© 2020, Jessica Hedges
by Baxter Black
They call ‘em a vanishing breed.
They write books and take pictures
and talk like they’re all dyin’ out.
Like dinosaurs goin’ to seed
But that’s my friends yer talkin’ about.
Like Tex from Juniper Mountain.
He carved out a way of life
where only the toughest prevail.
He’s fifty-seven an’ countin’.
His sons now follow his trail.
And Mike who still ain’t got married.
At home in the seat of a saddle,
a sagebrush aristocrat.
I reckon that’s how he’ll be buried;
A’horseback, still wearin’ his hat.
There’s Bryan, Albert and Floyd.
Cowmen as good as the legends
to whom their livelihood’s linked,
Who’d be just a little annoyed
To know they’re considered extinct.
Some say they’re endangered species
Destined to fade into footnotes
like ropes that never get throwed.
To that I reply, “Bull Feces!”
They’re just hard to see from the road.
© Baxter Black, used with permission
It’s the 19th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, and we’re sharing the best of the best. Thanks to everyone who rode along.
What better way to end this week than with Baxter Black, top cowboy poet and occasional philosopher, who hardly needs an introduction. From Elko to NPR, he put cowboy poetry on the map.
Recently, Baxter Black asked us to relay this message, a policy announcement: “Since Baxter Black is no longer doing live performances, there are inquiries about others using his material in their performances. His policy is that anyone is welcome use his material in appropriate occasions, including non-profit or paid-for performances. He requests that the poems or stories be performed the way they are written, allowing for editing of length if needed. Please give the author credit.”
His office adds that no one, for any reason, has permission to include his work “on cds, books, or dvds…or to try to sell it in any manner, including online.”
This version of “Vanishing Breed?” comes from Poems Worth Saving, Baxter Black’s 2013 collection of 164 poems and stories.
Jessica Hedges, poet, cowboy, photographer, businesswoman, Western marketing expert, and mom and wife of a cowboy, generously shared this great recent photo that includes her husband, Sam. Jessica Hedges’s Branded in Ink company works at “Challenging the face of western marketing one brand at a time.” Her photography is available as prints, cards, and more. Find more at brandedinink.com and on Instagram.
(Request permission to share this poem and photo; use of the poem is permitted, as mentioned above.)