TALENT by Rod Nichols, 1942-2007

gaharp

photo ©2017, Gary Allegretto. Request permission for use.

TALENT
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

Lord knows why the boss ever hired him,
he wuzn’t what you’d call a hand,
he stayed in our way or in trouble,
not much of a cowboy that man.

I think that the boss would’ve fired him,
just waited to find the right way,
til after our supper one evenin’
he took a mouth-organ and played.

It might have been Red River Valley
or Down In The Valley so low
or Kathleen or Come To The Bower,
to this day I don’t rightly know.

But that doesn’t really much matter
cause whatever tune that he played,
when that rascal pup started playin’
we all wuz right glad that he’d stayed.

Have you felt the warm wind on the prairie,
the soft mourning call of a dove,
then you may have some sort of feelin’
for what we wuz all thinkin’ of.

The cares of the day soon forgotten,
they vanished without any trace,
there wuzn’t an hombre among us
without a big smile on his face.

The Lord gives to each man a talent
to use or to hide as he may,
there wuzn’t no doubt ’bout his talent
whenever that feller had played.

Lord grant me just one little favor,
please help me a bit now and then,
to call on just half of such talent
to shine as a light before men.

© 2002, Rod Nichols
This poem should not be re-posted or reprinted without permission

Texas poet Rod Nichols is greatly missed by his many friends. He wrote this poem soon after September 11, 2001, and he told us, “… I have never seen so much interest in cowboy poetry, story telling, music and western art as I have seen since the Sept. 11th attack. I think folks are beginning to look for answers in our past and the American cowboy fills the bill. Here is one more that speaks to the use of the talents that the Good Lord has given us all whatever they may be.”

Find more about Rod Nichols at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo is by top harmonica player, popular entertainer, and educator Gary Allegretto. He comments that it is, “My very rare and ornate Hohner “Trumpet Call” harmonica. A gift from my father, it is nearly 100 years old. Monetarily it’s probably worth more than my pickup truck…sentimentally of course it’s priceless.”

Gary is on his way to Hawaii to perform in coming days. Find him as a headliner at the 32nd annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, March 2-3-2018 and at many other events and venues across the West and beyond. Find more at garyallegretto.com.

DEEP OCTOBER by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

timcox

Gathering the Creek” by  Tim Cox, used with permission

 

DEEP OCTOBER
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

There’s somethin’ ’bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September’s just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

The nights have changed from cool to cold
the trees from leafed to bare,
a breeze is now a cuttin’ wind
that hones the evenin’ air.

And overhead a muted light
casts shadows o’er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow’s Eve
an orange October moon.

A melancholy, haunted place
this lonely trail tonight,
a grove of twisted, barren shapes
against that autumn light.

The sounds of evenin’ aren’t the same
no crickets, birds or frog,
instead a moan among the trees
or distant, mournful dog.

While overhead that muted light
casts shadows o’er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow’s Eve
an orange October moon.

There’s somethin’ ’bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September’s just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

© 2007, Rod Nichols
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

Rod told us, “‘Deep October’ was written after a ride one evening when the moon was almost orange in color. I was on a black Morgan that belonged to a friend of mine and I had to write this one when I got in.

Rod is forever missed by his many friends and family. Find more about him and more of his poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This beautiful image, “Gathering the Creek,” is by top Western artist Tim Cox. Tim Cox has a number of striking fall paintings, many available as prints. See them and many more at timcox.com. Thanks to Suzie and Tim Cox for permission to share “Gathering the Creek.”

SEEIN’ SANTA by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

seeincr

“Seein’ Santa” by Charles M. Russell, 1910
C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana  reproduced with permission

 

SEEIN’ SANTA
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

Ol’ Charlie sat with cup in hand,
“Hot coffee, that’s for me.
I’ll never touch another drop
of spirits, though I freeze.”

The bunkhouse crew now gathered ’round;
ol’ Chuck was talkin’ strange.
“What happened, son,” the foreman asked,
to bring about this change?”

The cowboy took another sip,
“Just let me ketch my breath.
You won’t believe what happened, boys,
but scared me half to death.”

“I’d been up in the north country,
and stopped by Miller’s shack.
We jawed awhile and afterwards,
I started headin’ back.”

“The wind was raw and bitter cold.
It had me in it’s grip.
I thought to warm my innards up,
and took a little nip.”

“When all at once against the sky
and down a cloudy draw,
a sight like nuthin’ on this Earth,
this frozen cowboy saw.”

“It were a sleigh, I swear it, boys,
and drawn by antlered deer,
a driver, too, in cap and fur,
and laughin’ loud and clear.”

“I’d never seen its likes before
nor nuthin half as strange;
That driver seemed to tip his cap
and called to me by name.”

“When that there rig flew over me
with driver, deer and sleigh,
I took one look at what I’d drunk,
and threw the rest away.”

“Then as they mounted to the sky,
I heard him clearly say,
‘Peace on the Earth, goodwill to men
on this most wondrous day.”

” I know you won’t believe me, boys,
but, how do you explain,
this lariat he left for me
that bears my given name?”

For there upon his saddle horn
a rope with leather bands
that bound the length at either end
to hold the woven strands.

And on one band, a message read
“To Charlie Russell, Hand.
A Merry Christmas to you, pard,
until we meet, again.”

© 2004, Rod Nichols, used with permission

Texas poet Rod Nichols wrote this poem for a Christmas Art Spur with this Russell image at CowboyPoetry.com.

Rod Nichols is dearly missed by his many friends.

Find more about Rod Nichols and much more of his poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

DEEP OCTOBER by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

timcox

Gathering the Creek” by  Tim Cox, used with permission

 

DEEP OCTOBER
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

There’s somethin’ ’bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September’s just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

The nights have changed from cool to cold
the trees from leafed to bare,
a breeze is now a cuttin’ wind
that hones the evenin’ air.

And overhead a muted light
casts shadows o’er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow’s Eve
an orange October moon.

A melancholy, haunted place
this lonely trail tonight,
a grove of twisted, barren shapes
against that autumn light.

The sounds of evenin’ aren’t the same
no crickets, birds or frog,
instead a moan among the trees
or distant, mournful dog.

While overhead that muted light
casts shadows o’er the gloom,
like tricks upon All Hallow’s Eve
an orange October moon.

There’s somethin’ ’bout the time of year
when fall is almost over,
September’s just a memory,
now lost in deep October.

© 2007, Rod Nichols, used with permission

Rod told us, “‘Deep October’ was written after a ride one evening when the moon was almost orange in color. I was on a black Morgan that belonged to a friend of mine and I had to write this one when I got in.

Rod is forever missed by his many friends and family. Find more about him and more of his poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This beautiful image, “Gathering the Creek,” is by top Western artist Tim Cox. Tim Cox has a number of striking fall paintings, many available as prints. See them and many more at timcox.com. Thanks to Suzie and Tim Cox for permission to share “Gathering the Creek.”

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and image with this post, but for any other uses, please obtain permission.)