CANYONS by Floyd Beard

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CANYONS
by Floyd Beard

Have you ridden in the canyons
Where the cedar smell is sweet.
And the sandstone and the malpais
Form cliffs above the draw?
And the breezes blow the grasses,
And a person feels complete
As you ride along the mesa
Through a land that’s rich and raw.

New dawn blazons o’er the ridgeline
Pink and gold in hue and grace,
As the darkened shadows scatter
‘Neath rock and shrub and tree.
‘Til the silver shards of sunlight
Stab forth as in a foot race
Bringing shape to all the landscape
As the stubborn shadows flee.

Ever gently then you hear it,
The canyon chorale singing;
Joins the creaking of the saddle
And the sighing of the breeze.
Canyon wrens are trilling proudly,
Morning doves softly winging,
As the screech of the red tail
Causes creatures small to freeze.

Then your mind begins to wander
As you ride by ancient script
Chipped into the sandstone varnish
Left by man long ago.
Did his message hold a promise?
Or could it be as he chipped
That he also loved these canyons,
His record left to show.

Have you rode out on a rim rock
Overlooking canyon wide?
And you see the distant mesas
Abound with chasm deep.
Far below, down near the bottom
Water weeps from the cliff side,
Crystal clear and cold, refreshing
There pools a canyon seep.

You just sit there and you listen
And you gaze upon this view.
From atop your leather throne.
Your being seems so small.
And you marvel at this artwork,
Every color, every hue.
You can feel the ancient spirits
And hear the silence call.

To have ridden in the canyons
A picture with so many panes,
Where the very smell of pinion
Will permeate your soul.
Where the cliffs and sandy washes
Will pulse within your veins,
Their spirits softly speaking
Let you know that you are whole.

© 2018, Floyd E. Beard
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Colorado rancher Floyd Beard shared this photo of  “…riding in the canyons of southeast Colorado, one of the places that inspired the poem.” He comments, “I also spent much of my childhood in the canyons of northeastern New Mexico in the Canadian River country,” experiences that inspired this poem.

“Canyons” was selected for the current issue of The Western Way from the International Western Music Association, in the “Penned by Lantern Light” column, which spotlights poetry of the members of the Western Wordsmith’s chapter. View the entire magazine in a pdf file here.

Floyd Beard’s most recent CD is Short Grass County. Find more about it and Floyd at his web site, floydbeardcowboy.com.

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

THE BUYER’S TYPE, by Floyd Beard

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THE BUYER’S TYPE
by Floyd Beard

I’m standing here pushing up a steer,
as I load the truck today.
Looks thick and fat from where I’m at,
as I send him on his way.

Yell out your bid, or wave your lid
as you catch the auctioneer’s cry.
Run up his price, you know he’s nice,
let ‘em know you want to buy!

You hope each spring that your cow’ll bring,
a calf of the buyers’ type.
So that next fall at the auctioneer ball,
they’ll all want to take a swipe.

I ain’t for gore but a bidder’s war,
‘tween buyers is mighty fine.
When they’ll bid once more, o’er the buyer next door,
and the calves they’re wantin’s mine.

Then I go inside and I strut with pride,
as I settle at the cashier’s till.
Weight tickets come down and they’re “times’ed” per pound,
and the gold my pockets fill.

What…I take the shrink? Is that fair ya’ think?
The commission is then pulled out!
And a feed cost’s there for two days of care,
boy that yardage is kinda’ stout.

Well they whittled my check, but then what the heck,
better get what I got to the bank.
Get your grubby mitts off my money you nits,
my ship came in and purt near sank.

Take out pasture cost and the ones I lost,
I’m barely gonna cover my bills.
Still owe the vet charge, and the feed bill’s large,
now I’m cuttin’ out most of my thrills.

Well the trucker’s paid and the mortgage made,
and repair bills paid at the shop.
Fuel’s laid in, mill’s pumping again,
propane sure took a big hop.

Well I’ll fix the roof next year and maybe see clear,
to get by on the tires I’ve got.
And I’ll burn more wood, and maybe I could,
patch the tank where it’s got the rot.

I’ll watch what I buy and if prices stay high,
I’ll get by for another year.
I’ll just be brave, use the heifers I save,
and try to not choke on fear.

If I squeeze real tight, I’ll make it alright,
and there ain’t no use to gripe.
But if I got any pull, I pray that ol’ bull,
will throw calves of the buyers’ type

© 2014, Floyd Beard, used with permission

This poem appears on popular Colorado rancher and poet Floyd Beard’s recent CD, Short Grass Country. The album includes original poems and recitations of classic poems by Luther Lawhon, E.A. Brininstool, Sunny Hancock, and Banjo Paterson. It’s all tied together with fine music by Butch Hause.

Floyd Beard comments on “Buyer’s Type” in the liner notes, “Cattlemen work in a year-long cycle. This poem marks the end of one cycle and beginning of the next.  It also points out that ranches love their calves to sell high, but it is sure not all profit.”

Find Rick Huff’s review on the CowboyPoetry.com blog, where he calls Short Grass Country, a “collection of top-drawer cowboy thoughts and delivery.”

This photo is courtesy of Floyd Beard.

Find more about Floyd Beard at CowboyPoetry.com and  at his web site,
floydbeardcowboy.com.

Floyd is making an impressive and determined recovery from a stroke earlier this year, and he is back on the cowboy poetry trail, as he likes to call it. One place he’s headed is New Mexico’s Fifth Annual Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering, August 24-26, 2018. The gathering has “…over 20 top notch, award-winning pickers, singers, and poets lined up..” Floyd joins Terry Nash, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Dale Burson, Randy Huston, Peggy Malone, Jim Jones, Doug Figgs, and others.

Find more about the event on Facebook and at cimarroncowboygathering.com.

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

THE CARLSBAD by Floyd Beard

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THE CARLSBAD
by Floyd Beard

A short introduction:

The prospectors headed westward,
In search of the mother lode.
They endured the broiling sun and soaking rains.
JB Stetson saw their plight,
So he invented for them a lid.
The first style was known as the Boss of the Plains.
Though the miners took right to it,
The cowboy also saw its worth.
But they rolled the brim and creased the dome a tad.
Then they proudly wore their Stetsons,
The former Boss of the Plains.
For the new crease was know as the Carlsbad.
Many, many decades later
Hollywood made a film,
Lonesome Dove, and it created quite a fuss.
In it a cowboy proudly wore his Stetson.
So now the crease called Carlsbad
Is known by everybody as “The Gus.”

THE CARLSBAD

It had hung there in the corner
T’was its place for 50 year,
On the old tarnished coat rack by the door.
Inch wide ribbon made of satin
Once did proudly wrap the sphere,
Though sweat stains bleached its glory long before.

But each stain holds a story
Memories the felt holds tight,
Of a life with a cowboy it could tell.
There were times it filled with laughter,
There were times as dark as night.
Each memory, every stain, it knew them well.

It could recall in days of young
When it proudly rode the range.
T’was a crown upon a young cowboy free.
On the wind they rode together.
And to some it might sound strange,
But a cowboy’s hat is all it wished to be.

Now the grease and stains hold stories
Of the rim rocks that they rode,
Of rains as thunderstorms discharged their lights.
Grand horses beneath the leather;
Freezing rides on nights it snowed;
Every trial, all their rituals and rites.

Of the time it turned a cow,
Slapped her fully in the face.
Broke her challenge and sent’er on her way.
The times it caught rainwater.
Times it urged a faster pace.
Times it twirled when he was sociable ‘n gay.

It was with him as a young man,
Bold and strong their wanderlust.
The grasslands and the mountains wore their track.
It rode with him every outing
Through each whelm and sun baked gust,
As their circles took them out then brought ’em back.

Yes, and how he loved the horses;
Beauty, strength, astounding power.
With fervor he looked forward to their ride.
Rocky trail or through a tempest
Nor did matter time nor hour,
His accomplice that hat he wore with pride.

Now his hands are scarred and buggered
And arthritis call them home.
His bones recall each bad wreck with a sigh.
And the hat is bent and dusty
With salt stains that ring the dome,
A tribute to the miles that have gone by.

Yes, it is a JB Stetson
With a crease of Carlsbad,
The old satin band now frayed with fuzz.
It still hangs there in the corner.
It belonged to my granddad.
I pray I might be half the man he was.

© 2017, F. E. Beard
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission

Colorado rancher and poet Floyd Beard tells this poem was inspired by his grandfather, Earl Case, “who loved horses, riding, working and ‘messing’ with them all his life. His old black Stetson hung on the coat rack by the door all of my early life. The hat was lost when the old homestead house burned down in the 1980s.”

Floyd told us that he won the 2017 Western Music Association (WMA) Cowboy Poetry contest with this poem. He was also named 2017 Top Male Poet by the WMA.

You can catch Floyd at the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Golden (January 19-21); the Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Event in Lawler/New Hampton, Iowa (January 26-27); the Cochise Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Sierra Vista, Arizona (February 3-4); and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine (March 2-3).

Find more about Floyd Beard at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site, floydbeardcowboy.com; and on Facebook.

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This 1940 photograph by Russell Lee (1903-1986) is titled, “Cattleman with his grandson at auction of beef steers and breeding stock at the San Angelo Fat Stock Show. San Angelo, Texas. The Stetson hat, leather coat and boots are standard everyday wear of  ranchmen. There is an old saying in Texas that a man never buys but two Stetsons, one when he gets married and the other when his oldest son gets married.”

It’s from The Library of Congress Farm Service Administration collection. Find more about it here.

Find a feature about noted photographer Russell Lee and a gallery of photographs at the University of Texas at Austin.

AIN’T A HERMIT by Floyd Beard

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AIN’T A HERMIT
by Floyd Beard

Well now I ain’t no real recluse,
hermit ain’t my real excuse,
but neighbors they are sparse where I come from.
I often sit and talk a spell
but a poet said it well.
I like folks best when they are scattered some.

So let my story now unwind,
build a picture in your mind
of canyon land, that’s rugged, vast and free.
Where broken canyons braid for miles,
mountain peaks stack up in piles;
A torn and arid range is what you’ll see.

There I awake and stretch and yawn
and I ride out on the dawn
where prairies melt into the canyons deep.
A bunch of cattle I find there
in the cool crisp morning air,
On gramma grass around a canyon seep.

Melodic spurs, steel shoes on rock
softly sing out as we walk
‘Neath sandstone cliffs that beetle way up high.
The prickly pear are in full bloom
where the ponderosa loom,
In stark contrast against an azure sky.

Near noon I pass a basin pool
of fresh water clear and cool.
‘Neath pines the cattle shade up from the sun.
I sit and lean against a tree
pony hobbled grazing free.
My canyon cafe’s charm is next to none.

I catch my pony, cinch my kack,
settle down upon his back.
My circle still has lots of miles to go.
Around a bend I stop and see,
a big mulie watching me.
He bounces off a makin’ quite a show.

Through rocks and brush on trail so dim,
upward to the canyon rim,
My pony and a good dog by my side.
We pause atop the sandstone cliffs
and enjoy the fragrant whiffs
of sagebrush as we gaze on vistas wide.

Now cross’t the mesa I ride out,
Salt and water on my route.
The grass is green, the mill is pumping free.
Shore, we could use a soaking rain.
But you won’t hear me complain,
With grass and water, I’ll just let’er be.

A large crevasse defines the trail,
down through boulders, brush and shale
We wind our way back to the canyon floor.
Passed by an old homesteader’s shack,
weathered walls now sag and crack,
A vestige of their dreams held long before.

I rein my pony toward home,
turning loose my thoughts to roam
O’re morning trails and canyon coves of rest.
Storm clouds build high o’re canyon brow
so we hit a long trot now
To hustle to the barn shore might be best.

Back on my ranch house porch I stand
cup of coffee in my hand.
I’m lost in thought and thunder from above.
My collie cowers ‘neath my feet,
rain washed breezes smell so sweet,
Revival to the country that I love.

Well like I said back at the start,
ain’t a hermit in my heart
though I live out where the land is vast and free.
I love my friends and all their ways
but I’m most at home those days
in the saddle, just my pony, dog and me.

© 2016, Floyd Beard, used with permission
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Colorado rancher Floyd Beard’s poem was recently chosen for a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He was named the Western Music Association’s top Male Poet in 2016.

Floyd tells us, “‘Ain’t a Hermit’ is written about making a circle in the canyons of Southeast Colorado near the Dry Cimarron where we run cattle with our family. The area is an arid and rugged canyon country. Each of the stanzas with their descriptive language are sights that we experience while out riding and checking cattle. I hope that you enjoy riding along and making a circle with me.”

Floyd acknowledges that the line in the poem, “I like folks best when they are scattered some.” is a reference to Badger Clark’s, “The Old Cowman.”

This photo, by Valerie Beard, is of Floyd Beard and his notable mustache. Below are some photos of Floyd Beard’s country.

Floyd Beard’s recent CD is Short Grass Country (and it includes this poem).

Find more about Floyd Beard at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site, floydbeardcowboy.com; and on Facebook.

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THE BUYER’S TYPE by Floyd Beard

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THE BUYER’S TYPE
by Floyd Beard

I’m standing here pushing up a steer,
as I load the truck today.
Looks thick and fat from where I’m at,
as I send him on his way.

Yell out your bid, or wave your lid
as you catch the auctioneer’s cry.
Run up his price, you know he’s nice,
let ‘em know you want to buy!

You hope each spring that your cow’ll bring,
a calf of the buyers’ type.
So that next fall at the auctioneer ball,
they’ll all want to take a swipe.

I ain’t for gore but a bidder’s war,
‘tween buyers is mighty fine.
When they’ll bid once more, o’er the buyer next door,
and the calves they’re wantin’s mine.

Then I go inside and I strut with pride,
as I settle at the cashier’s till.
Weight tickets come down and they’re “times’ed” per pound,
and the gold my pockets fill.

What…I take the shrink? Is that fair ya’ think?
The commission is then pulled out!
And a feed cost’s there for two days of care,
boy that yardage is kinda’ stout.

Well they whittled my check, but then what the heck,
better get what I got to the bank.
Get your grubby mitts off my money you nits,
my ship came in and purt near sank.

Take out pasture cost and the ones I lost,
I’m barely gonna cover my bills.
Still owe the vet charge, and the feed bill’s large,
now I’m cuttin’ out most of my thrills.

Well the trucker’s paid and the mortgage made,
and repair bills paid at the shop.
Fuel’s laid in, mill’s pumping again,
propane sure took a big hop.

Well I’ll fix the roof next year and maybe see clear,
to get by on the tires I’ve got.
And I’ll burn more wood, and maybe I could,
patch the tank where it’s got the rot.

I’ll watch what I buy and if prices stay high,
I’ll get by for another year.
I’ll just be brave, use the heifers I save,
and try to not choke on fear.

If I squeeze real tight, I’ll make it alright,
and there ain’t no use to gripe.
But if I got any pull, I pray that ol’ bull,
will throw calves of the buyers’ type

© 2014, Floyd Beard, used with permission

This poem appears on popular Colorado rancher and poet Floyd Beard’s recent CD, Short Grass Country. The album includes original poems and recitations of classic poems by Luther Lawhon, E.A. Brininstool, Sunny Hancock, and Banjo Paterson. It’s all tied together with fine music by Butch Hause.

Floyd Beard comments on “Buyer’s Type” in the liner notes, “Cattlemen work in a year-long cycle. This poem marks the end of one cycle and beginning of the next. It also points out that ranches love their calves to sell high, but it is sure not all profit.”

Find Rick Huff’s review here, where he calls Short Grass Country a “collection of top-drawer cowboy thoughts and delivery.”

Find more about Floyd Beard at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site; and on Facebook.

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