© Tim Cox, “Racing Sundown”
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)
It ain’t so very pleasant when the rain is pourin’ down,
And a hoss cain’t even hurry on the wet and muddy ground,
For the rain has done and got you lots of miles from anywhere,
So it ain’t no use to hurry fer it wouldn’t git you there.
So you jest hump up and take it as you ride across the flat,
While your clothes is wet and soakin’ and the rain runs off your hat.
You git cold acrost the shoulders and your back is gittin’ wet.
And there’s quite a bit of moisture in the saddle where you set.
And it sorter sets you thinkin’ of the folks that live in town.
They go indoors when it’s rainin’, all they do it set around.
But the man that punches cattle doesn’t get a break like that.
There ain’t no roof on a saddle; he lives onderneath his hat.
When a cowboy hits bad weather he shore makes some solemn vows
That he’s through a poundin’ leather and he’s through a punchin’ cows.
Yes, he does a heap of growlin’ but it doesn’t mean a lot
Fer a rain don’t hurt him any and it’s mighty soon forgot.
And it eases up his feelin’s fer to make a little talk,
But he knows it’s good fer paster and it’s mighty good for stock.
And, to tell the truth, it’s funny WHY a waddy talks like that
When it makes the bosses money and it keeps his hosses fat.
So he ort to stop and figger he is there to earn his pay,
And there ain’t no job a goin’ that is pleasant every way.
But he knows without no tellin’ if a job was only fun
Folks would pay to git to do it, ‘stead of pay to git it done.
…Bruce Kiskaddon, 1936
In his introduction to Kiskaddon’s 1924 book, “Rhymes of the Ranges,” Frank King wrote, “Bruce Kiskaddon is a real old time cowboy, having started his cattle ranch experience in the Picket Wire district of southern Colorado as a kid cowhand and rough string rider and later on northern Arizona ranges, especially as a writer for the late Tap Duncan, famous as a Texas and Arizona cattleman, and one time the largest cattle holder in Mojave County, Arizona, where Bruce rode for years, after which he took a turn as a rider on big cattle stations in Australia. All this experience is reflected in his western poems, because he has had actual experience in the themes he puts into verse, He had no college professor teach him anything. He is a natural born poet and his poems show he knows his business. The best cowhand poems I have ever read. His books should be
in every home and library where western poetry is enjoyed.”
Much of what is known about Kiskaddon and his work comes from “Open Range,” Bill Siems’ monumental collection of Kiskaddon’s poetry. Bill Siems also collected Bruce Kiskaddon’s short stories in a book called “Shorty’s Yarns.” Find more in the Kiskaddon features at CowboyPoetry.com.
This great painting by Tim Cox, “Racing Sundown,” is a fun contrast to this poem. It’s available in a number of formats here.
One of today’s most visible and most popular Western artists who has earned countless awards, his bio tells that, “Tim is a fourth generation Arizonan born in 1957 and raised in the farming and ranching community of Duncan, Arizona near the New Mexico state line.” Find more at timcox.com and also at the Cowboy Artists of America site.
Thanks to Suzie Cox and Tim Cox for their permissions.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this image with this post, but for any other use, please request permission. The poem is in the public domain.)