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See the Art Spur introductory page here

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem.  In Art Spur, we invite poets to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry.

Our eighteenth piece offered to "spur" the imagination—as part of Cowboy Poetry Week—is noted Western artist Bob Coronato's painting, "The Horse Wrangler Gather’d The Morning Mounts: 'One That Had’n Lived The Life ... Couldn’t Paint a Picture ...To Please The Eye, of One That Had!'" 

Read the selected poems below.

Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"The Horse Wrangler Gather’d The Morning Mounts:
'One That Had’n Lived The Life ... Couldn’t Paint a Picture ...To Please The Eye, of One That Had!'"

© 2008, Bob Coronato, courtesy The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. www.greenwichworkshop.com

We are honored to have the painting also as the official poster for Cowboy Poetry Week, 2009. 

Web reproduction permitted for Cowboy Poetry Week promotion with the credit line included:
"© 2008, Bob Coronato, courtesy The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. www.greenwichworkshop.com."
 Email us for high resolution print reproduction information.

Posters are not sold. They are offered to libraries in our Rural Library Project and to supporters of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, which sponsors CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library project, and all of our programs. 

Bob Coronato comments on the painting, "I was once part of a brand crew that traveled with an 1880's chuck wagon. Each evening, we would set the horses free to find water and grass. And each morning, before the sun came up, the horse wrangler rode out in the darkness to gather the horses from were they wandered the night before. As the ground started to shake and the wrangler drove the horses over the hill in the corral, I knew a long day was about to begin .... But I couldn’t wait, it was like being part of a special history.” Read more about the painting here at the Greenwich Workshop web site.

Bob Coronato is represented at galleries across the West. His work has been shown at the High Plains Western Heritage Center, the Coeur D'Alene Art Auction, the Pendleton Round Up Art Show, and he was an invited Master Artist at 2009's 12th Annual Autry National Center Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles and will return for the 2010 Masters as well.

Recent profiles have appeared in Art of the West and Southwest Art.

In 2008, Bob Coronato created the poster for 20th Annual Cowboy Christmas Poets Gathering in Wickenburg, Arizona, and a poster celebrating the 60th anniversary of Wickenburg's Gold Rush Days.


You can email Bob Coronato.

Read more about Bob Coronato and view more of his work in our feature here.




Poetry submissions were welcome from all, through April 10, 2009.  Submissions are now closed.



Reproduction prohibited without express written permission
"The Horse Wrangler Gather’d The Morning Mounts:
'One That Had’n Lived The Life ... Couldn’t Paint a Picture ...To Please The Eye, of One That Had!'"

© 2008, Bob Coronato, courtesy The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. www.greenwichworkshop.com


When Creaky Spawns Cranky by Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns of Wyoming
The Wrangler by Slim McNaught of South Dakota
Revel in the Journey by Ken Cook of South Dakota
Song of the Nighthawk by Diane Tribitt of Minnesota
Painted Ponies by Mag Mawhinney of British Columbia
Jingling in the Horses by Patti Leininger of Indiana
Mr. No Regrets by Doris Daley of Alberta
Round Up the Cavvy Again by Al Mehl of Colorado
Interlude by Slim Farnsworth of Colorado
Bad Winter, Good Spring by C.W. (Charles) Bell of Utah
Country Trading by Tom Nichols of Oregon


Goin' for Broke by Bette Wolf Duncan of Iowa, in Western Memories 
separate page



When Creaky Spawns Cranky

Big fall works are underway, now the grass is cured...
the cavvy’ll soon be gathered, by my unspoken word.
These here’s most the old ones...the savvy...the sly;
they share my kind of worry, from lookin’ at this sky.

Gray, here in my mustache...like the halt in their steps,
speak of knowledge an’ wisdom, not yet learn’t by young rep’s.
That flinch in ol’ Two Sox...that rise of his head,
his frownin’ ear an’ eye tell me, his pain is not dead...

 My low back answers—an’ agony not sublime—
neither is the mem’ry of the fall we took that time…
we’d nearly turned the lead when that sinkhole loomed,
too close—too big—to jump, an’ we both knew we were doomed.

Unconscious was a blessin’, whilst Tom drug us out...
Boss said we surprised him—how soon we’s up an’ about...
only me an’ Two Sox know what price we paid,
this pain is proof our bodies think they have been betrayed.

Pain, sure an’ certain sentry, warns of comin’ storm,
broadcast for all, with eyes to see, as those dark clouds form.
Today’ll be cold...windy...some damp, to boot;
cookie moved camp to shelter...shorely a smart ol’ coot!

 This sneaky band drifted, hopin’ I might miss ‘em...
yet they know, beyond a doubt, my long rope can kiss ‘em;
how that kiss will sting—on back or poll or croup—
‘ol Big-Head-Bay’s fast enough to hold ‘em in this group!

We’ll find youngun’s lower down, grazin’ ‘long the crick,
tired an’ hungry, easy pleased—‘cuz they don’t think they’re ‘slick’—
like these coyotes...sneakin’...freedom on the brain….
Mayhap these clouds have caused it...they hate to work in rain!

 An’ damn, I understand ‘em—sympathize in full!
Stuck with green hands...wet eared kids...own weight they seldom pull...
horse can’t never trust ‘em—this bunch knows it well—
hurts me, as I think about the tales that they could tell…

 Bar-Spear-Blaze lost his left eye—yanked into a stob—
kid ropin’ in a thicket...no place for such a job!
Ol’ Rockin’-W-Roan owes his knobbed right knee
to a fall, in slide-rock any damn fool should’a see…

 An’ lookit the feet on Overo-Red—his dink never even trimmed!
White hooves, prone to break at best...ought’a be shod an’ rimmed….
Ol’ Seven-H-Buck favors a stiff hind leg...
wish that durn kid would rest him...handle him like an egg...

 kind’a precious, easily broke —such he deserves!
Wisht they’d all ride them prancin’ colts...hold these for reserves….
They won’t—hell no! They’re scairt to death of them colts!
Wisht the Boss’d come unglued...cuss out all the dang dolts!

 Gosh —do i sound like Cookie—wearin’ a disguise?
I’m sure glad for this good wool coat...wind’s startin’ to rise!
Cranky an’ old...won’t be ‘round here much longer...
me an’ this bunch need a rest...soon...bring on the stronger!

 Youngun’s! Best step into line...save some nasty nips...
these seniors have the peckin’ right to gnash your fat hips!
Yeah, we may be cranky, an’ move kind’a slow...
that’s just ‘cuz we’re savin’ up for when we haft’a blow!

We’ve got this roundup covered—we’ll never say die!
Jest hope ol’ fussy Cookie will cobble up a pie...
or brew up a hot pot of stew to thaw us...
an’ make up for havin’ ta listen to him jaw us…

Now, there ya’ go boys, ease into the rope corral…
I’ll grab a spot of coffee...if cookie’s been a pal,
an’ saved a little for me…Biscuit...and ham??
Oh! Blow wind! Buck bronc! Run cow!  I’m happy as a clam!

© 2009, Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Wrangler

“There’s a hundred head,” the trail boss said,
“give or take maybe a few.”
With thundering hooves and equine moves
loping, they come into view.
We trapped them then in our stake rope pen,
Jake steps in with soothin’ word
Each calls for his hoss, Jake’s rope is tossed,
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

Rode in one night, our fire was bright
said he’d do punchin’ for pay
The boss sized him up, offered a cup,
and they talked about the day.
We gave our views as he discussed news,
never once used a cross word,
Now lookin’ back we recall that fact,
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

Boss said, “Stranger, we need a wrangler,
if that fits, you got the job.
Throw your gear in the pile, sit awhile,
over there, that’s Coosie Bob.
So we sat around, some on the ground,
as he told of things he’d heard.
Was glad later on he’d hired on
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

A likeable cuss, he sat with us,
and soon made himself at home.
Said, “Shorty’s the name,” didn’t explain,
just seemed to be on the roam.
He watched them mounts and figured them out
then knew each horse in the herd
We knew later on they’d be along
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

Now Shorty knew what he’d need to do
and he never missed a day
He’d roll out, be gone, then back by dawn
with horses trailin’ his way.
He knew horses well, this you could tell,
by his actions and his word,
Without a doubt ‘twas time to roll out
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

He showed up that way, still there today,
treatin’ horses like his own
And they don’t fight when Jake ropes ‘em right
‘cause of this wrangler they’ve known.
We look back now and remember how
Shorty always had kind words
And you could count on gettin’ your mount
when Shorty wrangled the herd.

© 2009, Slim McNaught
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Slim comments:
Back in the late 1940s we had a young fellow working for us, maybe 15 years old, who always wrangled the horses. We didn't trail much then, just a few days each spring to summer graze and back that fall to winter in the basin. But whatever we were doing Shorty always wrangled, never had to tell him, and he knew every one of them horses by nature. He could do about anything with them...the Art Spur picture "The Horse Wrangler Gather’d The Morning Mounts..." brought back this memory.



Revel in the Journey

Weaned a top the withers of his Mama's favorite mare,
Cried salty tears until the ride won out.

Schooled deep in the saddle on a two-eyed colt of Dads,
Both teachers echoed clear what life's about.

Revel in the journey
Ride hard, forget the end.
Life ain't 'bout the dyin',
It's the gettin' there my friend.

Tested 'long side punchers whose worth looms not on paper,
But is written in the grasses where they ride.

Graduate of hard work, carving character with sweat,
Now one of them, his tutoring has died.

Revel in the journey
Ride hard, forget the end.
Life ain't 'bout the dyin',
It's the gettin' there my friend.

Diploma smells of leather, earned justly with a rope,
Courageous and undaunted in the saddle.

Sheepskin seldom blemished with the prideful ways of men,
Whose bankroll quest alone can prove near fatal.

Revel in the journey
Ride hard. forget the end.
Life ain't 'bout the dyin',
It's the gettin' there my friend.

© 2009, Ken Cook
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Song of the Nighthawk

The thundering hoofbeats
pulsated like heartbeats
as they raced through his veins, with fire of their own
He thought back to days when
the earth sang beneath them
A thousand wild horses Unshod and Unknown

Wild mustangs of past day
now tempered to man's way
corralled for the daywork; enisled by night
to run free of tether
and lather-stained leather
as spirits of broken and wild reunite

If he could encapture
the rhythm and rapture
a Song of the Night Hawk is what he'd intone
cancione de caballos  
bajo las estrellas 
set to the jingle of hoofbeats on stone

Sounds dear to the Night Hawk
rose from the remuda
as he wrangled 'em home before breaking of dawn
Tails flowing, manes sweeping
mouths void of steel keeping
Flanks untouched by boot spurs, the herd thundered on

Not trilling of songbirds
nor soft whispered love words
could be so enchanting, so hauntingly sweet
as the thundering sound
of hooves strumming the ground
and the music Earth steals from iron-shod feet

© 2009, Diane Tribitt
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

cancione de caballos (songs of horses)
bajo las estrellas (beneath the stars)


Painted Ponies

I watched the wrangler bring in the ponies,
a patchwork of colors, they were.
I sat on the fence, just thinkin' about
which one of them I would prefer.

Is it that pinto mare takin' the lead,
as feisty and proud as can be,
or that sorrel with the blaze on her face
that likes to beg apples from me?

How 'bout the buckskin, so handsome and strong,
he's sure-footed, even in snow?
Then there's the big grey, that time I was lost,
who knew just where we should go.

Now that bay gelding is one to behold
when he dances 'round in the trees.
You can ride him bareback over the meadows
with only a nudge from your knees.

All the painted ponies were beautiful
with spirits nobody can own,
so I couldn't choose, how could I say "no"
to that pretty, little red roan?

© 2009, Mag Mawhinney
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Jingling in the Horses

The night was dark, the moon hung low
He rolled from his bunk and got ready to go
Ate his breakfast with coffee black
Saddled his horse, climbed on his back
Dawn was barely breakin’ as the wrangler trotted out
Accompanied by a pack a dogs a leapin’ all about
The remuda silhouetted against the darkened sky
Was millin’ round the pond an’ raised a wary eye
The dogs began to circle, the horses trotted out
The wrangler pushed behind the herd determinin’ their route
The poundin’ of their hooves resounding on the ground
Echoed in the dawn as they headed homeward bound
The corral came to life as the horses crowded in
Manes and tails flyin’ in the early mornin’ wind
The wrangler swung the gate and threw the hoolihan
As the dawn was barely breakin’ another day began

© 2009, Patti Leininger
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Mr. No Regrets

If horses were wishes and mornings had wings
If leather and canvas were magical things.
If the sky rained down shamrocks when coyote sings...
                I'd be a rootin tootin, stardust shootin, ten-feet tall Mr. Good Luck Genie in a bottle.

If hoofbeats were silver and dawn made you flush.
If pot-of-gold rainbows touched down in the brush.
If the sound of ka-ching greeted morning's first blush...
                I'd be a fancy strutter, uptown cutter, Mr. Big Spender living life at full throttle.

But ponies are ponies; the sun's just the sun.
No shamrocks this morning, no jet setter fun.
And I'm just a cowboying son-of-a-gun...
               I'm  Mr. No Regrets, Living Large, Lead-the-charge, Four Leaf Clover Millionaire.

© 2009, Doris Daley
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Round Up the Cavvy Again                   

Now I s’ppose at his birth he was given a name,

But the boys and I just called him “Pop.”

Eighty years ’top a horse, but I’d say, all the same,

There’s a time when a man’s s’pposed to stop.


Still, the boss kept him on; Pop would work with a wheeze

Paintin’ fences or fixin’ up tack.

He just did what he could with bad hips and bad knees

And an angular crick in his back.


Leather skin, it’d gone thin; broken bones, he’d lost count;

And his vision was cataract-blurred.

With his balance half-gone, couldn’t mount or dismount;

Pop would never again work the herd.


Still he dreamt of the past, and he whispered in rhyme

To the angels who dance ’top a pin.

And he wondered if there’d be a way, one more time,

He might round up the cavvy again.


Then one night, with a start, Pop was stirred from that dream,

As the cook kicked him out of the bed.

Cook’s intentions were quick understood, it would seem,

For the old man was only half-dead.


Cookie bridled the bay in the dim light of morn,

Then he tossed the old man ’cross the saddle,

Pushed the far leg away ’til Pop’s gut snagged the horn,

Felt his ribs and his vertebrae rattle.


But, like lift from a loadstone, or siren’s sweet song,

The old man felt a mystical force,

And his back was made tall, and his muscles made strong

By the energy drawn from that horse.


Then that horse wrangler gather’d the new morning mounts

In the light of a new morning sun.

Best ya watch him and learn, ’cause his ridin’ recounts

How the last of the Old West was won.

© 2009, Al Mehl
            This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Well, I’m wranglin’ this remuda,
As the moonlight fades t’ day,
When I has a grand epiphany,
In the dawn hour’s reddish-grey.

As I’m wranglin’ up these ponies,
Well my memories start t’roam,
I thinks about the roads I’ve traveled,
And the places I’ve called home.

There was the ol’ Bar Rockin’ T,
Back when I was jist a boy,
My ol’ daddy broke their wild mustangs,
And the foreman’s name was Roy.

Then ‘course when I was seventeen,
I hired on the double Z,
But I only stayed a year or so,
I was young and fancy free.

I roamed around from ranch t’ ranch,
Findin’ daywork here and there,
Now I’m out here wranglin’ up ponies,
In the clear, crisp mornin’ air.

I’m reminded of Kiskaddon,
In the pinnacles so bold,
As I unfurl my reata that,
Jist like me is gettin’ old.

And just like ol’ Bruce’s nighthawk,
I’m a dog that’s had his day,
And my hair and beard are shore enough,
Givin’ way t’ hues of grey.

I guess I’ve learned a thing or two,
From a life spent on the roam,
Like a bedroll laid out on the range,
Don’t make fer a half-bad home.

And as the moon sinks in the west,
The ol’ sun will surely rise,
And as I’m gettin’ older and grey,
A young man I might surmise—

Is learnin’ from experience,
How t’ be a top notch hand,
And he’s learnin’ when y’ take a job,
Y’ always ride fer the brand.

I reckon that’s the way things work,
How the old world turns around,
Jist as a young man’s day is dawnin’,
‘Nother’s goin’ in the ground.

And the times like this I reckon,
Are a short-lived interlude,
When the moon and the sun share heaven,
Right before the world’s renewed.

© 2009, Slim Farnsworth
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Bad Winter, Good Spring

They were settin’ astride their mounts that day,
In the spring time of ‘forty nine,
While they looked out to the south and east.
And seeing the range was fine. 

Dubya, Alton and Cece were jawin’
About the stock and the grass
The winter just over had been real bad,
They were glad to see it pass.

Although the blizzard of ‘49
Had been the worst one in years,
The moisture had sunk into the soil
And alleviated their fears.

“I’m glad tuh see the grass so green,”
Dubya was heard to say,
And Cece replied with a throaty laugh,
“We’re gonna get lotsa hay.”

While Alton’s eyes were fixed on the cows
And calves as they gamboled about.
“We’ve got a great crop of little ones,
It makes me want tuh shout!”

Yes, the terrible days of the winter
By helping the stock to survive
Has had a bountiful result—
The grass and the stock will thrive.

© 2009, C.W. (Charles) Bell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Country Trading

"You call them horses?
Ma’am, I've heard some brags.
You brought me twenty miles,
Just to sell me these nags?

I will not buy paints!
Didn't I make that clear?
Nor that white bugger,
Back there in the rear?

The second one's lame.
I don't like that roan.
She's got a bottle nose
And is light of bone.

The little sorrel there,
Will never amount to much.
Could put a kid on him,
Or pull a cart and such.

Ol' Socks in the middle,
He's straight in the leg.
Got a big enough girth,
Might's well saddle a keg.

This one I’m ridin',
This knot-headed bay.
He's still green yet,
I can’t use him today.

Cut out those culls.
For the rest, half I'll pay.
You herd them to town.
What do you say?"

"Young man, we had a deal!
Now, at the price you balk.
You don't like my horses,
Well, to town you can walk!"

© 2009, Tom Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




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