DECEMBER by Rod Miller


“Cold Gather” © 2016, Mark Kohler;

by Rod Miller

I don’t wear no white hat—
it’s only fallen snow;
blankets both my shoulders,
caps boots, stirrup to toe.
Horse’s eyelash frosted,
his maneline salted white.
Tracks made by his horseshoes
soon disappear from sight.

The wind, it ain’t blowin’
and this cold I can stand—
bow my back, cowboy up,
and ride on for the brand.
Do the job I’m paid for.
Ain’t no need to pout.
Snow’ll melt come springtime,
like whiskers, grass’ll sprout.

A fire sure would feel good;
a cup of coffee, hot;
sougans in the bunkhouse
rolled out on ropeweb cot.
I’ll get home ’bout midnight.
Can’t wait to feel that bed.
Slim’ll wake and tell me
I can sleep when I’m dead.

Ride again at first light,
never mind snow and cold—
shake flakes off m’ back and
forget I’m too damn old.

© 2016, Rod Miller, used with permission

Utah’s Rod Miller excels as an essayist, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and more. He told us that this poem was “…inspired by season and circumstance.”

He has received the Western Writers of America’s prestigious Spur Award three times: for his poetry, short fiction, and a novel.

See his insightful and entertaining articles about writing and reciting cowboy poetry (and more of his poetry) at

Subscribe to Rod Miller’s blog.

This outstanding painting, “Cold Gather,” is by award-winning artist Mark Kohler, known for his watercolors and oils. He states on his web site, “I have a passion for the American West, and for the last 18 years I’ve dedicated my God-given talent to one goal: documenting the independent spirit and pride that the modern working cowboy has inherited from his predecessors. It is uniquely American and worthy of preservation.”

Mark Kohler also has a beautiful new book, Going West, which, he describes, “Like my first book, ‘Working Cowboys,’ it records the amazing experiences I have had chronicling the American West.”

Visit his website,; find him on Instagram; and on Facebook.