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

North Dakota and Sierra Vista, Arizona
About Jim Dalglish 




The Border Ranch Barbed Wire Lament

I really love barbed wire fence.
Of all man's inventions it makes the most sense.
'Stead of all kinds of cattle just roamin' about,
It keeps yer critters in and their critters out.

But I'll tell ya I get real vexed
Whenever the goldanged stuff hasta be fixed.
Fence poles rot off and then fall on the ground.
The critters get out an' then hafta be found.

Now the thing that I really hate most,
Is when people come thru in the night like a ghost.
They don't just climb over and run off, you see.
They cut my south fences and THEN they all flee.

They leave junk just layin' around.
There's plastic and bottles all over the ground.
We could all try to stop 'em, but they might be thugs
Who are carrying weapons and illegal drugs.

I ride my fence daily at dawn.
Check it and mend it...Are my cattle gone ?
If there's a solution, I hope it gets tried,
Cause I'm gettin' too old to make that daily ride.

2004, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim told us this poem was inspired " the life of a guy I know named Bud Strom. Bud is a great Cowboy
Poet and has the Single Star Ranch between Hereford and Palominas, Arizona on the Mexican Border...
The poem reflects some of what he has told me over the years.


The Cowboy "Wish I'd Been"     

I used too be a "Cowboy Wannabee"
Now I'm a "Cowboy Wish-I'd-Been".
I can't ride broncs or wrestle steers no more
Because of the shape I'm in.

I guess I'm still a cowboy in my mind
I'm lookin' good and ridin' tall.
But, if I leave this rocking chair I'm in
I'm surely ridin' for a fall.

I'd like to throw a rope, but there's no hope
My arm and shoulder's on the fritz.
I just can't make a loop and whirl ir 'round
It really is the pits.

Can't seem to raise my left foot high enough
to reach the stirrup hanging there.
An' if ya can't step up an' fork a horse
Lord knows, ya can't ride anywhere.

"Spose I could use a ladder to get on
But, if the ride ain't smooth as glass,
My ruptured discs would really hurt like hell.
I guess I'm gonna have to pass.

I think that I could use a branding iron
Or hold a calf down on the ground,
Unless my hips an' knees all start to sieze,
And my arthritis gets me down.

Wish I could do all of that "cowboy stuff"
And not just sit here writin' rhymes
I just don't think that I could stand the stress.
My heart's been bypassed several times.

I tried to saddle up a horse today
And sit there quietly at peace.
But, when I climbed up on this west-bound horse,
I found that I was facing east.

I guess I'm still a cowboy in my mind,
And happy dreams are not a sin.
I'll just imagin I've been ridin' free,
Cause I'm a "Cowboy Wish-I'd-Been".

2004, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim told us:  One day the song "I Wanna Be A Cowboy Sweetheart" by Patsy Montana kept going through my mind. It made me think of all the years I really wanted to spend full time out on the prairie. Now at my age (69) I guess those dreams are not too realistic, especially since I've had all the ailments listed (except being so confused that I'd climb up on a horse backward). The beat from that song inspired me to write this.
If somebody wants to sing it, they could probably use the 1st two paragraphs as the chorus.


The Ballad of Badlands Bob               

Old Badlands Bob was a real cowboy slob.
Sixty suppers lef' marks on his shirt.
An' the way that he toiled made his pants really soiled,
Showed he wasn't no stranger ta dirt.

Bob was great with a rope, but a failure with soap,
Was allergic to water and rain.
A top hand with brandin', but his pards was demandin'
That he give 'em a break from their pain.

His boots they was dusty. His breath kinda musty.
The teeth that he had, they was yella.
His bunkhouse mates cried they thought maybe he died
Weeks before, but was sent back from Hell,

By old Beealzebub, who said "Bob, here's the rub.
Folks here got enuf grief without smellin'
sweat an' manure, halitosis for sure,
and the reek from that outhouse you fell in."

The Foreman, named Mark said he hated to bark
but said "Boss, guess I've sure had my filla
the kind of a guy used a dried-up cow pie
at night , on the range, fer a pilla."

Old Ed James made a plan. He needed a man
ta ride inta town fer supplies.
Stay a coupla days, 'til they blew out the haze.
Try to help the place de-odorize.

Bob was roundin' up strays, when outa the haze
rode the Boss with a job needed doin'.
He should pick up an' ride on inta Chloride.
Beat the storm that looked like it was brewin'.

Get some bacon an' flour, and in 48 hours
Be back at the Rockin' JD.
Old Bob was not one ta miss out on some fun,
He decided to make it a spree.

Then he rode inta town. Met a girl in a gown
in the new Monte Christo Saloon.
She did not get disgusted. Guess her smeller was busted.
They went up on the mesa to spoon.

Next, she gave him a trip through the Chloride sheep dip
run by Jim at the Pioneer Store.
An' they rode off that night in the pale moonlight.
Old Bob's never seen here anymore.

2005, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Jim told us: I wrote this using my imagination about how it really was back in the 1880's when my Great Grandfather built and operated the "Pioneer Store" in Chloride, New Mexico. His name was also Jim Dalglish. My Grandfather (whose 1st name was also James, but always went by his middle name - Mark) was born in Chloride in the early 1880's. He used to tell me stories about when Geronimo and Nana, who lived in the vicinity used to raid in the area.

The Pioneer Store is still available for viewing in Chloride (about 30 miles NW of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico). It has been restored as a Museum by Don and Donna Edmunds. 

photo by Greg Dalglish

The Monte Christo Saloon stands next door. 

photo by Greg Dalglish

Ed James and his family have operated a ranch in the area for generations.


Cowboy Music Ain't Country 

This ain't "Country" music son. There's nothin' here 'bout trucks
Or servin' life-long prison terms fer stealin'  fifteen bucks.
Not much here about Mama, or hearin' a railroad whistle.
So, if people call these "Country" songs, I really start to bristle.

These songs are about cowboys, their cattle, and the land.
About the things cow punchers do, and how they lend a hand
With herdin', ropin', brandin', and riding old cayuses.
With overcoming blinding sun, and cold, without excuses.

These songs are about loneliness, the mountains, and big sky.
And some about how tough it is when weather's really dry.
But mostly they're 'bout people, and how they love this land
of mountains, desert, sage, mesquite, and cactus. It's so grand !

The smells of pinon, greasewood, sage. The lonesome coyote sound.
Songs of  Big Sky Country, and the life that we have found.
There's nothin' wrong with "Country" songs that we hear plenty of,
They simply aren't about the life that we have grown to love.

2002, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Hats an' That 

I was walkin' the wooden sidewalk in Tombstone one spring day.
When a tourist walked up to a cowboy, and I heard the tourist say...
  "I'd really like to look like you, even if you are covered with grime,
   and look like you haven't bathed in a month, or maybe since Christmas time.
   Can you give me a tip on which store to go in, to be fitted out like you?
   It's always been my dream to look like a cowboy thru and thru."

The cowboy looked the guy over, and said with a gleam in his eye...
  "Well, first ya better git ridda the striped shirt an' polka dot tie.
   Then, the sandals, shorts, an' knee-high socks really gotta bite the dust.
   But, the MOST important thing ta do, throw away yer beret, that's a must."

  "If ya wanna be a cowboy, ya gotta wear a COWBOY HAT.
   I've seen fellas wearin' boots an' guns, vests and all o' that.
   They may wear rawhide bolas, or bandannas 'round their neck,
   But... unless their HAT is right, they really look like heck."

  "It's gotta be BIG and' fit real low, slide damn near over yer ears.
   With brim so wide, it won't be right 'til it shades ya down to yer rear.
   If it's too small, on the top of yer head, ya just look like yer dumber
   than city guys, who think they're wise, but shoulda been a plumber'.

  "It's OK if it's gray or black, or several shades of brown...
   but, if it's white, get it DIRTY a mite, an' sweat-stained 'fore goin ta town.
   Don't cock it at an angle. It's gotta sit square on yer head,
   or you'll look like a sportin'- house piano player, 'least that's what somebody said."

  "Make sure it slopes down in the front an' back, ta keep the rain an' the snow
   off yer face an' neck, or the boys'll suspect an' I'm sure the Trail Boss"ll know
   that you're only a dude or a tenderfoot with the price of a city-bought lid.
   If ya take my advice, life will be nice, otherwise you'll wish that you did."

The tourist, he took all the cowboy's advice, and now he's a real sight to see.
In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd think that he looks JUST LIKE ME !

2002, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim told us: I live almost half the year in Sierra Vista, Arizona, about 15 miles from
Tombstone, so we get there quite often. There are lots of interesting sights there,
including a constant parade of tourists up and down Allen Street.

I wrote paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 in 2002 after buying a huge new straw hat in Tombstone. I put it in a folder and then remembered it and got it out after I bought
another straw hat at the Saguaro Music Festival in Casa Grande in 2004. After re-reading it, I added the 1st paragraph and last 6 lines. The last part is an attempt to add a little humor to the poem. After all, a guy like me couldn't look like a "Duded-up
Tourist"... Could I ?


Please Tell us a Cowboy Poem

Jim... tell us a cowboy poem, we'd really 'preciate it
If you'd recite or sing one, 'til our thirst for it is sated.
It doesn't have to be too long, just so's it has some rhyme.
And has a certain kinda beat that's regular in time.

And it should tell a little bit about a cowboy's life.
Or maybe some about the fact he's never had a wife
Cause he'd too busy ropin', brandin', ridin' that long trail
That's the kinda poem we want. A real cowpuncher's tale

About the ranch house setting, mendin' fence and stringin' wire.
Or maybe savin' cattle from a raging prairie fire.
About a favorite quarter horse, grown old, but still our best
When lightning caused the herd to run and put him to the test.

Ya might throw in some words about a gorgeous prairie moon,
And maybe just a bit about a nighthawk rider's tune.
The songs he sings are kinda' kinda slow.
Cows can even sing along if they should start ta low.

Describe the lonely prairie...majestic mountains too,
And tell about the spell they cast on all of us...and you.

I don't know how to do it...The thoughts from me are hid.
I can't describe the Cowboy Life...Or maybe I just did...

2004, Jim Dalglish 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim told us: "On occasion when my wife Joanne and I are out in the company of friends (both in Arizona and in North Dakota) and the conversation lags, they will ask me to "Tell a cowboy poem.  I usually will comply, and recite one of mine. I got to thinking about that one night, and writing "Please Tell Us a Cowboy Poem" just sort of naturally followed.


Read Jim Dalglish's The Creation of Yodeling Bob, in a report from the 2005 Medora Gathering




About Jim Dalglish:

I live about 7 months per year in North Dakota and 5 months in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

My family goes way back (1880s) in New Mexico. My Great Grandfather came from Canada thru Minnesota and was told to move to a "dry climate" because he was suffering from consumption (TB) as a young man. He moved his family to Chloride, New Mexico and started building a store there in 1880. The Mimbreno Apaches also lived in that area at that time.

My grandfather was born there and told me many stories of his boyhood when Nana and Geronimo were raiding in the area. The family moved around some and spent about 10 years each in Chloride, Hillsboro and Duran, New Mexico. Some moved on to California and some back to the great plains in about 1912. My father was born in  El Paso when they were living in Duran. All of my ancestors were in love with the desert and came
back quite often.

I grew up on the great plains, but went back as often as I could to Texas and New Mexico. We began spending winters in Arizona in 1991. We love the area. We have struck up friendships with a number of Arizona folks. 

I've been writing poetry since I was in High School. It was natural to begin writing about the Desert and Cowboys.



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