CowboyPoetry.com    Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of CowboyPoetry.com.

About Michael Robinson
Some Poems
Contacting Michael Robinson

Back to Honored Guests
Back on home

 

About Michael Robinson 

With spurs a jinglin', Michael works his riveting magic as the "Millennial Cowboy," a music, humor, and poetry show of cowboy nostalgia and charm.  The one-man performance revives the West's colorful past and looks hopefully to its future.  Michael has performed his hour-and-a-half concert to thousands in the U.S. and Canada.  Virtually every show has brought requests for more appearances.

From raucously funny to pensive and heart-rending, Michael rides the ranges of emotion in poetry and music.  One will undoubtedly recognize the strains of familiar cowboy songs.  His music bridges the years.  From old trail ballads to his own award-winning songs, Michael's renditions go from the nostalgia of "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds" to his own "Cowboy Cell-Phone Blues" and "I Hate Them Happy Songs."   His powerful poetry presentations, however, are one-hundred-percent original.

Author of around four-hundred poems and songs, Michael delivers the message of the cowboy's simple life.  "It's something everyone relates to." he says. "Cowboy poetry and music boil-down all the themes of life into their most basic components.  They make an audience reflect on the most important values of our existence."

Michael did both undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Utah, where he performed with the Utah Opera Company. Dabbling in horseshoeing and training during his college years helped him make ends meet.  His love of horses and the great outdoors are still keynotes in his life, and he takes every opportunity to "ride through the quakies and howl at the moon."

A late-comer to the Utah entertainment scene, Michael made his debut at the 1996 cowboy poetry gathering in Elko.  Since then, he's won contests, been featured in numerous events, appeared on public television, and been named to the Utah Arts Council's Performing Arts Tour.  "I spent a lot of years providing for a large family, so it took retirement to open my creative floodgates." he says.  The 53-year-old, grandpa-cowboy-ex-businessman would have preferred to start his "new life" sooner, but Michael is the first to acknowledge that there are some things you don't get to choose.  The last line of his poem "I am the Boss.  Ain't I?" is an illustration:

"But when I order cows to stop those piles that they're makin'
they're not the least bit scared of me-not tremblin' or a shakin'.
I've had to grin and bear it 'cause I can't control their crappin's,
So I accept what I can't change:  The fact, manure just happens."

Now published in magazines and anthologies, and recognized by poetry societies and literary groups, Michael Robinson's  clever hooks, image-evoking descriptions, and meticulous wordsmithing make his works great listening and enjoyable reading.  The latter is something few cowboy-poet-types can brag.  Cowboy poetry is often hard to read. Sometimes, only the authors can get the poems to sound right.  Not so for Michael, who has been referred to as a "Wordsworth of cowboy poetry." Meter and rhyme are flawless, yet his poems read like natural conversation. "I never force a rhyme by using a word that doesn't quite belong." Says Michael, whose first book, Cowpies a la Mode, sold out.  He expects to release his new book, Where the Oiled Road Ends, soon.

Besides the music and humor, Michael Robinson's "Millennial Cowboy" packs a compelling, introspective look at life.  His reverence for the greatness of simple men and simple lives is a sort of religion to him.  Many of his serious poems are tributes to them, and are poignant contrasts to lives of wealth and possession.  "When you can walk outside your door, and see the beauty around you and feel the breeze against your skin," he notes, "you're the richest man in the world."  The land, the sky, the critters, and family are embedded in everything Michael writes.

A second generation American, Michael believes that America is still a land of opportunity for those with vision and determination.   His firm belief that people can accomplish their dreams, is often echoed in his work.  Lines from his poem "Fences," give wings to every man:

"There are times you may say that a fence blocks the way
to that place you consider your goal,
and the only solution to get where you're choosin's
becoming a bird or a mole.
Fences high, fences low, they control where ya go,
So it's worth sproutin' wings, you will find.
'cause the only un-climbable fence, in a sense,
is the one you create in your mind."

The last chorus of his song, "The Real Cowboy Checklist," sums up his whole  philosophy of life:


Have ya tumbled with the tumbleweeds
                                              and flown where eagles flew.
Have ya seen alfalfa twinklin' with
                                                 the diamonds of the dew?
And, when life is fin'lly over, and
                                                 ya face yer last "Amen,"
will ya smile as ya say it. "Yep,
                                                    I'd do it all again."


  Poems

But I Can't Say I Care Much for Cows
The End of the Drought
Just a Little Ranch House
My Friend
Prairie Memories
Tribute to Lane Frost:  The Earth's a Fickle Mama
Holy Mackerel, You're My Kind of Gal
The Cowboy Sinner's Song
Music on the Wind
Seasons of the Cowboy
The Weaver From Hell
The Darlin' of Eastland
Buckaroo Boy of the Bronx
The Real Cowboy Checklist
Breakfast with My Horse
Yes, Ma'am.  Just Call Me Slim
The Old Stock Trailer
Savin' the Ranch
The Night Watch

It'll Just Have to Wait
 

 

But I Can't Say I Care Much for Cows


Us ol' cowboys savor spring's sweet kiss,
and know the nip of fall...
and we marvel at the mountains,
draped in white and standin' tall...

an' the summer's sure no stranger,
with her parched and dusty skin,
when the waterholes are puddles
and yer sippin' mud from tin.

And we know the whitefaced critters,
when they're snortin' streams of snot,
an' how, out here on the prairie,
we're the only friends they've got.

So we doctor them and mother 'em,
do artwork on their flanks.
Yet, in all my days cowboyin',
I ain't heard one single "Thanks."

Yep, them cows take lots for granted;
They're a selfish bunch for sure.
You can fill their guts with clover,
but they'll always ask for more.

And they're mighty low on gumption.
(It's the weakest of their traits.)
When they wanna go romancin',
they make us supply their dates.

So we pull their calves, and give 'em shots,
haul hay when snow's too deep.
And the shippin' time's no payoff,
when you're sellin' beef so cheap.

Who 'ould wanna be a cowboy.
Cows ain't capable of love.
Yet there's something in that curlin'
smoke and myriad stars above...

When the prairie's bathed in moonlight
and the herd is bedded down,
and the coyote's song's a soarin',
it's more glory than a crown.

© 2001, Michael Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The End of the Drought

We cowboys talk of starvin' stock
through lips all parched and dry.
For rain we lust, as clouds of dust
conceal an orange sky.
We reminisce, in wishful bliss,
beneath the moonlit haze,
and wonder how the drought persists
through months of summer days.

The worst we fear, yet, slickers near,
we say our prayers over,
and dream of weather blackening leather,
greenin' up the clover.
It's been three months, and more than once,
the sky's turned dark and cold,
and lightning's struck, but drops got stuck,
as storm clouds churned and rolled.

...Just one more time the sky was prime
to drench the thirsty dirt.
For what it's worth, ol' Mother Earth's
a brazen, teasin' flirt.
So life goes on from dawn to dawn,
with glimpses of her smile--
a dreary range, without a change,
for endless, grueling mile.

Yet, ridin' here, 'twixt cow and steer,
I feel one little drop.
That gal starts dishin' what I'm wishin'
and she doesn't stop.
The land's all soaked and clover-cloaked;
I'm wet, right to the core.
It's like the bliss of my first kiss,
to feel the rain once more.

© 2001, Michael Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Just a Little Ranch House

It was just a little ranch house, built in 1894,
with some rough-hewn logs and chinkin' and a hard caliche floor.
It was Grandpa Heath who built it.  He did ev'rything by hand,
in a place that others said was just a worthless patch of sand.

Yet it grew a crop of children, who were proud of what they had;
And that little prairie ranch house was a heaven for my Dad.
It was where he learned his values, and he plucked his first guitar,
and he sample savory morsels from my Grandma's cookie jar.

It was where Dad first discovered that a miracle is wrought
by the sweat of honest labor, and the hardships that you've fought.
For, that worthless patch of sand became the center of a spread
full of irrigated clover and the finest Herefords bred.

It was just a little ranch house, built in 1894,
where a family thrived and showed its thanks by openin' up the door
to the lost or weary traveller and a string of folks in need.
There was never scorn or judgement--just another heart to feed.

And the ones, that others turned away, all found the outstretched hand
of a family livin' what they preached, on miles of transformed sand.
There was Hobo Sam and Thelda Simms, a pregnant Sarah Brown--
and the legacy of love's, her son's now mayor of the town.

Well my Grandma died and Gramps passed on.  The ranch house went to Dad.
And, when I look back, I can't help think of all the joy we had,
as our family lived and learned and loved, within those timber walls,
where the air was pure and moonlight brought the strains of coyote calls.

It was just a little ranch house, built in 1894,
but the rough-hewn logs, caliche floor, and ever-open door
were the mem'ries of a bygone day, when life was sweet and soft--
when the smoke curled from the chimney, as we frolicked in the loft.

As the years went by, we used it for a sort of second home,
where the grandkids had a heyday and the chance to run and roam.
We had picnics and reunions, and we used it in the fall,
as our base of operations, for the annual cattle haul.

Yet, one lightning bolt was all it took, fanned by a summer breeze.
Now I'm standing here, surrounded by those smokin' memories.
I'm remembering how heaven was, inside that fallen door,
of the little prairie ranch house, built in 1894.


© 2001, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



My Friend

No waggin' tail or perked-up ears;
No headin' off them mav'rick steers;
No beggin' scraps or chasin' coons'
No howlin' at them harvest moons...
 
No wakin' in some lonely place
to lick his master's dusty face,
or ponderin' his best friend's rhyme
when work's gone slack, past shippin' time...
 
No pesky fleas or stubborn strays;
No frosty nights or endless days,
or lookin' love, square in the face,
carousin' at the neighbor's place...
 
No painful quills to burn his nose;
No jagged ice to cut his toes:
No bark to tell a stanger nears;
No sadness at his master's tears...
 
It's in the genes---a healer's good
at doin' all the things he should.
Ol' Butch worked hard right to the end,
but, most of all, he was my friend.

© 2000, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Tribute to Lane Frost:  The Earth's a Fickle Mama


Oh, the earth's a fickle mama, like two-thousand pounds of Brahma,
that ya ride eight-seconds, 'fore she throws ya down...
when the one,  who bore and nursed ya, turns her back and starts t' curse ya,
and she tramples ya six-feet beneath the ground.

As his lifeblood pools inside him, there is no one to confide in--
that he wished he'd never done that fateful ride.
But the bull that's fin'lly got him, and to death's dark door has brought him's
helped him score another solid eighty-five.

Well, each cowboy's merely mortal, and 'll someday reach that portal,
when the summer's done and autumn's fin'lly gone,
when those cheeks of sunburned leather lie so still upon the heather,
and a darkened world awaits a distant sun.

When that giant yolk sinks middle of the west-horizon's griddle,
and a crimson blaze ignites the prairie sod,
when the sky of blue and azure falls, as ketchup, on the pasture,
our world darkens, but it's breakfast time with God.

Though that cowboy's linen-shrouded and the world's all dark and clouded,
when the undertaker gives his head the nod,
that ol' cowboy's horse is revvin' as it launches him t' heaven,
where he's welcomed as a breakfast guest with God.

Yup, he'll sit down at God's table with John Wayne and Betty Grabel,
and then God'll raise his glass, and he will say,
"I could tell, right from the start, My Name was branded on your heart.
Welcome home, my son, you're fin'lly here to stay."

Well, the clocks upon our planet were designed for those who man it,
and they stop dead in a hundred years or so,
but that moment's time in Heaven, was, in Lane's years, twenty-seven,
and that hand's not dead.  He's simply on the go.

When that giant yolk sinks middle of the west-horizon's griddle,
and a crimson blaze ignites the prairie sod,
when the sky of blue and azure falls, as ketchup, on the pasture,
our world darkens, but it's breakfast time with God.

© 1997, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Prairie Memories

Give me the sweat 'n' dust, streakin' my cheeks;
Give me my slicker, complete with the leaks;
Give me the plummeting star, as it streaks
over the prairie, tonight.
 
Give me the line-shack, that never got warm;
Give me the buzz of the rattler's alarm;
Give me the love of my life, on my arm,
here, on the prairie, tonight.
 
        Even things that were hard, like a low rankin' card,
        in a hand that ain't lookin' to bright,
        are the gems of the past, that have faded too fast,
        as I lie on the prairie, tonight.
 
Give me the mountains, with Stetsons of snow;
Give me the noisy. black cry of the crow;
Give me the lather of steeds on the go,
here, on the prairie, tonight.
 
Give me the tender request of a child;
Give me the storm of a bronc' when he's riled;
Give me the second-crop hay, neatly piled,
here, on the prairie, tonight.
 
 
        Even things that were hard, like a low rankin' card,
        in a hand that ain't lookin' to bright,
        are the gems of the past, that have faded too fast,
        as I lie on the prairie, tonight.
 
Give me the dew on a saddle too hard;
Give me the loyalty shown by a pard';
Give me the rhymes of an ol' cowboy bard,
here, on  the prairie, tonight.
 
Give me the love of a wife, worn with age;
Give me the fragrance of pinion and sage;
Give me the wealth of a poor wrangler's wage,
here on the prairie tonight.

© 2000, Michael S. Robinson
(This is also a copyrighted song, and sheet music is available)
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Holy Mackerel, You're My Kind of Gal

I had never been to 'Frisco, but I had to sell some steers,
so I went there to negotiate a deal,
'cause ol' Burger King was buyin' and they needed eighty head.
In the end, they got themselves a real steal.
 
Well, with money in my pocket, I went out to see the sights.
I saw Alcatraz, the trolley, and the bridge;
But, amid the cod and salmon, at the fish store on the wharf,
was my favorite sight--a darlin' gal named Midge.
 
Well, I blurted "Holy Mackerel, you're the only gal for me,
and you'll learn to love Wyomin', by and by.
Why, the stars out there ain't covered by a murky coat of fog.
Yep, Wyomin's where I'll live and where I'll die."
 
But she answered, "You're a cowboy, and I'm urban, through and through.
I don't think there's any way I could adjust
to the sage brush and the critters and the lonely winter days...
to the coyote howls and driftin' summer dust."
 
So I made a resolution, as I stood there in that store.
I'd do anything it took to marry Midge;
And the weddin' bells were chimin' on that balmy autumn day,
as we took our vows beneath that golden bridge.
 
Well the years have passed, and I've done well on Oakland's only ranch.
Me 'n' Midge got us a flat near Polk and Powell.
With my darlin' here beside me, ol' Wyomin's lost my heart,
and I seldom long to hear the coyotes howl.
 
Raisin' Angus-cross and Herefords for them hungry city folks,
each September I'm a shippin' them by BART,
and I look at Midge and thank the Lord I moved a thousand miles,
'cause, in 'Frisco, I'd have surely left my heart.

© 1999, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Cowboy Sinner's Song

When you're there, by yourself, 'neath the heavens,
contemplatin' God's star-garnished face,
an' ya think how you've cheated at poker,
how you've dallied with ladies in lace.

When you rue that ya lied to the foreman
that you'd rode the fence, clear to the creek,
and ya know that ya should'a been kinder
to the kid with the mole on his cheek.

Like the campfire smoke, driftin' skyward,
let the warmth of your soul send each word,
for God treasures each wanderin' cowboy,
an' each mav'rick that strays from the herd.

As the moon lifts its head o'er the pinetops,
and clouds wander the fringes of space,
and the coyotes are croonin' a concert,
there's a warmth that you see in God's face.

But ya wonder if he'd ever claim you
from the refuse you've made of your life-
you dishonored the words of your Mother,
broke the vows that ya made to yer wife.

Like the campfire smoke, driftin' skyward,
let the warmth of your soul send each word,
for God treasures each wanderin' cowboy,
an' each mav'rick that strays from the herd.

While a cheek full of chaw you're a chewin',
you reflect on the choices you've made,
and ya know that yer pride's caused yer suff'rin',
and the grief and the sorrow you've paid.

Like the rodeo bronc's you ain't scored on,
you've been bucked and tossed hard by yer heart;
but you're up and wrapped tight in yer riggin'-
and you're given another fresh start.
 
Like the campfire smoke, driftin' skyward,
let the warmth of your soul send each word,
for God treasures each wanderin' cowboy,
an' each mav'rick that strays from the herd.

© 2001, Michael Sorbonne Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

Music on the Wind

When the trail dust has settled
and the fire's burnin' bright,
and a dyin' red's transformed
into the purple of the night...

the pale moon's a risin'
an' that great big dipper dips,
as I take my ol' harmonica
and press it to my lips.

There are strains of that Amazing Grace an' Texas' Yellow Rose,
an' wails of eerie canyons, where the wind, Mariah, blows.
That 'berry Roan's a buckin' through a diamond-studded sky--
the same sky we sat under, as we said our last goodbye.
Blue Shadows on the Trail dance, as music drifts and slips,
while I'm wishin' this harmonica was you, pressed to my lips.

If you're sittin' there in Denver,
and the wind's out of the West,
and a melody comes driftin'
'cross the mountain's moonlit crest,

it's a lonely, sad reminder
of a love we oughta share.
Still my sweetheart of the rockies,
snap your fingers, I'd be there.

Now I'm lyin' in my bedroll,
an' the fire's dyin' fast,
an' I'm thinkin' love's a mem'ry
of a dream that's come and passed.

But some hoof beats on the trail
stop a loop away from me,
an' the fire's final flicker shows
that you've come back to me.

There are strains of that Amazing Grace an' Texas' Yellow Rose,
an' wails of eerie canyons, where the wind, Mariah, blows.
That 'berry Roan's a buckin' through a diamond-studded sky--
as we pledge, beneath the smilin' moon, we'll never say goodbye.
Blue Shadows on the Trail dance, as music drifts and slips,
an' it's you, not my harmonica, I'm pressin' to my lips.

© 1998, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 



Seasons of the Cowboy

When drenchin' rains of springtime, turn the rivers fast and brown,
and' wagons bog in heavy mud, returning from the town...
When sprays of gentle green adorn each graceful aspen branch,
the aging cowboy thrills at resurrection on the ranch.

The meltin' snow gets dimples, 'round the bold emergin' grass,
as goslings, fluffed in heavy down, attend their swimmin' class.
When bears have yawned and stretched, soaked up the radiant warmth of May,
the cowboy knows there's lots of work, and little time for play.

There's ridin' miles of fences--up the hogsback, down the draw--
his pliers drawin' wires, as he's relishin' his chaw.
There's pullin' calves, dehornin', and collectin' all the strays,
and lyin' in his bedroll by the fire's dyin' blaze.

Each evenin' he's dog-tired, but he taps an endless source.
(His rare complaints are saved for conversations with his horse.)
His wrinkled face gets coated with a crust of sweat and dust,
while puttin' off the things he likes, for doin' what he must.

The summer days seem endless, like an oven, set to broil.
Where trees are scarce, his hat's the only shade to cool his toil.
An' when he's near believin' his whole world is sure t' blanch,
ol' mother nature sends relief:  It's autumn on the ranch.

With autumn's chill a nippin' at his heels, he stacks the hay;
drives critters to the railhead, in time for shipping day.
He fixes roofs, repairs the tack, and snugs each nail down,
an' rounds up his provisions at the general store in town.

Then, when the heat of summer's just a mem'ry of the past,
and autumn's rainbow Stetson's proven less than colorfast;
When frost has stripped the aspen leaves from ev'ry shiverin' branch,
the cowboy dreads what's comin', 'cause it's winter on the ranch.

All cooped up in that scanty shack can drive a man t' drinkin'
an' cussin' the thermometer, as mercury's a sinkin'.
It takes a darned good attitude to ride a winter out,
an' makes a feller understand what life is all about.

For, cowboys see the winter's face, far more than other men,
when frigid winds have driven south the robin and the wren...
When silenced are the summer's songs, and gone, the fall's refrain,
the cowboy sees that, hardship's part of any, worthy gain.

And, like his pa and grandpa, sleddin' hay to freezing cows,
he braves the storm and ain't afraid of snowflakes on his brows.
The long and thick and hard of it are his realities,
but sometimes it's so vicious, that it brings him to his knees.

And, as his pony braces, with her tail toward the gust,
the cowboy's breath floats upwards, sayin' "God, I've rarely cussed,
but this is just, plain awful, and could put me in the ground.
Please tell me, when I need you, that you'll always be around."

No sooner than he's finished with that prayer from his heart,
a calm transforms that stormy place and clouds begin to part.
The moon and stars, a twinkin' fall as glitter on the snow,
and, deep inside, that cowboy feels a reassurin' glow.

That break's his only answer in the howlin' storm above,
but, in the scene, surroundin' him, he feels the warmth of love---
like songs of serenadin' birds on ev'ry leafy branch.
And he's feelin' blessed, in spendin' one more winter on the ranch.

©1999, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


 

The Weaver from Hell

Where the Onion Brook flows into Lassiter's Creek
       and the trail winds south toward O'Shaunessey's Peak;
where the bones of the hopeless lie bleached where they fell,
       lived that she-devil, known as the Weaver from Hell.

Though I'd never been there, in that forsaken place,
       or experienced the shock of her hideous face,
or endured the foul ragin' that spewed from her scowl,
       like the razor-sharp points on a bronc rider's rowel,

I knew well, from the stories, that woman was mean,
       a detestable beast with a mutated gene.
But, alas, I'm now part of the legend they tell
       of that she-devil, known as the Weaver from Hell.

She kept pretty invisible, 'cept for the treks,
       when she bartered her blankets and scanty gold flecks
for the food and supplies that she'd need to endure
       through another dark winter at Hell's open door.

As she'd ride down Main Street with her pack mules in tow,
       all the children would scatter, and big uns laid low,
for the sight of her face made their skins start to crawl---
       caused the mamas to gasp and the babies to bawl.

And, though ev'ryone's heard that one stitch'll save nine,
       that a bird in the hand is worth two in the pine,
and that actions are precious and words are so cheap,
       they all knew that her ugly  was more than skin-deep.

She'd been saved, once, from hangin' for killin' a man--
       some poor cowpoke who worked for the Connelly clan.
And there wasn't a question, she'd've swung from a noose,
       if she hadn't been tried clear down south in Scapoose.

She'd once cut up a feller at Henderson's Draw,
       who had laughed at her face and insulted her Ma.
But the judge didn't side with that sliced-up old fool---
       said the guy had it comin' for bein' so cruel.

Well, there always was wond'rin' and questionin' looks
       as the shopkeeper hung up her blankets from hooks,
Just a few, who were rich, could come up with the cash,
       yet each masterpiece offered was gone in a flash.

Woven tight, to perfection, and colors so rich--
       How could things of such beauty have come from that witch?
Yet I knew, in my heart, from the briar comes burl;
       and, from crusty old oysters, the luster of pearl.

So I ate lots of beans and I saved up my pay,
       'til I'd reached that hard goal and could finally say
that I I'd scrimped for a bride's gift for my precious Nel--
       of a wonderful wool by the Weaver from Hell.

 And there, right in the midst of our humble abode
       was a blanket--worth more than the whole mother lode--
where our love was fulfilled on a moon-shadowed night,
       and the dreams of our youth took reality's flight...

where the heaven's poured forth and our marriage was blessed
       with a sweet babe who nursed at a kind mother's breast;
A mere handful of mavericks turned into a herd;
       All the heifers got plump and the kittens all purred.

But, down deep in my heart was a question that stayed,
       as the blanket got old and its edges were frayed,
of the woman who'd woven that blanket so well--
       that old she-devil, known as the Weaver from Hell.

It was late 1890, near Lassiter's Creek,
       where the trail winds south toward O'Shaunessey's Peak,
when a rock tumbled down and stampeded my cows,
       and my horse scraped me off on a yellow pine's boughs...

and all trampled by cattle, and stomped by my bay,
       with my head all caved-in and my scalp torn away,
'twas the weaver who found me, where snow'd turned to red,
       and she carried me back from the land of the dead.

Well, unconsciousness came and unconsciousness went,
       and most times, that I stirred, found the old weaver bent
over me like an angel attendin' my needs--
       with a cup of hot broth and a rosary's beads.

Other times, I would see her across the bare room,
       as her shuttle drew yarn twixt the threads of her loom,
where a blanket emerged with a beautiful face
       of a love-splendored girl, with such delicate grace...

as I'd never once seen in the days of my life,
       'cept for Nel, on the day she'd become my dear wife.
So I asked her, "Who's that?"  and I got her to tell:
       "That's the woman, they now call, the Weaver from Hell."

"But, when Jim and I married, my face had no scars,
       just two eyes that were filled with the moon and the stars."
Like the ins-and-the-outs of her smooth shuttle's way,
       came the pieces and bits of a life of dismay...

how her dear husband died of the burns from that fire,
       as he asked for her promise--his lifelong desire
to remain on the ranch and accomplish the dream
       of an idyllic life along Lassiter's stream.

But beef prices went south, so the money was slow,
       and the calves fell to wolves and the merciless snow.
And a fire-scarred face found no love of a man.
       But that cowpoke, that worked for the Connelly clan...

thought he'd have him his way--use her body for him.
       She'd fought hard, punched, and kicked, and called out for her Jim,
as she smelled the foul breath, felt the weight as she fell,
       found the poker and dispatched that cowboy to Hell.

Startlin' fast, like they'd come, lots of years disappeared,
       and the weaver grew tough--neither fretted nor feared--
kept the ranch, kept her promise, and never would sell
       the last wish of her Jim to his Weaver from Hell.

As my body grew stronger, she walked me each day,
       across the freshly-swept floor from the bed where I lay.
Two months passed and I knew I was ready to ride,
       but a change had come over my heart, deep inside;

For, that hideous face that had scared young and old,
       that had brought back my life from the land of the cold,
that had suffered the curse of an undying love,
       now appeared like a beautiful, unblemished dove.

But, December was flyin'.  I sure missed my Nel,
       and I knew I must leave--There were steers still to sell.
And I sure longed to hold my grandson in my arms,
       and to relish the bliss of my lovin' wife's charms.

So the widow baked bread and packed up a nice slab
       of salt pork and a strip of of some jerky she had.
Then she gave me that blanket and sent me away,
       sayin' "Joe, have a wonderful, warm Christmas Day."

Softly floated the flakes as they fell on that place,
       while a stray ray of dawn cast a glow on her face;
And an angelic halo--the legend will tell--
       crowned that she-devil, known as the Weaver from Hell.

No!  A radiant halo--the legend will tell--
       crowned an angel, once known as the Weaver from Hell.

© 1998, Michael Sorbonne Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Darlin' of Eastland


While drivin' the critters from Dove Creek to Moab
I watered in Eastland, on the ol' Johnson spread.
The Johnsons were farm folk, well-known for their kindness,
And they offered me grub and a night in a bed.

Might' tasty, the vittles--a spread fit for gentry.
I savored each forkful, had a slice of both pies.
But the darlin' of Eastland sat there, 'cross the table,
And no meal could compare with the feast of my eyes.

She's way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere;
I'm adrift with the herd, but my heart can't be free,
'cause way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere,
is the somewhere, where I long to be.

I fretted all summer in the Geyser Pass meadows,
Lookin' down on the red rock and longin' for love.
I carved Debra's name in the bark of the aspens,
'cause I'd found me a heart that fit mine like a glove.

Like the sparks, driftin' high from my lonely encampment,
Each night my thoughts soared to our tender embrace.
As the moonlight poured over the peaks and the pine tops,
I dreamed of the day I'd, again, see her face.

She's way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere;
I'm adrift with the herd, but my heart can't be free,
'cause way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere,
is the somewhere, where I long to be.

Well, that summer dragged on, like the flow of molasses,
But the critters got plump, so I made me some dough.
Then hell-bent-for-leather, to the darlin' of Eastland,
I asked for her hand, but the answer was "No."

...Said, "I love you for sure, but a cowboy's a roamer,
and I can't stand the thought of my man, never there."
So I hung up my spurs, and I farmed with her Papa,
'cause the darlin' of Eastland was my only care.

She's way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere;
I'm a plowin' the fields, and it's heaven to me,
'cause way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere,
is the somewhere, where I love to be.

When the shadows are deep, in the Blue Mountain canyons,
And the horse head's*asleep, on the breast of the pine,
Cuddlin' up on the porch, when the young 'uns are sleepin',
I rejoice that the darlin' of Eastland is mine.

She's way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere;
I'm a plowin' the fields, and it's heaven to me,
'cause way out there in Eastland, 'tween nothin' and nowhere,
is the somewhere, where I love to be.

© 2002, Michael Sorbonne Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written
permission.


*The "horse head" is the well known land mark near Monticello, Utah, on
the East slope of the Abajo Mountains, also known as the Blue Mountains of
Utah.  It's just a few large scars in a pine-covered slope, but looks like
an elegant horse head and neck, and is particularly easy to see when there's
snow on the 10,000 rise.  Eastland, itself, sits about half way between
Monticello and Dove Creek, Colorado.  My wife, Debra, is a former Johnson,
and was raised on the Eastland spread.

Michael tells us that this song is about his wife Debra, and that it is a part of a forthcoming 12-song album recorded under the Rawkinhorse Productions label.

 

Buckaroo Boy of the Bronx

I was born in the city, and found nothin' more pretty
Than the tune of the taxicab honks,
But the films of John Wayne must've transformed my brain
To the buckaroo boy of the Bronx.

With a scarf 'neath my chin, I'd mount up, on my Schwinn,
Dressed in Levis, tall Stetson, and chaps.
For the life of a friend, I'd defend, to the end,
With my little chrome six-gun and caps.

Though I never went west, never rode with the best,
Deep inside, is a cowboy's heart still.
Sing an' play my guitar, as my mind wanders, far
From my songs, at the Bronx Bar and Grill.

I had friends, who were sure they'd be heroes of war
Or be stars on a great baseball team,
But I knew, in my heart, like John Wayne, from the start,
That cowboyin' was my only dream.

But I had no guitar, and the West was so far,
Where the skies are not cloudy all day,
So I sold my ol' bike to a schoolmate, named Ike.
Bought a Gibson, and learned how to play.

Though I never went west, never rode with the best,
Deep inside, is a cowboy's heart still.
Sing an' play my guitar, as my mind wanders, far
From my songs, at the Bronx Bar and Grill.

When I think what life dished, though I dreamed and I wished,
I know, deep in my heart, there's a pain.
As the Bronx moonlight beams, come my childhood dreams
Of the herd and my ranch on the plains.

Well I'll just have to cope, without saddle or rope,
And imagine the sweat on the reins,
As a bronco's a buckin', and just keep on truckin',
A singin' those cowboy refrains.

Though I never went west, never rode with the best,
Deep inside, is a cowboy's heart still.
Sing an' play my guitar, as my mind wanders, far
From my songs, at the Bronx Bar and Grill.

Sing an' play my guitar, in these cheap honky tonks.
I'm still the buckaroo boy of the Bronx.

© 2003, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

The Real Cowboy Checklist

So, ya' tell me you're a cowboy--
that you've got a hoss an' hat,
an' a spread down south of Dillon,
with some hiefers, nice an' fat...

That you won that silver buckle
Ridin' bulls in rodeo;
that a dozen men lie buried
'cause they drew a bit too slow.

Well, I've got this little checklist
that goes right back to the start,
and'll tell just who's a cowboy,
by the memories in his heart.

Have ya' tumbled with the tumbleweeds
and flown where eagles flew?
Have ya' seen alphalfa twinklin' with
the diamonds of the dew?

And, when life is fin'lly over,
And ya face yer last amen,
Will ya smile as ya say it,
"Yep, I'd do it all, again."

Have ya' gazed across the buck-brush
on a cool September morn'
when the clouds are hangin' in the draws
and summer's tired and worn?

Have ya' felt the chill of evenin'
when the snow's upon the peaks?
Have ya' felt the kiss of arctic air
a-nippin' at your cheeks?

Have ya' chased a bunch of wand'rin' strays
'til your plumb-out of gas?
Have ya' cussed your trusty saddle, as
it kissed your tired ass?

Have ya' tumbled with the tumbleweeds
and flown where eagles flew?
Have ya' seen alphalfa twinklin' with
the diamonds of the dew?

And, when life is fin'lly over,
And ya face yer last amen,
Will ya smile as ya say it,
"Yep, I'd do it all, again."

After sellin' off your cattle, have
you ended up flat-broke,
felt the wounds of lifetime ranchin'
ev'ry mornin' when ya' woke?

Have ya' wondered why ya' do it, when
a bus'ness sure it ain't?
Have the tears drenched your bandanna
when ya' shot your trusty paint?

Are ya' hobblin' and a-limpin' from
a life that's bitter-sweet?
Have ya' realized a faithful wife's
a blessin' hard to beat?

Have ya' tumbled with the tumbleweeds
and flown where eagles flew?
Have ya' seen alphalfa twinklin' with
the diamonds of the dew?

And, when life is fin'lly over,
And ya face yer last amen,
Will ya smile as ya say it,
"Yep, I'd do it all, again."

© 1998, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Breakfast with My Horse

When purple shadows fall to dawn's carnation avalanche,
and lemon incandescence lights each shim'rin' aspen branch...
when endless silver ribbons stream along the river's course,
I welcome in the mornin' havin' breakfast with my horse.

He whinnies when he sees me and he gives his head a shake,
then nuzzles me and hounds me 'til I toss a leafy flake.
There's lots of gruelin' work ahead, a-c1imbin' rise and ridge,
no camp cook out there waitin' with a camp stove and a fridge.

I've tried the best, ate prime of rib, and munched on rich hors d'oeuvres-
served up by dainty waitresses with dimpled cheeks and curves.
I've savored the exotic taste of lox and escargot,
and relished crab-stuffed pork chops by a candle's gentle glow.

But there's a special flavor that's a must to any meal-
sporadic ash and windblown grit impart a taste so real.
It takes me back to basics and reminds me of my source,
to start each blessed mornin' havin' breakfast with my horse.

© 2001, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written
permission.


Yes, Ma'am.  Just Call Me Slim

A rancher is a lean machine--like cowboys of the stage;
but lately I've been noticin' the spread of middle age.
My stomach's started bulgin;  I ain't lookin' tough an' trim,
an' I've gotta save my nickname--everybody calls me  "Slim."

So I go to Marvin's Sporting Goods and buy some shoes 'n' shorts,
and a fine, precision stopwatch with a movement run by quartz.
It's  a cool Montana mornin' as I pull my Nike's on,
and the sky's a pink carnation in a picture-perfect dawn.

All the cattle, they're a-sleepin', but they rise to show respect.
(I know they don't know better, but it's sure a nice effect!)
The prairie dogs are standin' at the edges of the road,
and, disgustin', green and warty, comes the croakin' of a toad.

I've run near seven miles and it's heatin' up a bit.
(I'd quit, but it's the only way to make my Wranglers fit.)
I'm back at six, and weigh-in shows I've lost pret'-near a pound,
but reflectin' in the mirror shows I'm lookin' kind o' round.

It's hard, but I'll continue, 'cause I want to be my best,
and cut a handsome picture in my jeans and leather vest.
Tomorrow I'll run further;  Yup, I'll have to run a bunch
to make up for the hamburgers and fries I ate for lunch.

© 1999, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Old Stock Trailer

The old stock trailer's loaded up with things that don't belong
            And I'm feelin' weak all over, but I'm tryin' to be strong.
That rig is full of memories, of over thirty years,
            And I never thought it'd end this way, with a mortgage in arrears.

I could blame the rains that never came, and a prairie parched by drought:
            I could blame the wind-driven demon flame that drove my neighbors out;
I could curse the cold and the coyotes and my years of sacrifice,
            But I've made some bad decisions, and it's time to pay the price.

The old stock trailer's loaded up, and tears well in my eyes,
            As I recollect the lowin' critters under cloudless skies.
My hearts a dying ember of a life so fine and free.
            I git in the truck, but my hand's so weak that I just can't turn the key.

I could blame the rains that never came, and a prairie parched by drought:
            I could blame the wind-driven demon flame that drove my neighbors out;
I could curse the cold and the coyotes and my years of sacrifice,
            But I've made some bad decisions, and it's time to pay the price.

The herd's already auctioned off, and they've sold my ponies too.
            Yet, they didn't raid the fridge, so I've still got a stash of brew.
But there's just no way to bury all that hurt, so deep inside.
            Like a bull that I rode eight seconds, there's an end to every ride.

 I could blame the rains that never came, and a prairie parched by drought:
            I could blame the wind-driven demon flame that drove my neighbors out;
I could curse the cold and the coyotes and my years of sacrifice,
            But I've made some bad decisions, and it's time to pay the price.

© 2004, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Windstorm of the Century

All night, it howled and whistled, like a supersonic train.
I wondered if our home and barn would stand up to the strain.
My Mom had read me stories of how homes had blown away.
So I hunkered 'neath the covers 'til the welcome light of day.

The storm had worked it's evil, but the dawn was cool and calm. The ranch
was strewn with rubble like a blast zone from a bomb.
Where things were flat the night before, were lots of sandy dunes;
with fantasies of sultans' tents and belly-dancin' tunes.

Imagining the camels and oases' welcome green,
I saw 'twixt fact and dreamin' near the best sight I had seen.
I thought my Mom would let me slough, but I was just a fool.
She said the storm weren't no excuse. "Now run along to school."

The dunes leaned up against our barn and covered up the road.
They'd drifted 'cross the fenceposts, and the fields all freshly sowed.
Enchantment turned to ecstasy: One dune, so tall and fat,
was topped-off with a windfall---a right-fine new Stetson hat.

I picked it up, a-thinkin' that the wind had brought a prize,
but, as I picked it up, I peered into a pair of eyes!
The feller mumbled somethin' --never mind, it didn't rhyme!
I said, "I'll get a spade and dig you out in record time."

He muttered he was from down south and that his name was Bob,
and that a meager spade might not be ample for the job.
He told me how relieved he was the storm had run its course,
and begged "Please find a backhoe; I'm a sittin' on my horse!"

© 2000, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Savin' the Ranch

Headin' south with the herd
On October, the third,
Worried sick that beef prices might drop.
Gotta get to the rail;
Gotta finish the sale,
'cause I've got a foreclosure to stop.

Last two years have been lean--
Ain't seen cash, hard and green--
So the mortgage is six months behind.
And the dream that I cherish
will instantly perish
if the final court order gets signed.

So we drive the herd on
'til the stars are all gone-
don't take time for no vittles or rest.
push the herd past the grass
and the snow-frosted pass.
put our trusty old steeds to the test.

All the rough spots behind,
Now a slow, gruelin' grind,
'cause the critters are plumb out of steam.
One more mile of trail,
An' we'll be at the rail
And the money to rescue my dream.

Now my mood's got a lift,
But the ford's mighty swift,
And ol' Curley gets swept from his mare.
She's a kickin' an' thrashin'
And his head gets a bashin'
As he catches a double-ott pair.

What I drag to the shore's
Bloody mayhem an' gore.
Curley's scalp laid back clear to the crown.
He's unconscious an' pale,
And might die if I fail
To find him a doctor in town.

But the deadline is near,
And I'll miss it, I fear.
Sell the herd, 'cause it's my only chance.
Get the price I desire.
Leave the ox in the mire?
If I don't, I will forfeit the ranch.

Just one look's all it takes;
These are pretty high stakes:
One life saved means that my dream'll end.
Through the gray of old age
I'll work hard for a wage,
But I can't turn my back on a friend.

Friendship, proven and tried,
Curley's still by my side-
A few scars, but no worse for the wear.
Though the ranch is long-lost,
It's been well worth the cost,
'cause a friend is a treasure that's rare.

© 2005, Michael S. Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Night Watch

As the night watch thinks of Mary with their plump and happy baby,
and the birds of day no longer flit and croon,
There's a chill that fills the air, and there's a hush upon the prairie,
'til the coyotes start a howlin' at the moon.

And, though no one calls it music, it can soothe a troubled heart,
like a long-time friend who understands the hurt,
or a doll who shares the fear of all the shadows on the wall,
or a mother's arms who lift you from the dirt.

For the night watch mourns the tragedy that marred the Tuesday ride,
when a 'poke met death five-dozen years too soon--
of the kids, who'll dearly miss 'im, and the wife, he won't be kissin',
when the coyotes are a howlin' at the moon.

He remembers, too, the miracle of calves, all slipp'ry wet,
-- as their shaky legs test life beyond the womb,
as their mothers lick and nurse 'em from their bags, all filled l' burstin',
when the coyotes are a howlin' at the moon.

As the night watch rides the fringes of the herd that's bedded down,
and he senses that the sun will wake up soon,
he considers how his 'druthers might be slumb'rin' 'neath the covers,
'stead of hearin' coyotes howlin' at the moon.

As the glow of his thin stogie serves as beacon to the dogie,
he attempts an off-key chorus of a tune,
but "America the Beautiful"'s the echo that he hears,
when the coyotes are a howlin' at the moon.

© 1998, Michael Sorbonne Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

It'll Just Have to Wait

Called the vet seven times since my prize bull turned ten
And our crop of spring calves is way down,
So I know the timeís come to replace him, but, then,
When I go to the auction in townÖ 

The bidding goes steep and I donít have the cash
So Iíll just have to make do, I fear.
I invested in stocks just in time for the crash,
So Iíll just have to wait Ďtil next year.

Melissaís a senior and gets near-straight ďAĒs
Aní Iím pretty darned proud of that gal.
Iím sure gonna miss her when she goes away
To that school down in olí Southern Cal.

Graduationís a milestone worth every cent,
And June 7th is getting so near.
A nice gift is in order for that one-time event,
But Iíll just have to wait Ďtil next year.

When the Bakers came over for dinner last night,
Nellie Baker was  showin' her ring,
That olí Edgar had bought for their twentieth year.
I was smiliní outside, but the sting

Pierced my heart for my Bess is the best friend I've got.
There's just nothin' too good for my dear,
A  ring  would be nice, but what counts is the thought,
and I'll just have to wait 'til next year.

Back in two-thousand-seven we couldn't do wrong,
sold our steers for a record-high price,
an' this stock broker guy said the market was strong--
that we'd triple our money 'least twice.

Now the old Massey Ferguson gave up the ghost
just like most other things that I own,
and the bull sure ain't workin'...he's started to coast
on his depleted testosterone.

With those scholarships, grants, and a stiff upper lip,
Melissa will still get her degree,
But I'm noticing lately a pain in my hip,
and the doctor won't see me for free.

Now the parlor piano's so far out of tune
Bess is cringing while hiding a tear
I try to console her, "We'll get it fixed soon.
But we'll just have to wait 'til next year." 

© 2009, Michael Sorbonne Robinson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

 

Contacting Michael Robinson

 

Visit Michael's web site: cowboypoetryandmusic.com

 

Michael can be contacted at  (801) 943-9434 home, (801) 403-6450 cell, broncojockey@digis.net.
 Information on performance schedules and event pricing is available on request.

 

Member of the
Cowboy Poets of Utah

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

HOME

 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!

 

Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.

 

CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

 

Site copyright information