I’m not much of a cowboy, but we are going on a Pioneer Trek and the people in charge want us to participate in a talent show. Singing used to be my go-to talent but the years have forced me to recognize I’m not that good anymore.
Since we are honoring pioneers on this trip and pioneers were the ones who raised up most of the cowboys, I figured a Cowboy Poem might be fun.
First I looked up a few to get an idea what they were like and then I practiced. Here is one I particularly liked from a man named Jim Fish.
The ranch on which I hang my hat, though short on most the frills,
Is thirteen sections, give or take, of rugged trails an’ hills.
We call it ‘home’, our little world, our very own frontier,
Amongst the cattle, sheep an' goats; the varmints, hogs an' deer.
Today I watched the breakin' dawn an' whiffed the mornin' air,
A time I often set aside for things like thought an' prayer.
A Mockin'bird an' Mornin' Dove, an' other birds at play,
Were there to sing an' set the mood to start another day.
This mornin' saw the strangest thing, like time itself had merged,
An' all the souls who once were here, appeared an' then converged.
In swirlin' clouds of mist an' fog, right off the bluffs they rolled,
Till all had gathered in the glen, the modern an' the old.
The Indians, conquistadors, an' other ancient men,
The soldiers from this country's wars, an' cowboys from back when…
They all had come from yesterday to help me understand
Our link with those who came before, to heritage an' land.
A crazy notion, so I thought, that they could just appear,
But as the morning went along the reason got real clear.
They rode along with me that day to show me things I’ve missed,
The things I’ve seen a thousand times an’ some I’d just dismissed.
Those wagon roads of long ago, still evident today,
Are carved in rock an' rutted earth, not apt to wash away.
They linked the missions, forts an' towns those many years gone by;
An' left their mark for all to see, as modern times grew nigh.
The artifacts an' weathered ruins attest to yesterdays,
When others came an' lived their lives in very different ways.
We've seen their skill in arrowheads they honed from fired stone,
An' craftsmanship in beads an' tools they fashioned out of bone.
At ever turn and trail we took was something to remind,
The Maker must have had a plan laid out for humankind.
The Earth He made’s been feedin' us a half-a-million years,
An' used it's wonder, force an' change to challenge pioneers.
I do not know if they'll return or if they’ll feel the need,
But I’m prepared to ride the trail, where ever it may lead.
We all are spirits ridin’ time with bodies of the Earth,
Whose time has come to take the reins an’ offer up our worth.
The land has been the legacy we cultivate an’ reap,
The life has been the heritage our father’s fought to keep,
An’ we are bound throughout our time with those who came before,
To put our hearts and souls to it, and make it something more.
So, with that as my template, I embarked on another adventure. Don’t get your hopes up and please remember that this is my first ride in this rodeo.
Imagine me in a big cowboy hat wearing jeans, boots, and a big-buckle belt. Oh, and a great big mustache on my face. That’s how I would look if I was a real Cowboy. But I’m not so you just have to imagine.
Anyways, here goes.
|One of my favorite cowboys.|
DUST IN MY EYE
By Mike Whitmer
Poppa says we’re leavin’
‘Cause them folks don’t like us much
Time to get our clothes and food
And load up Momma’s hutch
She left when I was still a boy
Needin’ a momma’s hand
I guess she couldn’t take no mor’
So we laid her in our land
I looked in Poppa’s eyes today
Saw a big tear start to slide
He paused and said real sad to me
Got a little dust in my eye
The trail is hard, the nights are cold
Awful weak most ever’ day
But Me and Poppa and Lil’ Tim
We always find a way
What’s out there, on the other side
Them mountains we must cross?
Will we make it all together
Or bury ‘nother loss
It don’t seem fair to have to go
Away from all we love
Our lives were good and simple
We were bless’d by God above
Them folks back there they hate us so
And I can’t fathom why
They took my Momma ‘way from me
An’ left dust in Poppa’s eye
Tol’ Poppa when I become a man
I’m gonna take a ride
And find that lot what drove us out
And skin a lil’ hide
His sad face looked real hard at me
He gave a great big sigh
He spoke more soft and firm this time
My boy, please let it lie
I wasn’t sure what all to think
His words tore my insides
He wiped away some water and said
Got a little dust in my eye
We marched along for days and days
Through prairie, wind, and sand
Til’ one day from a mountaintop
We saw our Promised Land
It didn’t look like all that much
‘cept it was safe and free
I looked at Poppa and lil’ Tim
And they looked back at me
We’re gonna do our best out here
We’re gonna make our way
We’re gonna live like Momma would
To be with her one day
We found our place we have our home
We’ll live here til’ we die
Then Poppa said ‘my boy what’s wrong’
Nuttin’, just a little dust in my eye.