Cowboy Poems by Don Tidwell



	When Cowboy Poets gather
	people come from miles around
	to hear the fetching stories
	which these orators expound.

	These fellers drive from town to town
	and go from state to state.
	Each thinkin up some far fetched tale
	to spring first out the gate.

	You're likely to be told about
	a coyote eatin snake
	or a drunk beer drinkin longhorn,
	or an outlaw they  call Jake.

	The competition's fearsome
	and it's pretty plain to see
	that aside from flirtin with the truth,
	they write good poetry.

	They'll pick a cowboy subject
	and suit it to their need,
	then rope and tie it to a page,
	with blinding cowboy speed.

	They think "poetic license"
	gives them power to pick and choose;
	So what, if what they say ain't true --
	What do they have to lose?

	They're apt to say that flick "High Noon"
	did NOT take place that way --
	The good and bad guy fought it out
	much later in the day.

	Right now I'm straddlin the fence
	a tryin to decide
	if this winding Cowboy Poet trail
	is one I'd like to ride.

POETIC COMPETITION (Cowboy Style) A colorful contender for the Cowboy Poet crown, attracted great attention when he ambled into town. He came across as vivid with a multi-hued onslaught-- His cowboy hat was purple, and his shirt gold polka-dot. He wore a pair of yellow cuffs with inserts done in plaid, and boasted of a wardrobe like no other poet had. There was a red bandanna wrapped around his scrawny neck, and his moustache, combed and waxed was long enough to cause a wreck. His costly Tony Llamas were a loud and glaring pink; His wooly orange sheepskin chaps would make your eyelids blink! They called on him to do his thing and when he took the stage, his lip began to tremble, then he flew into a rage!! He calmed, and said "I'm sorry folks-- I gotta go back home; It took so long to git dressed up I plumb forgot my poem!!" Shoe Follow Me

THE RODEO COWBOY He starts as a yearlin down home on the ranch; His first horse a stick horse from some sturdy branch. He's raised to the rigors of life in the West, and his daddy has faith he'll be up to the test. He outshines all others while goin through school; his creed is the creed of the staid golden rule. He works at his trade with what strength he can find, and knows most in this calling are out of their mind. His summers are spent on the rodeo road where the stress of this life is a big mental load. He battles the broncs and the bulls and the steers, and his payment is often how loud the crowd cheers. The paychecks are spotty, there's no way to fudge.. his fate in the hands of the rodeo judge. His saddle and chaps are the tools of his trade; His lean body scarred from mistakes that he's made, But he won't give it up, it's too doggone much fun... The Rodeo Cowboy ... that son-of-a-gun!

FAR EAST COWBOY We went for Chinese chop-chop at a restaurant here in town, and I told my wife to hurry up and gulp her food right down. She asked me why the hurry, and I said I must get home, to saddle my computer and compose a cowboy poem. She scoffed at me, the cow-boy, blessed with looks and tact and poise, and suggested that I couldn't tell the bovines from the boys. I ignored her blatant insult, and said one day she would crawl when I proved to all and sundry that I cowboyed best of all. Well, I hurried home and started on some clever cowboy verse, But for some elusive reason, things just went from bad to worse. It must have been the Chinese food, for much to my surprise, my cowboy hero ended up with Oriental eyes. Ah so.

THE SHERIFF The sign of the law in the wild wooly west Was a five pointed star on some lawman's worn vest, And a gun that hung low on a belt round his waist Within reach of his hand to quell trouble he faced. One notable sheriff who covered the ground Took pride in the fact that he worked without sound. He could sneak up on outlaws while they robbed the bank, For his horse didn't snort and his spurs didn't clank! He made not a sound while protecting his town, And soon carved out a rep which brought fame and renown. Bordellos and barrooms where he plied his trade Soon learned, when he said so, a spade was a spade. He labored in Tombstone, El Paso and Dodge. There was no western town where an outlaw could lodge. There was never a baddie that he couldn't tame -- Who was he, you ask?? QUIET EARP was his name! (Keep a'goin' on down the page.)

MY SORREL HORSE I felt the urge to write a poem about my sorrel horse. And since I was a cow-boy, it's a cowboy poem of course. I'm talkin now about the time when I was just a kid, So listen very closely, and I'll tell you what we did: I know my horse's name was "Flax", my daddy told me so. And in them days she went with me wherever I would go. I'd do the morning farm chores, then ride her into town, (That morning that she threw me off, I never did live down.) I'd get the town cow milked and then I'd hustle off to school, then after school reverse the route, according to Dad's rule. Now old Flax was kinda gimpy as a knowing one could tell ... She got that way when she was new, from fallin in a well One minute we were watchin her a grazin on the lawn, then,just like that, the ground gave way and poor old Flax was gone. She left a great big gapin hole, and a stiflin cloud of dust, and it scared me so I wet my pants and thought my lungs would bust. Well all the townfolks gathered round to help us get her out, Suggestions came from every side as loud as folks could shout. They lowered down a ladder and climbed down so they could see, if they could find an easy way to help old Flax get free. They tried to lift her by her legs with heavy rope and chain, and got her nearly to the top, then she fell back down again. Well, I rode that horse for four more years before I left to roam. She became a sort of legend, in the town that I called home. But, how did she get out, you say? Well, let his fact be known... She braced that flimsy ladder, then she climbed out on her own!! Follow Me

THOUGHTS OF AN AGING COWBOY Will there be horses in heaven? Will there be trails we can ride? Will I meet there my sidekick and trailhands Who, before me, have crossed the Divide? Can we gather at night round the campfire And talk of the days of our youth? Can each tale be embellished a little, Or will we be held to the truth? Will our saddles be heavily padded To soften the strain on our bones? Will music we hear from the bunkhouse Fill night air with clear cowboy tones? Will cattle browse softly and safely With never a cause to stampede? Will the wrangler who tends the remuda Have oats and alfalfa to feed? Will I find there a heavenly barroom Behind finely carved swinging doors, Where a man can buy cold sarsaparilla, A whiskey, a Bud or a Coors? If these scenes from my mind's view of heaven Can truly be found to be so; Please send me my summons by angel -- This cowboy is ready to go.

While you are here, please visit the memorial archive of my cowboy poet and humorist friend, Skinny Rowland, who, before crossing the Divide himself in 1997, lived in what he described as the closest thing to heaven. It often made me wonder ... MONTANA Where in the world is Montana? How do you get there from here? What is their foremost attraction? Is it mountains or horses or beer? Are natives there hostile or friendly? Would they welcome a dude from the East? Would they buy him a shot of rye whiskey And feed him a Dutch Oven feast? Do buffalo still roam the prairie Avoiding the gun and the bow? Do fish jump right into your tote-bag? Old timers will tell you it's so! Do grizzlies and cougars and white tails And others with prior domain Patrol in their realm at their choosing Without thought of human-caused pain? If so then it sounds like a winner, A place where a soul can be free ... Maybe too much for city born green horns, But a place that I'd like to go see!

Hey Bubba ... Ya know: Texans make the best of friends, form a bond which never ends. Reckon I'm the one to know, Got some good ones, I can show. Bub and Willie, Mary too, just to name a very few. Many more from Army days, but all have gone their separate ways. With wit and humor, stock in trade.... You, my friend your dues have paid. You twist the words round every way, 'til they say what you'd have them say. You know that this here rhymin game, without you, wouldn't be the same. Pirates, Sailors, Bullfrogs too, never get the best of you. You orchestrate the perfect blend.... I'm PROUD to have you as my friend. And this 'aint no West Texas joke.... Truer words jist 'aint been spoke.

THE PUNDEROSA 'Ol Bubba's got a rancho on the vast West Texas Plain, devoid of most utilities and downright cowboy plain. He has to get his power from the windmill by the creek, and days when Texas winds don't blow, he caint compute a lick! He's got a makeshift shanty where he beds ol' Roland down, and a peg to hang his rope* on, cause he does rope tricks in town. His team of Yukon Huskies and his low-slung flop-eared hound, He puts to work at roundup time, to git lost dogies found. He's got a outside barbecue that's big and sure good lookin, and works real well for gatherins, (when Gator does the cookin.) The plaster walls inside the house reflect his love of "Pun".. (They're decorated with awards for fibstorms that he's won!!) But best of all, when lookin south, away out there in back, an acre -- fenced with concrete posts -- A pasture for Old Slack!! *It's a cloud ropin rope.

DILEMMA IN DEADWOOD A wayfarin stranger was farin his way when he came to the outskirts of Deadwood one day. He reined in his Cayuse and looked all around, Confused by the markings he saw on the ground. The signs of a struggle he saw from his saddle all looked as though somebody had to skidaddle. The tracks in the road left his mind in some doubt-- There were none headin In, they were all headed out ! He rode into town and tied up at the jail hopin somebody in there could tell him the tale. The sheriff explained that the town was uptight; City Hall was broke into and robbed late last night. They formed up a posse to capture the crook and bring back that important loot that he took! He asked what was stole by this law breaking nerd, and thus opened the dam for the strangest tale heard. The Sheriff said: This town started small as a western town should, and was named for the trees where a forest once stood. A drifter one time was just driftin this way, and he liked what he saw, so decided to stay. Some others came by and said they liked it too, so they all went to work to see what they could do. They hauled in the dead wood and clapboards and more, workin on a saloon and a mercantile store. But an upcomin town such as this needed more than a Deadwood Saloon and a mercantile store. They held a town meetin and when it was through, They'd made up a list of some things they would do: They'd build a hotel and a church and a school and a barn where prospectors could stable their mule; They'd set up a boot hill, a park and a bank, and to settle the street dust, a big water tank. So they built up these things, then to govern them all, erected a brand spankin new city hall. Now to keep the accounts of a town such as this, they recruited Miss Amy, a comely young miss. She'd schooled in the East, and they knew it was true, that for runnin a town, she knew just what to do. She kept all the ledgers and paid every bill, and kept track of each body consigned to boot hill. The news of her expertise spread through the land, and she soon had a string of men after her hand. She listened politely but turned them all down sayin "I'm needed here to look after this town." The doc and the blacksmith and even the judge all asked her to wed but she just wouldn't budge. Her job was her passion was all she would say, and she fully intended to keep it that way. Then last night after hours she was checkin her books When this bold outlaw stranger, enthralled with her looks, broke down the front door in a Paul Bunyan way, and kidnapped Miss Amy and hauled her away. He gagged up her mouth and blindfolded one eye, hauled her onto his horse and took off on the fly headin North to the the badlands of New Mexico, Where no fast ridin posse would think he would go. Those tracks on the outskirts of town that you found were caused by the posse just millin around; They stopped to palaver on how to proceed to catch up with the dude who would pull such a deed. They studied those tracks to see what they could learn, and determine which way that bold outlaw would turn. Soon deputy Dan spit the chaw from his mouth and said: "Boys it's quite clear, that kidnapper went south!" So they all headed South in a single-file lope, taking with them the last of Miss Amy’s faint hope. The outlaw escaped and somehow on that ride, He converted Miss Amy from hostage to bride. He turned a new leaf and they soon settled down and enjoyed the good life in a new Western town. Meanwhile back in Deadwood, the town went berserk, with no one to do the late Miss Amy's work. The bills were not paid. Some guy robbed the bank. A drunk shot a hole in the big water tank; The church stood there empty and so did the school, and each prospector bypassed the town with his mule. The gravesites at boot hill became the town dump--- The whole cockeyed town found itself in a slump. A tale such as this takes a long time to spin and should end on a note which might foster a grin, but this intriguing story plain ran out of steam.... When the wayfarin stranger awoke from his dream! It all seemed so real in the back of his mind-- He had never before had a dream of this kind. Convinced that he'd really seen Deadwood that day, He climbed up on his horse, and rode slowly away.


© 1953-2003 Don Tidwell

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