MORNING ON THE DESERT, by Katherine Fall Pettey

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MORNING ON THE DESERT
by Katherine Fall Pettey (1874-1951)

Morning on the desert,
and the wind is blowin’ free,
And it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you an’ me.
No more stuffy cities
where you have to pay to breathe—
Where the helpless, human creatures,
throng, and move, and strive and seethe.

Morning on the desert,
an’ the air is like a wine;
And it seems like all creation
has been made for me an’ mine.
No house to stop my vision
save a neighbor’s miles away,
An’ the little ‘dobe casa
that belongs to me an’ May.

Lonesome? Not a minute:
Why I’ve got these mountains here;
That was put there jest to please me
with their blush an’ frown an’ cheer.
They’re waitin’ when the summer sun
gets too sizzlin’ hot—
An’ we jest go campin’ in ’em
with a pan an’ coffee pot.

Morning on the desert!
I can smell the sagebrush smoke;
An’ I hate to see it burnin’,
but the land must sure be broke.
Ain’t it jest a pity
that wherever man may live,
He tears up much that’s beautiful,
that the good God has to give?

“Sagebrush ain’t so pretty?”
Well, all eyes don’t see the same;
Have you ever saw the moonlight
turn it to a silv’ry flame?
An’ that greasewood thicket yonder—
well, it smells jest awful sweet
When the night wind has been shakin’ it;
for smells it’s hard to beat.

Lonesome? well, I guess not!
I’ve been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert
with its stretches wide and brown;
All day through the sagebrush here,
the wind is blowin’ free.
An’ it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you and me.

…by Katherine Fall Pettey, from “Songs from the Sage Brush,” 1910

 

For many years, this poem was printed on postcards and reproduced with the comment, “Found written on the door of an old cabin in the desert.”  With some detective work and some luck, we found the author was Katherine Fall Pettey. Through her brother, she had ties to the Teapot Dome scandal, Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett. She lived the last decades of her life in a mental institution. Find more in our feature at cowboypoetry.com.

Popular reciter Jerry Brooks is responsible for bringing “Morning on the Desert” to audiences through her outstanding recitation.

These photos are of a century plant putting out its once-in-a-century bloom at Jerry Brooks’ own high desert home. Always ready to meet a challenge, in a drone-free feat, she rigged up two ladders to get a great view of the plant, over 20 feet tall. Look her up at Instagram.com to see more and other photos from her desert life.

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Find more about Jerry Brooks at cowboypoetry.com and also take a listen to her interview from last year on Andy Hedges’ “Cowboy Crossroads” (episode 31) where she tells about her life as a coal miner, talks about poetry, and more.

(Please respect copyright. You can share these photos with this post, but for other uses, request permission. The poem is in the public domain.)

MICROBES, by Bruce Kiskaddon

microbes

MICROBES
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

You hear of microbes and of germs
And all them eddicated terms.
They say a feller hadn’t oughter
Go fillin’ up on muddy water.

Fer once them microbes gets inside
They mighty soon have multiplied.
From what they say, I onderstand,
They’re mighty apt to kill a man.

But then a cow boy doesn’t mind.
He drinks what water he can find.
It may be mud or alkali,
He has to drink it and git by.

Now them there littly wigly worms
That sorter swims about and squirms,
I’ve drunk a heap of them you bet,
And none of ’em has hurt me yet.

Fer drinkin’ water, so to speak,
It hadn’t ort to be too weak.
Yore hoss can drink an awful lot.
His stummick never gits upsot.

And so perhaps a quart or two
Is not a goin’ to damage you.
Jest drink yore fill and go ahead.
The bugs you drunk will soon be dead.

…Bruce Kiskaddon, June 2, 1936

We’re celebrating Bruce Kiskaddon all of this week.

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area.

In Bill Siems’ “Shorty’s Yarns,” a collection of Kiskaddon’s short stories, he includes a 1938 note from the editor of the Western Livestock Journal, where many of Kiskaddon’s poems and stories were printed. He quotes the editor who refers to Kiskaddon’s own description of his early days:

“My first work with cattle was down in southwest Missouri. I was twelve years old. Four of us, all about the same age, were day herding a bunch of cows on what unfenced country there was around that place. We had quite a lot of room and at night we put them in an eighty acre pasture. We four kids worked at it all summer. We rode little Indian horses and went home at night. Not much cow punching, that’s a fact, but it was big business to us. The talk of opening the Indian territory for settlement had started, and already the open country was beginning to be occupied by boomers’ camps.” Read the entire piece here.

Noted reciter and popular performer Jerry Brooks chose this lesser known Kiskaddon poem to recite on the new triple-CD set, MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poems of Bruce Kiskaddon from CowboyPoetry.com. It was included in Kiskaddon’s 1947 Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems.

Find more about Jerry Brooks at cowboypoetry.com (it happens to be her birthday).

Find more about Kiskaddon in our features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2016 photo by Carol M. Highsmith, titled, “A pause that refreshes for this cow at Big Creek cattle ranch on the Colorado border, near the towns of Riverside and Encampment, in Carbon County, Wyoming,” is from the Gates Frontiers Fund Wyoming Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Find more here.

Find the collection here, where it notes that, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Find more about Carol Highsmith and her work at carolhighsmith.com and here on Facebook at Carol M. Highsmith’s America.

(This poem and photograph are in the public domain.)

MORNING ON THE DESERT, by Katherine Fall Pettey (1874-1951)

morningonthedesert

MORNING ON THE DESERT
by Katherine Fall Pettey (1874-1951)

Morning on the desert,
and the wind is blowin’ free,
And it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you an’ me.
No more stuffy cities
where you have to pay to breathe—
Where the helpless, human creatures,
throng, and move, and strive and seethe.

Morning on the desert,
an’ the air is like a wine;
And it seems like all creation
has been made for me an’ mine.
No house to stop my vision
save a neighbor’s miles away,
An’ the little ‘dobe casa
that belongs to me an’ May.

Lonesome? Not a minute:
Why I’ve got these mountains here;
That was put there jest to please me
with their blush an’ frown an’ cheer.
They’re waitin’ when the summer sun
gets too sizzlin’ hot—
An’ we jest go campin’ in ’em
with a pan an’ coffee pot.

Morning on the desert!
I can smell the sagebrush smoke;
An’ I hate to see it burnin’,
but the land must sure be broke.
Ain’t it jest a pity
that wherever man may live,
He tears up much that’s beautiful,
that the good God has to give?

“Sagebrush ain’t so pretty?”
Well, all eyes don’t see the same;
Have you ever saw the moonlight
turn it to a silv’ry flame?
An’ that greasewood thicket yonder—
well, it smells jest awful sweet
When the night wind has been shakin’ it;
for smells it’s hard to beat.

Lonesome? well, I guess not!
I’ve been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert
with its stretches wide and brown;
All day through the sagebrush here,
the wind is blowin’ free.
An’ it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you and me.

…by Katherine Fall Pettey, from “Songs from the Sage Brush,” 1910

For many years, this poem was printed on postcards and reproduced with the comment, “Found written on the door of an old cabin in the desert.” With some detective work and some luck, we found the author was Katherine Fall Pettey. Through her brother, she had ties to the Teapot Dome scandal, Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett.. She lived the last decades of her life in a mental institution. Find more in our feature at CowboyPoetry.com.

Jerry Brooks, through her outstanding recitation, is responsible for bringing “Morning on the Desert” to audiences.

Jerry Brooks is featured in the latest don’t-miss COWBOY CROSSROADS podcast from Andy Hedges. She tells about her life as a coal miner, talks about poetry, and more. Find listening options here.

This photo by Carol M. Highsmith is titled, “Old west deserted cabin in Utah” and is from the “Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive,” The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Find more about the photo here.

The Highsmith Archive notes that, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Find more about Carol Highsmith and her work at carolhighsmith.com and on Facebook.

(This poem and photo are in the public domain.)

MORNING ON THE DESERT by Katherine Fall Pettey (1874-1951)

mornch

MORNING ON THE DESERT
by Katherine Fall Pettey (1874-1951)

Morning on the desert,
and the wind is blowin’ free,
And it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you an’ me.
No more stuffy cities
where you have to pay to breathe—
Where the helpless, human creatures,
throng, and move, and strive and seethe.

Morning on the desert,
an’ the air is like a wine;
And it seems like all creation
has been made for me an’ mine.
No house to stop my vision
save a neighbor’s miles away,
An’ the little ‘dobe casa
that berlongs to me an’ May.

Lonesome? Not a minute:
Why I’ve got these mountains here;
That was put there jest to please me
with their blush an’ frown an’ cheer.
They’re waitin’ when the summer sun
gets too sizzlin’ hot—
An’ we jest go campin’ in ’em
with a pan an’ coffee pot.

Morning on the desert!
I can smell the sagebrush smoke;
An’ I hate to see it burnin’,
but the land must sure be broke.
Ain’t it jest a pity
that wherever man may live,
He tears up much that’s beautiful,
that the good God has to give?

“Sagebrush ain’t so pretty?”
Well, all eyes don’t see the same;
Have you ever saw the moonlight
turn it to a silv’ry flame?
An’ that greasewood thicket yonder—
well, it smells jest awful sweet
When the night wind has been shakin’ it;
for smells it’s hard to beat.

Lonesome? well, I guess not!
I’ve been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert
with its stretches wide and brown;
All day through the sagebrush here,
the wind is blowin’ free.
An’ it’s ours jest for the breathin’,
so let’s fill up, you and me.

…by Katherine Fall Pettey, from “Songs from the Sage Brush,” 1910
For many years, this poem was printed on postcards and reproduced with the comment,”Found written on the door of an old cabin in the desert.” With some detective work and some luck, we found the author was Katherine Fall Pettey. Through her brother, she had ties to the Teapot Dome scandal, Billy the Kid, and Pat Garrett.. She lived the last decades of her life in a mental institution. Find more in our feature at CowboyPoetry.com.

Jerry Brooks, through her outstanding recitation, is responsible for bringing “Morning on the Desert” to audiences.

This photo by Carol M. Highsmith is titled, “Old west deserted cabin in Utah” and is from the “Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive,” The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Find more about the photo here.

The Highsmith Archive notes that, “Highsmith, a distinguished and richly-published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.”

Find more about Carol Highsmith and her work at carolhighsmith.com and on Facebook.

This is a scheduled post. We’re on a break until May 25.