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Lehi, Utah
About Val Carter




A Bear Behind

He was young and cocky
Nothing that he couldn't do
Thought he'd live forever.
He was a wild buckaroo.

He had the fastest horse around,
Never turning down a race.
'Cause coming out on top for him,
Was always commonplace!

As they were driving out the herd
Towards the meadow by the mine,
They were more than half way there
As the sun began to shine.

When they finally reached the meadow,
The boys start to relax.
That's when our cowboy spied
A set of fresh bear tracks.

"I'm roping me a bear!" he said.
And she wasn't hard to find,
Over on the meadow's edge
Where the trail begins to wind.

With rope in hand, he turns his horse.
Then gave a little spur.
And tore across the meadow
Quickly closing in on her!

The bear looked up and saw him
And starts to run away!
This cowboy's feeling confident
Today's his lucky day.

Almost near enough to throw.
Needs to make this one toss count.
Just a little closer,
Again he spurs his mount.

Suddenly the old bear stops!
And quickly spins around!
The horse is digging with all four,
And slides across the ground.

As the cowboy's grabbing leather,
His horse has spun and jumped!
Though he's sitting in the saddle,
He's surprised he wasn't dumped!

Now he's spurring wildly
With this bruin on his tail!
"This bear will never out run me,
"I'll lose her on the trail."

Again the cowboy looks to see,
How far the bear is back.
Surprisingly he's realized,
It's a mountaintop racetrack!

The bear is right behind him!
His insides are feeling sick.
Thinking, bears are big and clumsy,
"How can she be that quick?"

He swiftly heads toward the boys
Who'd stood to watch the show.
One finally grabbed his rifle
And let a bullet go!

As the cowboy flies right past them,
The bear has turned around,
And saunters across the meadow,
Back where she had first been found.

What if he'd a caught her?
He might've never got away,
Shaken, stunned and somber
Today was his lucky day.

Our cowboy's learned a lesson
That has opened up his eyes,
Understanding now the difference
Between know-it-all and wise.

And as our humbled cowboy
Recounts his escapade,
He offers some advice
Based on the choices that he made.

"When you're over-confident,
Sometimes you just might find
That as you're strutting down life's trails,
You may have a bear behind."

2004, Val Carter
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Val told us, "This poem came about after a chat with a friend concerning the stupid things we did about the time we got out of high school, and being at that point in your life when you know everything, but don't have a lot of experience to back it up."

About Val Carter:

Val Carter was raised in a corner of the Wasatch Mountains, in what was then the small rural town of Alpine, Utah. There he grew up milking cows, riding horses, hauling hay and participating in rodeo. He and his wife now live in Lehi. They have four children, all boys except for three.

Val is a member of the Lehi Round-up Rodeo Committee, the Lehi Cowboy Poetry Association, the Utah Chapter of the Western Music Association and the Cowboy Poets of Utah.

Cowboy poetry has easily fit in with Val's lifelong love of all things cowboy.




Member of the
Cowboy Poets of Utah



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