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“.

Western Viewpoints: an anthology of western and cowboy poetry

Western Viewpoints: an anthology of western and cowboy poetry has just been published by Western Poetry Publications, an imprint of The Resource Network. The poems are for the most part in traditional form, a virtual open mic in print, depicting viewpoints of the Great American West authored by sixteen contemporary western and cowboy poets. Each has his or her own interests and style and together they offer a broad view of the American West of yesterday and today.

Poetic Reflections At The Creekside

The Resource Network, has published a new book, Poetic Reflections At The Creekside, an anthology of poems edited by Clark Crouch. It features 121 poems written by thirty poets — eight talented residents of The Creekside (a Merrill Gardens Retirement Community in Woodinville, Washington) and twenty-two Northwest poets of distinction who have read their poems at The Creekside. Thirteen of the poems are western/cowboy verses and the others are of the modern poetic genre. The book is distributed internationally by Ingram Book Distributors and is available through internet and local booksellers world-wide.

The Miner

The Miner
~~ Steve Dickson – ©2014 ~~

Jim went out to the mines in ’49
To get his fair share of that gold
Just a young lad he was very well glad
To have an adventure so bold

Most claims were taken and left Jim shaken
Slim diggings were there left to be
He did find a girl that changed his whole world
In a way that he’d not foresee

Her name was Eliza, men called her Lil
She worked in the roughest saloon
One night he tried her, lay down beside her
In buttery light of the moon

Skin that was fair and such long golden hair
Eyes colored just like the blue sea
He had things all planned and asked for her hand
but that was sure never to be

She told him that no one under the sun
Would tame her on down like a mare
She had his whole heart but he was not smart
Not seeing that she did not care

After she’d spoken, left him heartbroken,
He swore then not ever to bend
Fate though is clever, never say never
on that you can surely depend

He acted bold, went up north in the cold
Where the nights seem never to end
Skies filled with that light, those colors so bright
You’re sure that the heavens did send

Mountains and streams helped him take back his dreams,
To know that the future is good
He stayed there for years but still shed some tears
when stray thoughts of Lil did intrude

Wandered and mined all the creeks he could find
‘Til he struck the old mother lode
So much color was there, he took his share,
staked his claim and went down the road

Soon came the day when ol’ Jim made his way
Down to town with bags full of gold
The strike it was found, his future was bound
to be filled with riches untold

He walked in the saloon, hummed a strange tune
he’d learned from a very old friend
As he raised a glass his eyes soon were cast
On the gal down there at the end

He knew who she was, his heart gave him pause
For there in the flesh was his Lil
Years had gone past but this die was long cast
To see her still brought that old thrill

Her back was to Jim and what bothered him,
He saw she was not there alone
Crowded around were the men of the town
The one she stood with was well known

This man by her side was known far and wide
Jack Buck was wicked and cruel
Once killed a man for defending his land
Shot him down dead in a duel

Jim walked over to Lil, so calm and still
He saw there and then that she bled
Her face bruised and torn, as Jim turned with scorn
And then he hit Jack in the head

Jack reached to his side, slid knife from its hide
Lunged at Jim with death in his eye
“This girl is with me you’d better well see
I’ll cut you and laugh as you die”

Jim swung again, Jack went end over end,
he was down, spit blood on the floor
“Touch her again, and I’ll send you to hell”
He yelled as Jack ran out the door

Jim walked over to Lil, held her until
The cold steel bit deep to the bone
He went down on his knees, felt the cold breeze
As death took him to the unknown

On that same day when they led her away
The sheriff asked what she had done
“I just stabbed a man who wanted my hand
but this kind of love makes me run

I knew he’d not leave, I did not believe
He’d ever just let me alone
No one can see how it hurts me to be
A gal who men just want to own

I yearned for the ones who just wanted fun
Bad men who played hard then they ran
I was wild and free, but God forgive me
for killing a good hearted man”

Texas Drought

Texas Drought
 ~~ Harold Losey – ©2014 ~~

Haven’t had much rainfall here,
Not these past three years.
Most folks are being doubtful
Many crying tears.

The cattle’s been auctioned off,
No grass they could eat.
The fields are plowed and harrowed
Too dry to drill wheat.

Not many cowboys needed,
No ranch work to do.
Many horses to water,
Clouds come, but too few.

Remember the fifties drought,
Lasted seven years!
If this one lasts near that long,
Dust will be our tears.

Airplanes fly to “seed” the clouds,
Many feel in vain.
Raindrops fall but just false hope,
Signs read “Pray for Rain”

When the rain again will fall,
Only time can tell.
For now it’s Purgatory,
Soon to call it “Hell”!

A Ballad of Halloween

 A Ballad of Halloween
 ~~ Larry Bradfield – ©2014 ~~

We looked at him through children’s eyes
Way back in fifty two
He rode and roped and wore real spurs
Like all true cowboys do

We had our heroes big and small
Sometimes we made a fuss
But he was different – set apart
And he was one of us.

He branded calves and fixed the fence
And rounded up the strays
Did all those things that we admired
Back in our younger days

He spoke few words when with a gal
Except to call her ma’am
Always polite, took off his hat,
And never would say damn

We thought that deep within his soul
A sense of humor grew
We’d seen it in our western folks -
With him nobody knew

‘Til late one night on Halloween -
We’re at the picture show.
Ol’ Frankenstein was at his best
Just moanin’ soft and low

We heard a ghostly scream and then
A curdlin’ Texas yell
A horseman ridin’ up the aisle
Like he was straight from hell

We cowered way down in our seats
He laughed and reared his horse
Then he rode out the other aisle
His screamin’ just got worse

We peered above the tops of seats
And watched this ghostly man
Ride out the way that he came in
And robbed the popcorn stand !

He rode away and out of sight
And we was terrified
Ol’ Frankenstein was clean forgot
The crowd was mortified

We left the show, ran to the street,
The horseman was long gone
Our cowboy friend sat in his truck -
Just bored and all alone

We told him all that we had seen
He said,”I heard the noise.
You never know ’bout Halloween -
Here, have some popcorn, boys.”

The Stranger’s Tale

The Stranger’s Tale
~~ David Michelinie – ©2014 ~~
Click here for an mp3 audio of this poem.
Lyrics © by David Michelinie, music and audio © by Bodie Dominguez.

There once was a cowboy who walked from the desert
With dust on his features, dried blood on his hand.
He carried a saddle slung over one shoulder,
His eyes held the heat of the low country sand.

He pushed through the doors of the Carson Casino,
And ordered rye whiskey with a whispery wheeze.
He downed the first drink with a click in his swallow,
Then called for another and never said please.

The bartender, worried of losing his wages,
Requested full payment; the barroom grew still.
The stranger stood silent for one shallow heartbeat,
Then flipped a gold eagle to land in the till.

The barkeep leaned forward and started to tremble
On seeing red streaks on the gold in the drawer.
With caution he offered, “That coin pays for twenty.”
The stranger said simply, “Then bring nineteen more.”

All eyes were now fixed on the dust-covered traveler,
As glass after shot glass were emptied in turn.
None dared to intrude on the stranger’s libations,
Until Billy Wells said, “There’s somethin’ I’d learn.”

Young Billy was different from most in the county;
Some said he was special, some said he was slow.
But the stranger looked over with eyes slightly narrowed
And said, “You’ve got grit, boy, what is it you’d know?”

“Well, sir,” said Billy, “you’ve come here through the desert,
A harsh place where vultures pick clean to the bone.
Why would you be walkin’ with no kind companions,
And spattered with blood not quite clearly your own?”

The barman he eased off away from the danger,
While gamblers and drinkers moved back on the floor.
Some watched Billy Wells and some watched the lone cowboy,
But most watched the pistol the dark stranger wore.

The newcomer lowered a hand to the counter,
And settled his glass on the scarred dirty wood.
He lit a cheroot with a match from his pocket,
Then turned to where Billy still patiently stood.

“You say I’m alone, but that’s only since sunrise.
It was then I learned something both worthwhile and true:
While vultures and such may be kings of the desert,
Some buzzards still bite off more than they can chew.”

With that the tall gunman tossed Billy a nickel,
Then shouldered his saddle and walked out the door.
Deliberate steps took him back to the desert,
And the steel-eyed stranger was heard from no more.

The San Jose

The San Jose
~~ Steve Dickson – ©2014 ~~

For many long years he worked in the field
Back breaking days, with so little to yield
He tried so hard to keep his family fed
Sometimes he thought he’d be better off dead

The dawn came too soon on that fateful day
There was no work and they could save no pay
Goodbye my love, I’ll do what must be done
Make a new life for both you and our son

As he left his small house the sky was gray
In his faithful heart he began to pray
Nobody else cared when he left that night
Kissed his wife goodbye, was soon out of sight

He walked all the way down to Monterey
Found honest work on the ship San Jose
Said a letter he wrote down in the hold
I’ll be back my love, with a sack of gold

After three days out a big storm did rise
Took the master and crew all by surprise
She struck on a reef and was on her way
Down deep in the sea went the San Jose

I saw him as he held her picture near
It kept him safe from the cold grip of fear
Late in the night as this old ship went down
In the dark of the sea all hands did drown

Goodbye my Love won’t you please take my hand
And lay me to rest on this bed of sand
Lost in the storm but now I found my way
To sleep in the wreck of the San Jose

Pappy’s Hell

Pappy’s Hell
~~ D. Weaver – ©2014 ~~

“Gather ’round boys, I’ve a story to tell”
Dan (Pappy) Wiley said that night
“I’ve carried it for years without telling
a tale of a terrible plight

“We were drivin’ a herd thru Nebraska
way out on the Great Plains one spring
it was a dry year back in eighty-one
in my pocket a weddin’ ring

“I had to leave my gal to make this drive
to start us a ranch was our dream
there was seven hundred head of cattle
twelve cowboys and a wagon team

“To the west we could see a huge black cloud
and a chill came over all of us
the roaring prairie fire we must outrun
to the big river Calamus

“My big buckskin was runnin’ at full speed
when it stumbled and threw me off
I fell into a buffalo wallow
and into a deepened rain trough

“Our entire crew was lost that awful day
and all the livestock just as well
I alone survived that terrible race
in this nightmare I’ll always dwell”

Then he smiled and looked at his empty glass
sorta full of expectation
maybe a reward for the tale he’s told
and a word of adulation

Rodeo Dream

 Rodeo Dream
~~ Harold Losey — ©2014 ~~

Ever since I was a pup,
Rodeos been my dream.
I love when the broncs “blow up”,
Just like “Old Faithful’s” steam

The headers and the heelers,
Throw with accuracy.
But they’re not the show stealers,
Only one is for me.

Wanting to be just like Rob,
I’d dress in all my gear.
Each day my body would “throb”,
Most of all, was my rear.

My practice upset my dad,
I was using his steers.
It wasn’t really that bad,
Couldn’t believe his fears.

Then one day I got my chance,
The rodeo’s in town.
I’d bring my best to this dance,
To gain the crowd’s renown.

The event would be the last,
Stomach knots grew tighter.
Everything was moving fast,
I am a Bullfighter!