TALENT, by Rod Nichols

talentdl.jpg

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 reposted or reprinted without permission

Texas poet Rod Nichols left many gems. He is greatly missed by his many friends. He wrote this poem soon after September 11, 2001, when he told us he had sensed a growing interest in cowboy poetry and music, and wrote, “… 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 1937 photograph by noted Depression-era documentary photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) is titled, “The Texas cow-puncher in town for the day. The ranch for which he works is 90 miles away, and the road which leads to it passes one house on the way. Van Horn, Texas.”

The photograph is from the digital collections of the New York Public Library. Find more about it here.

Find more about Dorothea Lange in many sources, including a biography from Ken Burns’ film, The Dust Bowl,  at PBS.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but other uses require permission. The photograph is in the public domain.)

DEEP OCTOBER, by Rod Nichols

deepoctobermm

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 Nichols 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 photo is by New Mexico cowboy, songwriter, poet, entertainer, and talented photographer Mike Moutoux. He told us he took the photo in the Pecos Wilderness, northeast of Santa Fe, of his friend Ben Nelson of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Mike’s Facebook friends enjoy his frequent wildlife and nature photos. Check out his YouTube channel for his videos with poetry and music.

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

YEP, by Rod Nichols

yep2019

YEP
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

“It’s been awhile,” the cowboy said.
“Yep,” replied his friend.
“It must be nearly fifteen years.”
“Yep,” he said again.

“I guess you been a driftin’ some?”
“Yep,” his friend replied.
“I guess I’ve done about the same.”
“Yep,” the old friend sighed.

“Remember Shorty Winkleman?”
“Yep,” friend answered slow.
“I hear he up and passed away.”
“Yep,” he answered low.

“Sure looks like we may have some rain.”
“Yep,” his friend allow’d.
“Lord knows that we can stand relief.”
“Yep,” the other scowled.

“I guess you need to head on out?”
“Yep,” his friend intoned.
“I sure am glad we got to chat.”
“Yep,” the old hand droned.

The cowboy, after supper, said
he’d run into Ray.
The other boys now gathered ’round.
“What’d he have to say?”

“He said that it had been awhile,
nearly fifteen years.
he said that he had drifted some
workin’ with them steers.”

“He said he knowed ’bout Shorty’s death,
that it made him sad.
He figured we was in fer rain,
fer relief was glad.”

“He said he was a headin’ out,
glad we got to jaw.
Ol’ Ray is quite a talker, boys.
Beats all I ever saw.”

© 2003, Rod Nichols
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

This poem is a perennial favorite, appreciated as much as Texan Rod Nichols was. Find more about him and more of his poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 1939 photo by Russell Lee (1903-1986)—which seems to fit the poem so well—is captioned, “Foreman of the SMS Ranch on left and old cowboy on the right waiting for dinner at the chuck wagon. Ranch near Spur, Texas.” It is from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Find a feature about noted photographer Russell Lee and a gallery of photographs from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History The University of Texas at Austin.

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

‘NEATH A CHRISTMAS EVE SKY, by Rod Nichols

12369190_10208151710419501_6742840725742597039_n

‘NEATH A CHRISTMAS EVE SKY
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

There’s a halo that’s circlin’
’round a moon shinin’ bright,
adding wonder and glory
to the heavens tonight.

And it seems to be sayin’
to this cowboy at least,
it was on such an evenin’
came the young Prince Of Peace.

And I know without doubtin’
as the bunkhouse draws nigh,
that it’s Christmas I’m feelin’
neath a Christmas Eve sky.

There’s a wind slightly blowin’
through the needles of pine,
and the shadows are loomin’
where the moonbeams now shine.

And the soft sound of singing
come a-driftin’ to me
as the hands are now gatherin’
’round a small lighted tree.

And it brings me a smile, Lord,
and a tear to my eye,
as I’m headin’ home fin’lly
neath a Christmas Eve sky.

© 2007, Rod Nichols, used with permission.

We’re celebrating the 20th annual Christmas at the BAR-D.

Texan Rod Nichols will forever be missed by his many friends and family. This is just one of his memorable poems and one of his last Christmas poems. Find many more at CowboyPoetry.com.

This beautiful photograph was made near Boulder, Montana two years ago by photographer, songwriter, musician, and poet John Michael Reedy.

See more impressive photography at his site and find more at CowboyPoetry.com and twistedcowboy.com.

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

DEEP OCTOBER, by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

moutoux82316

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 Nichols 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 photo is by New Mexico cowboy, songwriter, poet, entertainer, and talented photographer Mike Moutoux. He told us he took the photo in the Pecos Wilderness, northeast of Santa Fe, of his friend Ben Nelson of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Find more about Mike Moutoux at mikemoutoux.com, including videos with his poetry and music.

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

YEP, by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

yep2018

YEP
by Rod Nichols (1942-2007)

“It’s been awhile,” the cowboy said.
“Yep,” replied his friend.
“It must be nearly fifteen years.”
“Yep,” he said again.

“I guess you been a driftin’ some?”
“Yep,” his friend replied.
“I guess I’ve done about the same.”
“Yep,” the old friend sighed.

“Remember Shorty Winkleman?”
“Yep,” friend answered slow.
“I hear he up and passed away.”
“Yep,” he answered low.

“Sure looks like we may have some rain.”
“Yep,” his friend allow’d.
“Lord knows that we can stand relief.”
“Yep,” the other scowled.

“I guess you need to head on out?”
“Yep,” his friend intoned.
“I sure am glad we got to chat.”
“Yep,” the old hand droned.

The cowboy, after supper, said
he’d run into Ray.
The other boys now gathered ’round.
“What’d he have to say?”

“He said that it had been awhile,
nearly fifteen years.
he said that he had drifted some
workin’ with them steers.”

“He said he knowed ’bout Shorty’s death,
that it made him sad.
He figured we was in fer rain,
fer relief was glad.”

“He said he was a headin’ out,
glad we got to jaw.
Ol’ Ray is quite a talker, boys.
Beats all I ever saw.”

© 2003, Rod Nichols, used with permission
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

This poem is a perennial favorite.

Texan Rod Nichols left behind countless friends and countless good poems. Find more about him and more of his poetry at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 1939 photo by Russell Lee (1903-1986)—which seems to fit the poem so well—is captioned, “Foreman of the SMS Ranch on left and old cowboy on the right waiting for dinner at the chuck wagon. Ranch near Spur, Texas.” It is from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Find more here.

Find a feature about noted photographer Russell Lee and a gallery of photographs from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History​ at The University of Texas at Austin​ here.

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

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.”