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.

The Man from New York City

The Man from New York City
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

A man from the East rode into a West Texas town.
He didn’t ride a horse instead he rode a Greyhound.

He wanted to be a rancher but didn’t know how.
Well sir, he didn’t know a cowboy from a boy cow.

On the very first day they gave to him a milk pail.
He put it under the cow and then he pumped her tail.

The next day he showed himself to be a bigger fool.
He tried and tried to get the cow to sit on the stool.

A mare that was in heat was purchased for a good price.
He got her out of the hot sun and bathed her in ice.

In the summer cowboys rode the plains on certain nights.
He refused because he was afraid of planes and heights.

He touched the electric fence and sparks began to fly.
This convinced the cowboys it was time to say goodbye.

That very afternoon, long before the sun went down,
They gave him vittles and put him back on the Greyhound.

A Cowboy’s Faithful Friend

A Cowboy’s Faithful Friend
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

He was there when I was trampled by the stampede.
He was there when I was being stomped by the steed.
He was there in these great moments of my need.
He is my best friend, and He’ll be there at trail’s end.

He was there when the ranch house burned down , to the ground.
He was there when our daughter couldn’t be found.
He was there to help when no one else was around.
He is my best friend, and He’ll be there at trail’s end.

He was there when all that was left was a soup bone.
He was there when my money was completely gone.
He was there when the banker denied me the loan.
He is my best friend, and He’ll be there at trail’s end.

He was there when I was forsaken and alone.
He was there when every crony was long gone.
He was there when the loneliness cut to the bone.
He is my best friend, and He’ll be there at trail’s end.

He’s here and on His kindness I’ll always rely.
He’s here where faithfulness and friendships never die.
He’s in the land where people never say goodbye.
He is my best friend, and He was there at trail’s end.

Apples and Hosses

Apples and Hosses
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

I started to cowboy just sixteen and raw
On a spread east of the divide
The boss man was as tough as I ever saw
He didn’t keep nothin’ inside

I knew your pa, he says, a long time ago
He was tough and built for this land
I never saw him quit or even go slow
Might you be this same kind of man ?

Now I’d never thought one way or the other
About what sort of man I was
He says we’ll find out this way or another
Just what’s underneath that peach fuzz

You see that notch in the mountains right yonder?
There’s a painted filly up there
There’s a Mustang stud who don’t let her wander
I want you to bring her down here

Now I just didn’t know no better back then
Took a sack of apples to eat
Headed toward the place he said they had been –
A drizzly day with rain and sleet

When I got to the notch the sun came out bright
And shone on the stud and the paint
Didn’t have no plan but I could think all night
To see if I can or I cain’t

Well, I leaned on a tree,ate apples all night
And thought ’til my brain got all sore
Then just at dawn I heard a hoss take a bite
They were eatin’ them apple cores

I jumped on my hoss, slung the sack on my back
And headed on straight down the hill
Took an apple now and then out of the sack
An’ dropped it to give them their fill

I rode in through the gate with the paint and stud
Followed by four mares and two colts
I poured out the apples as fast as I could
Closed the gate and threw all the bolts

Well the bossman was grinnin’ from ear to ear
Never saw nothin’ that clever
He says your daddy was never even near
As smart as you, nossir never!

Well, I wound up as just another cowpoke
No more or maybe less than you
Sometimes I get drunk and I’m always half broke –
The story ’bout apples is true

First Boots

First Boots
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

My grandson got his boots today
I couldn’t help but smile
Many a stirrup lies ahead –
He’ll ride many a mile

How many times will they come off –
He’ll wear a bootjack out
And get ‘em scuffed by some heifer
Then shine ‘em up, no doubt

They’ll lead some lady ’round the floor
Learnin’ Cotton Eyed Joe
They’ll kiss goodnight while he stands tall –
And she’s up on tiptoe

Might even keep him from snakebite –
Make sure they’re tall enough
Protect him from the mesquite thorns
That leather’s plenty tough

Yep, boots are gonna help that boy
Stand up and be a man
So many things to go through yet –
I’ll help him all I can

The salesman grinned and shook his head,
“It’s always you ol’ coots!
Ya get all teary eyed and sad –
It’s just a pair of boots !”

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