GIT HIM SLICKER BROKE, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

rainkisk

GIT HIM SLICKER BROKE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

When yore breakin’ out a broncho,
Better get him slicker broke;
Or sometime you’ll have to try it
When it isn’t any joke.
When the wind begins a blowin’
Till it snaps his mane and tail,
And you see a black cloud comin’
Full of lightnin’ rain and hail.

And you know if you it him off
He will likely pull away
So you try it in the saddle
And yore hopin’ that you stay
But yore horse starts a buckin’
When you git it halfway on.
While yore arms and sleeves is tangled
Then he throws you and he’s gone.

It’s a mighty nasty feelin’
That a feller caint explain;
When yore standin’ there bare headed
And plum helpless, in the rain.
Fer yore slicker’s tore and busted
And the wind has took yore hat;
And you see yore hoss and saddle
Go driftin’ down the flat.

‘Bout that time you git an idee
And you don’t furgit it, pal.
Better slicker break a broncho
In a mighty good corral

…by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

This poem appears in Bruce Kiskaddon’s second book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems, published in 1947.

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today. See features about him at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/kisk.htm

The great Bill Owen (1942-2013) was a storyteller, too, with his paintings.They invite you in. This one, “Waiting Out the Storm,” is a perfect example. His web site quotes him about this painting, “Typical of Arizona, the cowboys figured the rain would end shortly, so those who had a slicker threw it over their saddle to keep it dry and then sat in the saddle house until the storm passed.”

Bill Owen was a cowboy’s painter. His web site tells, “Bill always felt compelled to record what he believed to be the true endangered species of our time: the contemporary working cowboy. He was extremely passionate about the importance of portraying each and every detail with complete accuracy.His greatest accomplishments and proudest moments were realized when a true cowboy looked at one of his pieces and said, ‘That’s exactly the way it is!’”

At the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, we were honored to have Bill Owen’s “Born to This Land” as the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster art.

Find more about Bill Owen at CowboyPoetry.com and at billowenca.com. Another way Bill Owen’s legacy continues is with the Bill Owen, Cowboy Artist, Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., which “…provides scholarships to young people of the Arizona ranching community to further their education beyond high school.”

Special thanks to Valerie Owen Fillhouer for her generous permission for the use of this image.

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

BORN TO THIS LAND by Red Steagall

Owen_cpw

© Bill Owen, “Born to This Land”  request permission for reproduction

 

BORN TO THIS LAND
by Red Steagall

I’ve kicked up the hidden mesquite roots and rocks
From the place where I spread out my bed.
I’m layin’ here under a sky full of stars
With my hands folded up ‘neath my head.

Tonight there’s a terrible pain in my heart
Like a knife, it cuts jagged and deep.
This evening the windmiller brought me the word
That my granddaddy died in his sleep.

I saddled my gray horse and rode to a hill
Where when I was a youngster of nine,
My granddaddy said to me, “Son this is ours,
All of it, yours, your daddy’s and mine.

Son, my daddy settled here after the war
That new tank’s where his house used to be.
He wanted to cowboy and live in the west
Came to Texas from east Tennessee.

The longhorns were wild as the deer in them breaks.
With a long rope he caught him a few.
With the money he made from trailin’ em north,
Son, he proved up this homestead for you.

The railroad got closer, they built the first fence
Where the river runs through the east side.
When I was a button we built these corrals
Then that winter my granddaddy died.

My father took over and bought up more range
With good purebreds he improved our stock.
It seemed that the windmills grew out of the ground
Then the land got as hard as a rock.

Then during the dust bowl we barely hung on,
The north wind tried to blow us away.
It seemed that the Lord took a likin’ to us
He kept turnin’ up ways we could stay.

My daddy grew older and gave me more rein,
We’d paid for most all of the land.
By the time he went on I was running more cows
And your daddy was my right hand man.”

His eyes got real cloudy, took off in a trot,
And I watched as he rode out of sight.
Tho I was a child, I knew I was special
And I’m feelin’ that same way tonight

Not many years later my daddy was killed
On a ship in the South China Sea.
For twenty odd years now we’ve made this ranch work
Just two cowboys, my granddad and me.

And now that he’s gone, things are certain to change
And I reckon that’s how it should be.
But five generations have called this ranch home
And I promise it won’t end with me.

‘Cause I’ve got a little one home in a crib
When he’s old enough he’ll understand,
From the top of that hill I’ll show him his ranch
Cause like me, he was Born To This Land.

© 1989, Red Steagall
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

The great Red Steagall is the Official Cowboy Poet of Texas and the past Poet Laureate of Texas, the first “cowboy” poet to hold that honor in decades (Carlos Ashley held the position 1949-1951).

His “Born to This Land,” a standout anthem to the cowboy way, is on his recording, Born to This Land, recipient of the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. We were honored to have it on the first volume of The BAR-D Roundup from CowboyPoetry.com and is included on volume 10, the “best of” double CD.

Red Steagall headlines the 26th annual Old West Days Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering, September 28-October 1, 2017 in Valentine, Nebraska, joined by Chance Dennis, Mikki Daniel, Curt Brummett, Jake Riley, and others. The event also includes Western art, a trade and quilt show, a trail ride, youth poetry contest, and more. Visit oldwestdays.net for schedules, tickets, and more information and find the event on Facebook.

Find more about Red Steagall at CowboyPoetry.com and at RedSteagall.com.

The much loved and respected Bill Owen (1942-2013) of Cowboy Artists of America lent his painting by the same name, “Born to This Land,” for the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster. He and Red Steagall were the closest of friends and he was inspired by the poem.

Bill Owen commented on his painting, “…Fathers often teach the cowboy profession, which includes respect for the land, to their youngsters.” The work depicts a Northern Arizona rancher and his son “seen enjoying each other’s company while waiting for the last few head of cattle to arrive at the hold up.”

Bill Owen also demonstrated his commitment to the next generations through his Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization, which was renamed in his honor, as the Bill Owen, Cowboy Artist, Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc.

Find more about Bill Owen at CowboyPoetry.com and at billowenca.com.

Thanks to Val Filhouer for her kind permissions.

 

RAIN by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

waitingoutbo“Waiting Out the Storm,” by Bill Owen (1942-2013) request permission for use.

RAIN
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

It’s sumpthin’ a feller caint hardly explain
The way that a cowpuncher feels about rain.
It makes the feed grow and it fills up the tanks,
And generally speakin’ he’d orta give thanks.
He wakes up some night when the rain hits his bed
And pull the tarpolian up over his head.
It’s warm when it rains and he gits overhet
And he lays there all night in a miserable sweat.

He wakes up next mornin’, his boots is all soaked
Jest laugh that one off if you think it’s a joke.
He pulls at the lugs and he stomps and he knocks
Till he drives both his feet through the toes of his socks.
He gits his boots on but you know how it feels;
No toes in his socks and them wrinkled up heels.
When he goes to ketch out it ain’t no easy trick
With a rope that is wet and as stiff as a stick.

He dabs for his hoss and he makes a good snare
But the hoss downs his head and backs right out from there.
Fer a cow pony knows you caint tighten a loop
When you ketch with a rope that’s as stiff as a hoop.
When he gits saddled up he must climb up and ride
And that wets the last dry spot he had on his hide.
The hoss starts to buck but that cow boy is set
Fer a man’s hard to throw when his saddle is wet.

All day he keeps ridin’ the flats and the hills,
A slippin’ and slidin’ and likely he spills.
When he gits into camp he must stand up to eat,
And his clothes is all wet from his head to his feet.
He stands ’round the fire, he cusses and smokes,
Fer he hates to git into a bed that’s all soaked.
But his slicker’s wet through fer it’s old any way,
And there’s mighty few slickers turns water all day.

And while he turns in, and as strange as it seems
He goes off to sleep and he sweats and he steams.
Next mornin’ it’s clear and the wind’s blowin’ sharp
He shivers and crawls out from under his tarp.
By the time he eats breakfast he’s feeling all right
And his bed will dry out by a couple more nights.
But the old saddle blankets are still cold and wet,
And the hoss humps his back and looks wicked you bet.

Old cow boy is tired, he’s stiff and he’s sore,
He’s had lots of trouble, he don’t want no more.
So he takes that old pony and leads him around
Till he gits his back warm and the saddle sets down.
Fer the man that’s been rained on two nights and a day,
Ain’t lookin’ fer trouble; he ain’t built that way.
He wants feed and water but let me explain,
A waddy ain’t comf’tble out in the rain.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon, from Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems, 1947

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today.

Near the end of his life, Bruce Kiskaddon collected many of his previously published poems and one hundred never-before-published poems for his book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems. This poem is one of those one hundred. Bill Siems writes in his monumental Open Range, which collects nearly 500 of Kiskaddon’s poems, that the 1947 book “…has been the ‘bible’ of Kiskaddon’s poetry since it first appeared…”

Find much more about Kiskaddon: many of his poems; a feature about Bill Siems’ Open Range; Siems’ collection of Kiskaddon’s short stories, Shorty’s Yarns; and more at CowboyPoetry.com.

This painting, “Waiting Out the Storm,” is by the great Bill Owen (1942-2013).

Bill Owen was a cowboy’s painter. His web site tells, “Bill always felt compelled to record what he believed to be the true endangered species of our time: the contemporary working cowboy. He was extremely passionate about the importance of portraying each and every detail with complete accuracy.His greatest accomplishments and proudest moments were realized when a true cowboy looked at one of his pieces and said, ‘That’s exactly the way it is!’”

We were proud to have Bill Owen’s “Born to This Land” as the image for the official poster for the ninth annual Cowboy Poetry Week, 2010.

Visit billowenca.com for more about Bill Owen; find more about Bill Owen at CowboyPoetry.com; at the Cowboy Artists of America site; and see more on Facebook.

Bill Owen’s good work was also in good works: he founded the the Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization to help finance college educations for young people from the Arizona ranching community. The organization is now called the Bill Owen, Cowboy Artist, Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc.

Thanks to Val Fillhouer​ for her kind permissions.

 

WHEN HE COLD JAWS by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

owen
“Renaming His Horse,” Bill Owen (1942-2013)

 

WHEN HE COLD JAWS
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

When you set in the saddle and up on a hoss,
You get the idea that yore mebbyso boss.
Yore feet in the stirrups, yore hands on the reins,
You feel like the Lord of the mountains and plains.
Like you run the whole country and made all the laws;
But the difference it makes when yore pony cold jaws.

You jump a few wild ones and start to turn ’em.
Then try to break past and you reckon you’ll learn ’em.
You raise in your stirrups and lift fer a run,
But you haven’t gone far till you see what you’ve done.
They race down a hill and make fer a draw,
Then yore hoss slings his head and you feel him cold jaw.

His head in the crown piece, he shore does know how,
He is after his head and he’s got it right now.
You use all the stren’th in yore arms and yore shoulders.
He knocks the sparks out of the slide rocks and boulders.
A mighty sick feelin’ comes into yore craw,
Fer you never did think that this hoss would cold jaw.

It ain’t no use to pull. The reins tear through yore grip.
He crashes through brush and you feel yore clothes rip.
About all you can do is to hang on and ride.
You feel the cold sweat breakin’ out on yore hide.
You had run past yore cattle the last that you saw
And yore horse races on with an iron cold jaw.

At last he gets winded. You bend the old brute.
One sole is tore loose from the toe of yore boot.
The stock you was after, you nere will know
Which way or direction they happen to go.
You have left half yore shirt on a bunch of cat claw,
Fer it shore wrecks a hand when his hosses cold jaw.

by Bruce Kiskaddon, “Rhymes of the Ranges,” 1947

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

This painting, “Renaming His Horse,” is by the great and much missed Bill Owen,  (1942-2013).

The painting received the Cowboy Artists of America 2003 Artist’s Choice award, an honor bestowed by members for the best overall exhibition. The Cowboy Artists of America celebrate their 51st anniversary starting October 13, 2016 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. (See the complete catalogs for the Cowboy Artists of America and the associated Traditional Cowboy Artists here.)

At the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, we were honored to have Bill Owen’s “Born to This Land” as the 2010 Cowboy Poetry Week poster art.

Find more about Bill Owen at CowboyPoetry.com, ; at billowenca.com; and  on Facebook.

Special thanks to Valerie Owen Fillhouer for her generous permission for the use of this image.

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