“Making Plans,” by Shawn Cameron Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, 2019

makingplans

© 2015, Shawn Cameron, “Making Plans,” shawncameron.com
Request the artist’s permission for any use of this image

Our 50th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting by Arizona rancher and artist Shawn Cameron, “Making Plans.” The painting is selected as the poster art for the 18th annual Cowboy Poetry Week.

Shawn Cameron comments on painting’s inspiration:

Occasionally a moment in time lingers in your memory.  The clear morning air was brisk as my husband and another rider paused to discuss the day before them.  Plans were being made to cover their area of a large pasture during spring roundup.  I’ve never tired of observing men on a mission who have goals and possess the skills to accomplish them.  There is an undeniable posture of pride in these horseback men who face a day of unknown challenges with confidence and determination.  Even the horses contemplate the miles before them. My subjects are more than cowboys and horses but rather scenes of quiet strength and courage.  I was motivated by such an atmosphere to share “Making Plans” on canvas.

We’re honored to have “Making Plans” for the 18th annual Cowboy Poetry Week poster art:

CPW_Cameron_Poster_2019_R1

Find more about Shawn Cameron in our feature here and visit shawncameron.com.

SUBMISSIONS

Submissions from all were welcome through Monday, April 15, 2019. Selected poems are below.

Find previous Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur subjects and their poems here and at CowboyPoetry.com.

POEMS

“Makin’ a Hand” by Marleen Bussma of Utah
“Quiet Conversation” by Tom Swearingen of Oregon
“Making Plans” by A.K. Moss of Oregon
“Puttin’ Together a Plan” by Ol’ Jim Cathey of Texas
“A Cowboy Plan” by Don Hilmer of South Dakota
“Old Cowboys” by Terry Hynes of British Columbia
“You Don’t Wanna Know” by George Rhoades of Oklahoma
Aloha My Paniolo Friend, by Jeff Campbell of Texas

makingplans

MAKIN’ A HAND
by Marleen Bussma

Hank’s face is like worn weathered wood well punished by the wind
then polished to a pewter-like patina, taut and thinned.
The lines upon his hands are deep and colored by the dirt.
His eyes have seen a lifetime, still determined and alert.

He wears his calluses and scars like badges on a chest.
They show his jurisdiction is his ranchland here out west.
His joints are loose and rattle like a wagon on the git.
When God put him together He forgot to put in quit.

Hank sits his favorite horse and looks with pleasure on his spread.
The sun shines like a golden benediction overhead.
Four sparrows perched on fence wires that enclose his grassy grange
are spaced like treble clef notes that sing out “Home on the Range.”

Hank’s young friend rides beside him, full of dreams and ripe with hope.
Wade’s hired on to help Hank and to learn about the scope
of ranchin’, what he needs to do to start in this life’s work.
He hopes Hank’s cowboyin’ will rub off, temper doubts that lurk.

Long years ago when young Hank’s clover wasn’t runnin’ deep,
his hammer banged this ranch into creation. Little sleep
and lots of muscle made a deep track to this stead.
Hank’s proud of what he’s built and of the life that he has led.

Hank lopes out on his horse cuz daylight’s not a thing to waste.
He checks along the fence line for a post to be replaced.
While workin’ he shares what he’s learned of cowboyology.
He has some tips on earnin’ a survivor’s ranch degree.

“You learn to live with basics. There’s no luxury out here.
Don’t envy any neighbor. You don’t need that new John Deere.
Don’t plan a warm vacation when your pasture’s full of snow.
Just put aside the money in a place where it will grow.

Become a good mechanic. Keep your old machinery tuned.
Good friends and neighbors are a must and will keep you immune
to overwhelmin’ obstacles. You’ll help each other out.
Be open to some critics. That’s what learnin’s all about.

When you decide you’d like to have her boots beside your bed,
make sure you’ve picked well to avoid big trouble up ahead.
Hard work with brandin’ and the books will put her on the team.
She’ll be your partner. It takes two to manage this life’s dream.

Don’t plan on gettin’ rich. There’s other gravy you can lick.
You’ll be your own man buildin’ what you want, and if you stick
to what your heart is hopin’ here today you’ll find it buys
the freedom of the saddle and a horse between your thighs.”

© 2019, Marleen Bussma
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans
QUIET CONVERSATION
by Tom Swearingen

Just a quiet conversation
Between friends as they both sat
Saddled looking down upon
The cattle on the flat.

‘Bout things that don’t get talked about
Near as often as they should
‘Mongst men who’ve rode together
For years through scarce and good.

Sure, they’d done a lot of talking
About subjects then at hand.
About the herds or markets,
Or issues with the land.

They’d talked about the need for rain.
Spent hours in idle chatter.
They’d solved the world’s big problems,
And some that don’t much matter.

But this day some words were spoken
That they’d never before shared.
At least to one another.
For now their hearts were bared.

‘Cause the trail for one was ending
In just weeks or maybe days.
His “til then” getting closer
Put both men in a haze.

Making words come not so easy.
Hard to know just what to say.
But still some things need saying,
And this would be the day.

It started with, “I’ll not forget
All the kindness that you’ve shown.
You’ve been quite the friend to me,
I’d say the best I’ve known.”

With the solemn silence broken
These two cowboys’ talk turned deep,
To truths they’d always treasure,
And promises to keep.

A promise to keep forever
His memory close at hand,
And finish things he’d started,
And live the dreams he’d planned.

A promise to rarely dwell on
Lean and low times of the past,
But rather, focus forward
To pastures green and grassed.

The words that were shared that morning
Were heartfelt and came with tears,
Conveying things not spoken
For way too many years.

Lord, it’s hard to bid your farewell
To a pard who’ll soon be gone,
Stepping beyond the daylight
To no more ride the dawn.

There was quiet contemplation
Between friends as they both sat,
The last time looking out on
The cattle on the flat.

© 2019, Tom Swearingen
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans

MAKING PLANS
by A.K. Moss

To see beyond a moment, stillness in the air,
The memory of those choices silently lingers there.
Making plans, not promises as they sort out the day.
For a journey is the action, in the plan along the way.
Beyond the ridgeline, beyond the river flows,
Beyond the sea of sand and rock, where the sage and juniper grows.
Beyond the the cattle grazing, the grass wet with dew.
Beyond the anticipation as if the horses knew.
There is a motion towards the north, a nod headed south,
There is a finger pointing yonder to the canyon mouth,
Deep beyond the steep ridge, there is a meadow there,
Can gather most if your counting to help get the tally square.
A swell, a saddle, a gully, a lone tree on the ridge.
There’s a Mesa, a boulder, or dry creek all used to name and bridge
The ideas, the gather, the fence line or not.
In making plans in the lay of the lands it is all that they got
To work with, along with their horses to see a job through,
It is simple communication in the work that they do.
A bob of a head from the bay, he has been this route before,
The buckskin looks onward to the lower valley foor.
But they will wait their turn of commuting, as the plans are being made
For there are no promises, just a journey and the actions played.
That moment a memory will linger, of the taste of morning air,
The salt of horse sweat, and the leather creaking there.
A thousand times it’s been ridden, by the making of the hands,
As they gather for conversation, in the morning, making plans.

© 2019, A.K. Moss
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans

PUTTIN’ TOGETHER A PLAN
by Ol’ Jim Cathey

It was Easter Sunday mornin’,
On the Quarter Circle C,
Mother Nature’s gift of spring!
Our cantankerous ol’ boss,
Sent us in groups of two an three,
An’ round-up was in full swing!

We each one had our jobs to do,
An’ knew just where to go,
Got started before daylight!
Put our ponies in a trot,
Headed out for the Bee Hollow,
‘Cuz that’s where we start our fight!

As the sky lighted in the east,
We headed for the brush,
That ol’ sunrise gave us pause!
‘Cuz the mornin’s beauty spread out,
Showin’ graze thick an’ lush,
There’d be beeves in all the draws!

Willy’s ol’ pony stood calm,
Just usin’ his eyes an’ his ears,
Fellers learn to watch their mount!
A good hoss is savvy,
To how things go down before it appears,
An’ on that a feller can count!

Well, they sat their saddles an’ jawed,
Puttin’ together a plan,
Each one knew just where they’d be!
When the time come to slap their rope,
As the mornin’ work began,
Well, that’s just cowboy decree!

But before we head our ponies,
Into a dusty day’s task,
There’s one job we plan to do!.
We’ll check our gear an’ riggin’,
An’ for God’s blessin’ we will ask,
Prayin’ He will see us through!

Knowin’ this was Easter Sunday,
T’was a blessin’ that got the nod,
Jesus’ victory o’er the grave!
They’d step off an’ doff their hats,
Then bend a knee to God,
Thankful their sins He forgave!

Then as one, they’d hit them draws,
As they began the gather,
Roustin’ critters wild an’ free!
The blessin’ of the Lord shore helps,
Make a plan come together,
Here on the Quarter Circle C!

© 2019, Ol’ Jim Cathey
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans
A COWBOY PLAN
by Don Hilmer

Well Good Mornin’ Neighbor—Good seein’ you too—
With brands mixed together, and it’s just me and you.
There’s big range to cover and not many hands,
So it looks like we better be makin’ some plans.

It’s been a tough Winter, with some livestock loss—
But we both know the country—both ride a good hoss.
You cover the river, I’ll trot down the creeek
We’ll head for the pens where the two waters meet.

If your herd moves slower, as they’re likely to do—
I’ll pen those I’ve gathered, then ride to help you.
If we run into trouble and it starts to get late—
We’ll sort’em tomorrow—Let’s meet at the gate.

© 2019, Don Hilmer
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans

OLD COWBOYS
by Terry Hynes

He’s tired and bent and dirty.
Four decades past his thirty,
and wonderin’ why in hell he’s still around.

Most friends that he has known,
like leaves the winds have blown,
are rotting somewhere in some darkened mound.

“Must be the genes, he says to himself,
or maybe just B.S. luck.
I never was one to shun most fights,
just lucky enough to duck.”

Just one more cinch on this stretcher here,
and one staple more in the post.
Of all the darn jobs I would rather avoid,
this fencing is one of the most.

I’d sooner be up on my horse for sure,
with Chet riding there by my side.
For many long years we rode out this land,
and damn, ‘twas a hell of a ride.

That painting that hangs on my mantle wall.
Ol’ Chet brought it over one day.
Said, “Reminds me a time when you and I
were out tryin’ to find a lost stray.”

A couple of cowboys, makin’ some plans,
an’ hoping they’d outsmart that cow.
Sitting there lookin’, from up a small ridge,
and prayin’ we’d find her somehow.

I look at that painting ‘most every day,
and think about things that we done.
This bein’ a cowboy’s a tough old life,
but dammit, it sure can be fun.

But most of the fun has all gone these days,
and Chet, well he’s long gone too.
So I’ll just keep doin’ what needs to be done,
‘cause that’s what ol’ cowboys do.

© 2019, Terry Hynes
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans
YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW
by George Rhoades

Billy Bob and Shorty,
Way out on the Texas plain,
Ridin’ herd for the Bar X,
Scorchin’ hot, needin’ rain.

Billy Bob says to Shorty:
“Man on TV says every year
Gets hotter and hotter,
Arctic’s startin’ to disappear.

“This country’ll be too hot
For man, beast or cow.
What’ll it be like
Fifty or 100 years from how?”

“You don’t wanna know,”
Was the reply.

“I made a trip into the city,”
Billy Bob says in some despair,
“Cars and trucks and people
Rushin’ about everywhere.

“Crowds and pollution,
Noise and blight all around;
In 50 or 100 years, what’ll
It be like in town?”

“You don’t wanna know,”
Was the reply.

“And cowhands like us
Are slowly fadin’ away.
What’ll it be like
Fifty or 100 years from today?”

“You don’t wanna know,”
Was the reply.

“And in 50 or 100 years,
Will we keep from blowin’
The world into tiny bits,
The way things are goin’?”

“You really don’t wanna know,”
Was the reply.

© 2019, George Rhoades
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans
ALOHA MY PANIOLO FRIEND
by Jeff Campbell

In the late afternoon
As the sun descends
More than the day
Is coming to an end

He’s heading to Denver
Silver wings fly away
In the saddle I listened
To what he had to say

Five years is too long
Away from my roots
I need Kauai red dirt
On these cowboy boots

An ache deep inside
That never goes away
Long to see a rainbow
Reflecting off the bay

Feel the sea breeze
When the trade wind blows
White sandy beaches
Like a Colorado snow

I miss Kanikapila
On a late Friday night
And the old Hukilau
Under bright sunlight

And if fate says my
Paniolo days are through
I’ll be happy in shades
Of pink, green and blue

So I said Aloha
My Paniolo friend
One of these days
I’ll see you again

And on that day
We’re going to ride
From Waimea to Lihue
On the windward side

Yes on that day
Together we’ll ride
Through Koloa to Lihue
On the windward side

© 2019, Jeff Campbell
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

makingplans

Thanks to all who participated.

Cowboy Poetry Week 2018 Art Spur: “Out to Pasture” by Clara Smith

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© Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture,” ClaraSmithArt.com
Request the artist’s permission for any use of this image

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our 48th piece offered to “spur” the imagination is a special Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur, a painting by artist Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture.” The painting is selected as the poster art for the 17th annual Cowboy Poetry Week. Find selected poems below.

 CP_Smith_Poster_15X20_R3

Clara Smith’s aunt, the late Joelle Smith, was the first Cowboy Poety Week print poster artist, in 2006.

Clara Smith comments on “Out to Pasture”:

This piece was inspired by a number of photos taken by my Aunt Joelle of our mares in our field at home. The scene captures one of my favorite moments in time of our horses out on a fall evening.

From her official bio:

Clara

Clara is a Western Artist and Graphic Designer from Bend, Oregon. Ever since she was little, Clara was drawing horses and creating. Her love for Western art and culture was heavily influenced by her late aunt, Western artist Joelle Smith, who taught her how to draw and ride horses. Similar to Joelle’s work, Clara strives to illustrate real Western life through her work, documenting culture and traditions of the American cowboy. The authenticity of her work is very apparent as the subjects are all real people, real horses, set in real places. Currently attending Oregon State University, Clara is working towards a degree in Graphic Design. Her design work combines her artistic ability, often incorporating hand drawn illustrations with digital applications, creating a balance between multiple design mediums.

Find more in our feature here and visit ClaraSmithArt.com.

SUBMISSIONS

Submissions were welcome from all, through Thursday, April 12, 2018. Selected poems are posted below.

Thanks to all who participated.

Find previous Art Spur subjects here and at CowboyPoetry.com.

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© Clara Smith, “Out to Pasture,” ClaraSmithArt.com
Request the artist’s permission for any use of this image

POEMS:

“Out to Pasture,” by Marleen Bussma of Utah
“In the Shadow of Tree Line,” by Tom Swearingen of Oregon
“My String,” by Kay Kelley Nowell of Texas
“Gettin’ Along,” by Don Hilmer of South Dakota
“At Season’s End,” by Ol’ Jim Cathey of Texas
“The ‘Old Cowboy’ Ranch,” by Terry Hynes of British Columbia
“Out to Pasture,” by David Carlton of Texas
“My Little Piece of Heaven,” by Jeff Campbell of Texas
“Prancing Down the Street,” by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Wyoming
“If Wishes Were Horses,”  by Rodney “Butch” Bailey of Arkansas

 

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OUT TO PASTURE
by Marleen Bussma

The aspen leaves shake heads and gossip as the herd moves by.
A V of geese cries out its caution from the sullen sky.
The mountains doze beneath a frosted blanket woven tight
that hides the summer’s festive mood and brings the winter’s bite.

The cowhands yell and whistle urging cattle down the trail.
They ride their horses easy as they sit back and inhale
the scent of pine and smell of moisture in the seasoned air.
The roundup’s almost over and the horses are aware

they’ll soon be furloughed, turned out for a well-earned winter’s rest.
The shorter days have triggered shaggy coats and they are dressed
in hairy hides that hold the air that traps their body heat
in shiv’ry weather boasting of its stinging snow and sleet.

The countryside gets gent’ler as corral gates gape and stare.
The wind-carved canyon stays behind with smooth walls red and bare.
The pine trees fade to junipers while sage brush spreads and creeps.
The feeble creek winds down in peaceful silence as it weeps.

The last cinch is unfastened and the well-worn tack is hung.
Fatigued and weary cowhands wish the supper bell had rung.
They loiter and they visit as the ev’ning settles in.
Some gaze towards the corral and watch the horses with a grin.

The paint is kicking up his heels and racing ’round a bay
whose ears are laid back on his head not int’rested in play.
The gray is pacing in a circle snuffling at the earth.
He kneels then lies and starts to roll and scratch for all he’s worth.

He writhes and wriggles wrinkling patterns in the dusty ground
then rises for a robust shake as dust flies all around.
He jumps and bucks hard like a saddle bronc that’s scoring high.
His show-off antics advertise that he’s still fit and spry.

A few hands will stay on through winter doing basic chores.
When weather gets too raw outside they’ll tackle jobs indoors.
They’ll mend worn saddles, bridles, chaps, and even darn their socks
as bunkhouse walls creak, cry, and cringe from wind that roars and rocks.

The tempo of the ranch will slow into a quiet beat.
The music of the ranching rituals will be replete—
as horses neigh, the cattle bawl, and coyotes howl and sing.
The chorus will start over with new calves born in the spring.

© 2018, Marleen Bussma
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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IN THE SHADOW OF TREE LINE
by Tom Swearingen

The gray was first to hear it,
With the bay not far behind.
The others quickly turning
To discover what they’d find

Across the open pasture
In the shadow of tree line.
They look for any movement,
Or some other kind of sign

To tell them if it’s danger,
Or if something more benign.
Something that they’ve seen before,
That their memories can align

With instinct and behavior
When familiar, something known
To not be predatory
That will leave them all alone.

Until then they are fearful
Of the sound they can’t define
Across the open pasture
In the shadow of tree line.

On the edge of fight or flight,
They sense something isn’t right.
So ’til they know for certain
They will stand with ears upright,

Their eyes and nostrils scanning
For some motion or a scent
That will tell them in an instant
If to run or be content

With dropping guard and grazing,
Knowing everything is fine
Across the open pasture
In the shadow of tree line.

© 2018, Tom Swearingen
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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MY STRING
by Kay Kelley Nowell

To be a top cow horse takes many skills
And a good one learns to do them all well
Depending on his mind, heart and speed
There’ll be jobs at which a horse will excel.
If I know what the day’s work will bring.
Then, because I’m “horse poor”,  —I can decide
Like a golfer picks the best club to play
I can choose the pony I want to ride.

I’ll catch Tia for the outside circle
You know that bay mare just never gets tired
And Huey if Gene gets to ride this time
Or he’s good to mount some day hand we’ve hired
Pooh-bear is the best at sortin’ cattle
Gypsy Lady if I get to drag calves
If the country’s real rough, I’ll haul that mule
I’m sure thankful for the partners I have.

Big Bud was a good one, back in his day
I really hate it when he bucks with me
When Foxy’d cut— he’d sure scowl at a cow
At thirty-five she’s now a retiree
And then there’s ‘Stache—he’s a four-year-old bronc
Down the road we’ll learn where his talents lie
When his schooling is done, he’ll join my string
And I’ll find a job he likes by and by.

I’ll catch Tia for the outside circle
You know that bay mare just never gets tired
And Huey if Gene gets to ride this time
Or he’s good to mount some day hand we’ve hired
Pooh-bear is the best at sortin’ cattle
Gypsy Lady if I get to drag calves
If the country’s real rough, I’ll haul that mule
I’m sure thankful for the partners I have.

© 2015, Kay Kelley Nowell
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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GETTIN’ ALONG
by Don Hilmer

When I was young—a growin’ child
…..A long long time ago
I fell in love with every horse
…..I ever came to know

I’d ride till it was Supper time
…..And starlight filled the skies
And when I had to turn’em out
…..Sad tears would fill my eyes

Cause every one was special
…..Each one in their own way
While one might come right to ya
…..The next one “moved away”

The Bay might have good manners
…..And always do things right
The Sorrel might graze the edges
…..Or the Gray would cause a fight

The Paints might stick together
…..Old Buck might be the Master
But they all found ways to “Get Along”
…..When you put’em out to pasture.

© 2018, Don Hilmer
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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AT SEASON’S END
by Ol’ Jim Cathey

He was old an’ wrinkled, an’ sun-burned brown,
From time spent on the range.
The aura of age, he wore like a crown,
His life had shore seen change.

Body needin’ a rest, but spirit strong,
His mem’rys kept him true.
Why he could recollect music from life’s song,
See visions in clear view!

He’d come out on the porch to welcome break o’ day,
An’ watch his ponies graze.
The mornin’ gave a quiet an’ peaceful display,
‘Cept for chatterin’ Jays.

He felt the crisp breeze an’ smelt the mornin’ air,
Sunrise, golden an’ clean.
Soon would come heat of  day, color of autumn there,
Just a glorious scene.

So he reverently thanked Mighty God,
For His bounty an’ grace,
For a wonderful life here on this sod,
An’ the beauty of this place.

The gentle nickerin’ of mares nearby,
As they neared foalin’ time.
Fluffy plumes of fall clouds cluttered the sky,
Birds singin’ in soft chime.

True enough, life had sent its ups an’ downs,
Good as well as the bad.
But the Good Lord would wipe away all frowns,
Make a feller feel glad.

Those mares was about all that kept him goin’,
Well, that an’ the Good Lord’s Grace,
…An’ the rains that kept the creeks a flowin’,
Joys he chose to embrace!

He was mighty blessed, nearin’ season’s end,
While mares would bide their time.
He cherished these blessin’s, like an old friend,
Life in rhythm an’ rhyme.

© 2018, Ol’ Jim Cathey
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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THE “OLD COWBOY” RANCH
by Terry Hynes

There’s a nice old cowboy ranch
down the valley so I’m told,
where the round-up is all over
and the branding is on hold.

Where the mustangs are all saddle broke
and the cattle never stray.
Warm sunsets and an evening fire
put close to every day.

The mules are never stubborn,
they seldom try to bite,
and when you’re packing out on them
the cinches all stay tight.

There are no long hard trails
with rocks, and snakes, and dust.
No fences needin’ mending
or gates froze tight with rust.

The barbed wire never cuts you
or rips your new blue jeans,
and never will you have to eat
dry biscuits and them beans.

There’s springs of pure clean water
to quench your weary thirst,
and every mile you ride out on
feels like your very first.

That ranch is out there waiting,
we’ll all get there some day.
But ‘fore we ride on through those gates,
there’s still some dues to pay.

© 2018, Terry Hynes
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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OUT TO PASTURE
by David Carlton

After the gather and the branding is done
All but a few are turned out to run

The summer was hot and the days have been long
But it’s time to recover and winter pastures to roam

The cold is coming with snow and some sleet
It’s time to get well without shoes on their feet

A time to heal backs and work through the pain
Because before you know it they’ll be working again

When the wagon rolls out at the first signs of spring
Some may not be there to rejoin their old string

But for the ones that have made it and rested up well
They’ll greet the young cowboys and show them some hell

© 2018, David Carlton
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

David Carlton comments, “After a hard year under saddle, most of the ranch string is turned out to rest and mend as best they can. A few might be kept in the barn to take care of winter chores. But those with cracked hooves, strained muscles or strained tendons will be turned out to pasture. Cuts and bruises from a rough way of life heal pretty easy, but those with damaged feet, muscles and tendons can take a long time to heal. But come spring, when the horses are brought in, most will be raring to go. Even some of the old horses will run a wrinkle down their back, but the cowboys won’t mind. They’ll just be happy to get back together and begin the New Year.”

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MY LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN
by Jeff Campbell

Oklahoma lays in shades of January brown
I’m trying to make the state line before sundown

From Fort Smith to Little Rock there’s a place in between
For these travelers on I Forty it’s seldom seen

A little piece of heaven that my family owns
A patch of Ozark acres that we call our home

Come morning I’ll wake beside my cherished bride
We’ll saddle up the horses, take a sunrise ride

Close to the foothills, along the property line
Knowin’ the mud on the horses’ hooves is mine

Not a spread that stretches as far as you can see
But this little piece of heaven means the world to me

© 2018,  Jeff Campbell
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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PRANCING DOWN THE STREET
by Jean Mathisen Haugen

He was an appaloosey,
spotted all over his hide.
Vinegar was what he was called
and Tex looked at him with pride.

Vinegar’s pal was another appy
all white with just one spot—
I can’t recall his name right now—
but one spot was all he’d got!

Tex had just retired
from 40 years in the oil fields;
enjoying the time he had on the ranch,
though the hay didn’t provide many yields.

His brother-in-law Bob asked if he could ride Vinegar
in the Sheriff’s Posse in the parade.
“Why, sure you can, but I’ll warn you,
that he’s never been in town, I’m afraid.”

Tex got busy and got him shod,
washed him down and for an elderly horse,
Vinegar was looking good—
but he always had of course.

The 4th arrived and Bob saddled him up
and rode to gather with the Posse.
Vinegar moved right along
and he wasn’t even fussy.

The parade route was down Main Street
and Vinegar fairly pranced.
The kids running out for candy didn’t bother,
he just nearly danced.

The fact was, of all the horses,
Vinegar pretty much stole the show.
Folks commented on that handsome horse,
as down the street he’d go.

For a couple more years Bob and Vinegar
rode in the old time parade,
and each year that horse fairly pranced,
and loved the fuss folks made.

The year came that Bob retired
and I think Vinegar missed the joy and laughter
of the folks spread out along the parade—
but he and Bob both had been put out to pasture.

Tex passed on and his wife kept the horses.
They’d rest neck on neck where the grass was green,
providing each other with a little shade,
and with the mountains it was a peaceful scene.

Now all of them are long gone on
to that Big Pasture in the sky,
where the grass is deep and the shade so cool
and the memories of good horses never die.

© 2018, Jean Mathisen Haugen
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

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IF WISHES WERE HORSES
by Rodney “Butch” Bailey

If wishes were horses, we’d all have a good one to ride,
Into the high country, and way out across the Divide.
We’d saddle our best ones, and travel to the end of the line.
We’d ride up the good trails, and leave all those bad trails behind.

That big fiery stallion is our wish to be brave and be strong.
To stand up for things that are right, and against all the wrong.
We’re proud when we ride him, but sometimes he’s hard to stay on,
We’ve got to keep trying, for he leads all the others along.

For those who are broken, and you who are living in pain.
Out there in the fields, you can see through the fog and the rain,
A small group of mares, all gentle and steady and kind,
Stand ready to guard you, and heal both your heart and your mind.

Way out in the meadow we see the young horses at play,
Our wish that tomorrow would end all the wrongs of today.
Though sometimes the weather is rough, and the trails aren’t too clear,
We can’t give up hope, and it may be the reason we’re here.

If wishes were horses, we’d all have a good one to ride,
Into the high country, and way out across the Divide.
I’ve saddled my best one, I’m riding on out to the shore.
I wish you’d come with me, there’s always a horse for one more.

© 2018, Rodney “Butch” Bailey
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Rodney “Butch” Bailey is new to CowboyPoetry.com. He shared his bio:

butchbailey.jpg  Butch Bailey was raised down where northern Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, and East Texas meet.  Growing up on the old westerns, he routinely engaged in shoot-outs with his younger brother, who insisted on playing like Jesse James.  Mostly just a trail-rider now, he works these days teaching college (on a pure side note, a cowboy poet with a captive audience is either a great or a tragic thing, depending on what side of the room you happen to be on).  He aspires to write poems that make us laugh, or cry, sometimes stumble upon something that feels true…always in the service of telling a good story.  He and his wife Becky live in Northwest Arkansas where they use their retirement to fund a small herd of Missouri Foxtrotter horses, and spoil their two grandsons.  Butch is working on a book of cowboy poems and stories, entitled A Strength That Never Fails.

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Thanks to all who participated.