photo © 2015, Mike Moutoux; request permission for any use
CODE OF THE COW COUNTRY
by S. Omar Barker (1894–1985)
It don’t take such a lot of laws
To keep the rangeland straight,
Nor books to write ’em in, because
There’s only six or eight.
The first one is the welcome sign—
True brand of western hearts:
“My camp is yours an’ yours is mine,”
In all cow country parts.
Treat with respect all womankind,
Same as you would your sister.
Take care of neighbors’ strays you find,
And don’t call cowboys “mister.”
Shut pasture gates when passin’ through;
An’ takin’ all in all,
Be just as rough as pleases you,
But never mean nor small.
Talk straight, shoot straight, and never break
Your word to man nor boss.
Plumb always kill a rattlesnake.
Don’t ride a sorebacked hoss.
It don’t take law nor pedigree
To live the best you can!
These few is all it takes to be
A cowboy—and a man!
© S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.
S. Omar Barker, as described in Cowboy Miner Productions’ collection of his work, “…was born in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico… a rancher, high school teacher, college professor, forest ranger, soldier, outdoorsman, and legislator… named after his father Squire L. Barker, but went by Omar, he often signed his books with his initials and trademark brand, ‘Lazy SOB.'”
He was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. Find more about S. Omar Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.
This photograph by New Mexico cowboy, singer-songwriter, poet, and entertainer Mike Moutoux of a fall branding at Randy Huston’s ranch was featured in Picture the West at CowboyPoetry.com.
Have a look at Mike’s video/photo show accompanied by his song, “In the Sangre de Cristos,” here on Facebook.
Catch Mike Moutoux at the Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering (February 3-5, 2017) in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The event celebrates its 25th anniversary and featured artists are Arvel Bird, Mikki Daniel, Desert Suns, Rena Randall & Due West Trio, Juni Fisher, Sue Harris, Carol Heuchan, Susie Knight, Jon Messenger, Dale Page, Saddle Strings, and Jay Snider. Participating artists include Broken Chair Band, Call of the West, Van Criddle, Sam DeLeeuw, Mike Dunn, Nancy Elliot, Kerry Grombacher, Purly Gates, Harpy Trails, Larry Harmer, Randy Huston, Ken & Jerye, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Peggy Malone, Carol Markstrom, Mike Moutoux, Terry Nash, Tony Norris, Notable Exceptions, and Outriders. Find more at the gathering web site and on Facebook.