by Terry Nash

Catch two below the hocks
And then drag ‘em to the fire,
Work ‘em slow and easy,
Lest you stir the bosses’ ire.
The family’s at the fire
With hot irons and vaccination.
Young and old, each has a job
In this time-worn occupation.

Catch two below the hocks,
Then bring ‘em slow and steady,
There ain’t no time to tarry
For the ground crew’s at the ready.
There’s a couple hundred calves to brand;
We’ll have ‘em worked by mid-day.
Turn each one out, mother him up
And know we’ve earned our pay.

It’s a cowman’s rite of spring,
This brandin’ calves traditon;
A western “sport of kings,”
Aand an honored avocation.
So catch two below the hocks boys,
We’ll sing your praises loud-
We’re feedin’ America good red beef!
So set your horses proud!

© 2016, Terry Nash, used with permission

Colorado cowman Terry Nash was inspired by Marcia Molnar’s painting, “Dust n’ Dogies,” which graced the Arizona Cowboy Poets poster this year. The gathering invites poets and musicians to be inspired by its poster art (and that inspired the Art Spur at

Terry comments, “I was inspired to write the poem when I saw Marcia’s great painting.It made me think of our spring brandings and family and neighbors coming together to help each other. As a cowman, I also think it’s important to remind people we raise beef to feed the American people.”

You’ll find Terry next at Colorado’s 28th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, September 29-October 2, 2016.

Performers include Wylie and the Wild West; night show poets and musicians Brooke Turner, Bonnie Krogman, Randy Rieman, Mary Kaye, R.P. Smith, Paul Larson, Jerry Brooks, and Miss Devon and the Outlaw; and daytime performers Amy Hale Auker, Floyd Beard, Almeda Terry, Don Cadden, Jeff Carson, Todd Carter and Family, Nona Kelley Carver, Ray Delgado, Mike Dunn, Slim Farnsworth, Rolf Flake, Randy Huston, Jo Lynn Kirkwood, Tim Krebs, Jarle Kvale, Lynn Belle Lewis, Bill May, Slim McWilliams, Terry Nash, Gail Steiger, Caitlyn Taussig, Sam Noble, Lindy Simmons, and Sam DeLeeuw.

Find more about the event on Facebook and at

Marcia Molnar’s bio tells that she “…lives in Prescott, Arizona, with her artist husband George Molnar. Together, they explore and paint Arizona ranch life as well as the Grand Canyon.” See the poem displayed with a larger image at Marcia Molnar’s site and find more about her and her work at the site and on Facebook.

Thanks to Marcia Molnar for permission to use this image.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and image with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)