MAYBE IT’S YOUR CALLIN’ by Janice Gilbertson


by Janice Gilbertson

Maybe it’s that certain way
Early morning smells in June
The fragrance of the damp leftover heat

Maybe it’s the rise and fall
Of golden dust at dawn
From the milling of the saddlehorses’ feet

It could be the slap of leather
The jangle of the bridle chains
The cadence of the hoofbeats down the lane

There’s that friendly cowboy banter
And the planning of the gather
Some spittin’ and some razzin’ to sustain

There’s the frolic of the cowdogs
In their rough and tumble glory
There’s the quiver of excitement in a mount

In the mid-light of the coming
Of the sunlight o’er the ridge
Maybe that is what it’s really all about

Then there’s that swagger on your jog
And that ole sense of satisfaction
You can get when you bring in that ornery stray

And when you water at the crossin’
Give your horse a little rub
Maybe that would be the best time of your day

Ah! Maybe it’s the headin’ home
Followin’ your shadow
Anticipatin’ supper and your bed

Maybe it’s the certain way
The night air smells in June
Or a hundred things that never could be said

Could be the knowin’ where you fit
That easy comfort in your soul
Like that ole saddle that you ride most every day

Just maybe it’s your callin’
Or, you were just born lucky
Cuz you know you couldn’t live no other way

© 2008, Janice Gilbertson
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

California poet, novelist, and horsewoman Janice Gilbertson commented on her poem, “Wouldn’t life be grand if we could each be doing the work we know and love every day, and have the comfort that comes in knowing that we are exactly where we are meant to be.”


Janice Gilbertson’s second novel, Canyon House, published by PEN-L publishing, has just been named a Willa Award Finalist. The respected award from Women Writing the West “…honors the best in literature, featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West that are published each year…The award is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather, one of the country’s foremost novelists.”

Read Chapter One of “Canyon House” at PEN-L Publishing.

Janice has been an invited poet at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry
Gathering and performs at other events across the West. Her work has appeared in anthologies and compilations, and she has poetry books and recordings and another novel, Summer of ’58. Find more at her web site,, and at

The photo above is of Janice Gilbertson on the Glen Aulin Trail high above Yosemite Meadows.