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.

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.

The Rancher’s Social

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.

The Old Western Patriarch

The Old Western Patriarch
~~ Steve Dickson — ©2014 ~~

One mornin’ my ol’ grandpa decided
To be bound for south Texas to see
All his sons and fair daughters and grandkids
His chosen trav’lin partner was me

My grandma passed on when I was a lad
Ma and pa were not then far behind
Gramps took me on in and raised me up well
His heart was good and gentle and kind

I stayed on the ranch when others had gone
They all ended up so far from home
The man taught me to care for the old place
It was seldom he’d leave there to roam

He’d done many fine things in his long life
He fought for us on cold foreign soil
Raised a big fam’ly here in Montana
Knew the meaning of hard work and toil

We wandered the high mountains a huntin’
Fished for big rainbow trout in cold streams
He showed me the use of ev’ry old gun
Til I took them apart in my dreams

Uncle Richard, he met us in Houston
In his bright shiny big pickup truck
Grampa asked him ’bout what he was haulin’
“Why. nuthin’ but I sure won’t get stuck”

“Son, I still drive the truck you was born in
Daily use it for feedin’ the stock
I see all these folks ride in big wagons
By their lonesome and that’s sure a crock”

Richard stopped then to pick up some staples
At a big ass new home warehouse store
Inside there some men had assault rifles
Gramps said “boys what are them guns here for

I don’t see no whitetails or jackrabbits
Nary a lion, tiger or bear”
One feller said “Don’t worry old timer
We’re all tea party men here who care

Our constitution is in bad danger
The guv’mint is now bringin’ us down
The president is a dark foreigner
And he’s takin’ our guns town by town”

Gramps shook his big ol’ fist right there at ‘em
“You’re nothin’ but a bunch of damn fools
You don’t know what the hell you are doin’
You stand here bein’ used like dumb tools

I been readin’ about your tea party
You folks seem to all spout the same creed
Them dummies who you all think are heroes
Are lyin’ thieves who feed off their greed

In my day we fought hard for this country
We plain worked hard together that’s all
You’re trying to tear good things asunder
By pullin’ all these dumb stunts you’ll fall

“It don’t matter you don’t like our leader
He’s here now so you do your darned best
To help him work hard for America
Or leave here, else you’ll then be a pest

Nobody’s a tryin’ to take your guns
Go put ‘em all right back on their shelves
Those only are made for killin’ of men
You have nothin’ to fear but yourselves

Because you can pack, don’t mean you ought to
Many folks want them guns to be banned
To carry in public makes you a fool
Double if you still don’t understand

There’s more of my kind than you’ll ever know
We all think by ourselves and can see
The future belongs to those who help out
We still drink our strong coffee not tea

We may not always carry our weapons
But when we do you will never know
There ain’t no use in showin’ off your hand
The true purpose of guns ain’t for show

The time spent was nice with all of our kin
Many folks came from points far and wide
I told them of gramps and the teabaggers
And I tell you this tale with great pride

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,
experienced
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