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

Betty Rodgers ©2009

Boise, Idaho
About Ken Rodgers
Ken Rodgers' web site:





The poetís big hands look like heís handled
Lots of leather.     

Missing a digit.
   Caught     I imagine
Between his rope and saddle horn
And popped right off
While dallying his noose
Round the neck of a wild stallion.

Bushy gray mustache  dusty black Stetson
Lyric on his lips    then caught on the drawl
That drips into the cleft of his chin.
He recites verse concerning
     cremellos   duns    grullos

 The poet  halts.
The words trapped
In the back of his long throat
As if rounded up from the high sage plains
Then run down a thin canyon
Into a box    blocked off.

And when they escape

Hooves thump and thunder
Dust clouded fetlocks
Wild   wild   whinnies.

© 2009, Ken Rodgers
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Ken comments that he wrote this poem "...while ruminating on Joel Nelsonís performance of Buck Ramseyís 'Anthem' at the 2009 Elko gathering. Specifically honing in on Nelsonís image wasnít my intention to begin with, but as often occurs with verse, the lyrics took their own path."



  About Ken Rodgers:

From Ken Rodgers, 2009, updated 2011, 2013:

Ken Rodgers lives, writes and teaches creative writing on-line and on-ground in Boise, Idaho. His short stories and poems have been published in a variety of places, most recently in the Idaho Arts Quarterly. His books include Trench Dining, published in 2003 by Running Wolf Press; Barstow and Other Poems, 2008; Passenger Pigeons, published by Jaxon's Press in 2010; and The Gods of Angkor Wat, published in 2013.

Ken is not a cowboy, but has doctored, sorted, owned and marketed a number of fat cattle.

See more of Kenís writing at




Passenger Pigeons


I read a lot of poetry and discover new poets all the time, but I havenít read a book of poems recently as wonderful as Ken Rodgersís Passenger Pigeons. Perhaps thatís because I know Rodgers and when I read his poems to myself I can see him and hear him. That helps bring the poems alive and so they reverberate in my head. Rodgers has a distinctive voice and it positively bounces off the pages in Passenger Pigeons.

Thereís something intensely physical about the poems, too. The human body comes through, comes across whether itís his own body, or the bodies of others, human as well as animal. Thereís a wide range of poems, variations on themes, and always something new and surprising on the next page, and the page after that. Passenger Pigeons holds oneís attention.

The elegant chapbook is published by Jaxonís Press. It has nearly three dozen poems that take readers around the country, across rivers, and into the past, too, in eye-opening poems such as ďAuschwitzĒ and ďJoe Stalin.Ē

I recommend this book to old friends of Ken Rodgers who want to become reacquainted with his voice. I also recommend it to those who have never heard him read and who can discover a distinctive western American poet who pays homage to the earth and shows us the fragility of our ties to the earth. Passenger Pigeons takes wing and soars.

© 2010, Jonah Raskin

Find order information here.



Learn about Ken and Betty Rodgers' documentary film about Kenís company of Marines during the siege of Khe Sanh in the Vietnam War. Learn more about it at, and here on Facebook.

The film has been submitted to film festivals, where they will seek a distributor to take the film to a national audience. The message of Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor is timeless and speaks for all combat veterans, past, present and future.





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