HIGH AN’ WICKED by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)



by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

When they cut you out a bucker
why the boys all gathers ’round
Fer to see the hull performance
whan you let the hammer down,
They will help you while you saddle
and they ear him down you bet,
Till they git you up a straddle
and you tell ’em that yore set.

Then they jump away and holler
and they hit him with their hat,
And he bucks plum high and wicked
weavin’ crooked like a bat.
When he hits the ground he shakes you,
then he lurches through the air–
You cain’t see that broncho no place
but you shore can feel he’s there.

Now you aim to show that critter
there’s a cow boy on his back,
So you rake him down the shoulders
and you pitch the cuss the slack.
Then you show the other fellers
how you fan ’em with yore lid,
And the old hoss bucks and bellers
while you holler like a kid.

Now yore gittin’ kinda dizzy
and yore feelin’ soter shook;
You was sartin you could ride him
but you might have been mistook.
But his jumps begin to weaken
and at last his head appears;
It’s a welcome sight old cowboy,
is a buckin’ hoss’s ears.

….Bruce Kiskaddon

Kiskaddon’s gift for description pairs well with the Katherine Field illustration from this 1933 Los Angeles Union Stock Yards calendar page.

The reverse of the page states, “This is the seventh of a series of calendars issued monthly by the Los Angeles Union Stock Company. Bruce Kiskaddon’s realistic cowboy poems are illustrated by Miss Katherine Field, a New Mexico girl who makes her sketches from actual, living scenes on her own cow ranch.”

Kiskaddon and Field collaborated on works for the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar and the Western Livestock Journal from 1936 to 1942, when she had to stop working to take care of her ailing parents and her children. In 1949 they renewed their partnership. Kiskaddon died in 1950 and had written six-month’s worth of poems in advance. Field illustrated them all before her own death in 1951.The two never met in person.

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today.

Find much more about Kiskaddon: many of his poems; a feature about Bill Siems’ monumental Open Range that collects nearly 500 of Kiskaddon’s poems; Siems’ collection of Kiskaddon’s short stories, Shorty’s Yarns; and more at CowboyPoetry.com.

Look for our new CD, MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poems of Bruce Kiskaddon, recited by a great community of cowboy poets, in April, 2019. CDs are offered to libraries across the West in Cowboy Poetry Week’s Rural Library Program. Find earlier MASTERS CDs here. If you’d like your library to be included, email us.

This poem is in the public domain and the illustration comes from our collection of Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar pages.