by Carole Jarvis

If there’s any of you women out there,
…..who are newly a cowboy’s wife.
And are still experiencing the honeymoon phase,
…..be prepared, there’s an afterlife!

The time will soon come you’ll be asked to help out,
…..So you probably ought to know,
That when he hands you a ripe, with a cow on the end,
…..You’re expected to never let go!

No matter he’s roped the old girl from the ground,
…..then dallied a big cedar post,
While explainin’ to you how bad sick she is,
…..almost ready to “give up the ghost.”

She’s standin’ there, tongue out, legs all a’spraddle,
…..her eyes bulging out of her head,
As the cowboy moves in to give her a shot,
…..for after all, the cow’s about dead.

Not quite! Just as the needle is jabbed in her rump,
…..that hind leg lets go with a whack.
And the cowboy’s shin receives direct hit,
…..as I’m tryin’ to take up my slack.

For the cow has leaped forward, shakin’ her head,
…..throwin’ slobber in every direction.
And with only that cedar post between us,
…..I’ve decided to use some discretion.

I dodge to the side, lettin’ go of the rope,
…..which had just burned the palms of both hands.
And that wild-eyed old cow’s horns barely miss
…..where I was, ’cause that’s where she lands.

“Keep a’hold of the rope!” comes a yell from behind
…..but by then this alliance is through!
One “near death” experience a day is enough
…..and I did all I could possibly do.

Or, at least it seemed, from my point of view,
…..(which was sure not the view I’d have chose)
But I handled the incident logically—
…..and that’s where the problem arose.

Logic wasn’t a choice—I aborted the mission!
…..left my post, in the midst of a battle!
So ladies beware, the honeymoon’s over,
…..when you and the cowboy work cattle.

© 2019, Carole Jarvis
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Award-winning poet Carole Jarvis met her cowboy while working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and they were married for over 50 years before his death in 2010. She tells in her bio at CowboyPoetry.com:

We’ve lived and cowboyed in Wyoming, Oregon and Arizona, and there’s been a lot of hard work, dusty trails, blisters, sunburns and broken bones along the way, but it’s the life I chose and the one Dan, my husband chose, and we wouldn’t trade it for any other.

“Mission Impossible” is included in Facing West: Voices of Western Women, Volume Two (2019). The book includes poems and stories from over 50 Western women, including Deanna Dickinson McCall, Amy Hale Steiger, Jessica Hedges, Andrea Waitley and daughter Abi McWhorter Reynolds, Betty McCarthy, Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”), and many others. Facing West was compiled by Sally Bates, who is pictured on the cover in a photo by Mary Abbott.


With proceeds from the first volume, Natalie G’Schwind was presented with the 2019 Facing West, Roni Harper Memorial Scholarship. Find more about both volumes of Facing West and other publications from Arizona Cowboy Connection at arizonacowboyconnection.com.

Find more about Carole Jarvis at cowboypoetry.com.

The photograph is courtesy of Carole Jarvis from the Jarvis Ranch.

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