COWBOY COURTIN’ TIME by Elizabeth Ebert


photo of “Jim,” © 2018, AmyHaleAuker


by Elizabeth Ebert

When Romeo went courtin’
He climbed a balcony,
And some men serenade you
Upon their bended knee.

Leander swam the Hellespont
To reach his lady’s side,
But when a cowboy comes a-courtin’
You get a pickup ride.

Sometimes the pickup’s even washed
(Will wonders never end?)
But like as not he’s brought along
His trusty cowdog friend.

The dog will bark a welcome
(And you know what that means)
There’ll be paw prints and dog hair
Upon your new black jeans.

The cowboy’ll open up the door
And hold it while you enter.
You know he’s gettin’ serious
‘Cause he sits you in the center.

The cowboy’s reeking of cologne,
Half a bottle, you can tell,
You wish he’d shared it with his friend
Who has that doggy smell.

A hairy face on one side
A mustache on the other,
And both of them are squeezin’ in
‘Til you think you’re gonna smother.

You sit there in the middle
Like a rabbit in the hole.
The one is merely droolin’
While the other’s droolin’ Skoal.

Makes a body sometimes ponder
On the strange queer twists of fate
Makes you sometimes even wonder
Which one really is your date.

The cowboy’ll put his arm around
And hug you ’til you hurt.
And then he starts to pawin’
(The dog, that is) your shirt.

They’ve got you snuggled there between
Just a pawn within their game.
I doesn’t matter where you turn
‘Cause they kiss about the same.

Long years have passed since courtin’ time
Changed me from Miss to Mrs.
And I’ll admit, I’ve grown to like
Those cowboy-cowdog kisses.

© 1997, Elizabeth Ebert
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission.

It’s a pleasure to have the perfect Valentine poem from South Dakota’s much-loved poet Elizabeth Ebert, who is turning 93 later this month. This poem appears in her book, Crazy Quilt. She introduces it, writing, “Don’t tell me that cowboys aren’t romantic!”

Journalist Carson Vaughan wrote about Elizabeth Ebert in a February, 2017 American Cowboy profile, “The Grande Dame of Cowboy Poetry.”

Find more about Elizabeth Ebert at

This photograph of “Jim” is by writer and cowboy Amy Hale Auker. Like Amy, Jim works and lives on Arizona’s Spider Ranch. He recently got a new partner, and you can follow the fun on Amy Hale Auker’s Instagram. Amy Hale Auker is the author of four acclaimed books—two novels and two essay collections—with new publications forthcoming. Find more about her at

Find more Valentine’s Day poems at