About Mick Vernon
Book and CD
Contacting Mick Vernon

About Mick Vernon 

Author of The Lyrical Lawman Rides, a book of original cowboy poetry (and CD by the same title), Mick pens poems about his time spent in the saddle working cattle with the Dobbas outfit in the Sierras near Auburn, California, and about other reflections of western life. 

He is also a trained farrier, although he's known as the "Lyrical Lawman" because of his two decades with the Seaside Police Department.  Mick is also the past president of the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival and has performed there, the California Rodeo Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Red Mule Ranch Cowboy Campfire, and numerous other venues.

"Mick is a great example of the energy and enthusiasm that is keeping the
cowboy culture alive. A talented poet and singer."

                                            - Leslie Ide, Old West



Still Saddled




That old barn must've stood there,
I'd guess a hundred years.
Stored the hay to supplement the feed
for at least ten thousand steer.

Seen several cowboy generations
pass through them big double doors
as the sweat from workin' sun to sun
flowed freely from their pores.

Withstood the harsh realities
of snow an' wind an' rain;
gave shelter to the standing studs
and broodmares in birthing's pain.

Now it leans with great uncertainty
towards eventual demise,
as a thousand horse-less carriages an hour
speed ignorantly by.

Not faraway, closer to the road
stands a worn-out cattle chute;
the ramp now all but fallen down,
the catch-pen standing mute.

But, you can smell manure an' leather,
see old hoofprints in the ground;
hear the ghostly bellows of a once strong herd
wafting under modern sounds.

From Salinas to the Hi-Line,
'cross five thousand other miles,
our history seems to die a quiet death;
ranches, farms an' mercantiles.

But the cowboy an' the farmer,
the sutler an' the guide,
the one that spins the cloth we wear,
the one that tans the hide,

still ride the range an' plow the field,
still sell our daily wares;
still take the road less traveled,
still do more than their share

to keep our history vivid
in the minds of those who dare
to breathe the breath of those long past,
a breed considered rare.

An' tho' that weather-beaten barn,
nearer death with ev'ry dawn,
will soon collapse an' fade from thought
tradition still lives on.
Sometimes in unexpected ways,
sometimes with subtle change,
the old ways still are carried on,
the old ways still remain.
An' as that old barn tumbles down,
its siding cracked an' worn,
somewhere a ridgebeam's put in place
an' another barn is born.

2002,  J.P. Mick Vernon
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Still Saddled

In the crisp, clean air of an autumn morn
As you cinch down the saddle so comfortably worn
You hear your horse nicker and are glad you were born
To a life in the wide-open west.

You enjoy the long circles, ridin' alone
In country void of traffic and cellular phones
Where vast herds of buffalo once freely roamed
And your mettle is put to the test.

Though some folks think your usefulness has long since passed
And the wide-open spaces are closin' up fast
You won't sit and melancholy wax.
You'll always be a cowboy, nothing less.

See those who see the cowboy as near extinct
Haven't really taken the time to think
How the cowboy is more than an historical link
To our country's westward quest.

He's not just a figure from yesteryear lore
Or a dude outfitted at some western wear store
He's as real as any keyboard stroker, maybe more
He just uses a horse for a desk.

And while city folk whoop it up in neon lit bars
Or zip through the countryside in high powered cars
The cowboy is sleepin' out under the stars
Livin' life as he sees best.

We'll keep on doin' what most folks don't dare
And we'll keep on wearin' the things that we wear
'Cause we're proud that a cowboy is something quite rare
It sets us apart from the rest.

Let 'em believe the cowboy is some fairy tale
As they keep crowdin' into their cities grown stale
While we listen to the music of a coyote's wail
We're the ones that have been truly blessed.

2004, J.P. Mick Vernon
  This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




He was further from the ranch than he hoped he'd be
this late in the day.
The sun had long since set behind the hills
an' full-on dark was on its way.

But, he'd found a heifer dern-near neck-deep
in a marshy, muddy muck
an' he'd spent the better part of two hours
tryin' t'get that bawlin' beast unstuck.

An' he spent half of that time a-cursin'
the ignorance of the bovine breed.
Heck, this bugger wasn't even his
but t'ride on would break the cowboy creed.

Now his mount was slippy-slidin'
'cross a patch of snot-slick shale
an' he started in t'ponderin'
'bout the many different trails

he had traveled in what, t'him, so far
had been a hard, but worthwhile life.
He had a pretty decent little spread
an' a derned hard-workin' wife.
He had a dozen horses, his dogs an' tractor,
an' a small, but growin' herd of cows.
Still, the state of mind he traveled in
was growin' melancholy now.
See, the last few weeks had taken their toll,
life had dealt him a few short hands.
He'd lost one horse, Ben, t'injuries too severe t'mend.
An' another'n to poisonous plants.
Innocent critters, sorta dependin' on him
t'provide what they need t'survive.
An' tho' he'd done all he could, it was hard t'accept
that those two he couldn't keep alive.

Then his daddy'd almost left him,
the result of some insidious heart disease.
Boy, the shock from hearin' that
had dern-near brought'im t'his knees.

An', tho' dad was doin' better now,
thanks t'modern medical technology,
it'd started him reflectin' on life.
in typical cowboy ideology.
An' it was this cowboy way of thinkin'
that now slowly brung'im 'round;
that humoristic nature
that keeps a 'puncher from stayin' down.
That helps him through the strenuous chores
each day he must commence.
Like haulin' hay, horseshoein' an' doctorin',
breedin', castratin', or mendin' fence.
Or puttin' up with visitin' city friends
wantin' t'live out those cowboyin' ways;
an' the hilarious, sometimes precarious, predicaments they cause
ridin' fenceline or huntin' up strays.
Like the time an' old friend brought a big-busted gal,
so, for her he saddled ol' Ben.
An' when that gal tried dismountin' she hooked her brassierre,
exposin' t'everyone both of those twins!
Why, just the thought of that sight seemed t'snap him awake
an' in the moonlight he saw the ranch ahead,
which meant he still had t' unsaddle an' feed his worn mount
'fore he could slip off an' crawl in t'bed.
An' as he stepped from the saddle he looked 'round the spread
an' thought back on the choices he'd made.
Of the laughter, the sorrow, the blood, sweat an' tears,
an' realized he was happy he'd stayed.
An' just before turnin' in for a few hours sleep
he thought again on the trails he'd been down.
Yeah, a cowboyin' life can be hard on the heart an' bones.
but, it beat hell outta livin' in town!
2002, J.P. Mick Vernon
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Book and CD


The Lyrical Lawman Rides!  (book)

with illustrations by John Van Scoten

Mick Vernon's The Lyrical Lawman Rides! book includes:

Part One -- The Dobbus Collection
Picayune Valley
Ol' Don
Disaster at French Meadows

Part Two -- Life on the Range
The Camp Cook
Tribute to an Orn'ry Cayuse
The Last Mare
Hour of the Wolf

Part Three -- Cowboys & Horse Shows (Life Off the Range)
Cowboy & Horse Shows (a Story Told in One Sentence)
The Shoppin' List
The Roper
For Waddie, Paul & Charley
Cowboys & Horse Shows, Part 2 (The Second Sentence)

$10 plus $2 shipping and handling from:



The Lyrical Lawman Rides!  (CD)

Mick Vernon's The Lyrical Lawman Rides! CD includes:

A Cowboy's World
Picayune Valley
The Last Mare
Cowboys & Horse Shows (a Story Told in One Sentence)
The Camp Cook
The Shoppin' List
Cowboys & Horse Shows, Part 2 (The Second Sentence)
Tribute to an Orn'ry Cayuse
Hour of the Wolf
Scrambled Eggs & Hamlet
Gettin' Old
The Last Mariner

$15 plus $2 shipping and handling from



Contacting Mick Vernon:



Mick Vernon





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