WHAT WOULD MARTHA DO? by Yvonne Hollenbeck

martha2015photo © 2015, Yvonne Hollenbeck

by Yvonne Hollenbeck

Martha’s making millions showing people how to cook
with her syndicated TV show, her magazines and books.
But she don’t know a darned bit more than gals like me and you
‘though we don’t get a nickel for the many things we do.

It never seems to matter when her hair gets in her eyes;
she just pulls it back and then commences making cakes and pies.
She licks the batter off her fingers right there on TV,
and why she’s getting paid for it sure beats the likes of me.

I wonder if she’d fair so well if she lived on a ranch;
and what she’d use to get manure off of boots and pants.
And when she’s plumb exhausted and she has to feed a crew,
I sometimes stop and wonder: “What would Martha do?”

When hubby hollers that he’s stuck and he could use a pull,
would she know how to find the gears and let the clutch out slow?
I wonder how she’d do sorting yearlings through a gate.
That would test her many skills . . . perhaps would be her fate.

Would she know how to fix a fence and put a splice in wire,
or use a soaked-up gunnysack to fight a prairie fire?
And when she’s using cream and eggs, do you suppose that she’d know how
to clean a hen house, separate, or milk a kicking cow?

Her fancy TV oven, I doubt would fill the bill,
when in the house he brings a calf that’s taken on a chill.
Would she know how to do the chores when hubby has the flu?
I sometimes stop and wonder: “What would Martha do?”

Last week I helped with fencing; we set a couple gates;
I hadn’t done no housework in more than several days.
I came home sore and tired, and much to my surprise
was a couple cattle buyers, so I had to feed those guys.

And then I set another plate, ‘cause guess who next arrived?
The banker, with his briefcase, came pulling in our drive.
He said that he was passing by, so thought he’d stop and look
at our cattle and our horses and he’d like to check my books.

Now folks, I’d been real busy, and my books were way behind,
but I told him he could check them, I really didn’t mind,
’cause the records that I showed him were far from being true.
After all, I got to thinking: “What would Martha do?”

© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

It’s the 19th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, and we’re sharing the best of the best.


Top cowboy poet and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck tells about her inspiration for this poem, an audience favorite: “One hot day in August, I spent several hours helping fight a prairie fire at a neighboring ranch. When I returned home, I was hot, dirty, tired, hungry, thirsty, and crabby. I turned on television to see if there was any chance of rain the forecast, only to see Martha Stewart showing how to properly iron table linens. As tired as I was, I wrote this poem before I went to bed that night.”

The poem is included in her book, From My Window, and on her CD, What Would Martha Do. It’s also on the first volume of The BAR-D Roundup from CowboyPoetry.com.

Yvonne Hollenbeck delights audiences across the West. Her latest book and CD are Rhyming the Range. Both collect her original poems. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry. Rumor is that she has a new collection in the works.

Yvonne is a part of the must-see film, Everything in the Song is True, Doug Morrione’s award-winning feature-length documentary “of four iconic western characters”: Gary McMahan, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Brice Chapman, and Greg Nourse. Find more about the film at everythinginthesongistrue.com. It’s now available to stream at Amazon.

Find more about Yvonne Hollenbeck and her complete schedule, which includes quilting events, at yvonnehollenbeck.com.

Find more of Yvonne Hollenbeck’s poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2015 photo of the Hollenbeck ranch shows their west pasture. Yvonne and her champion calf-roper husband Glen raise cattle and quarter horses.

(Respect copyright. Request permission to share this poem or photo.)