Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cowboy Poetry

Some of my new readers have expressed an interest in my poetry. I am living in south Texas where we have many huge ranches and we still have real cowboys. Some of you are familiar with the famous Cowboy poets, but you won't find my name listed in their ranks. I have listened to and enjoyed their work, and I have borrowed from their styles. I write very eclectic poetry. Like many of you I still enjoy the old Westerns and some of the new ones, and I like the tough independent personna portrayed in those films. I hope you enjoy the story of Shorty and Jake.

I believe this painting by Douglas Wodark is entitled; "Cowboys Jawin'"


The day was hot when he was born
Midst bushes low and full of thorns.
Without the aid of doctor’s skill,
Just mid-wife and his mother’s will.
With serenade of howling wind.
In shanty house with roof of tin.

And there he grew, a ranch-hand’s son.
He learned to ride and use a gun.
Roping, throwing, branding steers
Hard work hardened through the years.
A lot of man on stubby frame,
Shorty Briscoe was his name.

Jake Reed was another hand.
He and Shorty raised some sand.
They worked from dawn to setting sun,
Then went to town when work was done.
Jake was tall, wiry and hard,
And Shorty Briscoe was his Pard.

One weekend when the work was done
They rode to town to have some fun.
Ambling through the swinging door
At Pecos Rose’s as before.
They spied a stranger standing there
A fancy Dan with perfumed hair.

The stranger’s gun was tied down low
With yellowed ivory grips for show.
His eyes were steely gray and mean,
Soft hands with fingers long and lean.
He drank alone, but glanced their way
Inviting them to make a play.

Jake just laughed and turned away.
A grave mistake - He’d make them pay.
The stranger called for Jake to draw.
Jake moved and faced the pale outlaw.
The gunman’s move was smooth and fast
Jake hit the floor ‘neath fiery blast.

There was Shorty standing tall.
The bullet missed and hit the wall.
The shootist knew he’d erred that day
As Shorty Briscoe blazed away.
When smoke had cleared, the stranger fell;
Jake stood up alive and well.

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them. -
Leo Tolstoy