COWBOY POETS, by Pat Richardson


by Pat Richardson (1934-2016)

When folks spot a cowboy poet,
they’ll often try the “DROP and ROLL”
knowing they’ll be trapped for hours
once he gets ’em button-holed
They’ll assault your ears for hours,
as they recant their endless tales
of imaginary daring
on fictitious cattle trails

Pretending that you’re deaf won’t work,
they’ll say “just read my lips”
as they hold up bushy facial hair
with dirty finger tips
They’ll get up close and talk real loud,
their breath will burn your eyes
and from that Copenhagen cavern
the stench will almost paralyze

You feel your head get woozy
and your body starts to sway
As he roars “Here’s one I know you’ll like,
I wrote it yesterday”
And even when he inhales,
he still smells like dirty socks
and you know your only hope
is that his mind will vapor lock

Your shirt gets wet with slobbers
as they eulogize their horse
Till in last-ditch desperation,
you resort to brutal force
Now, on a cowboy poet’s tombstone
you can read this final quote
last words chiseled into granite,
“Here’s another one I wrote.”

© 2007, Pat Richardson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Laughing at yourself can be a good thing. Top cowgirl poet and quilting champion Yvonne Hollenbeck reminded us of this poem by her close friend, the late, irreverent Pat Richardson.

As we wrote when he died in 2016, “Pat’s life was a testament to the human spirit. He raised himself from a hardscrabble and difficult life, overcame the challenge of polio, and led an early, colorful cowboying and rodeo life. He was an artist and cartoonist. His deadpan humor, which often pushed the boundaries of political correctness, delighted a legion of fans.

“Pat was fiercely loyal to his friends and family and was a quietly devout and generous man. His passing, and the recent losses of his friends Glenn Ohrlin and Walt LaRue, mark the end of an era. Their stories will live on.”

Pat Richardson’s brother, the late Jess Howard, recited this poem on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Seven.  Jess took this 1955 photo of Pat that is the cover of that CD.


Find more about Pat Richardson at

It’s a busy season for cowboy poetry gatherings, where you’ll find good cowboy poets. Coming up this month are Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering. Just finished are the Cochise Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Gathering, the Colorado Cowboy Gathering, and many other events. Find our calendar here.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)