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Western and Cowboy Poems and Songs: New, Old, and Classic

Our focus is on stories about the life of rural communities and today's real working West. We look for poems and lyrics that say something original about cowboying, ranching, or rural life. Find submission guidelines here.

Poets and songwriters: Don't miss the items here, some of which include requests for performers and for submissions for various events, publications, radio shows, and web sites...

Below you'll find classic cowboy poetry and Western songs, often from our archives; modern poems and songs from our archives; new poems and songs from invited poets; and newly submitted poems and songs.



While the new is being built, please visit and be sure
follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit our Facebook page for poetry, lyrics, photos, and art, throughout the week.





 A classic from the archive ...


  It was heartbreaking to get the news of the death of Trey Allen on July 7. 2016. Trey often recited Alone, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950), and that poem seems to "belong" to him:

The hills git awful quiet, when you have to camp alone.
It’s mighty apt to set a feller thinkin’.
You always half way waken when a hoss shoe hits a stone,
Or you hear the sound of hobble chains a clinkin’.

It is then you know the idees that you really have in mind.
You think about the things you’ve done and said.
And you sometimes change the records that you nearly always find
In the back of almost every cow boy’s head.

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado's Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today.

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in our features here.

Posted 7/12


A contemporary poem from the archive ...


  Trey Allen (1971-2016) will be greatly missed by his many friends and family. His poem, What It Is, is a fine explanation of cowboy poetry:

"What is this cowboy poetry?"
the lady asked of me.
"It must be more than stories
Whether rhymed or free."

"What makes it so intriguing,
reels you in and gets you hooked,
it must be something simple."
I jist give a sideways look.

"You're right, ma'am, it's kinda simple
but it's complicated too,
but if you've got time to lend an ear
I'll share some thoughts with you."

You see the written word is simple
But the complicated thing
Is understanding the life behind the words
So I'll tell you what I mean.

Trey was a much admired cowboy, ranch manager, and poet. Read more about him in our feature here.

Posted 7/12





 A classic from the archive ...


  Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950) conjures up atmosphere in his poem, Auguerin':

There's a time that you remember,
In October or September.
Mebbe early in November,
When the summer work is done.

When the air was soft and meller
And you met up with some feller,
That's a right good story teller,
And you set there in the sun.

The poem, which appeared in his 1947 book, Rhymes of the Ranges, is reminiscent of his more famous and much longer poem, When They've Finished Shipping Cattle in the Fall.

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in our features here.

Posted 6/3


A contemporary poem from the archive ...


  Texas poet, reciter, writer, and storyteller Linda Kirkpatrick has a poem about friendship, The Cuttin' Chute:

As the cowboy works the cuttin' gate
There's a few things he's gotta know.
The first and foremost of these things
Is what must stay and what must go.

Now take that ole cow over there
The black with mottled face,
Why she ain't calved in more than a year;
She's got no business on this place.

Find more poetry and more about Linda Kirkpatrick here at the BAR-D.

[photo by Jeri Dobrowski]

Posted 6/3


A classic from the archive ...


 After his death, a poem was found in Judge Lysius Gough's (1862-1940) typewriter, titled Gone:

The Old T-Anchor Ranch is gone, and with it the open range,
No more we'll ride the plains alone, there's been a mighty change.

No more we'll round the circle wide, in early Spring and Fall,
Or stamp T-Anchor on the hide and hear the yearlin's bawl.

His book, Western Travels and other Rhymes (1886), is widely accepted as the first book of published cowboy poetry. His grandson, the late Jim Gough ("Mr. Texas") told us:

Rest assured he is and was the original cowboy poet among other notable accomplishments. He rode with Gunter and Munson's T-Anchor boys in Randall County. Drove cattle from the Palo Duro headquarters camp thru Indian Territory to Abilene and Ft. Dodge. Left home to trail herds at tender age of 15. He was one of the founders of the 'Old Time Cow-Punchers Roundup' held each year in Amarillo in the late '20's. He was a contemporary of Charlie Goodnight and  the first County Judge of Castro County in Dimmitt, TX. He was the first Mayor of Hereford, Texas, and was instrumental in bringing "easterners" to the Panhandle to settle. He at one time was one of the largest land owners in that region....

Read more in our feature here.

Posted 6/8


A contemporary poem from the archive ...


We were sad to learn of the death of Jim Gough on June 7, 2016. Some time ago he shared his poem, My Grandad was a Cowboy:

My Grandad was a cowboy from the time he was a lad...
He hitched up with a Panhandle cow-outfit and he gave it all he had...
He rode with Jule Gunter's boys on the old T-Anchor spread...
And he trailed herds through Indian Country to the Kansas railheads.

He was tall and straight and forked a horse as natural as can be...
ridin' ropin' and ranchin' chores to him just came naturally.
His daddly was a preacher, the circuit-ridin' kind...
And he was known to quote the Good Book himself, whenever he took a mind.

The poem was about his grandfather, Judge Lysius Gough, who is mentioned above.

Jim had a long successful career as an actor, radio personality, and musician. He was known for his voiceovers and commercials and appearances in many films and television productions, including JFK, Urban Cowboy, Places in the Heart, Dallas, and Walker Texas Ranger.

At his Facebook page, where there are tributes, his wife Gail writes, "Arrangements are pending and I'm planning a memorial service for June 18, 2 pm at Hyde Park Christian Church, Austin."

Find more about Jim Gough in our feature here.

Posted 6/8



  Welcome Colorado rancher Valerie Beard and her poem, No Better Life:

The old faucet drips, as slowly she sips
Her coffee in morning's dull glow.
Storm's ragin' a battle, she's home with the cattle.
The temperature reads five below.

The wind was a blowin', and it was still snowin'
She stepped out to do morning chores.
The snow was a driftin', with icy snakes siftin';
A solid sheen sealed the barn doors.

Valerie and her husband, poet Floyd Beard, ranch in the canyons of Southeastern Colorado. Her bio tells, "Valerie Beard was born, raised, and still greets the sun each morning in Colorado. Over the years she's had the opportunity to share in the delights and disappointments of 'life on the range.'"  

Find more along with her poem.

Posted 6/8


  Here's a good Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950) poem that is a new addition at the BAR-D: Wranglin':

When you wake up in the mornin' at the breakin' of the dawn;
When you ketch the wrangler pony and you throw yore saddle on.
Startin' out to git the hosses, watch fer tracks and travel slow.
You can't always be so sartin jest which way they're apt to go.

All the world begins to waken from the shadder of the night.
Little birds and hoot owls callin' and the East is getting bright.
Then at last you find the hoss tracks, and you foller on their trail
Leadin' up across a hog back, down into a grassy swale.

It appeared in the Western Livestock Journal in 1940 and also on the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar with an illustration by Katherine Field.

As we've told many times, Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado's Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today.

On our Facebook page, here, we've paired this poem with a vintage Erwin E. Smith photograph.

Find many more poems and more about Bruce Kiskaddon in our feature here.

Posted 6/27


A contemporary poem from the archive ...


  Oklahoma rancher Jay Snider was inspired by a photograph when he created hi poem, Dust:

When we call back old mem’ries of the fellers we’ve known
recounting the days of our youth.
The stories, still vivid, yet somewhat askew.
How much was pure fiction and how much was truth?

We savvied the catch rope, the spur rowel, and quirt
and rode with a vengeance from daybreak to night.
Our ponies were agile and keen to the rein.
We longed for one glimpse of a cow brute in flight.

Jay told us that this poem was inspired by the 2012 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur image, "Dust," by Nikole Yost Morgan.

Jay, known for his own poetry as well for his recitations, has a great new CD of classics, The Old Tried and True.

Find more poetry and more about him in our feature here and visit his web site,

Posted 6/30



Poems and more for the Fourth of July






 A classic from the archive ...


  S. Omar Barker (1894–1985) celebrates mothers in his poem, Ranch Mother:

She knows the keen of lonely winds
The sound of hoofs at night,
The creak of unwarmed saddles in
The chill before daylight,
The champ of eager bridle bits,
The jingle-clink of spurs,
The clump of boots—lone silence, too,
For cowboy sons are hers.

S. Omar Barker's mother, Priscilla, was the eldest of nine sisters. A family biography tells that she and Squire Barker set out from Colorado for New Mexico in 1889, with "fifty-six head of cattle, twelve head of mares and colts, a yoke of oxen, two teams of horses and three covered wagons loaded to the top of the sideboards..." Priscilla had four of children with her on the 500-mile journey that took six weeks. The biography tells, "Priscilla drove a heavy team of horses. Squire had made a box bed for 6-week-old Grace at the back of her mother's seat..."

Find much more about S. Omar Barker and his poetry at here at the BAR-D.

Posted 5/6


Poems and features for Mother's Day



  Larry McWhorter (1957-2003) wrote some Advice to the Traveler:

This ain't the way your dear old
Sainted daddy worked a cow?
It's good to know you listened in those days.
Well Button, you ain't takin'
Orders from your daddy now
So open up your mind to learn new ways.

You come out here ahuntin' work,
They didn't send for you.
They hired you 'cause we needed extra help.
So we don't give a hoot in Hell
What you think of this crew.
Just keep your durned opinions to yourself.

Larry McWhorter commented on this poem, "I guess if I were to pick a poem to be remembered by it would have to be this one. I enjoy a good bantering with someone who has been around enough to have some solid opinions formed from experience. What I don't have time of patience for is someone who puts being 'right' ahead of getting the job done."

A cowboy's cowboy and respected poet, Larry McWhorter left behind many memorable poems. Several years ago Jean Prescott produced an important CD, "The Poetry of Larry McWhorter." The CDs include Larry McWhorter's recorded recitations of his poetry, and eleven of his poems that were never recorded, recited by some of today's top performers, including Red Steagall, Waddie Mitchell, Chris Isaacs, Andy Hedges, Gary McMahan, Dennis Flynn, Oscar Auker and Jesse Smith. Find our feature about the CD here.

Read more poetry by Larry McWhorter and more about him here at

Posted 5/6



   Welcome Joel Whitten, and his poem, The Edge of Times:

Morning sun spills through the kitchen window
Pouring cereal, looking north, seeing the garden
Seeing the backyard fence
Seeing the large brown eyes looking back
Over the backyard fence
Standing on tip toes looking over her head
There is a pasture, there is a pump, there are the towers
Three sentinels standing tall

Joel was raised in Oklahoma and calls Louisiana home now. Find more about him along with his poem, here.

Posted 5/6


 A classic from the archive ...


  Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950) offers advice in his 1938 poem, Drinkin' Water:

When a feller comes to a pond or a tank,
It is better to ride out a ways from the bank.
Fer the water is clearer out there as a rule,
And besides it is deep and a little more cool.

And out toward deep water, you notice somehow,
You miss a whole lot of that flavor of cow.
You can dip up a drink with the brim of yore hat,
And water makes purty good drinkin' at that.

Wheaton Hale Brewer wrote, in his foreword to Bruce Kiskaddon's 1935 Western Poems book, "...As the years roll on and history appreciates the folk-lore of the plains and ranges, these poems by a real cowboy will take on deeper significance and mightier stature. When Bruce turns his pony into the Last Corral—long years from now, we all hope—he need feel no surprise if he hears his songs sung by the celestial cowboys as their tireless ponies thunder over the heavenly ranges, bringing in the dogies for branding at the Eternal Corrals. For poetry will never die."

We are pairing this poem with one of Linda Nadon's Picture the West photos on our Facebook page.

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in our features here.

Posted 5/12



 A contemporary poem from the archive ...


   Much-loved cowboy and Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking turns 95 on May 20, 2016. Let's ALL send her birthday cards: PO Box 11, Kaycee, Wyoming 82639. To Be a Top Hand is a favorite poem of many:

When I was a kid and doing my best to
     Learn the ways of our land,
I thought mistakes were never made by
     A real top hand.

He never got into a storm with a horse
     He always knew
How a horse would react in any case and
     Just what to do.

In the impressive book, Tough by Nature, by Lynda Lanker, Georgie Sicking tells that she was the only woman who ever drew pay on Arizona's Oro Ranch, where she worked during World War Two. She prefers to be called a "cowboy," not "cowgirl."

She is quoted in Tough by Nature, "Some people had the idea that all you had to do to be a cowgirl was put on a pretty dress and a pair of boots and a big hat and get a faraway look in your eyes...and you're a cowgirl. They've been kind of hard to educate."

Of "Ridin' & Rhymin'," the award-winning documentary about Georgie Sicking by Greg Snider and Dawn Smallman of Far Away Films (, Hal Cannon, Founding Director (retired) of the Western Folklife Center, comments, "Georgie Sicking is why 'to cowboy' is best used as a verb to explain a work, a life, and a big open land. This film captures her level gazed life in such a powerful way that it defines the American West." See a clip here and more in our feature here.

Find much more about Georgie Sicking and more of her poetry here at

Posted 5/12



  Saskatchewan rancher Linda Nadon shares her poem, Ode to Ol' 139:

When I made the dusk patrol last night,
this is what I found
Ol’ 139 had just laid her 12th calf
upon the ground

She was born in 2001
had her first calf in 2003
And every calf she’s blessed us with
Was delivered trouble free

Linda told us it is a poem, "... about the oldest cow in our herd." She shared a photo:

See some of Linda's photos taken at her ranch in Picture the West. Find more of her poetry and more about her here at

Posted 5/12


 A classic from the archive ...


  Charles Badger Clark, Jr. wrote a wide range of poems, from the reverent to the wild, like The Legend of Boastful Bill:

At a roundup on the Gily,
One sweet mornin' long ago,
Ten of us was throwed right freely
By a hawse from Idaho.
And we thought he'd go a-beggin'
For a man to break his pride
Till, a-hitchin' up one leggin',
Boastful Bill cut loose and cried—

"I'm a on'ry proposition for to hurt;
I fulfill my earthly mission with a quirt;
I kin ride the highest liver
'Tween the Gulf and Powder River,
And I'll break this thing as easy as I'd flirt."

Clark wrote the poem in 1907 and our version is from Clark's Sun and Saddle Leather, first published in 1915.

The late Buck Ramsey comments on the poem in an essay, "Cowboy Libraries and Lingo," in Cowboy Poets & Cowboy Poetry, edited by David Stanley and Elaine Thatcher. He writes, "..for imaginative cowboy lingo and outlandish braggadocio, Badger Clark's "The Legend of Boastful Bill" is hard to beat...Bill goes on one hell of a ride, but as a challenge this raging bronc is for Boastful Bill about like hairpinning Aunt Maude's milk cow..."

A favorite recitation is by Jerry Brooks, from her Shoulder to Shoulder CD (and on The BAR-D Roundup volumes Five Ten). Other top recordings of the poem are by Randy Rieman, on his Where the Ponies Come to Drink CD and by Paul Zarzyski on Cowboy Poetry Classics from Smithsonian Classics. There is a recording of Badger Clark reciting his poem, on a CD available from the Badger Clark Memorial Society.

Find more poetry and more about Badger Clark in our features here.

Posted 5/19

 A contemporary poem from the archive ...


  Popular poet and songwriter Dee Strickland Johnson ("Buckshot Dot") has an audience favorite, Tomboy:

I was raised with seven brothers
     near a place called Concho Lake.    
 There was Jamie, Jeff, and Joseph,
     Sam and Seth and Sid and Jake.
So I grew up rough and tumble,
     and I made my share of noise, 
Romped the dogs and roped the horses.  
     I was rowdy as the boys! 

Skinny tomboy, seven brothers,
     and assorted brothers' friends    
On our little cattle ponies,
     raced to hell and back again.  
We'd roar down the dry arroyas;
     then we'd all come tearing back,    
There was Buzz and Paul and Donnie
     and that rascal Charlie Black. 

"Buckshot Dot" is recovering from a serious automobile accident. you can write to her at Payson Care Center, 107 E. Lone Pine Dr., Payson, AZ 85541. Find more in our news here.

Posted 5/19




  South Dakota poet and fine leather craftsman Slim McNaught shares his poem, Sippin' Coosie's Coffee:

When the sun is just a’ peekin’
     o’er the badland mesa rim
And the cavy is all wrangled
     while the star light’s gettin’ dim
There’s sounds that break the morning air
     with a hearty welcome noise,
It’s the sippin’ coosie’s coffee
     by a crew of hungry cowboys.

Slim comments, "I dedicate this poem to Kent Rollins. His coffee made my day at Silver Dollar City in the Cowboy Tent when the temperature was 20 degrees and that microphone felt like a chunk of ice." Slim refers to the annual National Harvest & Cowboy Festival held each fall in Branson, Missouri.

Slim is recovering well from a stroke he suffered in March.

Find more poetry and more about Slim here at and at his web site, slimscustomleather.htm.

Photo by Jen Dobrowski Rogers

Posted 5/19



  Horsewoman Rebecca Suzanne Sprague shares her poem, Call Me Your Only:

That line comes in,
Like a shrill, loud knife,
With a flash to that day,
In the most foreign life.

She comments, "I've always appreciated the lyrics of 'Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,' for the simple yet accurate way it depicted the contradictory nature of the brand, but most especially the internal conflict of wanting to settle down with someone they love but still having the need to be free and drift on a rodeo trail" and she goes on to mention a quote from Charlie Chaplin. Find more here along with her poem.

Posted 5/19


Most recent:



Poems and more for Memorial Day




Week of April 18, 2016



It's Cowboy Poetry Week, the 15th annual. We'll have classic and contemporary poems this week, in celebration.

  Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945) wrote one of the most lyrical poems, still widely recited today, Where the Ponies Come to Drink:

Up in Northern Arizona
   there's a Ranger-trail that passes
Through a mesa, like a faëry lake
   with pines upon its brink,
And across the trail a stream runs
   all but hidden in the grasses,
Till it finds an emerald hollow
   where the ponies come to drink.

As Ronna Lee and Tom Sharpe write in their foreword to Cowboy Miner Productions' Cowboy Poetry: Classic Rhymes by Henry Herbert Knibbs, "It is unusual to attend a classics session at a cowboy poetry gathering today and not be treated to at least one poem written by Knibbs.  It might be the camp cook humor of 'Boomer Johnson' that has been passed from campfire to campfire by generations of working cowboys, or it might be the lilting beauty and sensitivity of 'Where the Ponies Come to Drink,' that brings tears to the eyes of the philosopher as well as the grizzled cowhand!"   

In 1919, celebrated illustrator and writer Will James drew a piece titled "Where the Ponies Come to Drink," displayed on line by the Montana State Library. Could James have been inspired by Knibbs' 1914 poem?  No information about the connection has come to light (we welcome any comments, email us. The fellow Canadians were contemporaries and had friends in common, such as Eugene Manlove Rhodes, whose official papers at New Mexico State University New Mexico State University contain correspondence with both James and Knibbs.

Find more poetry and more about Knibbs in our feature here.

Posted 4/18


A contemporary poem from the archives ...

  Perhaps no one expressed it better than J.B. Allen (1938-2005) when writing about the creation of cowboy poetry in his poem, The Medicine Keepers:

A man might live and work beside
The fellers 'round the wagon
And never say two words unless
It's just hooraw and braggin'.

But sometimes in the solitude
Of some ol' line camp shack
He smooths a fruit can label out
And writes there on its back

J. B. Allen of Whiteface, Texas, born in 1938, was a working cowboy for over three decades.  He was a frequent performer at gatherings, including the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Nara Visa, and the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering. His poetry is included in many anthologies; in his own books, including Water Gap Wisdom (1990) and The Medicine Keepers (which includes a CD); and on his recordings, J. B. Allen: Classics, Kindred Spirits, and Treasures. The Medicine Keepers received the Western Heritage Wrangler Award in 1998.

The late Buck Ramsey, in his introduction to The Medicine Keepers, writes of J.B. Allen, "More than most cowboys, he held to the ways and memories...thought and talked the old lingo" and states, " my opinion he is the best living writer of traditional cowboy verse."

The image above is Duward Campbell's painting of J.B. Allen and his horse, "Pilgrim." The image appeared on the 2011 Cowboy Poetry Week poster.

Find more in our feature here.

Posted 4/18




  South Dakota rancher Ken Cook shares a new poem, More Than Just a Horse:

More than just a horse, Grandpa said he'd be
and his words echoed loud as the corral disappeared.

More than just a horse, first time we parted ways and I touched the sky.

More than just a horse every time I swung a loop
and we tied on to less fight than he had heart.

More than just a horse because my granddaughters told me so.

Ken told us, "So many well written pieces out in the world about a horse. A favorite horse, kids horse, cow horse, worthless horse, buck you high horse, and that one good horse most cowboys hope to ride before they can't swing a leg to get on a horse. I took some horses for granted, disliked several as they labored to tolerate me, and miss the good one now that he's gone.

"This poem is not written in traditional cowboy poetry style, but it does say something in a new way about an animal I have trusted with my life, and the lives of those I love."

Ken Cook comes from a long line of respected South Dakota cowboys and has perpetuated that line with his own sons.

Find more about Ken here at and at

[photo by Kevin Martini-Fuller

Posted 4/20



    Funnyman Andy Nelson shares a poem from his brand new CD, I Won, titled Cowboys on Facebook:

I’ve found a new way to keep up with my pards,
That seems to be all of the rage;
I revel in stalking my cowboy buddies,
From my very own Facebook page.

I’m the jigger boss of my own cyber wall,
A social media buckaroo;
I ride herd all over my internet range,
And all of my buddies do too.

I post and I poke and I tag and I like,
It seems that the fun never ends;
I share and I add and most all my replies,
Irritate most all of my friends.

Andy is a second-generation farrier, cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the popular syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.

Find more about Andy here at; at his site,; and at

[photo by Jeri Dobrowski]

Posted 4/20



  Larry McWhorter (1957-2003),  a cowboy's cowboy, wrote this sensitive poem, Hearts to Mend:

Dear Lord, I left her crying,
But I had to get away.
And though we’ve been together many years,
She’s crying more here lately
And I don’t know what to say,
‘Cause I feel that I’m the reason for her tears.

The poem was inspired by the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering's 2002 poster art by Bill Anton:

The Arizona Cowboy Poets' Gathering has a session each year where poets present poems based on the year's poster art. That practice inspired our Art Spur.

Thanks to Andrea McWhorter Waitley for sharing Larry McWhorter's poem.

Find more about Larry McWhorter in our feature here.

Posted 4/21



   It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 42nd piece offered to "spur" the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting, "A Life Less Ordinary," by noted cowboy artist, cowboy, and rancher Gary Morton (

We asked Gary to tell us about the painting's inspiration and he commented, "The cowboy life is never boring. Most of the West is still worked on horseback. Days are long and the weather is sometimes a challenge. These cowpunchers saddled up and rode out when daylight was just a promise on the eastern horizon. They have been in a high trot to get to the back side in order to make a drive. The cowboss is scattering the riders and each will gather cattle back to the roundup. It will require a sure footed horse and a good hand to handle the job. Many spur of the moment decisions will have to be made for a smooth works. Each day is a different experience and truly it is, 'A Life Less Ordinary.'"

He adds that the painting, "... is from the 06 Ranch in the Davis Mountains of far west Texas." One of the pictured riders is popular poet and cowboy Ray Fitzgerald.

Submissions were welcome from all through April 13, 2016. Find selected poems here. They are:

 A Sunset Earned by Marleen Bussma of Utah
Which Way the Wind is Blowing by Doug Gustafson of Washington
Language of the Land by Tom Swearingen of Oregon
The Yearning by Kay Kelley Nowell of Texas
“Why, I Recollect…”
by Jim Cathey of Texas
Square Dance of a Different Kind by Michelle Turner of Iowa
Range Fever by Glen Enloe of Missouri
The Boss by Lynn Kopelke of Washington
The Colt by Merv Webster of Queensland
The Meetin' of Ray Fitzgerald by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns of Wyoming
His Own Way
by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Wyoming


Week of April 4, 2016

  Charles Badger Clark (1883-1957) wrote a poem with great imagery, The Rains:

You've watched the ground-hog's shadow and the shiftin' weather signs
   Till the Northern prairie starred itse'f with flowers;
You've seen the snow a-meltin' up among the Northern pines
   And the mountain creeks a-roarin' with the showers.
You've blessed the stranger sunlight when the Winter days were done
   And the Summer creepin' down the budded lanes.
Did you ever see a Springtime in the home range of the sun,
   When the desert land is waitin' for the Rains?


The poem appeared in the Pacific Monthly in 1910 and you can see it here in Google Books.

Poet and reciter Dick Morton calls it "a poem about hope" in a video here, where he recites the poem at Pikes Peak Library District event in 2012.

Find much poetry and much more about Badger Clark in our features here.

Posted 4/7


  Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950) has a poem for the season (well, except for those places with a lot of new fallen snow today) Going to Summer Camp):

You have heard people a sayin' "As dumb as a cow."
Well they ain't seen much cattle I'll tell you right now.
A cow she knows more than some people by half;
She's the only thing livin' that savvys a calf.
A cow don't know nothin? Well, how do you think
They suckle young calves and walk miles fer a drink?

The poem was written almost 75 years ago and was printed on a Los Angeles Union Stockyards page and in the Western Livestock Journal. See the original calendar page along with the poem.

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in our features here.

Posted 3/28


A contemporary poem from the archives ...


Top poet Yvonne Hollenbeck has a popular poem, Nature's Church:

Did you ever see the mountains that are covered up with snow,
or see a sun set in the West with purple afterglow?

Have you ever seen a newborn calf a-wobbling to its feet,
and though it's only minutes old it knows just where to eat?

We like to feature this poem around Easter and to link it to some photographs Yvonne shared in Picture the West.

Find more about Yvonne Hollenbeck and more of her poetry in our feature here and visit

Posted 3/28



  Oregon sheepman Tom Nichols shares his poem, Ol' Nichols' Cows:

Ol' Nichols' cows are out again!
Would fixin' fence be such a sin?
The old posts are leanin' this and that,
The rusted wire is broke and layin' flat.

He told us, "The 'Heading West' Art Spur picture and a late evening call from the County Sheriff alerting me about my father-in-laws cows being out on the road inspired the poem.... "

Find more poems and more about Tom Nichols here at the BAR-D.

Posted 3/31







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