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RON LOOF
Colorado Springs, Colorado
About Ron Loof

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

 

One of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up
Recognized for his poem, The Last of the Herd

 

About Ron Loof:

When we asked Ron Loof to tell us about himself, he replied: "Well, I don't know what is interestin' enough about me to be able to print, but I guess it could say that I'm a 35 year old husband and father to two beautiful daughters, and that this is really the first time I've ever written anything for public viewing. I love cowboy poetry, but I've always loved it from a reading or listening standpoint and not a writing standpoint, up until recently."

We asked Ron Loof why he writes Cowboy Poetry, and he replied:   I guess I just have some thoughts that I need to get out. I do better expressing my thoughts in written form than I do speaking them; always have, always will, I guess. I was born and raised on a farm, always been around livestock of some kind or another, and cowboy poetry always struck me as the most honest form of prose. There ain't much of that la-dee-da type of attitude that you see so much in more "classical" forms of poetry. I can only truly write about things which are very close to my heart ,which limits me on topics to write about, but I also never "fake" a poem, if you know what I mean.

You can email Ron Loof.

 

The Last of the Herd

    The old buffalo walked slowly
    Looking for a place to settle down
    To hunker down and rest a bit
    On a warm patch of ground
   
    Out in the distance the storm clouds
    Were building up again
    Looking dark and forbidding
    And as ugly as sin
   
    It had been a rough winter
    All the way from last fall
    But this old bull had seen more rough winters
    Than he cared to recall
   
    Right now the old fella
    Just wanted to lay for a spell
    He was old and tired
    And he wasn't feeling real well
   
    He found himself a spot
    That seemed extra warm and dry
    And let himself down
    With a grunt and a sigh

    As he lay, he let his mind wander                               
    Back to the journey that had been his life
    All the days he had lived
    Through good times and strife                                

    The warm summer days
    Spent grazing on grass
    The long cold winters
    That never seemed to pass

    The rituals of spring
    The mating and the fights
    The brisk winds of fall
    And the ever-longer nights

    He had seen it all
    Had this old guy
    Many, many moons
    He had seen pass by

    He used to run with others
    His friends and his kin
    But they were all gone now
    Taken by bloody men

    They used to cover the plains
    And they sounded like thunder
    But now he's alone
    All the rest had gone under

    He had watched them all die
    In bunches and ones
    Slaughtered by those hunters
    With their big roaring guns

    So now he's the end
    The last of his kind
    And the only place he saw them
    Was in the back of his mind

    So he laid there and thought
    Of the times he had known
    A solitary warrior
    Living all alone         

    The wind suddenly grew colder
    As the snow started to fall
    But over the rising wind
    He heard a familiar call
 
    It was the call of the Herd
    Home he knew he must go
    It would be warmer there
    There would be no more snow
                              
    So he closed his weary eyes
    Laid down his grizzled head
    And in just a few seconds
    The old buffalo was dead

    He's free to roam forever
    With his family and friends
    On a prairie with no winter
    Where the grass never ends

    The old bull lives now
    In the fields of the past
    And I can still see him
    When my mind I cast

    They say that the buffalo
    Were big, dumb brutes
    But to me, they're America
    They're a big part of my roots

    I love those big creatures
    And I know they're not all dead
    But there used to be millions more        
    Close to extinction they were led

    Sometimes I wish I lived
    In those olden days of yore
    So I could see those vast herds
    The way they were before.

 


The Old Cowboy


My sister died in '96
In the state of Washington
Of all the blows I've taken in life
I think that was the hardest one

The cancer came and took her down
And carried her away
We shared a birthday, my sister and I
I miss her to this day

They turned her into ashes
And spread her on the water
She was the last female in the family
My mother's only daughter

I was fixin' to go back home
When my brother-in-law said to me,
"There's something your sister wanted you to have,"
"Her horse, ol' Buster Lee."

She knew I'd take ol' Buster
He didn't have to ask me twice
I decided I'd ride him all the way home
The gesture seemed...well, nice.

So I saddled him up and climbed aboard
He's a strong and mighty beast
I said goodbye to family and friends
And pointed his nose to the East

The first few days I don't remember much
Of that long and lonely ride
I know that I stopped to eat and rest
The rest of the time, I cried.

We made it out of Washington
And into Idaho
By the time we got to Montana
It had really started to snow

We pushed ahead, ol' Buster and me
Until the snow got really deep
I decided we should pull up and rest a bit
Maybe find a warm place to sleep

I decided I'd go up to the first ranch
That Buster and me saw
If we didn't get out of the snow soon
They wouldn't find us 'til Spring thaw  
  
So I rode up to a rundown ranch
Nothing more than a house and a shed
Looking for some coffee, maybe
And a warm place for us to bed

I knocked on the door, and after a bit
An old man opened it to me
It was snowin' like Blazes right about now
A visitor, he didn't expect to see

He invited me in, and gave me a seat
And black coffee in a big blue cup
He took Buster out to the barn
And lovingly put him up

He asked my business, where I was going
In this nasty sort of weather
I told him my story, what I was doin'
His face crinkled up, like old leather

He said he knew how it felt
To lose those that you love
His dear wife Esther went five years ago
She nows lives up above

"I got a son," he said to me,
"He lives out Ohio way,"
"I hear from him 'bout once a year,"
"On every Christmas Day."            
   
His daughter married a banker
They live in New York city
He don't hear from her much either
It surely seems a pity.

We sat there and talked, and shared our stories
Until I fell asleep
I think I slept about 12 hours
I ain't never slept so deep

When I awoke, the snow was still flyin'
So we chatted for hours more
We played some cards, and shot the breeze
Since the weather was so poor

We spoke of news of the world
And views of the state and country
He had a phone that never rang
And he didn't have a tv

We talked of things that we had done
And things over which we had toiled
We discussed how we liked our eggs done:
Mine fried, his boiled.

We passed a whole 'nother day
Sittin' chattin' at the table
We talked about sports
While I was brushin' Buster in the stable

By the next mornin', the skies had cleared
And the sun came up strong and bright
I figured I'd better get back on my way
I'd make some miles by night

The old man didn't want me to go
I could see it on his face
I guess he enjoyed my company
I brought life to the place

I told him I'd come back for a visit
In the later part of Spring
That helped to ease his mind somewhat
And lessen leaving's sting

So I saddled up ol' Buster
And prepared to ride away
I didn't want to wait too long
He might ask me to stay

Before I went, he lent to me
A beat-up lookin' duster
A little jerky, and some coffee
He said, "It's the best that I can muster."

I told him then, and I mean it now
It was a pleasure to keep his company 
I was a father short, for several years
And I'd be honored if "Son" he'd keep calling me

I thanked him kindly, and wished him luck
And set out on my way
I didn't even look back
I had nothing more to say

When I crossed into Wyoming
The weather again got rough
Snow was flyin', and wind was blowin'
I had run fresh out of tough

So I called the wife and had her bring
The trailer and the truck
Snow was so deep by the time she got there
We about got the dang thing stuck

When I made it home to Colorado
I vowed to go back again
But not until the warm weather broke
Being smart shore ain't no sin

'Bout three months later, I went back up
To see my dear old friend
I drove up to the ranch house
On the door a note was pinned

It was all wrapped up in plastic
To keep it from the wet
On the front, it said, "Son."
I knew who the old man meant                      

I opened that note with shaky fingers
Afraid of what I might see
Turns out the old man left the note
Just to be sure to thank me

It said that he'd got feeling bad
A couple weeks after I'd rode away
He was going into town to the doctor
To see what he would say

I went to town to try to find
The old man who was so kind to me
The lady at the doctor's office
Told me to look in the cemetery

So I went down to the buryin' ground
The old man's headstone said:
"Just an old cowboy, lived a good life"
"Father of THREE," it read.

 

 

 

 

 

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