GHOST CANYON TRAIL, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

ghostcanyontraillk

GHOST CANYON TRAIL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

There are strange things told of spirits bold,
And the trail to Sante Fe,
There is many a tale of the Chisholm trail,
And the trail to Laramie.
But this is the tale of an obscure trail
That few men travelled on;
Where a spirit was known to ride alone,
‘Twixt the midnight hour and dawn.

It would wind and creep through canyons deep
And over the mesa wide.
The men who knew this trail were few,
Where the phantom used to ride.
At times was heard a careless word
Some drinking man let fall,
But ’twas held a joke by the rangeland folk,
That no one believed atall.

I learned the truth from a hard youth.
He was one of those reckless men
Who could ride in the lead of a night stampede,
Ot the dust of the broncho pen.
On a winter night when the stars were bright
And the dying moon was low,
He was holding his course on a jaded horse
And the pace that he made was slow.

The cow horse flinched and cringed, till the cinch
Was almost against the ground.
His quivering ears showed deathly fear
And the cow boy looked around.
He felt the thrill of a clammy chill,
As it travelled along his spine,
For he saw at his side a phantom ride,
With never a word or sign.

He kept his place, for he set his pace
To the cow boy’s jogging speed.
There came no sound on the frozen ground
From the tread of his phantom steed.
He showed a flash of a long moustache
And a tilted campaign hat.
There straight and strong with stirrups long
The phantom trooper sat.

They were all alone. And the pale moon shone
Through the ghost at the cow boy’s side.
His courage fled as he rode with the dead
Alone on the mesa wide.
No sign of flight, no show of fight
The buckaroo displayed,
For slugs of lead won’t hurt the dead,
Through the mist of a vapor shade.

With the mesa past they came at last
To a canyon wide and dark,
Where some stone huts stood in the cottonwoods
That had long been an old land mark.
Each ruined shack had a chimney black,
And a roofless crumbling wall.
A living spring was the only thing
That was useful to men atall.

The chilling breeze through the leafless trees,
Gave a dreary, dismal moan.
The trooper stayed in the ghastly shade
And cow boy rode alone.
Strange tales are head of what occurred
At that place in the years gone by,
Ere that restless soul of the night patrol
Rode under the starlit sky.

What the trooper knows, or where he goes,
Nobody has ever found.
But the tale is told of the lone patrol
By the older settlers ’round.
There’s a cow boy trip with a face that’s grim,
Will never forget that ride
On a winter night in the pale moon light,
By the phantom trooper’s side.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

Happy Halloween. Bruce Kiskaddon’s poem, with a bit of a tip of the hat to Robert Service, is from his 1947 book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems. Find many more Kiskaddon poems and more about him in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

Also catch the Halloween spirit with “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and the first-ever recording of it in 1949, by Burl Ives. Find our links to other videos of the song, including renditions by Johnny Cash, Gene Autry (in a 1949 film trailer), Marty Robbins, Sons of the Pioneers, Chris LeDoux, Bing Crosby, Riders in the Sky, Jimmie Rodgers, Lorne Greene, Elvis, The Blues Brothers, the Outlaws, Judy Collins, at CowboyPoetry.com, and find more poems in the spirit of Halloween there as well.

Texas local historian, ghost-tale-teller, poet, writer, and reciter Linda Kirkpatrick shared this fitting photograph, taken in July, 2014.

Find Linda at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, February 22-23, 2019. The event performers are Apache Adams, Gary Allegretto, Amy Hale Auker, Eli Barsi, Floyd Beard, “Straw” Berry, Mike Blakely, Dale Burson, Don Cadden, Bob Campbell, Craig Carter, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, Justin Cole, High Country Cowboys, Doris Daley, Mikki Daniel, John Davis, Kevin Davis, Doug Figgs, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Belinda Gail, Pipp Gillette, Jeff Gore, Kristyn Harris, Andy Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Randy & Hanna Huston, Chris Isaacs, Jill Jones & Three Hands High, Jim Jones, Linda Kirkpatrick, Ross Knox, Daron Little, Deanna McCall, Pat Meade, Glenn Moreland, Terry Nash, Joel Nelson, Sam Noble, Kay Nowell, Jean Prescott, Gary Prescott, Mike Querner, Luke Reed, Randy Rieman, Gary Robertson, Trinity Seely, R.P. Smith, Jay Snider, Gail Steiger, Michael Stevens, Caitlyn Taussig, Rod Taylor, Doug Tolleson, Keith Ward, and Jim Wilson.

Find more about Linda Kirkpatrick at lindakirkpatrick.net.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this photograph with this photograph, but for other uses, please request permission from the photographer. The poem is in the public domain.)

THE COW AND THE CALF by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

lkcalf

THE COW AND THE CALF
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

A cow and a calf, or a calf and a cow
Either way that you say it, it don’t matter how;
But there’s the foundation of all the beef trade,
And it always has been since the first beef was made.

Calves may have had fathers or sisters and brothers,
But they wore the same brand that was put on their mothers.
If hundreds of cattle was mixed in a herd,
When a cow claimed a calf, the whole world took her word.

Folks thought more of calves than of children, they did.
In them days nobody adopted a kid,
But a whole lot of fellers jest couldn’t be stopped,
If a calf was onbranded and there to adopt.

So you caint blame a cow for the way she took care,
And fed and purtected her calf every where.
And the whole cattle business I’ll tell you right now
Depended a heap on the sense of a cow.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

Bruce Kiskaddon’s poem appeared in the Western Livestock Journal in 1935.

Frank King wrote, in his introduction to Kiskaddon’s 1924 book, “Rhymes of the Ranges,” “Bruce Kiskaddon is a real old time cowboy, having started his cattle ranch experience in the Picket Wire district of southern Colorado as a kid cowhand and rough string rider and later on northern Arizona ranges…”

Find much more about Kiskaddon and many more poems in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo was taken earlier this year, just after the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, by poet, reciter, regional historian, and chuck wagon cook Linda Kirkpatrick. She told us, “I saw this little steer in a pasture in Terlingua, Texas. I loved the way his color blended with the colors of the desert, so, being me, I looked in every direction and did a turn around in the middle of the highway to go back and catch his portrait.”

Find more about Linda Kirkpatrick, including her books and recordings, at CowboyPoetry.com and find her “Somewhere in the West” column in The Hill Country Herald.

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

THE CUTTIN’ CHUTE by Linda Kirkpatrick and TEXAS ZEPHYR by S. Omar Barker

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THE CUTTIN’ CHUTE
by Linda Kirkpatrick

As the cowboy works the cuttin’ gate
There’s a few things he’s gotta know.
The first and foremost of these things
Is what must stay and what must go.

Now take that ole cow over there
The black with mottled face,
Why she ain’t calved in more than a year;
She’s got no business on this place.

So I’ll just cut her to the left
When she hits the cuttin’ gate,
So far of all the cows to go,
She’ll be number eight.

But when it comes to friends I know
And life is kinda in a tight
There is one thing fer darn sure,
I’ll cut you to the right.

© 2002, Linda Kirkpatrick, used with permission

Ranch-raised in Texas Hill Country, Linda Kirkpatrick is known for her poetry, recitations, writings about regional history, and chuckwagon cooking.

She wrote this poem for her friends Ginger and W. B. Patterson, who, like Linda, are from long-time Texas ranching families.

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Linda Kirkpatrick is featured on the new MASTERS: VOLUME TWO the poetry of S. Omar Barker double CD from CowboyPoetry.com. On it, she recites one of S. Omar Barker’s popular short poems:

TEXAS ZEPHYR
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

To figure how hard the wind blows
out on the Texas Plains,
You hang a fresh-killed beef up
with a pair of logging chains;
And if, on the morning after,
you find your beef’s been skinned,
And you have to ride to find the hide,
there’s been just a little wind!

© S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker

Linda’s most recent book, Tales of the Frio Canyon, has traveled around the West and around the world, including Rome, Jerusalem, and beyond. Enthusiastic readers send her photos. This photo is from top cowboy cook Kent Rollins. Find more about Kent and Shannon Rollins and their Red River Ranch Chuck Wagon at kentrollins.com and see great things on their YouTube channel.

Find more about Linda Kirkpatrick, including her books and recordings at CowboyPoetry.com, and find her “Somewhere in the West” column in The Hill Country Herald.

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

GHOST CANYON TRAIL by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

lindamoon

GHOST CANYON TRAIL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

There are strange things told of spirits bold,
And the trail to Sante Fe,
There is many a tale of the Chisholm trail,
And the trail to Laramie.
But this is the tale of an obscure trail
That few men travelled on;
Where a spirit was known to ride alone,
‘Twixt the midnight hour and dawn.

It would wind and creep through canyons deep
And over the mesa wide.
The men who knew this trail were few,
Where the phantom used to ride.
At times was heard a careless word
Some drinking man let fall,
But ’twas held a joke by the rangeland folk,
That no one believed atall.

I learned the truth from a hard youth.
He was one of those reckless men
Who could ride in the lead of a night stampede,
Ot the dust of the broncho pen.
On a winter night when the stars were bright
And the dying moon was low,
He was holding his course on a jaded horse
And the pace that he made was slow.

The cow horse flinched and cringed, till the cinch
Was almost against the ground.
His quivering ears showed deathly fear
And the cow boy looked around.
He felt the thrill of a clammy chill,
As it travelled along his spine,
For he saw at his side a phantom ride,
With never a word or sign.

He kept his place, for he set his pace
To the cow boy’s jogging speed.
There came no sound on the frozen ground
From the tread of his phantom steed.
He showed a flash of a long moustache
And a tilted campaign hat.
There straight and strong with stirrups long
The phantom trooper sat.

They were all alone. And the pale moon shone
Through the ghost at the cow boy’s side.
His courage fled as he rode with the dead
Alone on the mesa wide.
No sign of flight, no show of fight
The buckaroo displayed,
For slugs of lead won’t hurt the dead,
Through the mist of a vapor shade.

With the mesa past they came at last
To a canyon wide and dark,
Where some stone huts stood in the cottonwoods
That had long been an old land mark.
Each ruined shack had a chimney black,
And a roofless crumbling wall.
A living spring was the only thing
That was useful to men atall.

The chilling breeze through the leafless trees,
Gave a dreary, dismal moan.
The trooper stayed in the ghastly shade
And cow boy rode alone.
Strange tales are head of what occurred
At that place in the years gone by,
Ere that restless soul of the night patrol
Rode under the starlit sky.

What the trooper knows, or where he goes,
Nobody has ever found.
But the tale is told of the lone patrol
By the older settlers ’round.
There’s a cow boy trim with a face that’s grim,
Will never forget that ride
On a winter night in the pale moon light,
By the phantom trooper’s side.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

Happy Halloween. Bruce Kiskaddon’s poem, with a bit of a tip of the hat to Robert Service, is from his 1947 book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems. Find many more Kiskaddon poems and more about him in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

Also catch the Halloween spirit with “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and the first-ever recording of it in 1949, by Burl Ives, here.

Find our links to other videos of the song, including renditions by Johnny Cash, Gene Autry (in a 1949 film trailer), Marty Robbins, Sons of the Pioneers, Chris LeDoux, Bing Crosby, Riders in the Sky, Jimmie Rodgers, Lorne Greene, Elvis, The Blues Brothers, the Outlaws, Judy Collins, at CowboyPoetry.com and find more poems in the spirit of Halloween there as well.

Texas local historian, ghost-tale-teller, poet, writer, and reciter Linda Kirkpatrick shared this fitting photograph, taken in July, 2014. Find more about her at LindaKirkpatrick.net.

 

THE CUTTIN’ CHUTE by Linda Kirkpatrick

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THE CUTTIN’ CHUTE
by Linda Kirkpatrick

As the cowboy works the cuttin’ gate
There’s a few things he’s gotta know.
The first and foremost of these things
Is what must stay and what must go.

Now take that ole cow over there
The black with mottled face,
Why she ain’t calved in more than a year;
She’s got no business on this place.

So I’ll just cut her to the left
When she hits the cuttin’ gate,
So far of all the cows to go,
She’ll be number eight.

But when it comes to friends I know
And life is kinda in a tight
There is one thing fer darn sure,
I’ll cut you to the right.

© 2002, Linda Kirkpatrick, used with permission
This poem should not be printed or posted without the author’s permission

Ranch-raised in Texas Hill Country, Linda Kirkpatrick is known for her poetry, recitations, writings about regional history, and chuckwagon cooking.

She wrote this poem for her friends Ginger and W. B. Patterson, who, like Linda, are from long-time Texas ranching families.

Linda Kirkpatrick is headed to the 31st annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering (February 24-25, 1017). A stellar lineup includes Doris Daley, Pipp Gillette, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Jim Jones, Luke Reed, Gail Steiger, Dale Burson, Mikki Daniel, Kevin Davis, and Randy Rieman. There are special concerts by Trinity Seely and Kristyn Harris and by Red Steagall and Dan Roberts and other performers include Mary Abbott, Apache Adams, Gary Allegretto, Amy Hale Auker, Sally Bates, “Straw” Berry, Mike Blakely, Almeda Bradshaw, Don Cadden, Bob Campbell, Craig Carter, Allan Chapman & Rodeo Kate, John Davis, Doug Figgs, Ray Fitzgerald, Rolf Flake, Ryan Fritz, Jeff Gore, Audrey Hankins, Andy Hedges, Don Hedgpeth, Randy Huston, Chris Issacs, Jill Jones & Three Hands High, Suzi Killman & Cyndi Austin, Linda Kirkpatrick, Daron Little, Deanna McCall, Pat Meade, Chuck Milner, Glenn Moreland, Joel Nelson, Sam Noble, Kay Nowell, Jean Prescott, Gary Prescott, Mike Querner, Heather Watson & Nathan Schmidt, Jay Snider, Caitlyn Taussig, Rod Taylor, Floyd Traynor, Keith Ward, and Jim Wilson.

This year’s Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster is by Tyler Crow, the newest and youngest member of the Cowboy Artists of America. (The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry/CowboyPoetry.com is also pleased to have Tyler Crow art for this year’s Cowboy Poetry Week poster.)

Find more about the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering on Facebook and at texascowboypoetry.com.

Find more about Tyler Crow on Facebook,  and at tylercrow.com.

Find more about Linda Kirkpatrick, including her books and recordings, at CowboyPoetry.com, http://www.cowboypoetry.com/lk.htm, and find her “Somewhere in the West” column in The Hill Country Herald.