Grand Forks, British Columbia
About Terry Hynes
Choices (The Old Cowboy)
The furrows all could've been made by a rake,
the stubble was grey like steel.
His nose was bent from many a break
from a fist or a chair you could feel.
The gaps between his teeth were hid
by a moustache stained and yellow.
Those ivory stubs were marked the same
by coffees and cigarillo.
He couldn't be measured in weight or size
like most were judged to be.
you only had to watch him move
to know there's more'n you'd see.
He was just an old and bent cowboy
who'd rode the range too long.
He'd left his youth on the back of a horse
and he wondered if he'd done wrong.
"If I had worn a suit and tie
just like those banker guys,
I could have eaten Cordon Bleu
with sweets and apple pies.
"Or maybe sat at a fancy desk
with carpets all around.
A padded leather chair so high,
my feet won't touch the ground.
"But then I guess I'd never see
a sunrise greet the morn,
or hold a calf within my arms
soon after it was born.
"I'd never get to sit around
a campfire in the night,
or whoop it up down at the bar
and dance and drink and fight.
"I'd never get to be at one
with deep and endless skies,
or see a coyote 'neath the moon
and hear its mournful cries.
"And now as I get older here
and age eats at my soul,
I'm happy with the part I chose,
I played a leading role.
"A man must choose his path in life
and see it to the close.
The other fields are not so green,
and honey rarely flows.
"Don't spend your life just wishing for
the way things might have bin.
The other guy is wishin' too,
that he was you, not him."
© 2013, Terry Hynes
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.
Terry comments: The influence for this story was my aunts husband, a second-generation Utah rancher who I spent a couple of seasons working for on his ranch in northern Utah back in the '60s. His sons still run the ranch; my uncle died in a ranch accident some years back. Chet wasn't really like the character in my poem, but he was tough and hard, and I learned a lot about what life was, working for him on the ranch.
About Terry Hynes
I was born and have lived my entire life in British Columbia. Most of my working life has been in heavy equipment sales and management, with a love of the outdoors such as hunting, fishing, placer mining, and just enjoying nature as my passion in
I tend to write most of my poems in the style of "cowboy" poetry, or more in the Robert Service genre of good rhyming stories that most people can still read and understand. Last year I won a contest in a magazine published in the Yukon for a "Write like Robert Service" theme, and this past year I won another submission to the Klondike Valley Visitors Assn. for a similar style of poetry. I was also asked by a major Yukon airline to compose and present a suitable poem for their inaugural flight into one of the "south of sixty" hubs they were to start flying into last summer.
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