Folks' Poems

Back to Lariat Laureate Contest
Back on home
Back to the list of Folks' Poems

"WILD BILL" HALBERT
Myrtle Springs, Texas
About "Wild Bill" Halbert

Wild Bill Halbert

 

Tex Tumbleweed brought us the sad news that Tex's friend and ours "Wild Bill" Halbert was found dead August 8, 2003, murdered in an apparent robbery.  The Dallas Morning News and the Tyler Morning Telegraph both carried accounts of the crime and of Bill Halbert's life.

Rev. Steve Glosup, who officiated at the funeral service in Canton, Texas said that Bill "could be captured with two words: cowboy and Christian."   

The Dallas Morning News began its article saying "Bill Halbert was his own trail boss, chiseling 73 self-made years as a horseman and handyman, a  trader and collector, a Western poet and artisan" and they used lines from his poem, When I Die, to frame the fine article about his life:

Have a cowboy sing for me, my eulogy,
 'Here lies a cowboy who is now home free.'

Tex Tumbleweed writes: "Meeting Bill Halbert was a turning point in my life.  A poet friend encouraged me to send him a poem I had written about a wild mustang.  From that time on Bill published everything I wrote about cowboys and horses. There did not seem to be that many outlets at the time for western poetry, and I most likely would have given up writing it.  He urged me to continue, and told me that I could hold my own with any of the cowboy poets writing today... I thank Bill Halbert for giving me the spunk to keep on keepin' on, as Bill would say, and continue writing what I love best -- cowboy poetry."

A Tribute to Wild Bill

Bill sat tall in his saddle and
he held his head up high and proud
as he rode off into the sunset
to disappear up in a cloud.
His own taped voice echoed when
he sang his poem, "When I Die";
then we bowed heads and said a prayer
and told our saddle pal goodbye.
But later on we did recall
the days when things were not so sad;
the days we rode along with him
and shared the good times with the bad.
We galloped across the pages of
so many journals of poetry
with this trail boss, our editor--
and never a bad  poet did he see.
He just took every tenderfoot,
turned them into a seasoned hand,
and all the time he taught them to
revere God's creatures and His land.
These memories we now will fold
and store so carefully away
to warm our heart and spirit on
a sad and dreary sort of day.

God bless you on this final ride;
Wild Bill, our hearts are by your side.

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

Poet and Wild Bill's friend eric lee added his tribute:

 

Another Hand for Heaven

There's a mighty herd in Heaven, and the widest range of all.
The steers are stars, and Angels sing that lonesome cattle call.
Look in the sky: they're all in place, each where it's always been
'cause only the best of cowboys make it in.

The drive goes on forever, but the drovers never tire,
and nowhere will you see a single fence made of barbed-wire.
The best horses ever make the Lord's remuda quite a sight,
An' a cowboy's always singin' in the firelight.

Though you'd think, sure, enough of us were scoutin' trail ahead
T'make sure there's a water-hole every place we make our bed,
The trail-boss up there's always lookin' for another hand,
One more cowboy who'll ride for Heaven's brand.

I'm talkin' to the trail-boss every night before I sleep
About a cowboy that I know who's trail is getting ' steep.
He's got my best references, (though who knows what that's worth?)
Wild Bill, he's been a true friend here on Earth.

Lord, (Boss) we're sendin' up the best of hands for you to hire,
Tell all them other drovers, make some room, there by the fire.
He's earned his keep, an' more, an' he'll be yours before too long,
An' you've got our word: He'll do to take along.

2001, eric lee
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


 


 

Special Mention

In recognition of Wild Bill Halbert's body of work, his
encouragement of writers and poets, and in particular for
his excellent poem, Runnin' Fer 'is Life.

 

 

Runnin' Fer 'is Life

One time out thar on tha rockin' W Ranch sticks
We had us a pit fer dippin' them cows fer ticks.
We 'as a way out thar on tha ol' back forty
A havin' us a big ol' tick dippin' party.
Of a sudden we peered crost tha prairie brush
'N' saw a commin' fast a big cloud o' dust.
It come nearer 'n we could see fer goodness sakes
'Twas a cowboy on a big barr a whuppin' 'im with snakes.
He rode up, alit, kicked tha griz 'n tied 'is head
With them two rattlers 'n, they wuzzent dead.
He said. "QUICK! I shore does needs sumthin' ta drank."
We 'uz plum outta warter, 'cept in tha dippin' tank.
He asked, "Whuts that thar in them gallin jugs?"
"Tick dip," I said, he tarned wun up, GLUG, GLUG, GLUG,
Then started untyin' the barr, made 'im kneel 'n got back on,
Lashed 'im good with them two snakes 'n in a flash wuz gone.
I hollered atter 'im, "Hey! whut makes yew in sich a hurry?"
We heared 'is voice commin' back outta tha dust so blurry,
"Ain't got no time ta stop 'n chat with yew fellers taday,
Thar's a mean hombre atter me 'n 'e's a commin' this way!"

1994 Wild Bill Halbert
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

This is a poem I wrote from an old, old joke, for readin' on stage at a C&W show and it kept being requested. I also have it on a tape cassette called WILLS POINT STAGE STOP with guitar accompaniment and 14 cuts poems and song.   I wrote all but one and Joe Sharp of SHARPWAY MUSIC in Tennessee wrote the music and sings all but one song.

 

At Tha Gates O' Hell

I growed up it drummed inta my head,
I'd better be quick or I'd be dead.
So I practiced ever on my quick draw,
'Til I'as tha fastest gun yew ever saw.
My name beat me ever where I'd roam,
They'as mite neer nobody'd take me on.
Folks afeared o' my gun a clearin' my path.
Reckon I had my draw down, 'bout pat.
They'd say nothin', leastwise not ta my face,
Lest sumuns, over 'em'd hafta say grace.
Peered's iffen I'd set out ta fill,
Tha grave yard they call "Boot Hill."
So one day I called 'n ol' marshal out,
SHOOT! I'as faster'n him weren't no doubt.
Both o] us retched fer our guns'bout tha same.
Tha bark o' my gun'as heard first, "BANG!"
He'as hit in tha shoulder, jis winged.
His slow bullet come acrit, with a sting.
Never knowed no more, ta tha ground I fell,
Now I'm sangin' this tune at tha gates O' HELL!

1991 Wild Bill Halbert
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

This poem is one published in my chapbook POEMS OF A COWBOY II

When I Die


When I die I want them to bury me
Somewhere out on the lone Prairie.
Where the prairie grass grows high in June
And the whippoorwills sing a mournful tune.
Where crickets chirp all through the night
And prairie hens scamper from your sight.
Where cattle feed on the jimson weed
And prairie winds blow the tumbleweed.
Where coyotes howl at a big full moon
Out where the sage and cactus bloom.
Let me rest aside the trail I traveled long,
On the peaceful prairie on which I roamed.
Bury me out where my spirit can roam free,
Not in some uptown lonesome old cemetery.
Don't mourn for me or grieve at my loss,
There, my spirit will still be its own boss.
Carve on my marker, "He is now at rest,
On the beloved prairie that he loved best."
Have a cowboy sing for me, my eulogy,
"Here lies a cowboy who is now home free."

Wild Bill Halbert
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


Candy Wuzza Dandy

Swapped fer a young Pitch Fork Ranch hoss one time.
He'as a beaut 'n' cud tarn 'n' stop on a thin dime.
He'as light sorrel with flax mane 'n' tail,
Would slick-off in summer ta chocolate 'thout fail.
Iffen yew'd slap 'is neck, hip or side yew'd hurt.
'N' iffen a saddle on 'im yew'as tryint ta girt
Yew'd jis as soon git ready ta punch a nuther hole,
Jis as soon as tha girt touched 'is solid bole.
They'as jis wun thang yew'd best larn ta heed.
He had dislike ta runnin' lest it a job o' need.
He'd run 'is heart out chasin' cows or hosses
'N' yew'd not suffer with very many bad losses.
But whup 'im ta run jis fer fun 'n' yew'd rue.
He'd make a high flyin' tailless kite outta yew.
'N' after a good while when yew'd come down,
He'd be waitin' ta try 'n' paw yew inta tha ground.
Doin' a job o' need Candy wuz real dandy,
Az tha pockets on a cowboy shirt he'as real handy.
He cud really tarn on tha speed, he'as a hoss so grand.
I 'spect tho' tha pitchfork on 'is hip wuz tha devil's brand
'Cause iffen yew'd fergit 'is aversion ta run fer play,
Yew'd shore'as shootin' have tha devil ta pay

Wild Bill Halbert
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

Candy 'n tha Hell's Angel 

Candy wuz a Pitch Fork Ranch hoss.
He'as a good un iffen yew didn't git tossed..
'Ud do anythin' doin' a job o' need,
Iffen yew didn't get rough a tryin' ta speed.
Yew could work 'im hard, 'bout any ol' way,
'N' he'd give yew 'is very best alla tha day.
But he knowed it when yew'as wantin ta run,
Der no good reason 'n' jis fer tha fun.
Iffen yew did he'd start ta beller 'n' pitch.
Lest yew'as a jam-up rider yew'd end in a ditch.
We'as rentin hosses out fer a buck 'n hour,
Fer most green horns Candy had too much power.
Mostly weuns used 'im 'round tha place, ain't no doubt,
'Twas very seldom that we'd rent ol' Candy out.
One day a green-horn come a ridin' up with 'is beret,
He'as a Hells" Angel on 'is Harley thast day.
He sed, "I'm tha best rider yew'll ever see,
Yewuns ain't got a hoss whats too wild fer me.
Gi'me tha wildest hoss what yew got here
'N' he'll be too  tame 'n' gentle fer me I fear."
So's I went 'n' brung  out ol' stand-by Candy.
He sed, "Why this ol' nag don't look so dandy."
I sed. "Mistah, I shore do hope yew kin ride,
'Cause when yew starts I'm gonna run 'n' hide.
Yew'd best handle 'im gingerly 'thout much might.
Else he'll throw yew higher than 'n' o;' box kite."
He give a big hoss laugh 'n' dug 'is heels in hard.
Ol' Candy bellered, bucked, sun-fished over tha yard.
I saw that big feller frum ever sort o' twisted angle.
I knowed then why they called 'im a Hell's Angel.
O'l Cady throwed 'im so high he musta had wings
'N' when he lit, peered he'd go all tha way ta hell I mean,
Afore he'd be able ta come ta a complete stop.
When 'is 200 pouds hit tha ground with a loud PLOP!
I thought I'd not be able ta ward off ol" Candy's plan.
Candy wuz really mad, he'as tryin' ta really hurt thast man.
I figgered tha feller'as hurt real bad he wuzzent makin' no moves
'N' ol' Candy'as a comin' closer with them flyin' hooves.
Finally got ol' Candy away 'n' quieted down somewhat
'N' went ta see iffen I could hep tha man whar he plopped.
He rose up slow 'n' breshed ' 'imself off a little.
'N' sed, "Don't yew fellets pay me no mind a diddle.
Next time I come ta ride, no matter me crowin' a lot,
Jis gi'me tha gentlest ol' hoss that yew've got."
I reckon ol' Candy scared tha bedevil outta that man.
"n' he carried on 'is hip tha pitch fork, tha devil' brand.

Wild Bill Halbert
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

 

Wild Bill Halbert

 

About "Wild Bill" Halbert

Born Billy Halbert, Aug. 17, 1929, Kaufman, Texas. Son of Guy and Eva Halbert. Was put on a horse before he could walk and talk, thus was he hooked into becoming a horse lover and made his living wrangling horses from an early age, helped break horses from age 6 and by age 12 could catch and break and train a wild horse without any help.

Wrote poems for special purposes and mostly to hide away from an early age. Wasn't the best English student in school and went to several in and around Dallas, Texas, but did learn basic rules.

Having been around lots of old time wranglers learned to talk their lingo and when writing cowboy poetry tries to write it in the style that when it is read aloud you'll sound like a real cowboy. The "Wild" tag was put on early on because of his prowess with wild horses, so it was natural to adopt it to be his pen name. Started to trying to get published at about 60 years of age and found the cowboy lingo unacceptable to most publishers, so wrote cowboy poetry in good literary style. Finally began to get the cowboy lingo accepted and made International Poetry Hall of fame about 1997 with cowboy poetry in cowboy lingo.

When talkin' always sounds like a cowboy, unless talkin' to a doctor, lawyer or a literary stickler, but will always be a wrangler at heart.

Since 1994, publisher of SHARING & CARING one of the best writers' and artists' magazines in the industry.



 

 

www.cowboypoetry.com

 

HOME

 What's New | Poems

 Features | Events  

Poetry Submissions | Lariat Laureate Competition

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!

 

Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form.

 

CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  

Site copyright information