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About Megan A. Bell


Lament of an Aging Cowboy

You know that a cowboy grows weary
from roping and riding in dust
in hot sunny days or cold winter rays
and picking his way through the brush.

It's hard even when you're a youngster
but worse when you get up in years
bones creak when you ride, you get pains all the time
and you start to realize your fears.

All those things from when you were younger
that you knew you could handle with ease
a horse rearing up or a stroke of bad luck
the end of the world it now seems.

I could coil my rope up so easy
throw my saddle up onto my horse
fix fence through the day, haul big loads of hay
now I look back with pangs of remorse.

I still love to work on the ranches
and my children are glad to pitch in
but it's just not the same, being out on the range
with a group of five or six men.

It gets mighty old very quickly
when your knees won't let you swing up
one won't take your weight, one's weak it might break
and you're forced to go find you a stump.

The saddle you used in you 20's
that weighed 40 or 50 so pounds
has put on some weight, maybe added some freight
and you can't lift it up off the ground.

My children all look sympathetic
when they see the set look in my eye
the iron hard will, that I keep with me still
I'm determined whenever I ride.

I used to braid bridle's from horsehair
and beautiful things they were too
but my fingers now ache and my hands always shake
and I can't hardly lace up my boots.

My grip isn't tight like before now
when the reins were held firmly in place
I feel old and dumb when my digits go numb
and I drop one and slow down the pace.

My eyesight's gotten horrendous
and it's difficult watching on rides
I'll see a big rock, ride by with no thought
and it's a cow with a calf at her side.

The breed of the cowboy is fading
that's why I'm so loath to give up
I love being free, just my old horse and me
but there's times that I feel like I'm stuck.

It feels like a big uphill battle
but one where I'm sliding back down
I fight everyday with my body in ways
that a cowboy just can't get around.

Some may think that I'm being stubborn
just relax and give up the range
but that's real hard to do when you're honest and true
and it's been your life now for an age.

I hope to die peaceful out ridin'
on the back of my favorite old mare
to go with a smile, but know all the while
I did my best when I was there.

2014, Megan Bell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.


Megan comments, (in 2014) "I am only 24, so I haven't ever been an aging cowboy or girl, but I am around plenty of people who are! I just got to thinking one day about what they go through and how their adventures with their ill working bodies are both funny and sad. This was one of my most enjoyable poems to write and I hope others enjoy reading it too."


  About Megan A. Bell
provided 2014

I was born in Kingman, Arizona. I am a third-generation Arizonian and use the ranching legacy as part of my inspiration. Although it has nothing to do with cowboy poetry, my main inspiration is an author named J.R.R. Tolkien. After reading The Lord of the Rings, I started writing poetry and the rest is history!



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