A Welcoming Invitation

NEW! A special page for Cowboy Poetry Tweets. Submissions are invited for western and cowboy poems which have 140 characters or less, have consistent meter, and true rhymes.

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 Mission at the End of the Trail

~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

The Spanish mission was at the end of the trail.
It used to be where cow pokes stopped to get their mail
I needed much more than a letter could provide.
I shot a man and I needed a place to hide.

I was neither Spanish nor the religious kind
But I was hurting and had to unload my mind.
As I arrived at the door I fell from my steed.
The priest was there without delay to meet my need.

He took me in, gave me water, and washed my face.
I needed to sleep and he had the perfect place.
It had a clean cot and a pillow for my head
He sat beside me and held my hand as he read.

After a good night’s sleep I woke at morning light.
I didn’t know the priest had been awake all night.
He had asked Jesus to grant mercy for my life
and to take far away the anger and the strife.

Then he took me to a small room and left me there.
He knew that I would not try to go anywhere.
I prayed and I pleaded for the rest of the day.
When I finished all my sins were taken away.

I hung around and helped the old priest for awhile.
Then one morning there on his face was big a smile.
He said ‘Mr. Cowboy’ you no longer have to hide
so saddle up the old steed and begin to ride.

I rode away from where the cowboys got their mail,
But not from the mission at the end of the trail.
The mission will never, not ever, leave my mind;
Nor the priest who lives there who was a special kind.

Those Days are Gone for Good

Those Days Are Gone For Good
~~ Larry Bradfield — ©2014 ~~

Some old cowboys sat on a bench
‘Neath a bare pecan tree
They sat there on the courthouse square
Just somber as could be

Now and then an eye would wander
To watch a pretty girl
Or squint up t’ward the noonday sun
To watch the flag unfurl

“Whoever thought we’d live this long?”
Jebadiah puzzled
“I thought we’d be dead long ago –
All the booze we guzzled.”

“I loved the life an’ times we lived-
I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’d still keep them worthless hosses
An’ those ol’ songs we’d sing.”

A tear rolled down his weathered cheek
He sniffed and blew his nose –
Bob said,”Jeb, you ain’t got no call
To bring up times like those.”

“You’d best enjoy this pecan tree –
Those days are gone for good.
We broke our bones and froze our feet
And fought more than we should.”

“Those times were hard and pickins lean –
Gals were few and choosey.
Cowboys like us had to work to
Wind up with some floosey.”

“We were free and we came and went
Nothin’ better to do.
We bet it all – well I’ll be danged –
I miss the old days, too!”

The Bandanna

The Bandanna
~~ Steve Dickson — ©2014 ~~

I lost my ol’ bandanna today
Was rinsin’ it there in the river
The swift current carried it away
I fell in and sit now and shiver

I made a quick fire, damn it is cold
Heavy snow is fallin’ all around
Must find that calf that strayed from the fold
Afore it falls dead on the white ground

That scarf helped me out on many trails
I used it when mendin’ broken bones
Held my warm breath in fierce winter gales
Could use it here freezin’ on these stones

It was a gift when just a young lad
Then came the day when it was most dear
My sweetheart lay dyin’, hurtin’ bad
It then softly wiped dry her last tear

It’s a mite colder, light fades away
I’m prayin’ there’s not too far to roam
Here’s my bandanna, Thank God I say
I hear the calf bawlin’, let’s go home

Restless Herd

Restless Herd
~~ Cody Craddock — © 2014 ~~

The Flash of lighting, the crack of the thunder
as if the storm seeks to tear world asunder.
The cattle are restless, a wild herd,
And if they break I’ll wish I was a bird.

My horse moves like his hooves are made out of lead
and the storm pours buckets of rain on my head.
There will be no sleep for us on this night,
we’ll watch the cattle until morning light.

We sing over the storm to calm the cattle
But we’re barely heard over the winds rattle.
With some luck we’ll only lose half the herd,
if we’re blessed we’ll only lose a third

The Flash of lighting, the crack of the thunder
as if the storm seeks to tear world asunder.
The cattle are restless, a wild herd,
And if they break I’ll wish I was a bird.

Christmas on Our Ranch

Christmas on Our Ranch
~~ Jimmy Coleman — ©2014 ~~

We have a manger like the one on which Jesus lay.
We have a barn that’s filled with lots and lots of fresh hay.
We have Mary’s dolly that we use every year.
We put all of these together as the Day draws near.

When the day comes we all gather close by the stable
With all the cousins and the kids and me and Mable.

The men start playing and the family starts singing.
Down in the valley the church bells will be a ringing.

We don’t sing of snow bells ringing and flying reindeer,
we have none of those; we sing of other things out here.

We sing of young Jesus, Mary and the virgin birth.
We sing of how God in the flesh of man came to earth.

As we go in the house we smell the smell of chilli
Being prepared by none other than cousin Willie.

Then, when we are full of chilli, it’s then time to see
just what are in those boxes under the Christmas tree.

Willie got a brand new hat and some new saddle straps.
I got a rope, a pair of blue jeans, and some chaps.
Mable got a bran new cowgirl hat, the kids got some toys…
Some for the sweet girls and some toys for the rowdy boys.

At eleven o’clock we ask buckaroos to pray
And that’s how the folks out here celebrate Christmas Day

The Border Collie

The Border Collie
~~ Steve Dickson – ©2014 ~~

My uncle passed on not long ago
I sure didn’t know he was ill
I learned that he remembered me well
‘Cause left me his farm on the hill

I went there lots of times as a lad
There were so many things to do
Rode horses, milked cows, did all the chores
Summer days in green pastures flew

For many years we lived there in town
Forgotten were old country ways
When we topped the rise and saw the farm
Back came memories of those sweet days

The first thing I spied when we drove in
A black and white pup by the door
Wagging his tail, head down on his paws
So skinny he looked mighty poor

We have four children, the youngest Joe
He looked out and saw the dog first
Jumped out of the car, arms open wide
Hugged the pup til I thought he would burst

Looking around the place sure looked swell
The animals all seemed well fed
A old man came from out of the barn
We shook hands and he scratched his head

“You all are welcome, I’m an old friend
Of your uncle from long ago
Been taking care of the livestock here
This is all the home that I know”

His name was Henry and we were glad
He wanted to keep working there
He knew the ways of life on this farm
We saw that he really did care

“I see you found the little ol’ hound
he showed up a short time ago
Feeding him well but it’ll take time
Until he stops moving so slow.”

Joe named him Bob, we didn’t know why
He had a white star on his chest
Smart as a whip and surely learned fast
The kids gave him nearly no rest

We had a hard time learning the ropes
Henry showed us all what to do
We learned our way around the old farm
Took a while to know who was who

One day four heifers made a quick break
They all ran off down to the creek
Bob took off after right on their tails
He got ‘em all rounded up quick

Then he was nipping close at their heels
Drove ‘em back up by the corral
We opened the gate and they went through
As if Bob was their best ol’ pal

From that day on we couldn’t stop Bob
From herding the critters all day
Seemed he was destined to be their boss
He just had to have his own way

He herded the cows and all the pigs
The horses were under his his rule
Nothing escaped his sharp eagle eye
He herded the kids off to school

He had a hard time with the old geese
But finally they did succumb
He let the chickens go their own way
We reckon he knew they were dumb

For a few years now Bob’s run the farm
Every creature here knows the score
If you stray just a little too far
You’ll learn what a herdin’ dog’s for

Cowboy Christmas

Cowboy Christmas
~~ Nick David — ©2014 ~~

It’s late December in this town,
But it’s too brown and dry.
The cactus is all leathery;
The pinyon, like to die.

You hear the church bell strike out ten.
It’s late on Christmas Eve.
The stores are so deserted now,
Wal-Mart employees leave.

The teacher has his grading done.
The banker is a-snooze.
The store clerk has his p.j.s on.
And drinkers have their booze.

But one old cowpoke’s not in bed,
But out among his herd.
Some think his workload grinchy-like,
His care for them, absurd.

The heifers all are lowing now.
The calves are close behind.
The steers are pacing off to bed.
No dangers on their minds.

It’s then the cowboy heard a sound,
Above the desert stones.
It sounded like a cattle drive.
His dog began to moan.

A portly figure was in back.
Nine reindeer pulled the sled.
The bearded man was Santa Claus,
His coat a deep-hued red.

The cowboy smiled and tipped his hat.
“Have a bit of biscuit.”
Santa said, “No thank you, but my
Worry, you might fix it.

“You’re in between the list, my friend,
Not naughty, but not nice.
I’ve come out here to ask you for
Some gift-giving advice.

“You cowboys, you are all alike.
You say you have no needs.
For independent wanderers
What do I get you, please?”

“Well coal and switches was the gift
I got through my childhood.
The switches kept the steers in line;
The coal’s as good as wood.

“But jokes aside, I’ll answer you,
I’ll tell you straight and plain.
The only thing a cowboy needs,
Is just a soaking rain.”

“You only ask for rain,” he mused.
“There must be something more.
How ‘bout some chaps or spurs to wear
The kind you see in stores?

“I’ll get you a new pair of boots
A Stetson for your head.”
“Heck, I don’t need no fancy clothes,
I’ll take the rain instead.”

“Well that’s the strangest gift request
That I have ever seen!”
“But rain, it keeps the creek beds full
The hillsides shades of green.

“And green hillsides aside, um, sir,
It keeps the cattle fed.
I hate to see them hungry-like.
It keeps me up in bed.

“With dogs like Gus, I need no friends.
I’ve heard the wind’s own call.
With jeweled stars in God’s own land,
I just need rain to fall.”

“How ‘bout a wife to marry you?”
“I fear we’d only fight.
I’ve never known no women folk.
And ranch life’s lonesome like.”

So Santa pulled his tallowed beard
And came to understand.
That right before him, thin and tall,
This cowboy matched the land.

“Son, merry Christmas” Santa called
And flew beyond the plains
Then came a welcome thunderclap
Then falling, needed rain.

So when your Christmas is all wet
And you live in the West,
Just smile and know that Santa gave,
The cowboy’s one request.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens
~~ DWeaver — ©2014 ~~

I was settin’ at my campfire,
hot coffee in my cup.
A big “halloo” came from the trees,
I said “come in and sup.”

The feller wasn’t a big man,
but finished off my beans.
“Thank ya’ son” he said with a smile
“hoped for some collard greens.”

“Hard to find in this wilderness,”
I replied with a smile.
“Taters and onions too” he moaned,
“for them I’d walk a mile.

We set a spell with our coffee
“I come from Arkansas.”
He said while rolling a quirley
“the drought was the last straw.”

“Cold up here in North Dakota,”
he said with frozen lips.
“I knowed I shoulda’ went down south,
reckon I lost my wits.”

“Nothin’ grows up here worth eatin’
‘less you can live on ice.”
He stood then and looked around us,
“cornbread and greens ‘be nice.”

“Think I’ll go down to Texas,”
as he packed up his gear.
“Hold on partner,” as I readied,
“It’s greens for me I fear.”


~~ DWeaver — ©2014 ~~

I ain’t a cowboy like John Wayne
that’s really plain to see
I sure can’t “duke” it out with him
some fool might shoot at me

I ain’t ridin’ on “happy trails”
like Roy Rogers can do
I’m not real fast on the “trigger”
with one “bullet” or two

I ain’t got a sweet Dale Evans
or “buttermilk” to drink
The “nellybelle” still runs a bit
she makes a “gabby” blink

I ain’t a “champion” rider
I’d need an “angel” near
There’s not a cowboy “gene” in me
can’t make a “frog” appear

I ain’t like a Marshall Dillon
who does “miss” his “kitty”
But there’s “doc” and Festus Haggen
wranglin’ in Dodge City

I ain’t Hopalong Cassidy
my hop is much too short
Not goin’ to “California”
Topper might give a snort

I ain’t masked like the Lone Ranger
I’m not “Clayton” any “Moore”
I don’t have a scout like Tonto
whose “silver heels” are wore

I ain’t as tough as Clint Eastwood
won’t be hung in a tree
I’m not a member of that bunch
“the good, bad, and ugly”

I ain’t a fast draw Paladin
to him I can’t compare
I don’t “have” a “gun” to carry
“will travel” anywhere

I ain’t been to “the big valley”
Victoria is the boss
I left just in the “nick” of time
young Audra is my loss

Ben Cartwright found a “bonanza”
he even found a “hoss”
“Joe” was a “little” tenacious
Adam’s not one to cross

I ain’t rode on a “wagon train”
or use “flint” to make fire
The folks all form a sacred “bond”
there’s nothing much higher

I ain’t got a silver saddle
or no horses to feed
I don’t have a new white Stetson
because there ain’t no need

My boots ain’t made for bull ridin’
my belt’s a piece of rope
To see these heroes ride again
would give our country hope

They made us proud Americans
ridin’ the new frontier
To have them and the others now
would cause our foes to fear