CYCLONES AND DOGIES
by Griff Crawford (1876-1953)
It was raining nice and gentle
At the Cross-Bar Lazy-B,
When the foreman, Wild Hoss Charley
Lit his pipe and said to me:
“Ever see a cyclone, pardner?
Well, there’s nicer things I know,
And I happens to remember
One in Texas years ago.
It is mighty hot and dusty
And I’m headin’ down a draw,
Huntin’ for a cussed dogie
That has recent lost its ma.
When I hears a funny roarin’,
And I’m lookin’ up to see—
When here comes a cyclone, pardner,
Like a herd hell-bent for me.
And it lifts me pard, it lifts me,
Horse and all, and here we go,
Like the devil beatin’ tan-bark,
Up across New Mexico.
I ain’t sayin’ jest exactly
What we’re makin’, but its fast,
And I’m plum excited pronto,
Wonderin’ if I’m gonta last.
But I’m free to say fer certain
That I plum enjoys it, son,
Settin’ on my bronc, Apache,
That fer onct ain’t buckin’ none.
So we keeps a glidin’ easy
For an hour, or mebbe two;
When we turns back into Texas—
Which I’m glad to see it do.
And it mebbe sounds presumpshus,
But I kinda got the swing,
How, by leanin’ back and forward,
I could guide the pesky thing.
And I gets it back, I’m sayin’,
To a mile or so from town;
Then the thing gets tired or somethin’
And it quits and lets us down.
And I’m standin’ sorta shaky—
But I sudden has to laff
Fer right there beside Apache
Is that cussed dogie calf.
We had picked him up and fetched him
Right along from where he’s hid
So you might say that the cyclone
Sorta helped me out—it did.
“But I’m worried fer Apache—
Acts as though he’s mebbe sick
When I sudden gets back on him,
But he satisfied me quick
That he’s plumb O.K. and ready—
Fer he gives a squeal and pitch,
And he lands me neat and certain
On some cactus in a ditch.
So I pats him pard, I pats him—
With a stroke that’s good and stanch;
Then I ropes the dogie gentle
And we heads it fer the ranch.”
I suppose that such a cyclone
Killed or wounded quite a lot?
But the foreman, Wild Horse Charley,
Only murmured “I’ve forgot.”
…by Griff Crawford, from Wild Horse Charley of the Cross-Bar-Lazy-B (1928)
Here’s the last poem in our week of “windy weather” poems.
Griff Crawford’s humorous tales about “Wild Horse Charley of the Cross-Bar-Lazy-B” are included in his 1928 book with that title.
Crawford was born Oliver Griffith Crawford in 1876. He worked as a train scheduler for the Santa Fe Railroad for many years, stationed around the country, with stays in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, where he died in 1953.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Crawford wrote stories, poems, and fillers, including short rhymes that appeared in various newspapers. His obituary notes, “Mr. Crawford, who became known nationally as a poet and author, was a native of Ohio, born at New Lisbon in 1876. But though he wrote many short stories and poems, writing was his hobby and railroading his ‘First Love.'”
Find a selection poems and more about Crawford at cowboypoetry.com.
This 1898 photograph, “Oklahoma Cyclone,” is from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
(This poem and photograph are in the public domain.)