A Welcoming Invitation

Welcome to WesternPoetry where the work of both experienced poets and rising stars is displayed. Poets are invited to submit their original Western and Cowboy poetry for consideration. However, before submitting, please check our requirements by clicking on POETRY SUBMISSIONS in the right hand column. Limited mentoring and coaching are available for promising newcomers.

Rising stars in the field of cowboy poetry, as well as some experienced poets, may find some interesting and helpful resources on “Tools for Cowboy Poets“.

Please note that Western Poetry is  nonpartisan and subjects are not censored. The ideas expressed are those of the poetic authors and may or may not reflect the views of the publisher. Poems are accepted or rejected based on current need, theme, family orientation, and the use of consistent meter and true rhymes throughout.

Steens Mountain Guest Ranch Cow Camp

Steens Mountain Guest Ranch Cow Camp
~~ Tom Swearingen — ©2014 ~~

We’ve been working out of cow camp
Up at Cucamonga Creek
On a late summer gather
For now going on a week

My wife and I are helping out
Our new friend Tim O’Crowley
He and his wife Susan run
The cattle in this valley

Each day some dif’rent work to do
Maybe ailing cows to tend
‘Course rounding up the strays and
There’s a fence or two to mend

Diamond Valley lies before us
On spectacular display
A big ‘ol slice of heaven
On a bright September day

Southeast Oregon high desert
Where the Kigers still run free
Among the sage and paintbrush
And the quaking Aspen tree

Looking southward up the canyon
Miles of rimrock walls our right
To our left windswept mesas
Not another soul in sight

Steens Mountain in the near distance
Just flat takes our breath away
Beauty on the summer range
Makes our work feel more like play

More than once I’ve heard Tim share a
Thought that I now know is true
Cowboying is easier
When it comes with a great view

Rootin’ Tootin’ Toddler

Rootin Tootin Toddler
~~ Tom Swearingen — ©2014 ~~

A rootin-tootin toddler
Just a year and some months old
Handsome little buckaroo
‘Bought the cutest, truth be told
His yellow boots a gleaming
And his Stetson cocked just right
He’s been out on a gather
Of the magnets lost at night
Found some down in the canyon
Others up there on the ridge
Now all back where they belong
He’s corralled ‘em on the fridge

Oregon’s Outlaw Henry Vaughn (1849-1893)

Oregon’s Outlaw Henry Vaughn  (1849-1893)
~~ Tom Swearingen — © 2013 ~~

If you woke up in the morning
Found your best horses gone
You had like been paid a visit
By outlaw Henry Vaughn

Killed a deputy at sixteen
Shot through the sheriff’s jaw
Lived the rest of his wanton life
Running outside the law

Fond of fast horses and liquor
He’d make his presence known
By swindling and rustling livestock
Then head to town alone

He’d ride his horse in to a bar
Then make some greenhorn dance
Fling lead at the poor soul’s boot heels
Then laugh and watch him prance

He’d shoot some glasses off the shelf
And ride back out the door
Then to the next bar down the line
And do it all once more

His gunplay not all just for lark
He’d shot some men for sure
Like Charlie Long in Graham’s Saloon
For reason’s still obscure

Hank and Charlie drinkin’ whisky
Card playin’ on the floor
When some insult or another
Put them two men at war

To finish it here they agreed
They’d not stand more abuse
Each grasping one end of a rag
They turned their six guns loose

Every shot took its effect
Yet neither man was dead
So with empty guns they took to
Poundin’ each other’s head

While both survived to tell that tale
Others were not so spared
Lead from the chamber of his gun
Left many dead declared

Some thirteen men fell to his Colt
He’d say all quite deserved
“For bizness or social reasons”
At least as he observed

Himself he carried thirteen scars
From rounds shot through his hide
But for all the outlaw gunplay
That’s not how Henry died

It was his bent for fast horses
And his hell raising ways
Ego spurred by whisky and pride
What brought end to his days

When he last mounted his sorrel
In Pendleton’s downtown
They say he sped like a tempest
‘Til slick streets took him down

 

Never Say Can’t

Never Say Can’t
~~ Tin Swearingen — ©2014 ~~

“Never say can’t”, she said with a grin
From top a bull as nasty as sin
“I’ll ride this here bugger ’til I hear eight
So let him fly boys, swing open the gate!”

And with that she and the snortin’ brute
Came ‘a bustin’ hard out of the chute
Beginning a stunning bovine ballet
Spinning and twisting in most ev’ry way

That big ‘ol bull was laying a hurt
Slinging the snot and kicking up dirt
But say what you will, no cowgirl or guy
Has never ever shown more guts or try

He dipped to the left, spun to the right
All the time bucking, bringing the fight
A duck, a dive, and a big belly roll
That big ‘ol bucker was out of control

Cowboys watching all braced for the wreck
Yelling, “Jump girl or you’re dead as heck!”
But she just looked up and flashed ‘em the grin
Says, “Don’t worry boys…just breaking him in”

With that she buried her spurs in hide
Centered up and hung on for more ride
Which caused that bull, being nothing but rank
To ramp up trying to buck off its flank

He sucked left with a big sweeping fade
The cowboys thought sure that girl was made
But she cowboyed up back in position
Continued to ride set on her mission

Determined to do all that it’d take
To gut this out and make the full eight
That cowgirl was sure takin’ a lickin’
But the whole time, that clock was a’ tickin’

With the seconds about six point four
They saw something they’d not seen before
She was fanning her hat and chopping spur
And that bull settled and started to purr

With hoot and holler she looked around
Swung her leg up and jumped to the ground
Not a tick later the whistle blew eight
That uncovered bull returned to the gate

“Well boys”, she said, “That there was some fun
Sure was a bucking son of a gun”
“But why’d you step off?” they wanted to know
“‘You had him beat girl, you’d put on a show”

“Yeah boys, I could have finished the ride
But I worried that might bruise your pride
What with rough stock being a ‘manly’ sport
Not at all suited for us ‘weaker’ sort”

The Weary, Dreary, Cowboy Blues

The Weary, Dreary, Cowboy Blues
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

My old hoss up and died the other day.
The cows, they are starvin’ from lack of hay.
I got bills, and more bills, but I can’t pay.
I got the weary, dreary, cowboy blues.

My boots and my spurs badly need a shine.
The ones I am now wearing are not mine.
My jeans are those some cowboy left behind.
I got the weary, dreary, cowboy blues.

When my wife left me for that other man,
She took the ranch house also and the land,
And left me a-sittin’ in the hot sand.
I got the weary, dreary, cowboy blues.

I am so lonesome; I just wanna die.
I jumped in the river but it was dry.
I just fail at everything thing I try.
I got the weary, dreary, cowboy blues.

I looked to left and I looked to the right.
I looked but there was not one friend in sight.
Lord have mercy, and please, Lord, help me lose,
These here weary, yea, dreary cowboy blues.

Points of View

Points of View
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

If it hadn’t been for brown eyed Hannah
I’d a got married in Alabama
She came on the train from Corsicana
Changed my point of view

Sarah and me had growed up together
Been through a lot and all kinds of weather
Then here come Hannah in boots of leather
Changed my point of view

She walked right up and said “Howdy Mister,
I come from Texas to see my sister.
Been sittin’ so much I got a blister.”
Changed my point of view

I could see she was married, ring and all
I asked her if all the Texans were tall
She said most of ‘em are, but some are small
Changed my point of view

So I rode west lookin’ for a Hannah
Found her in Dallas, her name’s Suzannah
She didn’t like folks from Alabama
Changed her point of view

We raised a family of mostly boys
Hosses and cows made up most of their toys
Ropin’ and ridin’ are most of their joys
Texans through and through

If it hadn’t been for brown eyed Hannah
I’d a got married in Alabama
And never have worn a red bandana
Changed my point of view

The Cowhand’s Last Ride

The Cowhand’s Last Ride
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

When the last stray is brought back to the herd,
when the cattle call is no longer heard,
when the Maker of Men issues the word,
I’ll be riding home never more to roam.

When finally the cowhand’s work is done
at the end of the day, at setting sun
my life from then on will have just begun.
I’ll be ridin’ home , never more to roam.

I’ll reach that oasis up in the sky,
drink from the river that never runs dry,
and settle down on that comforting shore,
and i will not ride the range any more.

On the Prairie Tonight

On the Prairie Tonight
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

Out on the prairie tonight
Enjoying the stars so bright
Worries fade in the moonlight
Out on the Prairie tonight.

A wonderful way to lose
These lonely cattle trail blues
Everything feels so, so right
Out on the Prairie tonight

My weary eyes will tire
I’ll put out the camp fire
Then wait for the morning light
Out on the prairie tonight

There Was Plenty of Time

There Was Plenty of Time
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

I’ve seen old cowboys with busted fingers
And a stove up back with pain that lingers
Seen scars aplenty ‘cross the nose and chin
And skin like leather that’s worn paper thin

Bow legs result from sittin’ a saddle
And hips that’s sprung makes walkin’ a spraddle
Elbows that bend but only a little
Knuckles that’s broke and won’t even whittle

But those old cowpokes have lived a long while
Ain’t got much else, but they’ve still got a smile
You can hear the laughter at some lame joke
About some ol’ hoss that’s never been broke

You hear about money that they ain’t got
And ain’t likely to get without some pot
The dreams they once had if the truth be told
The gamblin’ they did – the hosses they sold

They talk of the loves they had and they lost
The liquor they drank and dice that they tossed
Leanin’ on this oak I’ll be sixty three
I never thought it would happen to me

I rode and laughed – there was plenty of time
All of my dreams were not worth a thin dime
So I’ll shake my head and smile at this tree
Just never thought it would happen to me

My Pretty Mary Sue

My Pretty Mary Sue
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

Coming from the round up to see my Mary Sue,
She’s pretty as a filly in her dress of blue.
Gonna go get the parson and a friend or two
Cause I’m gonna marry that pretty Mary Sue.

Her mama likes me and her daddy he does too.
So does her little sister and her brother Lew.
Gonna get me a ranch house and a cow or two
And live happy ever after with Mary Sue.