses a treasured cow
Or there's a calf he was too late to save
Or one of his children gets in trouble
And he has to let them go their own way

He's survived cancer, and other worse fates
And I'm sure glad he's still around
We need his guidance, skill, and wisdom
A better man will never be found

My husband wishes he were half the man
That my father-in-law has become
I agree, and desperately hope
That my children will be like him, some

I wish that I could give him something
For all that he has given me
His knowledge, love, and his youngest son
A place to live and room to breathe

But, there isn't enough money, or words
So I guess all I can do for this man
Is make sure dinner's in the fridge
And let him know, I'm proud to call him Dad.

For my father-in-law, Marshall Jacula, for Father's Day, 2001.

For Cougar, my roman-nosed, faithful old friend, and official mascot of the

The Horse We Bought For Dad

I was expecting something tall,
Lean, and prolly solid bay,
With a pretty head, and about ten,
So as not too old to play.

Well, we got tall, he's 16.1,
Chestnut, lots of chrome, flaxen mane.
Sure looks nice from a distance,
Nineteen years old, and built like a train.

Well, all right, we'll take him home,
And try him out for awhile.
He's to be my dad's horse, you know,
And we paid up with a smile.

The man had hundreds of stories
To tell about this great old horse,
Endurance races, won against odds,
And he's hunted and packed, of course.

The man owned him for 15 years,
And there were tears in his eyes
As we loaded that old horse,
And he said his last good-bye.

We brought him home, introduced him to
That little Arab mare I had.
He didn't like her, beat her up good,
He knew what he liked, that horse of Dad's.

Turned out, he was hard to ride,
You had to stick on pretty good.
He scared dad, and mom fell off,
So, in the pasture he stood.

Until one day, I had to ride
And go somewhere with my pals.
I wanted control, so we fought,
For at least a hundred miles.

Took me a while to figure out
It's best to give him his head.
He'd go along faithfully,
Just like the other man had said.

After that, all was merry
I pointed him at everything
He ran barrels, swam ponds, jumped logs
And in my eyes, he was the king.

We ran up hills, dodged gopher holes,
As I threw back my head and laughed.
On his back, I sang, I cried,
And sometimes we'd chase a wayward calf.

From his back, the world looked better.
It was there I had my first kiss.
I look back, and think to myself,
Those are the days that I miss.

Racing home from school every day,
To ride with friends until the night,
And hang up saddle and bridle
When the sun slipped out of sight.

Then it was college, and jobs far from home,
But I kept his picture with me.
The horse stayed with my parents,
Enjoying pasture and good feed.

Someone tried to ride him once,
But he lay down and wouldn't go.
It worked, no one rode him but me,
When we'd relive the times of long ago.

Dad came to love him, though he never rode,
He fed and groomed him loyally,
Until I had my own farm and house,
And a husband to take care of me.

Dad brought me his horse, now twenty five,
To live with me until the end,
And there were tears in his eyes
When he said good-bye to his friend.

So, we are together once more,
And he's going a little blind.
But he eats all he likes, grass and oats,
And tidbits of apples I find.

In his eyes, I can still see,
He longs for a good, hard ride.
Instead, in the pasture he waits,
Nickers, and comes to my side.

I wonder if it's food he wants,
Or if he's begging for a run,
To ride until the sun has set,
And join together, as one.

Until then, he waits for me,
And teaches the new colt I bought
What to eat and where to run,
When to walk and when to trot.

I know he'll always wait for me,
And come to my side when he sees.
Begging for treats, a hug and a kiss,
With his eyes, he silently pleads.

He doesn't want to retire,
Still wants to work every day,
Doesn't want to stand idle,
Needs to earn his oats and hay.

How do I tell him, I'm saving him for
The time when I have my own kids?
So they learn to ride atop his back,
The way their mother did.

This horse has touched so many lives,
When his time has finally passed,
There won't be a soul with dry eyes.
I know he'll always be happy, at last.

He'll gallop into the sunset,
Leaving all of us, so sad.
When we say good-bye, tears in our eyes,
To the horse we bought for Dad.

The Cowboy's Rose

He handed her a single rose
With petals soft and velvety pink
The quiet cowboy was trying to show
All that he was starting to think

He didn't have a lot of money
Good looks, or a shiny new truck
And when he tried to rodeo
He never seemed to have much luck

He was just the hired man's son
But he had grown up here, with her
And as they rode together that day
He tried to forget that her daddy was "Sir"

She was way beyond his grasp,
He tried to convince himself
But the way she looked at him,
His feelings, he just couldn't help

He had seen the fellows at her house
Courting her, and bringing her gifts
For the pleasure of her company
And the chance to touch her lips

Nope, he didn't stand much of a chance
Against those fellows, and all they had
After all, he was only the son
Of the man who worked for her dad

But she smiled at him, told him "Thanks"
And held the rose to her pretty face
She inhaled the scent, strong and true
Like the cowboy, beside her, in his place

And so she told him, "Of all the roses
That have been laid on the ground at my feet,
The one plucked from your mother's garden
Is the only one that has smelled so sweet."


The Horseman

"Imprintin', horse-man-shippin'
No-resistance and join up
Clicker trainin', round pennin'
What a bunch of bull-muck!"

He moved to saddle his horse.
A three year old off the range
"My daddy didn't do all that
And I sure ain't gonna change."

"Whoa, boy." He says softly.
The green colt had rolled his eyes
He scratched its neck, rubbed its head
The colt took the saddle just fine.

"I brought this colt in, just last week
And look at him standin' here now
He never saw a person before
And now he's workin' cows."

With that, he mounted up
And turned the colt around
Checked his rope, hobbles, and hat
And made the "giddyap" sound

The old cowboy rode off
For an honest day's work
And recalling his words
I started to smirk

Just thinkin' of the money
Those "trainers" have all made
When the best education
Is what the old cowboys gave

"Bring him in, saddle him up
Don't put up with any nonsense
Give him a job to do
And ride off down the fence.

"Don't pet him or coddle him,
Leave him alone when he's right.
Let him understand his task
And he won't put up a fight.

"Horses are partners, not pets,
Which is the root of all bad.
If you wanted something to love
You shoulda got a dog or cat.

"Feed him right, so he can work
Give him a day off, sometimes
He'll enjoy what he does
And he'll give you more try."

When it comes to horses, you can't improve
On what history has taught
So if someone tries to tell you different,
You tell 'em "It's all a bunch of rot!"

She Used To Be A Cowgirl

Sometimes she wakes up at night
Dreaming she fell of her horse
She swears she can feel it still
But she's safe in bed, of course

And when she's bent over, in half
She dreams she's pulling a shoe
But it's a handful of weeds instead
Another chore she has to do

And while others watch t.v.
She sees images in her mind
Framed by a horse's ears and sky
And she's trying not to cry

Sometimes when she's feeding chickens
She looks across the yard and sees
Her last icons of days gone past
Her two ancient, steady steeds

They look up at her, and neigh
And in their eyes, still reflect
Her longing for the old days
And the spirit they have left

She used to be a cowgirl
And rode tall across the range
When she was young, seventeen
She believed she'd never change

But the years flew by like nothing
Leaving her old, wrinkled, and tired
With nothing but the memories
And a little of her old fire

Her downfall was her husband
Though she loved him, so very much
She gave it all up for him
To garden and farm and such

And her only son had been so young
When god called him from her side
Her husband went not long after
Massive heart failure, and he died

For twenty years she's been alone
And what has she got to show?
To hell with it all, she thinks
It's time to let it go.

The clock was striking midnight
When she haltered her old steed
And brought him close to a fence
Guiding him only with a lead

She climbed atop his bony back
And dug her heels into his sides
They clattered through the open gate
To go on their midnight ride

The harvest crew found her there
Very early the next morn
With her old steed by her side
His knees, bloodied and torn

She was alive, though barely
And whispered, "Is this all a dream?"
Their silence told her everything
"Take care of my horses for me."

She spoke again, this time clear
"Remember these words, these words alone,
'She Used To Be A Cowgirl.'
I want it on my headstone."

She closed her eyes and rode away
On the path of others before
Feeling so young and free
No longer tired and sore

When they went through her place they found
Her old saddle, cleaned and oiled
Bridles hung neatly on hooks
Pictures of a young girl, unspoiled

Her beauty, unparalleled
And always mounted well
Those pictures told a story
She would never tell

So when they buried her,
They buried her with her spurs
And on the headstone, it read
"She Used To Be A Cowgirl."

His Daughter's Rain

Tractors in the fields stirred up the dust
But everyday worked was just a day lost
For to this land, no rain had come
No showers, no sprinkles, not even frost

The young farmer searched the sky each day
For the hint of some clouds to come
He had a young family to feed
And his elderly dad and mom

It was damned if you do, damned if you don't
So he went and seeded anyway
The crop did it's valiant best
But there was still no rain, come end of May

Then one morning in June, he awoke
And heard an unfamiliar sound
Rain was pouring off of the roof
And making great puddles all around

The farmer ran outside and danced with glee
Stretching his arms out to the rain
Welcoming it, embracing it
And for a moment, going insane

"Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!"
Was what he yelled to the sky
Then he felt a tug on his sleeve
And looked down to find out why

There stood his six year old baby girl
Looking up at him with big blue eyes
"You're welcome Daddy, I prayed for this."
And with her words, he started to cry.

He picked up his little blue eyed girl
And danced with her in his arms
All it took was one little girl's faith
To save her daddy's farm.

About Jenn Crundwell

Jenn Crundwell is a graduate of the Olds College Equine Business Management program and is currently farming with her husband near Vermilion, Alberta. She also writes Equine-related articles for several Alberta Associations and enjoys working with her horses, cattle, and dogs.



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