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Godley, Texas
About Tom Hanshew




The Visit

While sleepin' in the bunkhouse, I heard a creakin' of the door.
With one eye barely open, I watched as the others snored.

I heard spurs that jingle and boots on the rough wood floor
But no cowhand has entered just a shadow nothin' more.

I've heard stories 'bout a wrangler, how time and time again
He visits this old bunkhouse jest lookin' fer his friends.

He died while ridin' nighthawk in rustler's canyon so they say.
Cut down by a coward's bullet never to see the light of day.

But he comes back here a visitin' an' lookin' fer his old friends.
Wanderin' in the night and lonely searchin' now and then.

A few have said they seen him just a glimpse a time or two
Like someone was watchin' from the shadows as darkness drew.'

Dry grass and twigs would crackle then silence as you listen in vain
You shudder and go about your business still watchin' jest the same.

It seemed like I lay there for hours though maybe jest a minute or two
While he walked from one bunk to another as my fear and panic grew.

I barely breathed as I listened for his footfalls to stop by my bed
Then they stopped as my heart pounded my whole bein' filled with dread.

What would I do if he touched me or spoke with hollow tones?
A chill raced over my body and I ached in all of my bones.

Then a cold wind softly touched me and I shook with a sudden chill
I gathered my blanket about me and braced with all of my will.

I recalled the stories about him and how he was lookin' fer his friends
So I said "Welcome Home Compadre, you can ride with us on the wind."

Then his footsteps slowly left me and jingled on out the door
The door creaked together softly while the other cowboys snored.

And I wondered should I tell them would they believe the thing I saw?
Would they laugh and call me crazy that I had a dream that's all.

But I know that I had a visit from a sad and lonely spirit wind
And never more will I fear him when he visits his cowboy friends.

9/20/01, "The Trailboss" Tom Hanshew 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Ride Challenged

Dean was good at most a things
And at most a things he tried
He said he could wrassle alligators
And I reackon he didn't lie

He could fence and hold any water gap
Trim up and shoe any brute
Cook Sunday dinner like in a big hotel
But now it's sad to tell the honest truth

Dean knew his way around horses
And ground workin calves was his pride
But when you just plain got down to it
The honest truth was that Dean couldn't ride.

Now it weren't like he was scared
He just couldn't stay on top
His horse would turn left and he'd go right
And he'd just keep on goin' when they stopped

I couldn't figger what was the matter with him
Cause ridin' seemed such a natural thing to do
But when his horse jumped a creek or a log
He would come unforked and just flew

I've had horses to stumble now and then
And fall plumb down a time or two
But if Dean's horse so much as wiggled
He would pert near come unscrewed

I remember once while crossing a stream
The water was bout chest deep
Dean's horse lunged a time or two
And off he went head first then feet

We thought bout tiein' him on
But that just didn't seem smart
Cause if a horse was to fall with him
They'd really need to come apart

We put a bucking strap round the fork
So's he could hold on real tight
But it interfered with his ropin'
Took both hands to do it right

Slim said that he'd read somewhere
That if you was to cover one eye
That things would settle and focus
So Dean said that he would try

Well that proved to be a big mistake
And we let it be known to Slim
After Dean got knocked off his horse
Ridin' under a low hangin' tree limb

We tried bout everything we knowed
And now Dean's fate seemed to be sealed
A Cowboy sometimes has to check his pride
And ride a critter that has wheels

So now Dean comes to roundup in a wagon
He leaves the ridin' to the rest of us hands
Them mules don't mind him wearin' glasses
And we don't see him as less of a man.

07/02, Tom "Trailboss" Hanshew 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Tom adds that this poem "was inspired by a fellow I used to know and ride with. Every horse he owned or rode pitched him off and I ended up ownin' or ridin' some of them. Every horse he rode became kids' ponies later, but the truth was that Dean just couldn't ride." 


Linecamp Cowboy

I rode up in the mountains with my mules to take supplies
To the cabin at high meadows where the mighty eagles fly.

The Cowboy that I had left there was bent, gray and old.
He lived life in the saddle watchin' nature's wonders unfold.

He rode in from Montana, sacked because of his old age.
Advised to end his days in town--not to die out on the range.

I asked him "If your health fails, who would ever know?
Who'd be there to help you when winter brings the snow?"

He said "Son, I've wintered cattle for fifty odd years or so.
Know nothin' 'bout town livin'--freedom's all I've ever known.

I gits up way 'fore daylight and goes to bed after dark.
Treats livestock like they're mine--I can sifer and make my mark.

Town looks like an awful place, folks there all wear a frown.
I'd rather die up on that mountain than spend one day in town."

Well now I thought I'd lost my reason but I hired him anyway.
If he lasted just one season then that would still be O. K.

The old man smiled and thanked me then he loaded up his string.
He said "I'll be there to help you at the roundup in the spring."

When I got up to the meadows, my cattle all looked fine.
But I didn't see the Cowboy, a bit afraid of what I'd find.

I walked into the line shack and there on his cot he lay.
Eyes closed and he was smilin' though he was cold as clay.

I buried him by the cabin and stacked rocks upon his grave.
Made a cross for a headstone then on my knee I prayed.

"Lord take this soul and forgive him; his sins are in the past.
Linecamp Cowboy home forever; Linecamp Cowboy home at last.

5-98, Tom Hanshew 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Tom adds that this poem "was inspired by a story I read about an old Cowboy that had picked up stakes and moved 'cause he was told he was too old to Cowboy any more. This is one of my favorite poems that I have written. "Linecamp Cowboy" is on my CD. "KEEPERS."


Eyes of a Cowboy

He stepped out of his pickup truck and walked over to the corral
I watched him out of the corner of my eye standing quiet and tall
When I finished saddling up the colt I looked him up and down
He looked like a cowboy although he had just come from town

It wasn't in the way he dressed but he was wearin' a hat and boots
Or the fancy yoke cut Cowboy shirt that fit him kind of loose
His jeans were creased and ironed and looked like they was new
But when I looked him in the eyes I saw that he was true

The soft quiet determination that reveals that common bond
And only a life with horses can make them look that warm
You see it at the rodeos on the older men who've lived the dream
It's like the cool clear mountain run off that gently fills a stream

He nodded and I could see the appreciation shinin' in his eyes
As he watched the colt I was working stand quietly and sigh
They say that the eyes of a man are the windows to his soul
A lot of folks are smarter than me and I guess they ought to know

True horsemen know and recognize the calm even in a storm
How love and quiet compassion can keep you safe from harm
No it's not the way you wear your hat or a shiny buckle's glow
It's in the heart and soul of Cowboys that their eyes always show

Many years ago there was a man that I loved and knew well
He said if you look a man in the eyes you can always tell
He may lie to you using words or trick you with his hands
But his eyes will always give him away capturing the man

A lifetime spent with horses teaches calmness in your soul
A oneness with god and nature like things honest and old
Grandpa always had that look and my dear old daddy too
In their eyes you could tell they were cowboy through and through

Now as I look at this man I see the same look in his eyes
That same quiet strength that I know and recognize
And my heart fills with pride as I look and understand
I see the eyes of a Cowboy in my son growed into a man.

12/29/02, Tom Hanshew 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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



About Tom Hanshew:

Tom was born near Parker, Texas in Johnson County. He was raised on a gentleman's ranch. During his schooling he was very active in FFA. His first trip to the big city was with the FFA. A trail hand, on a train ride, back from pushing a herd to Kansas wasn't as wide eyed as he was in Houston town. He has always kept that wonder and it serves him well. It shows through his music and poems.

The past thirty years have been spent raising kids, horses, and cattle. He has worked cattle operations, ranch management, and raised winning Galiceno Horses. He can push cattle, be an amateur vet, and dress a steer for Saturday night barbeques. Ask his observations on' cattle. He is no stranger to the show ring, from county fairs to Ft. Worth and Houston stock shows. His children have followed in his footsteps, Kandice by showing winning cattle, and earning the Johnson County FFA "Top Hand" Award. She also has a start of her own herd of award winning Galicenos. Her mare, Benita Zanta Rojo, is featured in "Horse and Horsemanship" representing the Galiceno breed. His youngest daughter Dena has followed in his foot steps for music and poetry. She has won many state awards with her clarinet and has written some fine poetry.

Tom has been interested in music and the guitar since early childhood. His family went to many Saturday night gatherings. At the early age of twelve, he met Bob Wills. That was when the "bug" got him. He had his own band in high school. They entertained for school functions and many parties. Tom's love for cowboy music shows in the many ways he has of presenting his interpretations of the standards and his own songs. His poetry comes from the heart as well as his experiences. His one true goal in life is to be like Roy Rogers and be remembered not so much for his accomplishments, but for his love. During the past ten years, he and Tim Harmon have been partners ("COWBOYS FOREVER"), their love of good horses, poetry and music binding them closer than many brothers. They have entertained from Nacogdoches to Alpine, Waco to Oklahoma City and many points in between. They have been called the "Best Kept Secret In Texas."

Circle TK productions is pleased to announce the debut of KEEPERS, the newest Cowboy Poetry album by Tom "TRAILBOSS" Hanshew. KEEPERS is a collection of Cowboy poetry and stories written by Tom. This album was recorded at Lonesome Prairie Recording Studio in Crowley, Texas. All poems and stories in this album were performed by Tom the exception being "AGE WISE" which was performed by Tom's wife Kristy. The album is available online from Circle TK Productions at ( P.O. Box184 Godley, Texas 76044, 817/309/2011. CDs retail for $15.00 and cassettes for $10 (plus $2 for shipping), with wholesale pricing available to retail outlets.

And it is:


Tom is the ranch manager for the family horse breeding operation on the Circle TK Ranch in Godley, Texas. He has performed at Gatherings, benefits and for corporate and private events across Texas and Oklahoma. 

"Tom Hanshew comes from Godley, Texas, where he runs a small breeding operation to help preserve the oldest bloodline of horses on the North American Continent. His Galicenos are direct descendants of the horses that carried the conquistadors into the mainland and later took the cattle north to the rails. Tom is serious about anything cowboy, but watch out. He'll turn the tables on you at the drop of a hat and have you in stitches before you know it. His rich baritone voice and jumbo flat top guitar will ease your troubled mind and remind you of a distant place in time." Tim Harmon, "COWBOYS FOREVER"

"Tom Hanshew understands the heart and soul of the American Cowboy because he writes with his own heart, that of a Cowboy Forever. Whether it is his poetry on KEEPERS or the song "Dirt Roads" on my album "CattleCalls," TRAILBOSS Tom puts into words and music the emotion, truth and laughter that make us long for those days gone by. At the same time, he shares with us a hope for the future that makes us realize if we will only tell their stories, the Cowboy will live on. The lucky part...we too, get to be Cowboys Forever; and that, is what makes this album a "Keeper."  Debra Coppinger Hill, Old Yellow Slicker Productions

Tom "TRAILBOSS" Hanshew
Circle TK Ranch Registered Galiceno Horses
P.O. Box 184 Godley, Texas 76044
Phone: 817/309/2011



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