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About Mark McMillan
Some Poems
Contacting Mark McMillan


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About Mark McMillan 

Mark McMillan lives in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, Canada.  With his wife, he owns and operates a small working guest ranch.  He has been involved with the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society since he attended the first Kamloops Cowboy Festival in 1997.  The entertainers and poets he saw and enjoyed there, inspired him to try to his own hand at cowboy poetry.  He shares his experiences and love of the cowboy and ranch life through his poetry.  Many of his poems have a humorous twist to them which leaves his readers or listeners laughing.

Mark is the president of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS). He maintains the BCCHS web site and produces their excellent newsletter. 

A Few Poems

Haulin' Cattle
Hayin' in the Cariboo
If I'd a
The Gold Rush Trail


Haulin' Cattle

Yeah I spend about 3 or 4 days, and that was enough,
I never new that a job like that could be so darn tuff!
Haulin' cattle round the clock,  why,  you're hardly ever home,
A spare shirt and pair of jeans, a tooth brush, and a comb.

Lee had told me, in the summer, bout a trip he had to plan,
Be 5 days drive'n to be done in 3 days so he'd need Dan.
Well at the team ropin' finals Danny got in a wreck,
I thought about it for a while and then said ah what the heck.

So I picked up the phoned and gave Lee a quick call,
Told him if he got stuck and needed a driver in the fall,
That to help out, I'd double with him on the odd trip,
but I didn't want too much,  figured my wife would flip.

I was a little nervous,  hadn't  drove  truck for 10 years or so,
I had no doubt that I could get in it, and make the thing go,
But like everything else, a computer,  makes the new trucks run,
I didn't know if driving a new truck would be a whole lot of fun.

Well I went for a ride to the stock yards at Williams Lake,
I done watched Lee drive so as I wouldn't make a mistake.
He made it look easy, therefore I didn't have any fear,
I didn't think there would be any problem to get it in gear.

We unloaded and he told me to find a place behind the wheel
Said I was to drive home,  to see if I  still had the feel.
So after a lot a grindin and cussin we did make it back,
Sure different  trying to find a hole,  with a computerised rack.

A day or two  later my first trip, quite an experience in more ways then one,
See it wasn't cattle, it was buffalo, and they aint a whole lot of fun.
I think them critters got a screw loose right up inside their head,
They can run and hit a gate so hard if it was a cow it'd be dead!

We drove all day and into the night to a sale yard in Alder Flats,
While waiting to unload, the guy at the yard did tell me the stats,
Seems buffalo won't come out, took one truck 41/2 hours to unload,
Guess we were lucky, an hour and we were ready to hit the road.

The next two trips were better for me,  at least I can say cattle I know,
Both were to Vegreville and back the next day with that big long liner in tow.
Its got cruise and tilt steering, why,  I never had them in a pickup truck
Sometimes it even goes into gear but you know  that that was just luck!

It was kinda fun to get away from home and get back behind a wheel,
And to see some new country, but try and find just one decent meal,
So now I'm back at home and I'm doin the firewood that I really did dread,
At least my bed don't bounce over bridges, and at the end of the day I get fed.

2000, Mark McMillan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Hayin' in the Cariboo

70 Mile they say has two seasons every year,
one is winter and the other is August, I fear.
This makes it difficult to try and fill the barn with hay
and we need lots to feed the critters through till May.

Now we try to make our hay on a swamp meadow,
A wet year seems I get stuck bout every second row.
A dry years different, things can go along quite well
only bogged a couple of times, hardly a story to tell.

That's usually when you hear a big ugly bang,
you see a strip behind being missed, gosh dang.
Or maybe some other words from your mouth do spout,
but it takes some fixin' before you really start to shout.

Layin' under a haybind, well it's not my favorite spot,
Specially when the wife goes by, on her horse, at a trot.
She's taking out guests for a ride, to get a little pay,
So I can afford to fix the machine, and keep making hay.

Well hayin's ok I guess, but it gets kind of boring
goin round and round, listening to the engine roaring.
Seems you can go forever in a circle with a haybind in tow,
watching the grass fall behind row, after row, after row.

You have to think bout the winter months ahead,
and picture all the critters happy as they're fed.
Just think, you get it all made and bring it all in,
a few months, and you roll it all out where it was to begin.

2000, Mark McMillan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


We get people that stay here, at our little place,
They're used to traffic and a really quick pace.
When guests visit us that come from the city,
They tell of their life style and I think, what a pity!

They see how we live - all the space all around,
While sitting outside you can hardly hear a sound.
Looking across the meadows, so peaceful and still,
Some times they see a critter - to them quite a thrill.

Most of them want a cowboy and help with a chore or two,
But they turn up their nose when I offer 'em a chew.
Some want to build a gate, others would rather fence,
Lots are good help, but some are really quite dense!

Well most all of them go along for at least one ride
Then when they get home they can say that they tried!
And no ones been hurt  - our horses are all good,
but watching them get on you'd think that they would.

Some are quite good and they really are a pleasure to take
Others, well you just listen and put on a smile that's fake,
Cause these are the ones that tell you how good they can ride
Then they go to get on and they're on the wrong side.

Then it gets funnier as you watch them tip toe through the mud
And put the wrong foot in the stirrup and finally land with a thud.
The poor horse - "it's ok buddy it's a short ride he'll soon be done
The next guy, I promise, will be someone that'll be more fun!"

All in a day's work when its a guest ranch you own
And its better than an office - all day on the phone.
Most of our guests are good and a lot of fun. In a way,
You hate to see them leave at the end of their stay!

2001, Mark McMillan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

If I'd a                         

If I'd a only listened to the folks and stuck it out in school,
I wouldn't be working cows them thinking of me as a fool.
If I'd a gone to university and got me a degree,
I'd be some else,  someone they wanted me to be.


If I'd a just invested in some stock that did do well,
and then sold it all ahead of when the prices fell.

If I'd a took the money and put it away in the bank,
I might a had a new pickup instead of this old rusty tank.

If I'd a just not cut our grass the day before the rain,
I wouldn't a had to supplement with all that expensive grain.

If I'd a stuck in the saddle when breaking that Cayuse,
maybe we'd been able to put him to good use.

If I'd a rode him better,  only half as good as I can talk,
I wouldn't have had to wake up after my head done hit that rock.

If I'd a saved a little,  I could have thought about the factor,
That a rancher really ot to have at least some sort of tractor.

If I'd a had a tractor when I went to feed the stock,
I wouldn't of had to use that damn old horse that baulks.

If I'd a got an rsp like so many people had said,
Wouldn't be like me, I'd of had to think ahead.

If I'd a thought about it and even saved a buck,
I wouldn't have to worry and hope for lotto luck.

To those of you that have cattle and listen here tonight,
I think you ot to thank me, cause I only got hind sight.

Cause if

If I'd a, known that cattle prices would be up this year,
I'd bought more cows and prices would have dropped I fear.

2000, Mark McMillan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Gold Rush Trail  

It was only a trail but it made BC
the rumour of gold to be got for free.
From San Francisco to Victoria in spring of '58
some 30,000 miners arrived at a steady rate.
Then up the Fraser on a paddle wheel ship
through the canyon, for some, the end of the trip.
Only 5000 made it, these were the hard core men
they all worked and fought but not many would win.
There was over 25,000 went home in defeat
but a man named Barker struck gold at 52 feet.
In 1861 the waggon road began, in Lillooet
then to Barkerville in '65 the stage could get.
Over 100,000 miles, 1500 people and 4 million in gold
the stage line had carried when only one year old.
To feed all these hungry miners with all their gold
came the cowboy and cattlemen with beef to be sold.
Today we've the history for no miners did stay
but cowboys and cattlemen are still here today!

2000, Mark McMillan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Contacting Mark McMillan 

You can contact Mark McMillan through his Meadow Springs Ranch web site or by email

Mark is the president of the B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS). He maintains the BCCHS web site and produces their excellent newsletter.


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