Special:  Cowboy Love Poetry

Complete list of cowboy love poetry


S. Omar Barker
Classic Cowboy Poetry
Jack Potter's Courtin' 

Charles Badger Clark
Classic Cowboy Poetry
Saturday Night

Joel Nelson
On Finding Someone

Paul Kern
As I Bridle in the Morning

Debra Hill
The Money for her Diamond

Rod Nichols
A Cowboy's Letter

T. R. Stephenson
I Was the Lady



Page One 




Jack Potter's Courtin'

Now young Jack Potter was a man who knowed the ways of steers.
From bur-nests in their hairy tails to ticks that chawed their ears.
A Texican and cowhand, to the saddle bred and born,
He could count a trail herd on the move and never miss a horn.
But one day on a tally, back in eighteen- eighty-four,
He got to acting dreamy, and he sure did miss the score.
The Trail Boss knowed the symptoms. "Jack you ain't no good like this.
I'll give you just ten days to go and find what is amiss!"
A "miss" was just what ailed him, for he'd fell in love for sure
With a gal named Cordie Eddy, mighty purty, sweet and pure.
So now Jack rode a hundred miles, a-sweatin' with the thought
Of sweetsome words to ask her with, the way a fella ought.
"I'm just a humble cowhand, Miss Cordie, if you please,
That hereby asks your heart and hand, upon my bended knees!."
It sounded mighty simple thus rehearsed upon the trail.
But when he come to Cordie's house, his words all seemed to fail.
'Twas "Howdy, ma'am, and how's the crops? And "How's your pa and ma?"
For when it came to askin' her, he couldn't come to taw.

He took her to a dance one night. The hoss she rode was his.
"He's a dandy little hoss," she says. "Well, yep," says Jack, "he is."
They rode home late together and the moon was ridin' high,
And Jack, he got to talkin' 'bout the stars up in the sky,
And how they'd guide a trail herd like they do sea-goin' ships.
But words of love and marriage-- they just wouldn't pass his lips!
So he spoke about the pony she was ridin', and he said:
"You'll note he's fancy-gaited, and don't n ever fight his head."
"He's sure a little dandy," she agrees, and heaves a sigh.
Jack says, "Why you can have him -- that is-- maybe-- when I die."
He figgered she might savvy what he meant or maybe guess,
And give him that sweet answer which he longed for, namely, "yes."
But when they reached the ranch house, he was still a-wonderin' how
He would ever pop the question, and he had to do it now.
Or wait and sweat and suffer till the drive was done that fall,
When maybe she'd be married, and he'd lose her after all.
He put away her saddle, led his pony to the gate:
"I reckon I'll be driftin', ma'am. It's gittin' kinder late."
Her eyes was bright as starlight, and her lips looked sweet as flow'rs.
Says Jack, "Now, this here pony-- is he mine, or is he ours?"
"Our pony, Jack!" she answered, and her voice was soft as moss.
Then Jack, he claims he kissed her - - but she claims he kissed the hoss!

© 1966, S. Omar Barker, from Rawhide Rhymes, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker Further reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited


"Jack Potter's Courtin'" is recited by Andy Hedges on his Days and Nights in the Saddle CD (2006)



Saturday Night

Out from the ranch on a Saturday night,
Ridin' a hawse that's a shootin' star,
Close on the flanks of the flyin' daylight,
Racin' with dark for the J L Bar.
Fox-trot and canter will do for the day;
It's a gallop, my love, when I'm ridin' your way.

Up the arroyo the trippin' hoofs beat,
Flingin' the hinderin' gravel wide;
Now your light glimmers across the mesquite,
Glimpsed from the top of a rocky divide;
Down through a draw where the shadows are gray
I'm comin', my darlin', I'm ridin' your way.

West, where the sky is a-blushin' afar,
Matchin' your cheeks as the daylight dies,
West, where the shine of a glitterin' star
Hints of the light I will find in your eyes,
Night-birds are passin' the signal to say:
"He's comin', my lady, he's ridin' your way."

Hoof-beats are measurin' seconds so fast,
Clickin' them off with an easy rhyme;
Minutes will grow into months at the last,
Mebbe to bring us a marryin' time.
Life would be singin' and work would be play
If every night I was ridin' your way.

by Badger Clark from Sun and Saddle Leather, 1922


See our feature on Badger Clark here.


On Finding Someone

If on some better than average day
I should be riding along
Observing—not expecting—well maybe
And should see just as hoof swept by
One flawless arrow point—
If on that shining morning
I should step down to lift this point
Turning it delicately—feeling its smoothness
Beneath my fingertips
I would marvel at its perfection
At the way some ancient one
Had tempered and crafted such beauty
And how it came to lie there
All these centuries—covered—uncovered
Until it came to me
To happen by this place
On this day made now more perfect.
And I would ponder such things
As coincidence and circles and synchronicity,
And I would pocket this treasure near my heart,
And riding on I would recall
Having seen such treasure as this elsewhere
But not this one—not this one.
And for one brief moment I would stiffen with fear
At how one quick glance in another direction
Could have lost this to me forever,
And I would touch my shirt over my heart
Just to make sure.

© 1998, Joel Nelson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


See our feature on Joel Nelson here.



As I Bridle in the Morning

As I bridle in the morning in the dawn of early spring,
And slip the bit between his teeth and catch the throat latch string,
I think of how we both first met each young and fancy free,
Somehow I thought you'd never have a backward kid like me.

As I bridle in the morning of the summer mountain heat,
And the pollen rises on the grass with the fall of each hoof beat,
I look there over yonder at our base camp in the trees,
You followed me a horseback just as pretty as you please.

As I bridle in the morning on the first day of the fall,
And the drifting leaves all hide the track there is no trace at all,
The horse we call the Triple Broke drives on he's in no hurry,
Fringe sways out and all around the flat top of our surrey.

As I bridle in the morning at the sign of early snow,
I'll ride out brisk to meet the day
—it's time for me to go,
But first I'll hitch the cutter sleigh for one more winter glide,
Then ride my trail but circle back to where two hearts abide.

As I bridle in the morning through the seasons of my life,
And consider on the difference you've made for me my wife,
My mind is prone to wander through memories well worn,
To where you once became my bride—that early summer morn'.

As I bridle in the morning

© 2006, Paul Kern
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


See our feature on Paul Kern here, where there is a photo that accompanies this poem.



The Money for Her Diamond   

In the heat of July,
While bringing in the hay,
He gave her a baling wire ring, And this is what he had to say...

     “Someday I’ll put a diamond,
Here on your hand.
A diamond pure and perfect,
As sure as I’m your man.

     But, you know, a diamond,
It won’t ever shine,
As long or as bright,
As this love of yours and mine.”

     So they saved for her diamond, 
By putting little bits away,
Money for the diamond,
He would buy for her one day.

     But the money for her diamond,
Fixed the tractor and bought a plow,
And in the dead of winter,
Paid the vet. bill for the cow.

     The money for her diamond,
Put the water to the barn,
And paid the increased taxes,
The county levied on the farm.

     The money for her diamond,
Paid the doctor in town,
And when their daughters were all grown,
It bought the wedding gowns.

      It paid for the new roof,
When the big wind came through.
Then it it paid off the mortgage,
Before it was due.

     The money for her diamond,
Was always well spent,
She never even asked him,
Just where the money went.

     The money for her diamond,
Helped them to survive,
The money for her diamond,
Kept their hopes and dreams alive.

    Today it’s been sixty-three years,
And the diamond is on her hand.
But, as usual, in her pocket,
Lies her original wedding band.

     A twist of baling wire, 
Bent and covered up in rust,
A symbol of the greatest of loves,
His Promise and Her Trust.

© 1996 Debra Coppinger Hill, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more about Debra Hill and read her poetry  here.



A Cowboy's Letter
   (A cowboy love poem)


I got a piece of candle
from the cook the other night,
he reckoned how I'd need some help
to write to you by light.

There really ain't no other time
not in my normal day,
and so I have to write at night
the things I want to say.

First of all I miss you
and I'm looking for the time,
when this long drive is over
and you once more are mine.

It ain't so much the work dear
this is my way of life,
and some day I'll have set aside
enough to take a wife.

But that don't make it easy
to be so far apart,
the trail might have me darlin'
but you still have my heart.

That lock of hair you gave to me
I've got it in a ring,
I wouldn't ever part with it
it's such a precious thing.

That little song you sang for me
I hear it even now,
you know the one about true love
and all true lovers' vows.

I keep you in my thoughts dear
no matter where or when,
I see your face in mornin' sun
and when I'm headin' in.

This candle piece is almost gone
and soon I'll have to close,
I'll put this letter safe away
before I start to doze.

I'm holdin' it until the time
I see you after spring,
but I'll be back tomorrow night
to talk to you again.


© 2001 Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of Rod Nichols'  poetry here.


I Was The Lady

I was the lady, that loved the Old Timer,
The one who everyone knew,
We traveled the trails, of trouble together,
Creatin' a legend or two,
Sometimes we lived, in a tough Texas cowtown,
And he'd keep the peace on the street,
The town women acted, like they did not know me,
If ever by chance we would meet.

Rode stages to Denver, up in the high mountains,
A city that everyone knows,
I remember mud streets, froze hard in the winter,
And houses, all covered with snow,
Cook stove a'smokin', livin' on coffee,
And bacon at six bits a pound,
And my young Old Timer, brought me a red ribbon,
When there wasn't no ribbons around.

We lived in a square tent, held up by some guy ropes,
And a dozen wood tent pegs or two
I had to bake biscuits, in a cast iron Dutch oven,
Long before daylight, broke through.
I washed on a washboard, and dried on the bushes,
And bathed in creek water ice cold,
And slept on a pallet, with my give out prospector,
Exausted, from searchin' for gold.

I helped with the hayin', branded the yearlin's,
I even helped him build a fence,
And when he was ailin', I doctored and nursed him,
A patient who paid not a cent.
He did what he wanted, went where the trail wandered,
And me?, he left sittin' at home,
I did the raisin', of the kids we created,
And learned to live lonely, too long.

As time moved along, kids grown up and married,
People would stop by to see,
If the Old Timer'd tell them, a tale about old days,
Back when the West was still free.
We'd set on the porch, in the cool of the evenin',
And writers would write and take notes,
About the old places, we lived in the old times,
And all the tough trail towns he broke.

Sometimes they'd ask questions, and mem'ry would fail,
At me, he would cut his grey eyes,
I'd say "You remember," and clear all the cobwebs,
As my Old Timer went back in time.
We weathered the hard times, we didn't have nothin',
And the times when the blessin's were free,
Then the winter of livin', finally took my Old Timer,
And nobody misses him, like me.

Now in the evenin', I sit in the rocker,
And sometimes I'll look down the road,
I'm lookin' for someone, someday to come ridin',
And tell and old lady, "Get on."
Right up behind him, holdin' on to whatever,
Knowin' where this trail will wind,
Sittin' forever, on a solid gold front porch,
Me, and that Old Timer, of mine.

© TR Stephenson, from his book Tales Ole T.R. Told.
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more of TR Stephenson's poetry here.




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