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Paula Sisk and her black and white bovines

PAULA SISK
Westville, Oklahoma
About Paula Sisk

 

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

 

WET WEATHER CREEK

Now you are not much about to speak
Currently you look pretty bleak
But when the rain comes
And you are at your peak
When my old roof begins to leak
Then you will our farm divide
Keeping the cows from being milked on the other side
In that dampened hour
When you will show your power
Like a mighty river you will appear
Even if only mighty a few times a year
You have cut quite the bluff over the centuries
On top at seventy three, Pa Hart precariously planted a lone pine tree
Now there is not much evidence that you ever ran
But in a flood you amaze with your depth and span
You make leaf, stick and log
Bounce and bob
Draining mountain and plain
Of a heavy rain
Can't wait to see you at your best
When again with rain we are blessed
You'll bubble and splash and put the water gaps to a test
We'll have to wait till you subside
To get those bovines to the other side

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


                            


THE THISTLE WARS


Bees pollinate 'em
Politicians legislate 'em
Good farmers attempt to eradicate 'em
Get your bucket, gloves, scissors and hoe
Its off to the thistle wars we go
Don't let 'em get away
Or you'll have to spray
Then whose killin' who, it's hard to say
Keep your eye pealed mornin' and noon
For that evil pink purple bloom
Even with stickers to pierce your skin
You'll go out to destroy them again and again
That downy white seed
Insures that thistles will be carried for miles on the breeze
Keep searching till you lose daylight
Got to keep up the fight
It's part of bein' good stewards of the land
The responsibility of every farm woman and man
Don't let 'em get the upper hand
If you wonder why I go on so
Just take a trip on down the road
To a farm where they let the thistle go
Ah, then you will know
Why I sound the alarm
Don't let 'em take your farm
The thistle wars they will never end
'Cause they just keep blowin' in the wind

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

                        


COW GIRL WANNA BE


Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
I got no tight britches, bustin' at the seams
I got no leather jacket with fringe hangin' down
I got no cowboy hat with a rhinestone crown
I got no cowboy boots to wear into town

Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
I wear my britches loose
In case I need to bend my caboose
I wear my bandana on my head not my neck
It prevents my hair from being green specked

Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
I haven't rode a horse in 35 years
I wear a cotton ball in my left ear
I've milked Holsteins twice a day since 71
I sing them songs so they won't kick till milkin' is done

Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
Next time I fill out an application
When I come to the blank for occupation
I'm going to fill it in without hesitation
I'm a cowgirl by vocation

Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
I don't know the 2 step, I can't dance a lick
But I can handle a cow pretty good with a stick
Don't own a saddle, don't have a steed
But I can unload a ton of sack feed

Oh, miserable me, I've got a problem with identity
I'm a cowgirl, cowgirl wanna be
I can hold a cow's tail for delivery
I can hold the bottle for a Cal-Dex I.V.
Hey, I even graduated from OSU
Now, I ask you people, tell me true
Don't I deserve to be a cowgirl too?

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

                               

WEED WONDERIN'


Farmin' is like carein' for a giant garden, 340 acres to weed every year
An awesome job, my dear
We spray 'em, hoe 'em, pull 'em
And with a bush hog we top 'em
The method doesn't matter just as long as you drop 'em
Try as we may, we'll never stop 'em
Did they come out of Pandora's box?
Shoot, their seeds even travel on your socks
They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors
Where there is one this year, next year there's a hundred others
Some weeds do appear to have a reason for bein'
Unlike Ragweed that only causes sneezin'
Milkweed makes a fine home for the butterfly Monarch
St. John's Wort will give your disposition some spark
Some weeds are picked by the bunch
To be boiled, seasoned and eaten for lunch
Ruffly Dock and Poke are good fixed this way
And Dandelion is good in a salad, they say
Tumbleweeds inspired the most beautiful of cowboy songs
Goldenrod let's you know when summer is about to be gone
Johnson grass will make a cow bloat up like a whale
While Burdock and Cocklebur hitch a ride on her tail
Poison Ivy and Oak will make you itch till you croak
Thistles are the devil's best joke
There's the criminal Careless weed alius Pig weed that only a pig can enjoy
The list goes on forever, all these weeds to be fought by the poor old farm boy
Did it all start in the first garden by fault of Adam and Eve?
Did indeed
Quotin' from Genesis 3
      17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the
        voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I
        commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is
        the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all
        the days of thy life;
      18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and
        thou shalt eat the herb of the field;"*
Now we know how they started
Sounds like Hubby and I will be fightin' weeds till we're among the dearly departed.

*Credit to Moses by God's inspiration

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

             

DRY AS A BONE


Dry as a bone
The ground has turned to stone
You see, in Oklahoma we are all kind of paranoid
About any lenthy dry spell
We all remember or at least have heard tell
About the years in the 30's
When the biggest part of the state turned to a dusty hell
When the cows won't leave the pond
Except to stand in the shade
When the grass is curling, every blade
When the temp hangs on a hundred and one
When the flowerbed is baked till it's done
Then the ground starts to crack
How long will it be before a good rain comes back?
When the grasshoppers and army worms
Are havein' their annual feast and get together
For them things have never been better
Of pestilence, we've plenty
Of water, we ain't got any
Mudholes have long since gone dry
The birds sit and pant too hot to fly
You hate to pull the weeds
Cause they're the only green thing showin'
And that dehydratin'wind just won't quit blowin'
All stewards of the land get depressed
Might as well sell and get out of this mess
Just when you're ready to throw in the towel
The Okie wind begins to howl
Sky goes dark
Lightnin' starts to spark
A front moves in
And our liquid blessing begins

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

 

Paula Sisk and her black and white bovines

A TRIBUTE TO THE BANDANA


Gangs have given the bandana a bad name
I hope to save it from slander and shame
I'm here to proclaim
The bandana's many claims to fame

In days of yore
In times gone before
Bandanas were essential trail equipment for sure
The settler drivin' a wagon
The cowboy on the trail drive
Used those old bandanas to stay alive
Tied 'round the neck
Ready to keep trail dust from turnin' their lungs to a wreck

In more modern times bandanas have numerous uses
Red ones make good fanny flags
To keep your pickup load from rearend abuses

My brother dear can fold a bandana and tie it in knots
Turn it right into a toy frog
The perfect plaything for the little tots

Son Dan used a bandana as a signal when he was a little boy
He would tie one on Grandpa's mailbox to notify the neighbor
  that little Dan was around
Neighbor would leave a bottle of coke in the mailbox the next time
  he drove to town

As for me, the Holstein cowpoke
The bandana is tied 'round my head not my throat
I fold it in a triangle and knot it on the back of my neck
It keeps the wind out of my ears and my hair from being green specked

Here in the new century all the kids are dressing retro
They have gone back to the 60's
Why, I don't know
They are wearin' dorag bandanas to cover their curls
Both boys and girls
This has worked out just fine for me
'Cause now I'm back in style, you see
Before I had only two color choices, red or blue
The other day I went to a big craft store and bought milkbarn bandanas
  new
There were at least forty styles to choose from
I bought a pink, a gingham and an olive green one
The pink one has tea cups, the gingham sunflowers
The olive green has Bugs Bunny in four poses and will cammo any cow poop
  showers

A while back an acquaintance of mine
Saw me in my milkbarn attire for his first time
He asked why I wore a dorag and I replied
"I've been wearin' a bandana since 71'
And I 'spect I'll be wearin' one till my last milkin' is done"
I educated him to the fact that here on the dairy
A bandana is useful to keep my hair sanitary
A few days later I was diligently workin' in the barn
When I felt something very heavy and warm
Land right on top of my head
Quickly that bandana I did shed
Not a speck of cow poop on a single tress
There in the floor lay my bandana covered in cow mess

I've seen 'em made into collars, quilts, comforters, and curtains
But one thing's for certain
The old bandany
Is mighty handy

Be we cowboy or plowboy
We salute the bandana for its useful service over the years
It can also be used to blow your nose or dry your tears
Does it have its own booth in the Cowboy Hall of Fame?
If not, well what a shame

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

(31st wedding anniversary)

            


Sweet Lucille
The First Cowgirl

There have been many before her and many aft'
But, Miss Lucille was most excellent at her craft
Much like her friend Will
She developed her ropin' and trick ridin' skills
Chasin' cattle for her Daddy in the Oklahoma hills

In 1900, Teddy Roosevelt saw young Lucille show her ropin' ability
Then he made a suggestion to Lucille's Daddy
"Why don't you start your own wild west show?"
And off around the country they did go
Entertainin' folks
Just by bein' cowpokes

With Colonel Zack Mulhall's Wild West Show, in the early years
Tom Mix and Will Rogers began their show biz careers
Workin' along side Lucille even Geronimo appeared
They could be seen in Madison's Garden Square
And in 1904, at the St. Louis World's Fair
Wish I could have been there

The world saw the passin' of the old cowboy days
They couldn't get enough of cowboy ways
Remington and Russell were recordin' it all in their art
And Miss Lucille Mulhall was doin' her part

When Daddy's wild west show closed
Lucille became a star in the rodeos
A sweet, educated, feminine thing
She was tough as steel in the rodeo ring
She twice broke the world's record ropin' in competition with men
What contests those must have been

Some say it came from Teddy
Some say it was Will
But, the fact remains still
Lucille was the first in this world
To be called "cowgirl"

Lucille didn't stop with rodeo
She found a new place to put on her show
The Oklahoma cowgirl in her new venture went far
MISS LUCILLE MULHALL SILENT WESTERN MOVIE STAR

                          Lucille Mulhall
                            1885-1940                        

                             

This photo of Lucille Mulhall is used with permission from Gary Horcher, host of KWTV's "Oklahoma's Strangely Named Towns."  You can read about and view the video of his piece on Mulhall here

 

January 23, 2001
Revised April 12, 2001

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

            

 

Hardware

Old Bossy is out of sorts
In milk she came up short
Time for the vet to come and make his report

We put her in the holdin' pen
The vet peers within her from both ends
He says, "Well, it all depends"

He pokes her here and prods her there
He listens to her innards with a vacant stare
"Sure enough it's hardware"

When her symptoms and the book don't match
He gives his head a thoughtful scratch
"Hardware it is and she can't be patched"

"On a tin can she must have minced
Or maybe a piece of old fence
Hardware is the only thing that makes sense"

After 30 years observin' doctors of veterinary
Of their hardware diagnosis I am leery
With me it don't much weight carry

When a vet isn't sure
He'll ask about the looks of Bossy's manure
And if he doesn't have the cure

He'll confidently declare
"HARDWARE"

When I get old and my bones are crumbly
When my steps are stumbly

When I don't know if I'm goin' or I've done been
They'll put me in the old folks holdin' pen
And some cocky young Dr. will march right in

He'll poke me here and prod me there
Then confidently declare
"HARDWARE"

"It must have been the penny she swallowed when she was three
Or maybe the tinsel from 1950's Christmas tree"

Dear Lord, take me on home
Don't leave me here alone
With some inept sawbones

When my symptoms and the book don't match
When I can't be patched

Spirit me on up heaven's stairs
Before they can declare
"The old girl suffers from hardware"
                           

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


My Favorite Pair

Mom and Pop had gone out for a bite of food
When they were approached by a city dude
Said dude, "Sir, I don't intend to be rude
But I couldn't help noticing your cowboy boots
They have such a beautiful patina"
Said Pop, "Well, thank ya
Put that patina there
With years of wear
In the Oklahoma sun and the country air
They are my favorite pair"

Mom and Pop have been gone for nearly ten years
My eyes no longer swell with tears
I keep Pop's boots in the corner there
To remind me of my favorite pair
The rancher and his faithful wife
The two who gave me life
They had a beautiful patina
From years of wear
In the Oklahoma sun and the country air

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


 

Indian Rain Dance 

Hot, dusty and dry
A typical Oklahoma July
Pop spied a small dark cloud in the sky
So he commenced to give it his best try
"Lord, could you send some water our way?
Could you make it today?
I've got a payment due at the PCA
If things go on like this, we'll run short on hay
We've got to make this place pay
Could you send enough to swell the branch?
Enough to give our little ranch
A better chance"

That small dark cloud with lightnin' sparked
The old dog began to bark
Pop sounded the alarm
As the first sprinkle hit his arm
"IT'S GONNA' RAIN ON MY FARM"
The kids and the cows ran for cover
As the cool rain made them shudder
Pop let out a wild whoop
As he shed socks and boots
He rolled up the cuffs of his pants
And pretended to go into a mystical trance
As through the puddles he did prance
Doin' his Indian rain dance

As he watched the downpour come across his pasture
He'd dance even faster
It brought a big smile to Mama's worried face
As Pop picked up his mud stompin' pace
You could hear him holler
At the thought of makin' a dollar
"We're gonna' show a profit after all
When I sell those fat calves in the fall"
Through the mud he would plod
Offerin' up thanks to God
For that glorious soggy sod
This ceremony was repeated at least once a year
When a hard rain made the summer's drought disappear
Pop wasn't Indian or not that he'd claim
But he sure knew how to enjoy a good rain

Well, it's another Oklahoma July
Hot, dusty and dry
There's a small dark cloud in the sky
Wish Pop was here to give it a try
Oh, for one more chance
To watch his Indian rain dance

 2002, Paul Sisk
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Never Forgotten

Justus Allison Hart
1917 - 1992

This poem is included in our collection of
poems about Cowboy Dads and Granddads.

 

 

Paula's Dust poem figured in one of Omar's sagas, 
and was read on public radio.

 

 

   About Paula Sisk:

I am a dairy farmer of the female variety. I grew up on my parent's cattle ranch six miles South of my present home.  My Dad was an Ag. teacher and my stay at home Mom always wanted to major in journalism. My husband and I are both graduates of OSU, he in Agricultural Engineering  and myself in Elementary Education. Since college completion in 1971, we have been living and working here on the family farm. We are the third generation of his family to do so. Generations two, four, and five still reside on the farm.  Our kids and their spouses help us with dairy work after school. Our daughter and son are both teachers as are their mates. We are enjoying our first grandchild, Caleb. Lucky for us he lives just down the lane. I have written over 300 poems in the past year. The rhythm of the milking machines seems to bring on my poetry. This new habit prevents milkbarn monotony which is a real problem since our 100 Holsteins don't take weekends off. Poetry is also a good way to record old memories and the funny things that can happen as you operate a farm and parent children. I hope you allow people with black and white bovines to [submit poetry]. 
 

Paula Sisk and Caleb

And for posterity, we'll preserve this little ditty Paula sent us when we gladly accepted her poems:

  Thanks for lettin' this old Holstein in the Bar-D pen
  I'm not sure it will be appreciated by the beef cattlemen
  I don't fit in
  This I realize
  I'm grateful that you didn't ostracize
  But, as in "Oklahoma" Oscar Hammerstein penned
  "Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends"

 



Rhyme from the Field and Farm; a lil' laughin' will do ya no harm


2011

My book has 137 poems illustrated by 36 photos old and new. Most of the poems are written in the cowboy poetry style with a variety of subjects that include thirty five years of dairy farming, parenting, marriage, government, and childhood memories. There are two poems (with old photos) of famous historical characters, the first cowgirl and Will Rogers.

The book is available as a paperback, as an audio book and an ebook.
 

Find order information and more at http://paulasisk.tateauthor.com

 
From Rhyme from the Field and Farm; a lil' laughin' will do ya no harm
 


From Rhyme from the Field and Farm; a lil' laughin' will do ya no harm
 

 

 

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