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

About Marleen Bussma
  Scrapin' By and other poems CD



Riding with Memories

Slow footsteps broke the quiet of the early chilly morn’.
The sun had not yet risen on this ranch where he’d been born.
His eyes were dimmed by cataracts and colors bled to gray.
He could not see fine details on this place he’d vowed to stay.

A horse in the corral sent out a nicker as he neared.
Its muzzle snuffed his shoulder as the gate was closed and cleared.
They’d ridden well as partners for two decades on the range.
No plans would separate them, only time would make a change.

His fingers were arthritic and they did not want to bend
as he picked up his saddle from the rack down on the end.
The bridle gave him trouble as he fumbled through the chore.
A daily, sad reminder, he’s no young man any more.

He walked his horse outside into the first light of the day.
The hills of grass called to him as he looked across the way.
They were a lasting presence in his life where he’d felt loss.
The day alone without her was his constant albatross.

They rode down through the valley where he’d picnicked with his bride.
He still heard haunting echoes of her laughter when she’d ride.
They crested Turtle Mountain where she’d picked a small bouquet
of lupines that she braided in her hair that magic day.

They passed the water tank where cattle pushed and shoved to drink.
Time played games with his mem’ry and he had to stop and think.
This was the place she’d told him that a child was on its way;
if he could only have her with him, just for one more day.

He turned back to the homestead where his workday would begin.
There’d be another chance for reminiscing once again.
He’d be back on this range to visit images long past;
another mem’ry round up ‘til the day he breathed his last.

© 2011, Marleen Bussma
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem was a part of the 2011 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur

Waiting for the Thaw

The cold burns down to the bottom
of my lungs and builds a fire.
Even though the day is frigid,
as I’m working I perspire.

My old axe prospects for water
in the middle of the tank.
Ice chips fly in all directions
as I wield it by its shank.

Cattle nose and lick ice fragments.
Right now they can’t drink a thing.
Ice will hold and hoard the water
‘til it warms up in the spring.

Chickens are cooped up all winter.
We haul everything they need.
As a supplement we’re putting
oyster shells in with their feed.

That keeps egg shells strong and healthy,
but the cold will take its toll.
Any eggs laid after gath’ring
will end up as hard as coal.

They’ll crack open and be worthless.
You can give them a good fling.
Egg production will be sagging
‘til it warms up in the spring.

There’s a stock cow that delivered
in the cold night air outside.
This was somewhat unexpected
and her calf sure could have died.

His ears blistered and got scabby.
He’ll be okay I suppose.
He is sticking close to mother.
Just the tips of his ears froze.

We have heat lamps in the calf pens
to relieve cold weather’s sting.
They’ll be huddled close together
‘til it warms up in the spring.

Winter stiffens up the small legs
of the lambs born to the fold.
They can get a chill real easy.
They’re susceptible to cold.

We are warming lambs in boxes
in the house behind the stove.
They are laying still and quiet
on some rag rugs that I wove.

The old barn has doors wide open.
Sheep can mingle, mill and cling.
They won’t get to graze the pasture
‘til it warms up in the spring.

Milk cows pampered and protected
are kept inside day and night.
Turned out twice a day for water
they enjoy the bright sunlight.

Heifers with no mother instincts
for their newborns push and kick.
We stand by to keep a vigil
‘til they nurture with a lick.

Lambs and calves are bleating, bawling.
The four legged choirs sing.
They’ll be chewing on the pen gates
‘til it warms up in the spring.

Since the barns are full of cattle
there is cleaning to be done.
Hay was hauled in from the hayfield.
It feels like we pitched a ton.

If the winter storms aren’t raging
and the snow is not too deep
we can get the truck out of here;
buy supplies that won’t come cheap.

As the winter grinds and hammers
we’ve endured most everything.
We’ll just try to keep on farming
‘til it warms up in the spring.

© 2011, Marleen Bussma
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Marleen comments:

My parents owned and worked a farm in North Dakota for 50 years. My dad was a small grain farmer, but we always had cattle, horses, pigs, chickens and in the earlier years, sheep. My poem, "Waiting for the Thaw," is a true life depiction of what life was like for them during the winter months as they managed the livestock while contending with the winter weather, all the while looking forward to spring.


See Marleen Bussma's

Looking for Sunshine in Art Spur


A Spotted Past in Art Spur


The Cowboy's Handbook in Art Spur


The Tenderfoot in Art Spur


Midnight Rodeo in the 2012 Christmas Art Spur

A Tree for Toby in our 2011 Christmas Art Spur


   About Marleen Bussma:
 provided 2011

Marleen Bussma was raised on a small farm in North Dakota where horses and cows were part of her daily life. This has had a big influence on what she writes. Hearing a program of cowboy poetry gave Marleen the inspiration to put her stories to paper in poetry form.



 Scrapin' By and other poems


Utah resident Marleen Bussma announces the release of Scrapin’ By, her debut CD of cowboy poetry. She has fourteen original poems inspired by her years growing up on a farm in ND and her love of true stories from the old west.

Reviewer Rick Huff writes:

Historical happenings are the poetic goldmine of Utah poet Marleen Bussma. A North Dakota native, Bussma’s title track deals with the wild and wooly life of Poker Alice. Bussma’s delivery is what I would consider to be the spot-on mix of reciting and interpretive acting.

In literate and wonderfully descriptive verse, Bussma tells of “The Outlaw,” a legendary 1900s saddle bronc (“the rodeo grew claws and snatched my carefree life away”). From “The Phantom’s Lure,” about a mustang now penned, we get “teasing thoughts of freedom flicker, fade and fall behind.” From “Slow Burn” she shows a damaged pen and its contents with “like the hull of the Titanic wood has sprung a gaping hole…movement heads in that direction as bulls think about parole!”

Give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed. Fourteen tracks.

The track list includes: Ill Tempered Roan, Cowboy Etiquette, Scrapin’ By, The Fence Bustin’ Ride, She Was Reckless, Dirty Dishes, The Outlaw, Little Shadow, Mustache Maude, The Three-Minute Bride, The Phantom’s Lure, The Apron, Slow Burn, and The Bakken Bovine Beauty Spa.

Scrapin’ By is $14 postpaid, available from Marleen Bussma at 1094 Homestead Dr. E., Dammeron Valley, UT 84783; 435-574-2314;




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