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.

Hair on Barbed Wire

The Rancher’s Social
~~ Debbie Raney — ©2014 ~~

Occasionally, a poem invokes memories and demands to be printed! This one from Debbie’s book “Hair on Barbed Wire” (see book review), is just such a poem causing me to remember those social days of the 1930s and 40s when I was a youthful cowboy in Nebraska. The only things missin’ are the fresh, fire-roasted prairie oysters!

It’s planned in advance,
Usually three or four days.
A spring social event
Put on the cattle rancher’s way.

Though branding’s a job
The each year must be done.
It’s also an excuse
For good friends to have fun.

While working the ground
Stories are shared by the crew.
Some have been told before,
But many are new.

Wild broncs get re-ridden
And great loops are re-thrown.
They all like to talk
Of good hands they have known.

Through the smoke from the fire
And the dust from the herd,
The calves all get branded
Without the crew missing a word.

After the last heels have been scooped
And a mark’s on each ear,
The horses are haltered
And lunchtime is here.

As the crew cleans their plates
The conversation’s never boring
It centers around the
Work from the morning.

With neighbors no closer
Than 10 or so miles
The branding social is always
An event filled with smiles.

A day of hard work
Made easier with friends.
A rancher’s social enjoyment
A tradition we just can’t let end.

A Drifting Cowboy’s Prayer

A Drifting Cowboy’s Prayer
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

Father of sky and the open space
Wipe the tears from her sorrowing face.

I’ve been gone for a day and a night;
She thinks I’ve been killed in a gunfight.

Please wake her up from her restless sleep.
Tell her there’s no need at all to weep.

Tell her that her cowboy is not dead.
Tell her it was another instead.

Tell her that I am a-headed home.
Please take it away–this urge to roam.

Oh Father you know I love to ride
So please help me stay close to her side.

Help me to stay near the old home place.
Father of sky and the open space

Rodeo in the Sky

Rodeo in the Sky
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

Don’t worry about me none; and don’t ya cry.
I’ll be  fine in that Rodeo In The Sky.
There will be bulls to lasso, horses to break,
and there will be plenty of calves legs to tie
Up there in that great  Rodeo in The Sky.

Don’t worry about me none; and don’t ya  cry.
I’ll be  fine  in that Rodeo In The Sky.
There’ll be horses to groom, saddles to shine,
The broncos will be bucking the cowboys high
Up there in that great Rodeo in the Sky.

Don’t worry about me none and don’t ya cry.
I’ll be  fine in that Rodeo in the Sky
I’ll tell all my rodeo partners goodbye
Until that great rodeo up in the sky.

The Boss

The Boss
~~ Steve Dickson — ©2014 ~~

I bought her when just a filly
For my daughter Becky Sue
They soon became inseparable
Best of buddies tried and true

They ran wild through fields of clover
Unbridled on moonlit nights
Slept together out in the barn
Two of my favoritest sights

My girl became a fine woman
That filly a big dun mare
When Becky went off to college
Her horse was left in my care

I went out one sunny morning
Thought I’d ride her ’round the place
Put my ol’ saddle on the horse
At a slow and gentle pace

She watched me go through this process
Her brown eyes were open wide
Just as I put boot to stirrup
We were off for a wild ride

She crow hopped and bucked and bellered
As I tried to get a seat
Then she ran out to the pasture
Where she really found her feet

Now, I rode rough stock many times
But never been so outgunned
By any wild bronc I’d ridden
‘Til now by my daughter’s dun

She threw me hard three times over
My cursin’ butt was darn sore
She sauntered up to where I lay
I sure didn’t know what for

She shook her head and licked my face
Stood quietly as I rose
As we walked back into the barn
We were then no longer foes

The next time I tried to ride her
She did not put up a fuss
We spent a pleasant afternoon
And I didn’t have to cuss

There are many of life’s lessons
To be learned from female kind
When you believe you’re runnin’ things
You’ll wind up on your behind

Six Compadres

Six Compadres
~~ Mark Jones — ©2014 ~~

Six compadres
I thought I knew—
three of them old
and three brand new.

With me these six
were quite concerned,
in what they’d learned.

They didn’t know
the whole of me—
they just saw what
they wished to see.

They saw the grave
and saw the sad—
took in one side
and found it bad.

Then, feeling that
they needed to,
they turned around
and talked to you.

They gossiped, talked
and talked some more,
and left me here
upon the floor,

wishing I knew
some more about
those hombres I
could do without.

A Rodeo Queen

A Rodeo Queen
~~ DWeaver — ©2014 ~~

She was ’bout the prettiest thing ever,
cute’rn the cowboys ever seen.
Everything was in just the right places,
with Calgary’s rodeo queen.

Cowboys were all makin’ fools of themselves,
the boys strugglin’ to get nearer.
Her golden hair shined like a silken sky,
to all it made her much dearer.

Flirtin’ with riders, ropers, and wranglers
treatin’ each of ‘em just the same.
The cowboys pranced around like children,
their racin’ hearts were all aflame.

The rodeo dance was a sight to see,
that ev’ning as the moon hung low.
Cowboys standin’ in line to dance with her,
even Bill with a broke big toe.

In through the swingin’ door came a stranger,
he was tall and handsomely dressed.
He paraded up front and took first place,
claimed she should stand at his behest.

That evenin’ she showed she was a queen,
she smiled and her green eyes fluttered.
Turned ’round and offered Bill her lovely hand,
the rest of us stood and muttered.

They danced alone that moonlit night away,
Bill’s toe proved to be a blessing.
Each time it hit the floor he danced finer,
on his back her hand caressing.

Just a Solitary Chimney

Just a Solitary Chimney
~~ Tom Swearingen — © 2014 ~~

Just a solitary chimney
Stands rising from debris
That used to be a family’s ranch
Before they had to flee

Range fire pushed by relentless wind
Came roaring through the pass
Nothing between them and the fire
But timber and dry grass

No time to gather much at all
As Hell raced on its path
They left their stock and memories
To face the fire’s wrath

Just minutes to gather fam’ly
Leave on a hope and prayer
Take a last glance in the rearview
At smoke and ash-filled air

Now back to see that it’s all gone
All they worked hard to build
Just a scorched footprint of what was
And all that the fire killed

There’s no way we can know their grief
There’s nothing we can say
To take away the pain and loss
Experienced that day

What we can do is support them
Find ways to lend a hand
Help them rebuild when they’re ready
Their dream on that burned land

Nolan’s Revenge

Nolan’s Revenge
~~ DWeaver — ©2014 ~~

From the summit of the highest mountain,
he could see the riders below.
Five days they had relentlessly chased him,
anger in him began to grow.

Nolan had covered over eighty miles,
with four of them on his back trail.
It was his gold that they now coveted,
proudly thinking they would prevail.

Nolan had panned a river for two years,
adding gold nuggets to his find.
Carefully on guard for robbers and thieves,
leaving no evidence behind.

Those behind him were very determined,
Nolan’s patience was wearin’ thin.
That night he lay awake and made his plan,
tomorrow his plan would begin.

Next morning he lay on the mountainside,
the four riders were coming ‘long.
The heavy boom of the old Sharp’s rifle,
plainly showed them what’s right and wrong.

The first rider grabbed for his missin’ ear,
it was laying there on the ground.
The Sharp’s rifle spoke loudly once again,
his other ear couldn’t be found.

The riders had never seen such shootin’
the rifle skeered ‘em half to death.
Nolan laughed and waved as they ran for home,
until he was plumb out of breath.

A Windmill and a Still

A Windmill and A Still
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

I stopped in a West Texas town -
There wasn’t much to see.
Not much to do or do it with,
They all just stared at me.

I’ve cowboyed in some strange places
But this was stranger still
There was cows and there was hosses -
Nothin’ but time to kill

Now I grew up in Tennessee
Made whiskey all my life
The folks back home all built their stills
Before they took a wife

I figgered that these Texas folks
Might loosen up a mite
If I could share my skills with them
And let them see the light!

Chose a spot by an old windmill-
Water was pure and sweet
I stole some corn from a feedlot -
Some sugar down the street

I made a still in nothin’ flat
From things found layin’ ’round
Built me a fire from old mesquite
And I was whiskey bound !

Next day the smell was dark and sweet
And early in the morn
The doors came slowly openin’ up
To see who’s crackin’ corn

Then one by one the menfolk came
Said what you doin’ there
I said I’m brewin’ sippin’ stuff
The best found anywhere

For two whole days I poured my brew
Some folks stayed up all night
Guess I shoulda seen it comin’ -
One gunshot, then the fight

They fought around the square awhile
Then moved on down the street
Crossed over to the other side
It never lost the heat

The hotel and the barber shop
Caught fire and burned up well
The courthouse , jail and livery barn
Got shot up all to hell

I stopped in this West Texas town
Not much here I’ll confess -
I’m movin’ on, not lookin’ back,
They got a whole lot less

Desert Sojourn

Desert Sojourn
~~ J. Wesley Taylor, Sr. — ©1962 ~~

I wandered in a barren land
And through a desert dry;
My parch-ed lips in deep despair
For mercy loud did cry.

I stumbled on, not knowing where
My halting steps would lead
And with each step my thirst increased;
For water I did plead.

My weary body ceased to move,
My wretched form lay still.
In agony I waited there,
I dared not move until

A gentle breeze swept o’er the sand
And once again I stood.
My legs moved on, without my will,
As though they were of wood.

They carried me until I fell
Beside a desert pool
That brought relief and strength to me
Within the waters cool.