by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)
I been out in the weather since I was a boy,
But cold mornin’s is sumthin’ a man cain’t enjoy.
It makes me feel like I wanted to quit
When I ketch up my pony and thaw out my bit.
There ain’t any cow puncher needs to be told
That my saddle is stiff and the leather is cold.
The blankets is froze and the hoss shakes like jelly
When you the pull the old frozen cinch up on his belly.
He snorts and he’s got a mean look in the eye.
He is humped till the back of the saddle stands high.
He ain’t in no humor to stand fer a joke,
But I belt on my chaps and I light me a smoke.
There may be some trouble between me and him.
It is like goin’ into cold water to swim.
It gives me a sort of shivver and scare
But once I git started; well then I don’t care.
…by Bruce Kiskaddon, 1937
Kiskaddon has a number of cold weather poems, no doubt inspired by his cowboying years in Colorado. This poem appeared in the Western Livestock Journal and on the Los Angeles Union Stockyards calendar.
This year’s triple CD from CowboyPoetry.com, MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon, has over 60 tracks of the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950), recited by voices from the past and from today’s top reciters and poets.
Find more about Bruce Kiskaddon at CowboyPoetry.com.
This photograph is from top cowboy poet, South Dakota rancher, and quilt champion Yvonne Hollenbeck. It was taken a few years ago, and she commented, “Ahh, the life of a ranchwife in South Dakota in winter. We just scooped two long lines of bunks (wet heavy snow) so we could feed the calves…That was just half of ’em in the picture. We feed ground feed into the bunks. I think there’s two rows of 11.”
Yvonne is headed to the Western Folklife Center’s 36th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 27-February 1, 2020 in Elko, Nevada. She joins a great group of poets, musicians, and others at this “granddaddy” of all gatherings. Go! And find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.
(You can share this photo with this post, but please request permission for other uses. The poem is in the public domain.)