Folks' Poems

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North Texas
About J. R. Claiborn



Flaming Beans

I write this here tale by moonlight sight about them flaming beans.
That Cooky boils up each Thursday night to accompany collard greens.
You can count on 'em being there, the gospel's truth along with steak or bird,
You can bet a dollar they'll curl your hair and leave you without a word.
I knowed each time he starts his pot with spit and kerosene.
Cause you can see your pards and the herd each head by a light like you've never seen.
Aside from the crackle of creosote wood there's another unusual happenings.
That goes with the sparkle of chili powder to fire as he stirs with a mesquite sapling.
Some punchers say it's a secret trick.  That makes his pinto beans hot.
But I think it's more like a broncos' kick.  I'd call it a devil's spot.
For I seen him one time take it out his pants.  It was round like a bullet and red.
As he chopped, it danced like fire ants then he mixed it with sweat from his head.
As he tossed all that in with a satisfied grin the cattle jumped over an acre.
They light over there to avoid loss of hair.  It wasn't their first Thursday either.
The fire reared up high and the heat mixed with wind then formed a Texas Twister.
It swirled down the plains, torching tree tops and grains, then let me tell ya mister.
The Comanch thereabouts out of fear had lit out to chase the burning embers.
They'd never seen the light of a fireball in flight on a cold winter in December.
So thanks to Cooky and his spot of pepper in the pot us drovers fear no harm.
From injun strikes, or bad deeds, freezing cold, or stampedes, not as long as our bellies are warm.

2003, J. R. Claiborn
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Meet My Maker

It's night here in my bed sack,
been beaten by the day.
No sleep for me with my head back,
my thoughts get in the way.
I think of that one time there on the trail
as we crossed the river in the rain.
The cattle refused the waters swell
so I tugged my roan on the reins.
I steered him out, a raging we went,
40 head out front we did go.
Them doggies swam, each one hell bent
then I heard a voice shout out... NO!!
I saw Boss go under, cow haws and all.
He was gone in the flash of an eye.
All's I heard was a herd of beller and ball
then I saw him come out on the dry.
On the opposite bank he took up them ranks
and whistled them up through the trees.
I spun around clear to bring up the rear
when I felt my horse fall on his knees.
He pitched to the right and the water took holt
as he stumbled under toe.
In the stirrups stuck tight with no way to bolt
we tumbled the torrent flow.
My lungs burned from the lack of air
as the drowned roan held me under.
For a moment I floundered without a care.
Then I heard a crack of thunder.
On the banks of the eastern side I washed
as the storm blew swiftly past.
Roan, saddle, and rifle all were lost;
I lay there till morn came at last.
It seemed like eternal those minutes of the dawn
I was spared from Hell's half acre.
Just a day in the life of a cowboy gone wrong
till the next time I meet my Maker.

2003, J. R. Claiborn
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About J. R. Claiborn:

I live in North Texas with my wife of 21 years and my three teens. I have been a fan of country ballads and poetry all my life. Spent my teenage years on a cattle farm in Whitehouse, Texas, where I learned to appreciate ranching and riding.



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