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About Audrey Hankins
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Contacting Audrey Hankins


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About Audrey Hankins

I wasn't born in Arizona; but I got here as soon as I could. 

I believe that we are born with our loves and talents already in our hearts. Any time the circumstances of our lives bring us into contact with people, places, and things that we already love, we recognize it, and pursue those loves and talents to the extent that the law, morals, and previous prior commitments allow. Just as some horses and dogs are born with "cow" in them, so are some people.

As a child, on an Iowa farm,  I never missed a Gene Autry show, on the radio. A few years later, I discovered Zane Grey's novels, and read and reread every one I could get my hands on. That background fueled my determination to live out my life in the west, with a cowboy, cattle and horses, on a ranch.

Our dreams never come true exactly the way we imagine, but I did marry a cowboy and spent years on central Arizona ranches, and a Colorado pack outfit. We were blessed with 2 sons, and a daughter, who grew up with useful work to do. They learned, at a young age, how to make decisions, and take responsibility for their acts. They didn't need to "find themselves." They knew as children, how much we valued their help and efforts. Though none of them are involved in ranching today, I believe their success in their chosen fields is due in part to their ranch background. Good work ethics, courtesy, and integrity, are fine traits to take into any career.    
Continued below...


The Waters

First Light

A Roast and a Pot of Beans

His Signature


The Waters

Remembering the outfits I've lived on,
It's the waters that come back to mind.
Their names march through my memory
Like towns on a highway sign:
Tomboy, Goat Camp, Amazon,
Copperopolis, Teeterman, Ward.
Joker, Miller, Buckskin, Buckhorn,
Golden Eagle, San Domingo, and Pard.

They were never marked, no stranger would know
That he'd come to a place with a name.
But when you got to one after a long hard ride,
It looked mighty good, just the same.
It might be a spring, a siphon or seep,
A windmill on a mineshaft or creek.
But it's home sweet home when your mouth is dry
And your horse plumb tired and weak.

It's a comforting sight when you've slid off a mountain
Down a canyon that's deep, dark and bare,
You get to the mouth and there's that windmill,
You knew you would find - waiting there.
Your horse steps out, for he knows too
You're back to civilization once more.
You're both "someplace," it's got a name,
You've been right here before.

Your remember where you stashed the leftover wood
After you branded that day, last spring.
You know the water here is good,
And which way the gate will swing.
It might be ten miles home from there,
And home, fifty miles from town,
But you're at ease in the place,
Like the house of a friend,
Or your old home stompin' ground.
The waters, the waters, the waters,
I see them in memory yet,
Like the pull on a water-witch's stick
They're always calling me back.
1991, Audrey Hankins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

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First Light

First light to sunup--
Best time of day.
Dogs run to greet me,
Coffee's on the way.

Nickers for morrals
Waiting horse herd.
Tentative twitters,
Treeful of birds.

Mountains inky blue
Against a lighting sky.
Morning star, pale moon,
Clean slate, natural high.
The jump on the world,
A minute to pray.
First light to sunup--
Best time of day.

2004, Audrey Hankins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.


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A Roast and a Pot of Beans

In the kitchen on most any ranch
There's always good food it seems,
But my all-time overall favorite
Is a roast and a pot of beans.

You can put them on in crockpots
The handy, liberated way,
Then go off to town on business
Or to the backside and ride all day.
That moist, mouthwatering aroma
Drifts right down the road it seems
And draws you home to the kitchen
That roast and a pot of beans.
Set out bread butter and salsa,
And chocolate cake for dessert,
Then watch those cowboys eat
'Til you know they've got to hurt.
This morning we're shipping
And short-handed it seems,
So saddle my horse, while I put on
A roast and a pot of beans.
1997, Audrey Hankins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

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His Signature

As personal as his signature -
That's a cowboy's hat.
The color, crease, and brim roll,
 In silver belly, or black.

It may be Resistol, or Stetson,
Or a treasured custom-made,
But it's more than shelter from a storm,
Or a way to stay in the shade.

He wears it in a way all his own,
Maybe cocked a bit toward one eye,
"Acey-duecy," so girls will notice
When he goes ridin' by.

 If you know a man well, his hat will tell,
If he's feelin' wild or tame.
It's pushed way back as he studies cards,
In a friendly poker game.
It's floatin' loose, when he's had a few,
And is into a wild-cow tale,
His friends know it's time to gather him up,
And hit the home ranch trail.
It's pulled down tight, and he's cinched up,
Before he yanks down his rope
To catch a cow who's sellin' out,
High-tailin' down a slope.
It's removed to show respect,
For ladies held in high regard,
Off for the flag, in a church, or home,
The rules aren't very hard.
He never lays it on a bed,
Or sets it on its brim.
If he puts it somewhere, don't move it,
Just leave that up to him.
It's the symbol of values he holds dear,
His statement, and more than that,
As personal as his signature -
That's a cowboy's hat.

1997, Audrey Hankins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without written permission.

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Read Audrey Hankins' Christmas at the Ranch posted with 2005 Christmas poems


First Light

Audrey Hankins' 2007 CD, First Light, includes 17 original poems:

First Light
A Day Just for Me
A Roast and a Pot of Beans
Cattle and Horses
The Granny Cow
Buzzard and Noah
Mixed Feelings
Nitro and the Nog
In Our Blood
The Waters
The Windmill Man
Tribute to Jim
His Signature
His Place or Mine?
Another Page
Some Things Never Change

Jim Jones (www.jimjonesmusic.com) produced the CD and provided the music. Lori Faith Merritt (www.photographybyfaith.com) designed the CD packaging, which features her photography.

First Light  is available for $17 postpaid, from Audrey Hankins, P.O. Box 688, Congress, AZ 85332.


Raised on Good Pasture

Audrey Hankin's book, Raised on Good Pasture, is a joint effort with noted cowboy artist, Robert "Shoofly" Shufelt. It contains 25 of her poems, and many of "Shoofly's" drawings, including the full-page drawing on the cover dust jacket. It is soft-cover, 81/2 x 11", and is available for $27.50, through Western Images Ltd, where there is additional information about Robert "Shoofly" Shufelt.


Raised on Good Pasture


Outside Circle
Ranch Life, Good Life
Invisible Cook
Buzzard and Noah
Ranch Roots
Friends of the Wild Cow
Susie's Dream
The Waters
The Granny Cow
Rusty, John and Brown
Ranch Kids
Christmas at the Ranch
Nitro and the Nog
Mixed Feelings
In Our Blood
His Place or Mine
A Day Just for Me
A Roast and a Pot of Beans
The Windmill Man
Ashes and Memories
Wrong Road
Day Work
Some Things Never Change


Raised on Good Pasture is also available directly from Audrey Hankins for $30 postpaid, priority mail. Send payment to Audrey Hankins, P.O. Box 688, Congress, AZ 85332.


  About Audrey Hankins  (continued from above)

Language, and particularly poetry, has always drawn me, with the way words take on power when arranged in certain ways, and the beauty of their sounds ringing off each other. I started collecting poetry while still in grade school. Years later, on ranches, I started writing a few poems about that life. I wrote them for myself, so that I would always be able to bring back the feelings and memories of what I was experiencing. At that time, I was unaware of any venue for sharing them, nor would I have had the courage to do so.

In 1988, I attended my first cowboy poetry gathering, in Prescott, Arizona. There, I heard people reciting poetry similar to what I had stashed away. So I summoned all my courage and got in an open session. It took off from there. During those early years of reciting, I often wore long skirts, so that no one could see my knees knocking. Only my passion for ranch life, and the desire to share that, gave me the guts to overcome a lifelong fear of speaking in public. What a tremendous benefit that has been, in all areas of my life.

In the years from 1988 until the present, I've had the honor of being a Featured Poet at many Gatherings throughout the Southwest; and my work has been published in various anthologies and magazines. In 1998, I was chosen AWA Cowgirl Poet of the Year, and also received the Gail I. Gardner award at the Prescott, Arizona Gathering that same year.

I am blessed with a loving family of blood relatives. In addition to them, I treasure my larger, far-flung family of cowboy poets and musicians. Sometimes, years go by when our trails don't cross; but anytime we meet again we take up right where we left off, because our mutual love for the land, and the western way of life never changes


Read more of Audrey Hankins' poetry here at Cowboy Showcase.

Audrey Hankins' work is collected in anthologies, including:

  Cattle, Horses, Sky, and Grass includes her poems, "Buzzard and Noah," "Mixed Feelings," "Rusty, John, and Brown," and "Susie's Dream."

  Graining the Mare includes her poem "Relapse."

  Cowgirl Poetry includes her poems "The Granny Cow," "His Place or Mine," and "Wrong Road."  

cpreunionbk.jpg (25377 bytes)  Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion includes her poem, "Hollyhocks"   


Contacting Audrey Hankins

Photo by Lorrie Lott

 Audrey Hankins
P.O. Box 688
Congress, AZ 85332





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