Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

Dallas, Texas
About Tex Tumbleweed


We were sad to learn of the passing of
Marybelle Sullivan Land on February 9, 2015.

An obituary tells of her life:

Marybelle Sullivan Land was born on September 15, 1927 in Durant, Oklahoma and passed away unexpectedly on February 9, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.

She is survived by Leslie Harold Land, her husband of 68 years, and two daughters, Janis Land Osborne and Leslie Karen Land.

Marybelle began writing poetry in her sixties, giving God the glory for her newly found talent. She won several awards, surprising many who had written poetry for years and published chap books, such as
Heartsongs, Along Dusty Trails and A Collage of Poetry. In earlier years she designed floral arrangements, grew African Violets and was an avid collector of antique dolls. She traveled with her husband across the United States, and as far as Canada and Alaska in their motor home.

She was a strong woman of faith, devoted to her family and friends. She lived 87 years of life, sharing with us the gifts of laughter, compassion, wisdom and unconditional love. It is with love, admiration and deeply felt gratitude that she will live in our hearts forever.

The service for Marybelle Land will be held on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 12:30 PM in The Wildwood Chapel at Restland Funeral Home with a visitation one hour prior to service.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Restland Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 13005 Greenville Avenue, at Restland Road, Dallas, TX 75243.




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

One of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up


Recognized for the poem, A Prairie King



About Tex Tumbleweed:

Tex Tumbleweed was born in Oklahoma but says, "I come to Texas as soon as I heard about it."  Tex lived in the small West Texas town of Stamford in the vicinity of Abilene.  This town had the only rodeos that were performed by real cowboys in the nation at one time.  Later Tex moved into Dallas County next to the late Frank Harter's spread.  Still a teenager, Tex spent a lot of  time riding Frank's horses and rode a cutter at the age of fourteen.  Tex attended school, married, and raised two daughters, but the family livelihood was a commercial painting company, not ranching.  However, Tex never lost the love of cowboy life, horses, and the beautiful prairie land, and had no problem crawling into the weather-beaten hide of a cowboy.  Tex says, "I choke on the traildust with the wrangler ridin' drag in the late 1800s,  I  get a sore behind from ridin' in the saddle all day, and I feel the homesick ache of the young cow hand on his first long trail drive.  I become this cowboy when I write his poetry.  My tribute to this American hero follows:


I blazed the trail with Charles Goodnight,
and joined settlers in an Indian fight.
When Baylis John Fletcher took his view
of the Great Rocky Mountain, I was there too.
I've seen my country through a cowboy's eyes,
and with this vision, I now realize;
all cowboys belong in the hall of fame,
even though we don't know them all by name.

Written by M.S. Land, alias, Tex Tumbleweed

Why does Tex write Cowboy Poetry?

When I first read cowboy poetry, it  was love at first sight.  It is not loaded with metaphors and hidden meanings that only the poet knows what the poem is about. What you see is what you get.  Also, I treasure our western heritage and feel strongly that it should be promoted. And most of all, I just plain enjoy writing cowboy poetry.


A Prairie King

When I unroll my tarp at night
and spread my sougins out,
I look up at the starry sky
and know what life's about.

It's havin' peace and breathin' free
and havin' my own space.
It's lookin' up at God's great sky,
close enough to touch His face.

I have a kinship with His creatures
that poke around and prowl,
and even like to hear the sound
of a lonesome coyote howl.

The night birds sometimes sing to me
a restful lullabye.
and I hear willows by the creek
when a stiff wind makes 'em sigh.

When irritations of the day
have all been laid aside,
then I look at this world of mine
and nearly bust with pride.

I count my blessings one by one
out on this great prairie,
and realize that I am rich;
in fact, I'm royalty.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Master's Touch

Now I'm a Texas Tumbleweed
just lookin' for a home.
I rolled across the vast prairie,
no place to call my own.
Sometimes I find a fence and then
I tend to stay a spell.
But I am tellin' you for sure,
"bob war" is puredee hell.
While on my way, most every day
I meet the nicest folks
and even laugh along with them
at Tumbleweed type jokes.
They never saw a Tumbleweed
that's at its very best;
when God gives it a coat of ice
this weed's been truly blest.
The spiny branches, now encased
in ice that is aglow
from sunbeams shining down on it
does make a lovely show.
So spiny plants, and poets too
all need the Master's touch;
without it poets and Tumbleweeds
don't amount to very much.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



A Boot Scootin' Verse

Now gimme a rime jest any ol' time
'stead of modern free form verse.
'cause any new thang does tax my brain;
modern verse seems to make it worse.

I wanna good time when readin' a rime,
don't wanna feel defeat.
I'll cotton to and stay with you,
if you gimme a steady beat.

Some thoughts too deep put me to sleep;
I still live in the past.
But gimme a rime jest any ol' time;
you'll git my attention fast.

Jest hum a bar or strum guitar,
or recite me a rimin' po'm;
I do declare, I kin sit right here
'til all the cows come home.

I'll tap my toe if'n words kin flow
with a real good steady beat.
Gives me a thrill, and I can't still
my boot-scootin' tappin' feet.

Now if'n you like boot-scootin' too,
let's make our po'try ring;
and we kin meet and move our feet
at the Cowboy Gathering.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Bounty Hunter

While huntin' bounty in Johnson county,
And aimin' for a large reward,
I tracked and trailed, and finally nailed
A bandit named Jake McCord.

McCord was one, slick son-of-a-gun
That left a tangled and tricky trail;
From morn till night, he was jest out of sight,
But I was dead on his tail.

Through dry ravines, and by other means,
He tried to escape my pursuit.
If I hadn't been so plumb done in,
Might of thought his tricks were cute.

Ol' slimey Jake was a rattlesnake,
But I knew all his tricks;
He taught 'em to me, as a youngun, you see,
So, I soon had him in a fix.

So I said, "Paw, I hope you won't draw;
Got my famous name to uphold.
Besides that Paw, the last poster I saw,
You're jest about worth pure gold".

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



A Cowboy's Lament
(Can be sung to the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike")

Across Texas border in old Mexico
there was a cantina where we liked to go;
the whisky was cheap and the music was loud,
so right after payday, they drew a big crowd.
A sweet senorita by name of Loree
caused my heart to melt when she looked right at me.
When I got the courage to ask her to dance,
she smiled at me sweetly and jumped at the chance.
From that very moment, I think we both knew,
a lifetime together was what we'd pursue.
But destiny dealt us a very hard blow
when I was "called out" by the gunfighter, Joe.
Loree ran between us to stop the gun fight,
I then watched in horror at this fatal sight.
The body that crumbled was my dear Loree,
she'd taken the slug that Joe had meant for me.
My single shot left Joe stone-dead in the street;
I'd won the gun fight but I still felt defeat.
The one special thing that had meant most to me,
I'd now lost forever, my precious Loree.
Now I never go into old Mexico
when payday comes 'round and the cow hands all go;
I ride with the wind on this vast, lone prairie
and I hear it whisper the name of Loree.
And now and forever, my fate it shall be,
to hear the wind whisper the name of Loree . . .

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Guardians

Ol' Gimpy didn't have no kids or even have a wife,
but when we hired this new kid on, he shore 'nuff come to life.
He set right out to teach him 'bout the things he ought to know,
like takin' care of his own hoss and swingin' a good lasso.

Jest like a hen with one lone chick, he'd hover and he'd fuss;
in fact if Cookie burnt the beans, Gimp wouldn't let us cuss.
He said the boy would have some class, and we would show him how;
we'd set a good example or he'd shore 'nuff clean our plow.

We didn't want to rile ol' Gimp -- we'd watch the way we'd act,
which set a good example and kept our manhood intact.
The kid was one quick learner too, and we was mighty proud;
his work was extra good and he stood tall in any crowd.

On one hot, dusty cattle drive, we sent the boy ahead
to scout for water for the herd before we made 'em bed.
Ol' Gimpy, still a motherin' him, did what he always did,
he rode atop a hill to keep an eye right on the kid.

He saw the boy down below and herd comin' round the bend;
they'd smelled the water, stampeded and were bearin' down on him.
Gimpy rode fast as he could to get between the boy and herd;
he swung his hat, yelled, "Outta the way" -- the kid couldn't hear a word.

But he did hear them thunderin' hooves and got right outta their path.
Ol' Gimpy didn't fare so well -- he took the herd's full wrath.
His hoss had stumbled and thrown him into the mad herd's way.
Gimpy rode with Lady Luck, but she was not along that day.

There wasn't nothin' we could do; it all jest happened fast.
The kid, he took it awful hard -- couldn't accept it 'til time passed.
We took right up where Gimp left off, and finished raisin' that kid,
and it would do his heart some good to see the job we did.

We rounded up and branded strays, and helped him start a spread;
built us a bunk house, and we're stayin' right here until we're dead.
We got him married to the school marm, and we shed a tear,
'cause we jest wished with all our heart ol' Gimpy had been here.

As we mend fences and tend stock, we're happy as can be,
and jest can't wait to hear that we are gittin' more family.
When we look at that fine young man our kid turned out to be,
we know that raisin' younguns comes to us -- jest naturally.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Green Cowboys

Had me a close encounter once while ridin' 'cross the range.
It was a dark and spooky night, and sky above looked strange.
Then suddenly before my eyes, there was an awesome sight;
A silvery, whirlin' disk machine dropped from the sky that night.
Now it alit without a sound, as far as I could tell.
It surely seared that plot of ground; just burnt it all to hell.
Some little green boys then emerged, and as they come to view,
I moseyed over and gave to them a cheerful "Howdy-doo".
They motioned me to come inside and have a look around.
So naturally, I then complied, and this is what I found:
An atmosphere of sterility and green boys standing by
To examine the likes of you and me, and I thought I would die!
They told me to remove my clothes and get upon the table___
Then I told them that I propose they duck while they were able.
And then I aimed my gun between their great big slanty eyes,
And held those little dudes of green right there until sunrise.
I asked if they would like to see the rising of the sun;
They nodded little heads at me and filed out one by one.
We then stepped out upon the range, and what a fantastic view!
When they saw sunrise on the plains, they vowed they'd stay here too.
The Mrs. bought them little boots, bandanas to hide green face,
And dressed them up in cowboy suits, so they'd not feel out of place.
Now they ride the horses like the wind; their ridin' can't be beat;
It seems when horses carry them, wings grow upon their feet.
They're not much good at pitchin' hay, but really we don't care;
It purely seems to make our day to see them ride out there.
With Stetsons on their little heads, and sunshades on their eyes,
They look just like some little kids in their cowboy disguise.
We never had kids of our own, and know we never will,
So when these green boys come along, they seemed to fill the bill.
We wish folks would not think us strange, but try their best to see,
The green cowboys that ride our range are now our family.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Family

When ridin' drag and eatin' dust,
On summer's hottest day,
Our mouth's so dry, it surely seems
Like we been eatin' hay.

But Cookie has the coffee on
And treats us to a cup;
And this here gesture on his part
Does lift our spirit up.

Our supper is a friendly thing
Though it's not fancy fare;
In fact, it may just be red beans,
But all of us are there.

Then someone stokes the campfire up;
It's now our social time.
Somebody tells a story and
Another quotes a rhyme.

One feller plays harmonica
And really makes it moan.
Then we will sing a song or two,
That's usually of home.

But lots of us call this our home,
'Cause we are just adrift;
And this home and this family,
Gives us a needed lift.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Wild Stallion

Atop the mesa that stallion stood
And then I seen his nostrils flare;
Now me and Slim was hid real good,
But he still knowd that we was there.

He raised his head to his full height
And gave his mares a warnin' neigh;
He led them in a freedom flight
And then plumb vanished for the day.

Now me and Slim just stood in awe.
We'd never seen such a magic thang
As that great herd of mares we saw
Led by this beautiful Mustang.

Just like they had some winged feet,
Those Mustangs disappeared from sight;
We come from behind a scrubby Mesquite
And rode toward the ranch that night.

Guess it was 'bout a week or two
Until our bunch had got the word
That another outfit run 'em down
And cut the stallion from the herd.

We took to hangin' 'round that ranch,
And when I seen the stallion's fate,
I waited until I got the chance,
And then unlatched the corral gate.

I know the hands suspected me
Of bein' the one that let him go;
But cowboys believe in bein' free,
So they pretended they didn't know.

While ridin' the range we still can see
That Mustang stalllion once in a while;
He turns his head and looks at me,
And I could swear I've seen him smile.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



He said, "It purely pleasures me
To bide my time with you;
Can't think of nary a single thing
That I would druther do.

I'd never trade for anything
The years we've spent together.
We've been a twosome, you and me,
In every kind of weather.

We've watched the sun rise in the East
And then set in the West.
We watched the seasons come and go,
Enjoying Spring the best.

We've seen the prairie all abloom
With cactus and wild flowers
We smelled the sweet sage and we ducked
Some sudden springtime showers.

I guess the time that I like best
Is when we bed at night,
And I give you your bag of oats;
As companions, we're just right."

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Cowboy Poet of Yore

Heard cowboy po'try wuz on a rebound;
Never knowd of a time when it wern't around.
They found it in the old saloon halls,
And some of it wuz rote on the privvy walls.
But cowboys today are a whole new breed;
they're goin' to college to learn to read!
To rules and forms, they now kowtow;
I figger they ain't got talent nohow.
Now you take waddies that kin make a rime,
They're my kind of poets, jest any ol' time.
A book of free verse will lay on my shelf;
Sounds like they're talkin' to their own self.
They ain't nothin' like it used to be;
Like ridin' the plains so happy and free.
They ride the range in a pick-up truck,
Where we depended on a horse and good luck.
Jest don't savvy po'try with meters and feet,
I lean toward somethin' with a real good beat.
Guess old-timers join the longhorn herd,
To become extinct, like the Dodo bird.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Saturday Nite Live

Now things was gittin' lively at
Miss Flora Belle's saloon,
And I was kickin' up my heels
And laffin' like a loon.
When through them swingin' doors there came
A stranger dressed in black.
He looked so bloomin' ornry that
My drunken jaws went slack.
His shootin'-irons was hangin' low;
He took a threatnin' stanch.
And those of us on the dancin' floor,
Jest plumb fergot to dance.
He went right over to the bar,
As we had thought he would;
Demanded whiskey for hisself,
And said, "it better be good".
The pianer player begin to play,
Tho nervous and somewhat "cowed",
The stranger stared with cold-steel eyes
Into the barroom crowd.
He spotted the gamblin' table and
Decided to sit right down.
His facial features never changed;
He  wore a perm'nent frown.
When that first game was over and
He seen he didn't win,
He kicked the table over and said
The boys had cheated him.
He drew both guns and fired away,
And smoke jest filled the air;
But when the smoke had cleared we saw
The stranger a layin' there.
A mousey lookin' little man
With speckticles on his nose,
Then holstered up his smokin' gun
And straightened his seedy clothes.
Jest lookin' at him, and the stranger with
A bullet in his liver,
We decided you can't judge a book
By lookin' at its kivver.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



No Laughin' Matter

A whole lotta cow pokes has bow laigs
From keepin' 'em wrapped 'round a hoss' rib cage.
We're on our hoss most every day,
So first thing you know, they grow thata way.

We have to swagger to make our laigs go,
'Cause they no longer swing to and fro;
And we are doomed to a lifetime fate
Of forever walkin' with a rollin' gait.

Now you that laugh should oughtta be ashamed;
Don't you know that we are permanently maimed?
It's time some of you become more meek,
And stop yer showin' you gotta mean streak.

As a matter of fact, we still kin dance,
That rollin' gait, it seems to enhance
The way we negotiate our do-si-do,
We jest start swingin' and away we go.

So havin' bow laigs ain't all that bad,
But can't say that any of us is glad
Our laigs is bent like a barrel-stave;
We'd straighten 'em up, but they won't behave!

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Phantom Herd

The night was dark as all git out;
the moon had hid his face.
This was enough to spook the herd,
also the human race.
I wrapped up good in sougins 'cause
a chill was in the air,
and settled down to git some sleep;
a man without a care.

I roused 'cause I thought that I felt
the ground beneath me shake;
and then I heard them thunderin' hooves;
now I was full awake!
I'd heard tell of a phantom herd
in tales of years gone by;
but cow pokes never tell the truth
if there's a chance to lie!

Reality then set right in
that this could surely be
the phantom herd stampedin' 'cross
the windy, vast prairie.
I sneaked a peek, and then gasped at
the eerie sight I saw;
a herd of longhorns, eyes ablaze,
were comin' through the draw.

A greenish glow surrounded them;
they snorted puffs of smoke,
and I laid there plumb petrified,
a cowardly cow poke.
When I thought they'd run over me
they veered off the the right,
and soon that herd with blazin' eyes
had run clean out of sight.

I raced to camp and there I found
a white-faced, shaken crew.
On top of that, our blasted herd
had up and run off too.
It took us 'bout a week I guess
to round 'em up ag'in.
We never found 'em all bet we
decided to heck with 'em.

Us wranglers on this weird trail drive
now have a tale to tell;
and when we're 'round the ol' campfire
we surely cast a spell.
We tell it better ever time;
make hair raise on their head.
And some sit up the whole night long;
they're scared to go to bed!

Still don't believe some of them tales
the wranglers like to tell.
But I sure vouch for the one 'bout
that phantom herd from hell.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Sunset on the Plains

I had myself a look around
and ain't found nothin' yet
that I can favorably compare
to a big sky plains sunset.

It fills up all the dad burned sky
with color of red and gold,
while givin' life to blades of grass
a layin' there fixin' to fold.

Now even a scrubby ol' Mesquite
can be a beautiful thing
when it's outlined in glorious gold
it's fit for eyes of a king.

The critters appear to pause a bit,
and you might think this odd,
but seems they know a sunset's painted
by the hand of an almighty God.

Now folks and critters stand in awe
and marvel at the sight
that artists, although they may be good,
can never git quite right.

The best things in our life are free,
I know you've often heard;
but a big sky sunset on the plains
is the greatest!  You've got my word.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Trail Drive Maturity

Our tangos was a jinglin' on
our Sunday best, chip-kickin' boots
when we went thru them swingin' doors,
and seen the gals was in cahoots.
We know'd what they was up to tho
'cause we'd been thru this times before;
They'd pour us rot-gut whiskey then
they'd keep on pourin' us some more.
Now when they got us good and drunk,
they'd up and pick our pockets clean
but we jest got the jump on them
by usin' our good ol' thinkin' machine!
So we picked Slim, as skinny as a limb
that's hanging on a young branch Willow,
'cause that ol' Slim never drunk anything
except a bit of Sassferilla.
We named him 'cause we know'd he could
shore handle responsibility;
he'd hold  the purse, and  pay our bills,
and then guard our civility.
Well, we got busy a whoopin' it up
and plumb forgot about ol' Slim___
we didn't see that sneaky Belle
when she come sidlin' up to him.
She musta fixed his drink real good,
'cause he had up and passed right out,
and all our money was long gone,
and Belle, she was nowheres about.
So, since we couldn't pay our bill
the saloon jest up and called the law.
When Cow Boss come and bailed us out
we was the sorriest you ever saw.
He wouldn't give us no more pay
until the end of the cattle drive.
He said we was so goll durn ignert
that we was lucky to be alive.
He buys our makin' and things we need;
or buys the things that he allows,
while we stay camped outside of town
with a herd of mossy Longhorn cows.
But we'll collect our full pay soon,
when we git on to Kansas City
and head out for the nearest saloon
where we hear gals are mighty pretty.
Our boots was made for dancin' 'stead
of kickin' up some cow manure.
And we've growed up and have become,
I think the proper word's "mature."

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



We cow pokes talked it over and
most all of us agreed;
they ain't nothin' sorrier than
and ol' tumbleweed.
Not one of the critters will eat it,
at least as far as I know.
It just snaps off right from its roots
and waits for the wind to blow.
Now when the wind starts in a blowin'
across the vast prairie,
them blasted weeds begin to rollin'
as far as the eye kin see.
That doggone wind is always wailin'
when into the town they roll;
it sounds just like some eerie spirits
out lookin' for their soul.
God made the lowly tumbleweed,
of that I have no doubt.
And probably to fill a need,
but we ain't figgered it out!

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Ode to Ol' Blue

I would never give credit where credit ain't due,
but I'll doff my Stetson to the likes of ol' Blue.
Ol' Blue was the lead steer for Charlie Goodnight;
A Texas Longhorn with savvy that was out of sight.

He could lead them beeves out jest like a real pro;
he could git 'em to mill or make 'em git up and go.
And when he got the herd bedded down for the night,
he'd mosey right into camp, to mooch a little bite.

Next mornin' he'd raise up, jest a sassy and fat,
bell 'round his neck so the herd knowed where he was at.
Now we cowpokes always liked havin' him along;
had a heap more sense than some hands we hired on.

After eight years, with some of his strength spent,
Mr.  Goodnight decided he had earned his retirement.
He was put out to pasture and treated like a king;
us on the trail shore missed hearin' his bell ring.

That ol' Blue lived on to see his twentieth year;
and when he died__some of us choked back a tear.
As we live in the past, and trail drives we recall,
we look fondly at his horns mounted up on the wall.

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Cowboy Poetry

About cowboy poetry;
there ain't nothin' new in that.
Most cowpokes kin make a real good rime
at the drop of a Stetson hat.

You take ol' Slim at the Lazy R;
can't have but one thought at a time.
But he beats all I ever seen
when it comes to makin' a rime.

He makes up po'ms that go on and on
about the life we lead
On the trail we can't carry many books,
so Slim is all we need.

He makes up po'ms 'bout the dusty trail,
and clouds up in the sky.
I've asked him to make one up for me,
just in case that I should die.

Sometimes he puts his po'ms to music,
and they turn out real good.
He sings 'em to the cattle at night
while they lay chewin' their cud.

Ol' Slim just might git famous some day
and his po'ms begin to catch on;
but I'll bet my saddle and spurs it'll be
'way after he's dead and gone!

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




Amusement's scarce out on the ranch
and we grab some whenever we can.
So, it's a pure delight to us
when we take on a brand new hand.

The waddies then all gather 'round
expectin' to see a real good show;
then someone shouts, "bring out ol' Ned",
'cause there is somethin' they all know.

Ol' Ned's a horse with a real hard head;
he don't like bein' saddled up.
So, when you go to tighten his cinch,
his belly swells like a poisoned pup.

We tell the new hand, "mount right up".
and then we say, "just give 'em his head".
We know Ned's belly will be back to size
'bout time he's close to the cactus bed.

The saddle slips, and the new hand flips;
the boys have a real good time
that lasts until the hand's pulled out
the very last sharp cactus spine.

He'll learn in time to saddle ol' Ned,
but he has got to know just how.
You knee his ribs as you tighten the cinch,
and shout, "SUCK IN YER GUT, RAT NOW"!

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



A Real Texan

When I began to study it
I was surprised to find,
that gittin' to be a Texan was
a crazy state of mind.
Now when you git into this state
your brain's all in a fizz,
then you begin to think that it
is better than it is.
After struttin' and boastin' for a while
yer hat won't fit yer head;
and then the first thing that you know,
you're believin' what you said.
Newcomers often take dim view
of braggin' that we do;
we notice it ain't long before
they're doin' the same thing too.
They put on jeans and cowboy boots
and swagger down the streets;
got so's a body can't tell a Texan
from anyone he meets!

Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Drifter

Although he didn't leave big tracks
so we'd recall his name,
the drifter's spirit still lives on
our prairie just the same.

At one time he owned all this land
that stretched from sea to sea,
before "bob-war" and railroad tracks
destroyed the scenery.

He didn't need to stake a claim
or own a long-horn cow
to enjoy the open range he felt
that he owned anyhow.

The open range was home to him
just like the wild Mustangs.
He loved the land just like it was;
didn't want to see it change.

He thought when God planted prairie grass,
He knew what He was about,
and folks didn't have no cause at all
to come and plow it out.

Perhaps the drifter took the time
under starry skies at night,
to communicate with Him above
and decided this was right.

So, nowadays we endeavor to
bring back the prairie grass;
raise long-horn cattle and buffalo
and regenerate our past.

Of course we feel it's our duty to
make progress and move on.
But in some cases it's best to leave
God's handiwork alone.

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



Rodeo Man

Now it don't make no never mind
which way the wind does blow,
'cause down the road a piece I'll find
a lively rodeo.

The Ft. Worth Stockyards, Abilene,
and then to Calgary;
I'll pack my gear and never fear
top money's waitin' for me.

There ain't no bones that I ain't broke,
least once and sometimes twice;
and gettin' back on that ol' bull's
like rollin' a pair of dice.

Now I ain't knowin' if he'll be throwin'
me off his rollin' back.
My courage will rally as I make my dally,
never givin' him any slack.

The sound of the horn's like bein' reborn;
I've beat that bull again!
Always wanted to be, believe you me,
a first class rodeo man.

I hear the crowd roar and ask for more
when the spotlight falls on me,
and I reckon as how, as of right now,
I'm just where I wanted to be.

Addiction's what some folks call this,
while others call it a disease,
but I love bein' a rodeo man,
and got nobody but me to please.

So pardon my dust, 'cause you know I must
be ready to get up and go;
my boots are toed to the open road,
and another rodeo.

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



The Green-Broke Horse

"Now he ain't nothin' but a green-broke hoss,"
The ranch foreman had said;
"So it'll take time just gettin' him where
He'll ride instead of be led.

Iffen I was you I'd surely choose
A steady, seasoned mount;
Them green-brokes are so hard to handle
And some are no account."

But Jesse saw that little paint
And his heart took a fall;
He knew he had to have that hoss
Or he didn't want none at all.

So, with the patience of a saint,
He worked for many days,
Just puttin' the blanket on Paint's back
And leadin' him a ways.

Then came the saddle carefully
Placed on that pony's back,
And that's the way Jesse introduced
Him to all ridin' tack.

When finally he did mount up,
That Paint was rearin' to go --
His gait was a unique little fox-trot
That stole the whole ranch show.

Like fancy dancin', he moved his feet
As graceful as a swan.
And that little green-broke hoss became
The envy of everyone.

2003,  Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Reckoning

I'm ridin' along and singin' a song
as iff'en I had good sense,
when spooky ol' Jake seen a rattlesnake
and then the war did commence.
He was twistin' and turnin'; my belly was churnin',
then he would start to crow hop,
but I felt that I should feel mighty good
'cause I was still on top.
I thought I'd won over that line back Dun,
but he had one more trick;
sun fishin' he went 'til energy was spent,
and I was gittin' a mite sick.
When he hit the ground, he put his head down
and heaved me into the air.
His final  pitch put me in a ditch,
and I decided life wasn't fair.
With a mouth full of dirt, and torn, ragged shirt
I staggered back to that hoss.
I know'd his kind and I'd made up my mind
to let him know who was boss!
He walled mean eyes and didn't disguise
the contempt he had for me.
So I took off the saddle; told him to skedaddle
and set that maverick free.
I stashed my gear and had no fear
that I could find it ag'in.
I'd make up a story that's somewhat gory
when I come walkin' in.
I'll tell them that dang ol' ornery Mustang
jest bolted and run away,
then I'll sneak back and pick up my tack
when I'm ridin' the range someday.
Hope the Man up above has Him enough love
to forgive a few cowboy lies.
Cause iff'en He don't a lot of us won't
be gittin' no heavenly prize.

2003,  Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Inheritance

"Now don't be a squattin' with yore spurs still on,"
ol' Jimbo hollered out at me.
And I just laughed like I always did,
'cause that was his fav'rite joke you see.
Now me and Jimbo go 'way back
to when I was jest a little kid;
my folks got sick and died on me,
and this is what ol' Jimbo did.
He bundled me up and took me home
though he had no women folks around,
and he treated me jest like his own;
a better home I could not have found.
He raised me up to respect the law,
and taught me how to rope and ride.
But when I strayed from the straight and narrow,
he threatened to tan my ornery hide.
When Jimbo waved goodbye that day
I wish to heck I could have known
that was our last goodbye and I
would never have let him leave alone.
His pony stepped into a hole
and Jimbo took a fatal fall.
It grieves me a knowin' that he had
nobody out there with him at all.
Well, Jimbo left his spread to me,
and I had listened to all his dreams
'bout buildin' a herd, cross-fencin' and such;
so I worked for this night and day it seems.
Got me a lovin' family now;
and they feel exactly as I do.
If Jimbo had not left me this spread,
us havin' a ranch would never come true.
Our brandin' iron's a squattin' spur,
and the gate says "JIMBO'S DREAMLAND RANCH."
I hope my ol' buddy looks down with pride
ever' time he gets hisself a chance.

2006,  Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Cowboy Sonneteer

I found a book of fancy poetry;
this Shakespeare feller wrote a lot of stuff.
It seems to be a name in history,
that rittin' cowboy po'try ain't enough.

So I decided to change my style a bit,
and see if I could get a little class.
The cowboys didn't like this worth a whit,
and they gave me some jeers and lots of sass.

Didn't let their loud whoo-rawin' bother me

I decided to copy them so-called poetic founders.
Them cowboys don't know beans 'bout poetry—
they'll live and die a bunch of ignert rounders.

But when I got this bee up in my bonnet,
I dang sure showed 'em I could rite a sonnet!

2006, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem is also included in our collection of Poems about Cowboy Poetry.



A Change of Pace

Ole Randy was a slow poke and
was never known to race.
He always moseyed right along—
A movin' at his own pace.

Now nothin' seemed to hurry him
or make him pick up speed
until the day when he was caught
in a sudden herd stampede.

Well, Randy didn't waste no time
he spurred his pinto on—
the first time he'd ever used them spurs
as far as it was known.

He finally found an open space
and got outside the herd,
then raced on up to get ahead
and yellin' then was heard.

He turned that herd just like a wheel
and headed "em back to camp.
He probably didn't know it then,
but he was the company champ.

He'd saved the beeves from losin' weight
and saved us many days
of tryin' to get the herd together
and roundin' up the strays.

We'll honor him with special grub
and as we utter grace,
we'll expect him then to go right back
to movin' at his own pace

2007, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem was  inspired by Tim Cox' painting "At His Own Pace," which was selected for the 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poster. 


A Cowboy's Final Wish

Purple shadows slide down the mountain side
to the canyon floor below,
and I decide I'll just abide
and watch the darkness grow.

I know real soon that ol' man moon
will shine his mellow light,
then without doubt stars will come out
and twinkle with delight.

As I make camp under God's moon lamp
my music is a coyote's howl,
and in a tree real close to me
I hear a hootin' owl.

I'd like to think when I'm on the brink
of receivin' my reward,
that I will see things dear to me
like my ol' faithful pard.

He's a line-back dun, a real son-of-a-gun,
that's a loner just like me.
When we're together we're birds of a feather
that like runnin' loose and free.

When the Master of love calls me from above
I hope there's a peaceful camp,
where I will be eternally
in the glow of His golden lamp.

2007, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Generation Gaps

Sometimes I like to close my eyes
recalling Grandpa's fav'rite tales
about how this country use to be
when they had cattle-driving trails.

The land was open range back then—
no fences blocked the cattle drive,
and prairie grass was plentiful
to keep herds happy and alive.

As I nod off I begin to hear
the thundering hooves of long-horn cattle
being driven up the Chisholm Trail—
then I'm awakened by a rattle!

It's the screen door and my Grandson's home
saying, "Gramps it's time to feed the stock;
would you like to ride along with me
or sit here on the porch and rock?

I choose to ride along with him
in his new air-conditioned truck,
knowing I won't get any saddle sores
and this vehicle will not buck.

but when I viewed his lovely ranch
with fences and modern machinery,
I had an uneasy feeling that
was creeping up on me.

Although we think irrigation and
our modern machinery are unique;
will his Grandson in his time
consider all these things antique?

2008, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


He Listened with His Heart

A man named Monty Roberts now
stands tall among his peers;
but once his methods were received
with disbelief and jeers.
His father broke his horses in
the old accepted way,
but Monty disagreed so they
parted company, so they say.
While driving wild mustangs he learned
that horses do converse;
this helped him put the concept of
horse training in reverse.
He watched their body language and
he listened with his heart.
His work with horses soon became
a lovely work of art.
To gentle horses was to some
the most foolish thing they'd seen,
until he trained the thoroughbreds
belonging to a queen.
Still there are "die hards," I am sure
condoning pain and fright.
But there are others, just like me,
who think his method's right.

2008, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Tex comments, "More than fifty years ago I sat on the top rail of a corral in Colorado and watched a young cowboy 'gentle' a frightened horse. He whispered, stroked, put on tack and then removed it many times. In two or three days he rode that horse out of the arena. Both cowboy and the horse held their heads up with pride and confidence. There was no doubt an everlasting bond had been made between them. From that day I knew the way to 'break' a horse."



A Sonnet for Western Heritage

A guardian angel rides at the speed of light
and comes to the rescue of the wild Mustangs.
She heard that euthanasia was their plight,
so, she's buying a million acres for their free range.

Mrs. T. Boone Pickens is the angel's name;
and we now doff our Stetsons to honor you.
You're saving a bit of our wild west fame
and you are showing a very kind heart too.

The Bison, wild Mustangs and Long-Horn Steers
are now preserved for Frontier history,
and all the cowboys send up rowdy cheers
that the wild Mustang is saved for the world to see.

So, Madeleine Pickens, we give our thanks to you;
this is an extremely noble thing you do.

2008, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Tex comments, "I wrote this after reading in the Dallas Morning News that Mrs. T. Boone Pickens has bought one million acres to take care of our Mustangs.  What a wonderful thing to do.  We will now have more of our Western heritage preserved, thanks to her kind heart."

There original Dallas Morning News article is here. Madeleine Pickens' web site is

The Fork in the Road

Listen grandchildren and you will hear
about your country's history.
It goes back further than John Deere
that gave us modern machinery.

There were men like Loving and Charles Goodnight
who blazed the trails across our land;
and they were men with grit and fight
that this wild country would demand.

But others took the wrong fork in the road,
and folks called this the Owl Hoot Trail.
They were rustlers and murderers with no moral code
that ended up hung, or at least in jail.

Now men like Loving and Charles Goodnight
left things beneficial to mankind,
for they took the fork in the road that was right;
but owlhoots left only a bad name behind.

The moral of my story to you that I hold dear
is to take the right fork in the road;
leave big tracks so folks will know you were here
and admire the straight furrow you hoed.

2008, Tex Tumbleweed
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.





Read Tex's tribute to "Wild Bill" Halbert here.

Read Tex's On the Border, posted with Holiday 2004 poems


 A Christmas Star, posted with Holiday 2003 poems.



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