A COWBOY’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

cowboynewyearnash.jpg

A COWBOY’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

As one who’s been a cowhand since the wildcats learned to spit,
I’ve made some resolutions for the comin’ year, to wit:
Resolved, to ride a shorter day and sleep a longer night;
To never come to breakfast till the sun is shinin’ bright;
To draw a top-hands wages when they’re due or quit the job
And hunt a wealthy widow or an easy bank to rob.
Resolved, to quit the wagon when the chuck ain’t up to snuff,
To feed no more on bullet beans nor chaw on beef that’s tough.
Resolved, to straddle nothin’ in the line of saddle mount
That ain’t plumb easy-gaited, gentle broke, and some account.

Resolved, that when it blizzards and there’s stock out in the storm,
To let the owner worry while I stay in where it’s warm.
Resolved, that when it comes my turn next spring to ride the bogs,
I’ll don the bib and tucker of my town and Sunday togs,
And tell the boss, by gravies, if he craves to shed some blood,
Just try to make me smear ’em tailin’ moo-cows from the mud.
Resolved, that when a thunderhead comes rollin’ up the sky,
I’ll lope in off my circle to the bunkhouse where it’s dry.

Resolved, to do such ropin’ as a ropin’ cowhand must,
But never when the air ain’t free from cattle-trompled dust.
Resolved to show no hosses, and resolved, to swim no cricks;
Resolved, no dead-cow skinnin’, and resolved, no fence to fix.
Resolved, to swing no pitchfork, no pick, no ax, no spade;
Resolved to wear my whiskers—if I want to—in a braid!
Resolved, to take this New Year plenty easy through-and-through,
Instead of sweatin’ heavy like I’ve always used to do.

As one who’s been a cowhand since before who laid the chunk,
It may sound like I’m loco, or it may sound like I’m drunk
To make such resolutions as you see upon my list,
And others purt near like ’em that my mem’ry may have missed;
But gosh, they sound so pleasant to a son of saddle sweat!
And New Year’s resolutions—well, I never kept one yet!
So why make resolutions that bring furrows to your brow?
Let’s make ’em free and fancy—’cause we’ll bust ’em anyhow!

© 1966, S. Omar Barker, from Rawhide Rhymes, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker

Happy New Year, all!

S. Omar Barker  was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. Find more about S. Omar Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.

Jay Snider recites this poem on MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker.

This photograph is by Colorado rancher Terry Nash, taken in late 2013. Terry’s most recent CD is the award-winning, A Good Ride. Find more about him at CowboyPoetry.com and at his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.

Find more New Year poems at CowboyPoetry.com.

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

COW SENSE, by Bruce Kiskaddon

cowtn

 

COW SENSE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

You have heard people a sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”
Well they ain’t seen much cattle I’ll tell you right now.
A cow she knows more than some people by half;
She’s the only thing livin’ that savvys a calf.
A cow don’t know nothin? Well, how do you think
They suckle young calves and walk miles fer a drink?

You have watched an old cow; or I reckon you did,
If she’s got a young calf why she keeps it well hid.
She has planted it out where it jest caint be found,
And she won’t go near there if there’s anything ’round.
You just make that calf give a jump or a beller
And that old cow is there to charge into a feller.

If there’s several young calves in a bunch, you will find,
When their Ma’s go to drink they leave one cow behind.
And when they git full and come back to the bunch
She goes to git her a drink and some lunch.
You kin talk of day nurseries. I reckon as how,
They was fustly invented and used by a cow.

Perhaps you have noticed some times on a drive
With cows, men and hosses more dead than alive,
When you got near the water, as soon as they smelt,
Them old cows went fer it jest Hellity belt.
Then the drags was all calves but they didn’t furgit ’em;
When they drunk they come back and they shore didn’t quit ’em.

They let their calves suck and kept out of the rush,
So them calves didn’t git in the mud and the crush.
I’m telling you people without any jokes,
Cows make better parents than plenty of folks.
If folk thought the thing over, I reckon as how,
They wouldn’t be sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

This poem is from Bruce Kiskaddon’s 1935 book, Western Poems; it also appeared in the Western Livestock Journal.

In the new triple-CD set from cowboypoetry.com, MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon, New Mexico rancher, writer, and poet Deanna Dickinson McCall has a great recitation of “Cow Sense.”

Thanks to Rick Huff of the International Western Music Association for his review of the project in the current issue of the organization’s The Western Way. He writes, in part, “…If you are not already Kiskaddon-oriented, let this opportunity immerse you in what it really is to be– and see through the eyes and feel with the heart of–a cowboy. Highly
recommended.”

Wheaton Hall Brewer wrote, in his introduction to Western Poems, “…As the years roll on and history appreciates the folk-lore of the plains and ranges, these poems by a real cowboy will take on a deeper significance and mightier stature. When Bruce turns his pony into the Last Corral—long years from now, we all hope—he need feel no surprise if he hears his songs sung by the celestial cowboys as their tireless ponies thunder over the heavenly ranges, bringing in the dogies for branding at the Eternal Corrals. For poetry will never die.”

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

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash shares this photo taken in late June this year. The most recent International Western Music Association awards named Terry Nash the Male Poet of the Year and his “A Good Ride” was named Best CD of the year.

Just a few places to find Terry in coming months include the 32nd annual Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, August 8-10, 2019; New Mexico’s upcoming 6th annual Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering, August 22-25, 2019; and Colorado’s 4th annual Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, November 1-2, 2019.

Learn more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com and at terrynashcowboypoet.com.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this photo with this post, but please request permission for any other use. The poem is in the public domain.)

SKYPE (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff), by Terry Nash

terryskype

SKYPE (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff)
by Terry Nash

Never thought I’d ever twitter
Nor considered that I’d tweet.
I’ve kept my hashtags to myself
And my sentences complete.

I used to think that Facebook
just happened when in bed
And you’d drifted off mid-paragraph
And yer novel hit yer head.

But, now I have this smart phone
With touch screen and some apps,
And I’m feelin’ sorta trendy
And I figure, just perhaps,

I’ll polish up my ‘tech’-nique;
Succumb to the latest hype,
Clean my hat, brush my ‘stache
And call someone and skype!

I figured just this mornin’
I’d be sure to catch Ol’ Claude.
When he see’s my grinnin’ face
There’s no doubt he’ll be awed!

So I called a little early
To catch him still at home…
Hadn’t ever seen him hatless,
But the glare off his ol’ dome

Plumb blinded me at first!
And when he started into talkin’
He hadn’t stuck his teeth in yet;
It was sorta like he’s squawkin’!

Claude didn’t know we’s skypin’-
Held the phone up just to listen
And I swear I seed plum through him
Confirmin’ my suspicion;

Some cowboys got dang little
‘Twixt their left ear and their right
Next time I skype ol’ Claude
It’ll be in the dark of night!

© 2015, Terry Nash
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Colorado rancher, reciter, and poet Terry Nash includes this poem on his recent CD, A Good Ride. The most recent International Western Music Association awards named Terry Nash the Male Poet of the Year and A Good Ride was named Best CD of the year.

Find the complete playlist for A Good Ride and another poem of Terry’s here on this blog.

Catch Terry at New Mexico’s upcoming 6th annual Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering, August 22-25, 2019. Other poets and musicians include Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Broken Chair Band, Dale Burson, Don Cadden, Cowboy Way, Danner Hampton, Randy Huston, Jill Jones, Peggy Malone, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Claudia Nygaard, Dale Page, Dennis Russell, Rocky Sullivan, Rod Taylor, and Barry Ward.

Learn more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com and about his CDs, schedule, and more at his web site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.

This photo shows Terry with Jax and Daisy the dog.

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

A COWMAN’S LOT by Terry Nash (with Mike Moutoux)

terrynash11

A COWMAN’S LOT
by Terry Nash (with Mike Moutoux)

Two on the ground at the end of the day
And a heifer waitin’ for night.
Front’s movin’ in with the clouds thick and gray;
Her bag’s gettin’ swollen and tight.

Still in the saddle where he’d been all day,
Knowin’ sure tonight things would freeze,
Looked at the clouds like folks do when they pray;
“Lord, what makes ‘em pick nights like these?”

He hazed her out from the rest of the cows
And into a dry calvin’ pen.
Scattered straw he’d saved for times such as now
In a shelter, out of the wind.

Unsettled and restless, the young cow paced.
He’d seen this in calvin’ before.
She’d delay if he remained in her space;
He backed off and gave her some more.

The first flakes to fall were wet and wide-spaced;
A warning – soon they fell quicker.
Wind and Dark were neck and neck as they raced,
The cowboy pulled on his slicker.

He thought of supper; a wife who’d worry,
She’d watch for his truck at the gate.
He with a heifer no man could hurry
And decided supper could wait.

But most cowmen, at the end of the day
Would likely reflect on this spot –
He asked for this job and it weren’t for pay,
It’s the love of a cowman’s lot.

The temperature dropped, snow turned now to ice;
Stung his face like splinters of glass.
Through squinted eyes he watched her circle twice,
And then take a place in the grass.

She laid down and pushed, then stood up and strained,
Two circles, then back in the grass.
One foot was glimpsed but she stood up again,
looked his way – and the moment passed.

He turned to his chores to get out of sight,
Reminded she needed her space.
This labor could last plum into the night
And nothing would quicken the pace.

He fed all the horses, rode ‘mongst the cows,
Usin’ time he knew she required.
He rode back when done to check on her now,
And hopin’ she wasn’t too tired.

Two feet now emerged where just one had shown;
She labored, her calf to expel.
The cow then uttered a low quiet moan
And stretched out to rest for a spell.

In five more minutes a small head appeared,
Meantime the merc’ry was fallin’
The calf was soon out but the rancher feared
It’d need help or death would be callin’.

But the heifer’s up, inspectin’ her work.
Soft lowin’, she battled the cold.
Nuzzled and licked, the calf shivered and jerked.
The man marveled as instincts took hold.

She licked the calf clean, he tried out new feet,
Nose divin’ plum into the ground.
He then got a taste of mother’s milk sweet
And latched on to the spiggot he’d found.

The man grinned, to hear the smack of wet lips;
Knew the calf was gettin’ his meal.
Inner warmth would soon spread from nose to hips
and Mom’s rough tongue would seal the deal.

Steward of cattle, of birthright and land,
He’d not think of quittin’ this spot.
He’s there, if needed, to lend her a hand;
The best friend this young cow has got.

© 2013, Terry Nash (with Mike Moutoux)
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash recites his poem in an impressive video by Chancey Bush, from earlier this week, in Grand Junction’s The Daily Sentinel. The Daily Sentinel also included an article by Erin McIntyre, “Loma rancher honored for cowboy prose.”

The poem is on Terry Nash’s recent CD, A Good Ride. Recently Terry was named Male Poet of the Year by the International Western Music Association and A Good Ride was named Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year by the IWMA.

Find more about Terry at terrynashcowboypoet.com.

Find more about Terry’s collaborator on this poem, cowboy, poet, and musician Mike Moutoux, at mikemoutoux.com.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

DECEMBER STRAGGLERS by Terry Nash

decstrag

DECEMBER STRAGGLERS
by Terry Nash

Morning’s pale sun gave way to thick clouds
As we all saddled our mounts.
Ridin’ from camp, our mission today
Is needin’ to fill the count.

Three hundred ten was gathered last month,
The tally was sixteen shy.
We rode the breaks and benches for sign;
No tellin’ how they’d got by.

Two solid weeks we searched the JU,
Combin’ the brush for eight pair,
With little to show for our ridin’
‘Cept that the stragglers weren’t there.

Those cattle were nowhere on our range;
They’d maybe returned to Hell’s Hole;
High country grass they’d grazed since July,
Till fall’s storms started to roll.

We’d gathered three pair and one hunter
A-hoofin’ it into town,
But we’re still ten head out today and
The next big storm’s blowin’ down.

We’re buckin’ a head-wind this morning,
Five riders watchin’ for sign.
The Lasalles are fadin’ from our view;
The wind’s beginnin’ to whine.

We wallered deep drifts t’ward the 2V
Followin’ Old Raley’s hunch:
“This new storm’ll bring ‘em down,” he said,
“We’ll likely find the whole bunch.”

Gates were left open all through the range
So stragglers could pass on through.
Veteran cows will know to move down
When winter dictates they do.

The clouds were hangin’ level and dark,
Raley was settin’ the pace.
We topped out above Luster Basin,
The first flakes hittin’ my face.

Jackson pulled up his horse and pointed
At our stragglers, single file,
Tails to the wind and stringin’ our way
Down the draw a quarter mile.

Wild old Snort was a-leadin’ the bunch.
We split and got out of sight.
We’ll swing in behind and then flank ‘em
Providin’ our timing’s right.

The cattle filed past and we stepped out
Snort threw her head flingin’ snot.
Jess was ready when she quit the trail;
He turned her back at a trot.

The old rip knew where she’s goin’.
She and the rest reached the pines,
She led ‘em through and out on the road
With us just ridin’ behind.

The storm at our backs now, we’re ridin’;
Wet heavy flakes flyin’ past.
Sllckers drippin’, our horses are soaked,
We’re hopin’ our luck will last.

Past Mountain Island, down off Black Hill,
She struck the trail to the north
Where the Beiser corrals stood waitin’.
Two flank riders sashayed forth

To get in position to turn ‘em,
But Ol’ Snort just walked on in.
We backed in the trucks and trailered ‘em
Just as the light’s gettin’ thin.

It’s usually never that easy,
You mostly earn what you bring.
We got lucky – our stragglers found us
In winter’s cold icy sting.

© 2012, Terry Nash, used with permission

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash told us, “We summer our cattle on private ground, pooling them with several other herds at Glade Park and Pinon Mesa, high country situated a few miles west of Grand Junction, in Western Colorado. We throw the cattle on the mountain in early June and usually gather and bring ’em back to the valley in November, when the weather dictates we do. It usually takes three or four ‘sweeps’ a-horseback to clean the 6000 acre pasture, and there’s always a few stragglers reluctant to leave. Riding the pasture looking for those last few head isn’t always in the best of weather…”

Terry shared this photo and commented, “This is a ride we made in December 2011. We had all the cow-calf pairs off the mountain before the weather turned, but couldn’t find three bulls despite riding for two weeks. Hearing of sightings by neighbors, we’d ridden in after storms and found no trace, except once we picked up a Hereford bull belonging to a man who ranges a good distance to the west of where we found him. We had a lot of cold riding with no real results. Finally one of the landowners flew over his range and spotted the three bulls. They were holed up in a low spot, just over the ridge from water, out of the wind. We rode in next morning, packing in a little feed, and pushed them to the Beiser corrals, 3 miles away. The road was drifted shut and the only way in was horseback. ‘December Stragglers’ came as a composite of several winter rides.

“December Stragglers” is the title poem of Terry’s 2013 CD. His latest CD is A Good Ride. Recently Terry was named Male Poet of the Year by the International Western Music Association and A Good Ride was named Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year.

Find more about Terry at terrynashcowboypoet.com.

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

WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

terryfinished

WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

Though you’re not exactly blue,
Yet you don’t feel like you do
In the winter, or the long hot summer days.
For your feelin’s and the weather
Seem to sort of go together,
And you’re quiet in the dreamy autumn haze.
When the last big steer is goaded
Down the chute, and safely loaded;
And the summer crew has ceased to hit the ball;
When a fellow starts to draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shipping cattle in the fall.

Only two men left a standin’
On the job for winter brandin’,
And your pardner, he’s a loafing by your side.
With a bran-new saddle creakin’,
But you never hear him speakin’,
And you feel it’s goin’ to be a quiet ride.
But you savvy one another
For you know him like a brother—
He is friendly but he’s quiet, that is all;
For he’s thinkin’ while he’s draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the saddle hosses stringin’
At an easy walk a swingin’
In behind the old chuck wagon movin’ slow.
They are weary gaunt and jaded
With the mud and brush they’ve waded,
And they settled down to business long ago.
Not a hoss is feelin’ sporty,
Not a hoss is actin’ snorty;
In the spring the brutes was full of buck and bawl;
But they’re gentle, when they’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the cook leads the retreat
Perched high upon his wagon seat,
With his hat pulled ‘way down furr’wd on his head.
Used to make that old team hustle,
Now he hardly moves a muscle,
And a feller might imagine he was dead,
‘Cept his old cob pipe is smokin’
As he lets his team go pokin’,
Hittin’ all the humps and hollers in the road.
No, the cook has not been drinkin’—
He’s just settin’ there and thinkin’
‘Bout the places and the people that he knowed
And you watch the dust a trailin’
And two little clouds a sailin’,
And a big mirage like lakes and timber tall.
And you’re lonesome when you’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

When you make the camp that night,
Though the fire is burnin’ bright,
Yet nobody seems to have a lot to say,
In the spring you sung and hollered,
Now you git your supper swallered
And you crawl into your blankets right away.
Then you watch the stars a shinin’
Up there in the soft blue linin’
And you sniff the frosty night air clear and cool.
You can hear the night hoss shiftin’
As your memory starts driftin’
To the little village where you went to school.
With its narrow gravel streets
And the kids you used to meet,
And the common where you used to play baseball.
Now you’re far away and draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon
For they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And your school-boy sweetheart too,
With her eyes of honest blue—
Best performer in the old home talent show.
You were nothin’ but a kid
But you liked her, sure you did—
Lord! And that was over thirty years ago.
Then your memory starts to roam
From Old Mexico to Nome.
From the Rio Grande to the Powder River,
Of the things you seen and done—
Some of them was lots of fun
And a lot of other things they make you shiver.
‘Bout that boy by name of Reid
That was killed in a stampede—
‘Twas away up north, you helped ’em dig his grave,
And your old friend Jim the boss
That got tangled with a hoss,
And the fellers couldn’t reach in time to save.

You was there when Ed got his’n—
Boy that killed him’s still in prison,
And old Lucky George, he’s rich and livin’ high.
Poor old Tom, he come off worst,
Got his leg broke, died of thirst
Lord but that must be an awful way to die.

Then them winters at the ranches,
And the old time country dances—
Everybody there was sociable and gay.
Used to lead ’em down the middle
Jest a prancin’ to the fiddle—
Never thought of goin’ home till the break of day.
No! there ain’t no chance for sleepin’,
For the memories come a creepin’,
And sometimes you think you hear the voices call;
When a feller starts a draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

…from Kiskaddon’s 1924 version in Rhymes of the Ranges

Bruce Kiskaddon’s masterpiece is a well loved classic, in the repertoire of most serious reciters. Hear top poet Waddie Mitchell recite it.

Bruce Kiskaddon drew on his cowboying experiences for his poetry. Find much more about him in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2017 photo is by Colorado poet and rancher Terry Nash. He told us, “I took it on the mountain just before we began gathering cattle to ship.”

Terry Nash can be found at events across the West, including the upcoming 2nd annual West End Cowboy Gathering in Nucla, Colorado, October 31, 2018 along with Dale Burson, Valerie Beard, Floyd Beard, and Peggy Malone. Next month, he is also a part of the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, November 2-3, 2018 in Grand Junction, Colorado. He’ll join Trinity Seely, Al Albrethsen, Floyd Beard, Dale Burson, Jerry Brooks, Nona Kelley Carver, The Great Western Heritage Show (Rick Cosby and Gary Mansfield), Dale Page, Rod Taylor, Rocky Sullivan, Peggy Malone, and the Ramblin’ Rangers (Bonnie Jo and Brad Exton).

Terry’s recent CD is A Good Ride.” Find more about him at CowboyPoetry.com  and visit his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but any other use of the photo requires permission. The poem is in the public domain.)

COW SENSE, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

tnfamp

COW SENSE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

You have heard people a sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”
Well they ain’t seen much cattle I’ll tell you right now.
A cow she knows more than some people by half;
She’s the only thing livin’ that savvys a calf.
A cow don’t know nothin? Well, how do you think
They suckle young calves and walk miles fer a drink?

You have watched an old cow; or I reckon you did,
If she’s got a young calf why she keeps it well hid.
She has planted it out where it jest caint be found,
And she won’t go near there if there’s anything ’round.
You just make that calf give a jump or a beller
And that old cow is there to charge into a feller.

If there’s several young calves in a bunch, you will find,
When their Ma’s go to drink they leave one cow behind.
And when they git full and come back to the bunch
She goes to git her a drink and some lunch.
You kin talk of day nurseries. I reckon as how,
They was fustly invented and used by a cow.

Perhaps you have noticed some times on a drive
With cows, men and hosses more dead than alive,
When you got near the water, as soon as they smelt,
Them old cows went fer it jest Hellity belt.
Then the drags was all calves but they didn’t furgit ’em;
When they drunk they come back and they shore didn’t quit ’em.

They let their calves suck and kept out of the rush,
So them calves didn’t git in the mud and the crush.
I’m telling you people without any jokes,
Cows make better parents than plenty of folks.
If folk thought the thing over, I reckon as how,
They wouldn’t be sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

How about a Kiskaddon doubleheader. This poem is from Bruce Kiskaddon’s 1935 book, Western Poems; it also appeared in the Western Livestock Journal.

Wheaton Hall Brewer wrote, in his introduction to Western Poems:

…As the years roll on and history appreciates the folk-lore of the plains and ranges, these poems by a real cowboy will take on a deeper significance and mightier stature. When Bruce turns his pony into the Last Corral—long years from now, we all hope—he need feel no surprise if he hears his songs sung by the celestial cowboys as their tireless ponies thunder over the heavenly ranges, bringing in the dogies for branding at the Eternal Corrals. For poetry will never die.

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

This recent “family portrait” is by Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash. He comments, “This was two days before we shipped to the mountain. The cattle know when it’s time. They get a little restless at times, and vocal, waiting for cool mountain pastures. I call it their season of discontent.”

Terry’s most recent CD is A Good Ride. He is also featured on the new MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker from CowboyPoetry.com.

Learn more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com,  and find him on Facebook while his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com, is being overhauled.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this photo with this post, but please request permission for any other use. The poem is in the public domain.)