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


About Larry Bradfield



Thoughts on Marryin'

I've been in this saddle so long my butt's numb.
Started ridin' before dawn and ain't quit since.
I've got ice on my chin and my voice's gone dumb,
But I've fixed five miles of busted fence.

Got another hour to ride before I hit the bunkhouse
And it's time like these that make me reflect.
What would it be like to have my own spouse?
We could settle in town if we did so elect.

Would I miss the back bustin' work that goes with the job
Or the unending hours we spend in the saddle ?
Been doin' this so long my hands are like a corn cob
And my hips are so worn that my legs are startin' to spraddle.

I own my horse, my gear and all of my tack.
I got forty dollars in the bank and a months' wages to boot.
I got my health 'cept for that naggin' ache in my back.
Don't seem like much to start a marriage right out of the chute !

I hear ole Bob blowin' like he knows the barn is near.
I can smell fresh coffee and hear laughter somewhere.
The wind's changed to the south like it does this time of year.
It'll be warm tomorrow and I can shed some of this gear.

So I'll rest tonight and see what happens tomorrow
There's a lot to be said for a cowboy's life.
There's a helluva lot more good than there seems to be sorrow.
I guess I'll stick with what I know and forget about the wife.

2011, Larry Bradfield
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


Larry told us: I met a cowboy in his 50's on a ranch outside Lake City, Colorado, who had never married and who had worked ranches his whole adult life. His belongings were pretty spare and while he said he had had possibilities in his younger years, he had chosen to stay single to keep the freedom he needed to be a somewhat itinerant cowboy. The poem recalls a discussion I had with him on the subject.



The Tenderfoot and Nasty

Well, lookey here!" Bob said with glee
"We've got a tenderfoot!
He's got this brand new gear, you see
He don't know where to put"

"He says he comes from way Back East
Teach him a thing or two
Let's put him on that unbroke beast
And see what he can do"

The hoss they gave him don't look mean
Though Nasty was his name
He did seem sometimes really keen
On makin' riders lame

It seemed so like an awful match
New guy on this terror
This plot somehow just didn't hatch
We all judged in error

The greenhorn climbed upon that hoss
A move as slick as rain
He spurred to show him who was boss
And let him have the rein

Now Nasty gave him all he had
He bucked and whirled and screamed
The rider smiled, said "This ain't bad !
It's nothin' like I dreamed."

That hoss gave up, plum' tuckered out
The rider just stepped down.
Bob said "The East you lied about!
You've rode before this town!"

The new guy said, "Not in the least.
This here's New Mexico.
The whole of Texas lies Back East
I do believe it's so!"

They called him tenderfoot no more
He made a real smart hand
He came from Texas that's for shore
And that ole boy's got sand

2012, Larry Bradfield
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Larry told us, "I grew up in West Texas very close to the New Mexico border so I spent a lot of time there. It was amusing to me that I could be considered an Easterner by the good folks of New Mexico. So remembering that time created the fantasy in 'The Tenderfoot and Nasty.'"


That's My Boy

"Put a blanket 'neath that saddle!
You'll rub that poor hoss raw!"
Cain't get these young guys off the phone
Beats all I ever saw.

We had a brandin' yesterday
An' he forgot his rope
He was textin' in the saddle -
I dang near gave up hope

I cain't just fire him, he's my boy
So what's a pa to do?
Someday he'll own this spread I love
An' have a kid or two

I called him over for a talk
Said, "Son, you know I pray.
Last night I talked to ol' St Pete
An' told him of our day.

"I gave him your cell phone number
So he would have a way
To get in touch when your time's up
An' take you as he may.

"I told him you'd ride off a cliff,
Or get gored by a bull -
Maybe drown in a roaring flood
When the river's full.

"St. Pete knows that the world ain't real
To a boy on that phone
An' when the boy sees what he's missed
The good times are all gone."

Today he put the blanket on
An' brought his rope and spurs
Stayed in the saddle 'til sundown
An' fought the cockle burrs.

He looks more like the man he is
Than a kid with a toy
He just hung up and went to work
An' friend, that's my boy!

2016, Larry Bradfield
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Larry told us, "The poem was born out of a scene in front of our local hardware store here in Texas. A young cowboy was loading a saddle in his pickup and talking on a cell phone at the same time...obviously distracted. The thought occurred to me that some horse was in for a bad day unless he got off the phone."



About Larry Bradfield:
provided 2011

I was born during the Great Depression in Southeastern New Mexico I grew up in an oil camp located in the center of a large ranch in the oil rich Permian Basin in West Texas. While my family was engaged in recovering the oil from the rich deposits, the culture was decidedly western ranching. I have lived in many places prior to retiring , but my roots are in the sandhills and mesquite of West Texas. I currently live with my beautiful wife, Joyce, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia.






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