OLD-TIME COWBOYS by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

seventeen

 

OLD-TIME COWBOYS
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

Proudly they rode, those horseback men
Whose like we shall not see again,
Those cowboys of a day long gone
Who saddled broncs before the dawn
To ride the long day into night—
Clan cousins of the Ishmaelite.

Their marching music was the bawl
Of longhorn cattle, and the call
Of high adventure stirred their blood
To horseback pride and hardihood.

Dusty they rode. The salt of sweat
Was more to them than the alphabet,
And more the drum of a horse’s hoof
Than any fireside, field, or roof.

Partners of the wind, their spurs are rust
Their cattle trails long-settled dust,
But over their campfires’ ashened embers,
The steadfast northern star remembers
That proudly they rode, with ancient pride
Of all bold men and true who ride!

© S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker from Rawhide Rhymes; Singing Poems of the Old West

S. Omar Barker was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. He enjoyed signing his name with his brand, “Lazy SOB.”

Find more poetry and more about S. Omar Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.

This c. 1904 photograph is from the Library of Congress Prints and Photograph Division. It is captioned, “Seventeen cowboys posed informally.” Find more about it here.

(You can share this poem with this post, but please request permission for any other uses. This photograph is in the public domain.)