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CATHY BRIAN
Loa, Utah
About Cathy Brian

 

Recognized as one of

Lariat Laureate Runner Up
for her poem, "The Day the Cows Go Out"

 

 

The Day the Cows Go Out

The morning air is damp, and there is dew upon the ground,
But I can still see dust and I can hear a pleasing sound.

My cowboys woke up early; they got dressed and rushed away,
While they grabbed their spurs and saddles and lunches for the day.

And somewhere in the scurry from their beds and out the door
They still had time to thank me like they've always done before.

The pleasing sound is of cowboys as they begin the day
A whoopin' and a shoutin', contrasting mothers as they pray

That their cowboys won't be trampled, that their horses stay serene.
It's a comfort to the mothers; their prayers are just routine.

Before the morning sun begins to raise his dazzling head,
Over the hills and mountains getting dudes out of their bed,

My boys are on their horses and the cows are raisin' dust.
They're causing such a ruckus you'd think the fences just might bust.

But they finally get 'em gathered and out an open gate
And are heading to the mountains where the cows'll congregate.

The cows will settle down some as they hit the open trail,
And it seems that's when the cowboys can finally exhale.

It's something to look forward to; the day the cows go out,
And the sound of working cowboys in the distance as they shout.
 

© 2008, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Cathy told us about the inspiration for her poem: "As the mother of five wonderful, slightly dirty, mischievous, kids I found myself with a rare opportunity to take an early walk on the day that the cows were going out. Unintentionally, I walked in the direction that the cows were being gathered and worked. It was probably a good mile off, but I could see the dust and hear the shouts of the cowboys. It was still early enough that the dust and steam from the cows was visible and shining through the early sunlight. There were probably ten or more cowboys in all, with a bunch of little cowboys and girls. As I walked, listened, and smiled, I could make out the distinct shouts of my own cowboys. Thus the poem."

 

We asked Cathy why she writes Cowboy Poetry and why she thinks it is important, and she commented: 

I, absolutely, love the ability the cowboy poet has to take a sticky, strenuous situation that may have caused some sorrow or strife and see the humor in it (after it's over with, of course). I also love the fact that a cowboy, or cowgirl is about the toughest person around, and yet, they know what it is to be gentle, and enjoy the beauty of life. Who better can capture what life is all about in poetry, than those who are so concerned with and intimately a part of life, growth and the land.

Where the cowboy is dwindling, and being run off his precious land, the stories and lessons he has learned are so important and necessary. I want my children to have the memories of their endangered childhood written down in this traditional and unique way so that their experiences can be used to teach and bless the lives of their posterity.
 

You can email Cathy Brian.


 

Grown Cowmen

I am not a country girl, I was city born and bred.
But a cowboy chose me for his wife, and I've learned rural ways instead.
He must a thought I'd do O.K. when he chose to tie the knot
'Cause I sure ain't nothin' special, but, look at what I got!

I got a man to raise my boys and to teach them how to live
By raisin' cows and sheep and such. Some may think it primitive.
But let me tell you what I've learned in this ranchin' mom's career.
Most times there's nothin' better then a workin' atmosphere.

Like that day we blew some dudes away. They was on a nature trek,
When they came upon our cowherd, and spooked 'em near to heck.
Here they came right straight at us in their fancy Nissan truck,
And the cows was bein' stubborn and just wouldn't light a shuck.

Now I was up on a horse that day and so were my two sons,
One was six and one was seven and we was wishin' we had guns.
'Cause we were pushin' cows that day, and I mean it literally
And ornery bovines sure ain't much cause for actin' cheerily

But we eased those cows on by them dudes and turned 'em round the bend.
'And then that herd started movin fast and our pushin met its end.
Cause they cut loose and headed south and we had to let 'em go
And those dudes just drove on past us after watchin' our little show.

We watched the truck stop up the road, there by my boys' dad
And when Dad met up with us for lunch he told us what they'd said.
See Dad'd been drivin' down the road in our beat up little jeep
'Cause my little girl was plumb wore out and seen fit to fall asleep.

He said those dudes had stopped him, wonderin' who the cowboys were.
They'd said, "We saw all those great big cows and figured we knew sure,
That once we made it through the herd, and out the other side
We'd run into some grown cowmen with rough and suntanned hide!"

They'd said they couldn't believe it when they finally got to the end
And there were two little cowboys doin' the job of four or five men!
Some say the cowboy's endangered. I say take 'em off the list
'Cause extinction sure can't happen, not as long as cows exist.

And I say they ain't endangered from my experienced point of view,
'Cause from one cowboy now I've got two brand new buckaroos.
So always give me primitive and a workin' atmosphere,
And don't think I won't always fight to keep my cowboys here.

© 2005, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Cathy comments:  I hope the experiences that this poem depicts will continue, not only through out my life but through generations of time.  Where at least a select few may learn and revere the value of hard work and the duty we have to love and maintain the land that has provided us with such a unique way of life.

 

The Contradicting Cowboy


 The cowboy sat there in his saddle
Like a bird rulin' over its nest.
'T was clear he belonged in the leather
You could tell by the way he was dressed.

His hat was all sweaty and dirty.
His shirt, torn and faded from wear.
His wranglers were not quite as shabby,
'Cause his chaps, they protected him there.

His boots were all scuffed, but were polished.
You could tell that he valued their worth.
And the spurs, were just a might rusty,
From the sweat of the horses scarred girth.

He sat in his saddle so proudly,
Contradicting the clothes that he wore.
His age was a mark of his wisdom.
His skin showed the trials he bore.

A king on his steed full of spirit
Just a colt he's still tryin' to break.
Not one of the others would ride 'im,
But the challenge was one he would take.

This cowboy had well earned his status,
You could tell it with just one small glance.
As he sat there at home in the saddle,
His ridin' a well rehearsed dance.

He swung himself down from the leather,
His feet hit the ground with a smack.
He tied up his horse to the trailer,
Turned, stumbled, and threw out his back!

© 2005, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

Grandma and the Outlaw

Dad Gum evasive was Butch Cassidy that day
But his associate old blue John sure didn't get away.
It was my third great grandpa Chappell who nabbed him on the run.
And brought him back to Wayne County at the point of a gun.

Twas Butch Cassidy he wanted but he settled on blue John
Cause one less outlaw in that gang was more'n he'd counted on.
My third great grandpa Chappell was the sheriff way back then
And he brought ol' blue John back to town to throw him in the pen.

Problem was, that long ago, Wayne County was a hole
And there wasn't any jail house to keep that way ward soul.
So third great grandpa Chappell locked him in the grainery
But solid as that old shack was, Grandpa remained leery

And when my third great Grandma took food out to that crook
you can bet she's not the kind of gal to let him off the hook.
She glared him down while he ate the mutton and the beans.
And you can bet that she made sure he et up all his greens.

Then, I know you won't believe me But I been told it's true
When he went to hand his dishes back she said “Oh no, Your not through!”
She placed her hand securely on his scarred and scruffy ear
And marched him to the kitchen never showing any fear.

She put her apron on him and said “You wily snake.
You wash up all them dishes And I'll take myself a break.”
You should a seen the silly look and heard his quaking gibberish
As he stood there in her ruffles washing every dinner dish

And when his chore was finished and she led him to the door
Nothing looked as welcome as that hard old granary floor.
He fairly flew inside the door and yelled “You lock it double.
If fen I'd a had a ma like you I'd a never been in trouble.”

© 2007, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Cathy told us: This poem is a true story straight from my Mother-in-law's family history. It was her great grandpa that was the Sheriff of Wayne County, Utah, There are many stories that come from this area because of the rugged landscape that is known for hiding Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. I love to write, I love history and I would hate to see stories such as this be lost. After all, in a world where we are constantly searching for answers to rid ourselves of crime it doesn't hurt to look to the past. Sometimes stories just need to be told.
 

Real Peace

In our high mountain valley on a perfect summer day

There you might, still, find the frost on the purple blooms of hay

That early in the morning I turn toward the east

And watch as shadows linger, for the light has now increased.

And the whole mountain valley, at least that’s how it seems,

Is covered in a halo of life pumped from the streams.

The sprinklers flicker on and off as young boys are out choring,

And the traffic hasn’t picked up yet, from the city folks a touring.

Peace is still existent in our hidden mountain home,

And everywhere the tourists look no matter where they roam,

They cannot find the real peace, It’s hidden from their view.

It doesn’t come aesthetically. Its produced by what we do.

Our scenery that seems perfect brings peace and traps the eye,

Because of all the labor our scenery must imply.

There in lies the real peace, as we watch our children grow.

It’s something that the tourists may never really know.

And so they pass on by us with a stumped and longing gaze

Never understanding what it is they really praise.

© 2007, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Cathy comments:  Have you ever looked at a picture of a farm scene and been drawn in by how perfect the picture is? There are children in their Sunday best holding little farm animals, which lay peacefully in their laps. They are sitting under perfectly pruned trees near weedless flower beds with no dead flowers anywhere in sight. The cottage or barn in the picture is in perfect repair and nowhere can you see any sign of anything out of order. I wrote this poem early one morning as I turned toward the east and enjoyed the "halo of life." realizing that though our little farming community is not nearly as perfect as those pictures are, that the tourists who come through here over and over again, because of the beauty, are feeling that peace.

I wonder, unless you understand and participate in the amount of labor that goes into making something beautiful, can you experience the real peace, the peace that comes from participating in that labor and then watching your children grow through their own participation? In this poem I wanted to point out that unless you understand the hard labor and back-breaking work that is put into anything beautiful, especially raising children, you won't experience the real peace.


 

Docking the Lambs

I stared at my grandpa in pure disbelief
But still trusting him all of the same.

Could what he was asking me to do
be serious or a weird sort of game?

I’d grabbed the legs of the next little lamb
Flipped him over and was holding him tight

So’s my grandpa could dock and castrate him
And bob his tail off without a big fight.

But something was wrong and my arms started aching
As I held on as hard as I could.

I could tell that my grandpa was frustrated some
And things just weren’t looking to good.

He struggled with that elasticator
And the lamb, he weren’t to understanding

In fact, he was struggling and kicking so fierce
Grandpa started in a reprimanding.

“Hold him as tight as you can!” he hollered
And pulled out his extra sharp blade!

"I’ll cut him and hold him, you use your teeth”
I couldn’t believe what he had just said.

“That there's how it’s done if you're gonna be
A man in the livestock operation.

"So bend over quick grab a hold with your teeth
And begin that there extrication

I know who I am and who I’m going to be
So hesitating only a second

I bent over quick took hold with my teeth
And, well….It weren’t as bad as I reckoned

Now the best thing about it aint the bragging rights
Though I’d have to admit they are bliss.

It’s getting home when we’ve finished our work for the day
And giving Mom a great big, wet kiss.

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


 

Cathy comments: This poem was written from my boys' experiences while docking lambs. The first time they came home, after castrating their first lambs, I couldn't understand why they would want a kiss. But, O.K. I mean, after all what mom wouldn't kiss their boys when they ask. Well...Now If my cowboys have been out docking lambs or calves and come home wanting a kiss, this mom does NOT oblige, at least not until after bath time.


 

Cowboy, Quit Your Cussin'

Cowboy are you ready for the final judgment day?
Do you know who your judge is and what he may say?
Remember all them cattle you poked down the trail?
The cussin' and the cursin' as you followed on their tail?

Their was purpose in your prodding, that, you understood,
Though some certain people didn't take to it so good.
But you know the reason you irritated cows.
You weren't lookin' for more cheers or any extra bows.

Your purpose was to get 'em to where they ought to be,
Home off the mountain to good food and security.
You knew if you left 'em on the mountain in the snow,
They'd surely freeze or starve to death with no wheres to go.

When you came on a lame one, or a calf that was sick,
You'd poke a little harder with your cattle proddin' stick.
Sometimes you'd up and whack 'em to get 'em on the go;
'Cause home in yonder pasture they'd regain their health and grow.

Though you seemed the enemy, you didn't quit your task,
Even when the others thought you wore a tyrant mask.
Cowboy, are you ready for your final judgment day?
Do you know the master who pushed you on your way?

Do you recognize His prodding, or “kick against the pricks”?*
Do you think you're mistreated when He whacks you with his sticks?
Cowboy, quit your cussin', there is healing in the prod,
It's meant to git ya home to yonder pasture with your God.

© 2010, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


*Acts 9:5
 

Cathy comments,  "Cowboys are imbedded in life and death. They see it, they experience it almost daily. It teaches them to face reality. The best cowboy I know (my husband) when I asked him 'What in the heck is wrong with people today in the cities?,'" he replied, 'They are just too far removed from agriculture.' I've thought an awful lot about that statement. I think he may be right. This poem was written as a simple life lesson that a cowboy learned from his experiences with cows on the trail."

My Chickens

My dad bought me some chickens; he got ‘em when they were young.
They’d sit there in my little hand and peck me on my thumb.
And then they all got bigger and do you know what they did?
Well, they started laying eggs for this chicken growing kid.

So, I decided it was time to brand my chicken brood.
I wasn’t sure if they’d let me or even act too good.
It wouldn’t hurt to try it, though I wasn’t sure just how.
But, I had watched my daddy when he’d branded our ol’ cow.

So I grabbed a chicken, took the stick that I’d got hot.
And I surely tried my best, but to brand it, I could not.
I’d never heard a chicken make that awful screeching sound
She began pecking and scratching I dropped her to the ground.

At last I turned my chicken loose, her tail was in a flame!
That smell of burning feathers told me this was not a game!
That chicken ran squawking to the haystack so’s she could hide.
I really love cooked chicken but them cows don’t eat hay fried.

I panicked, and I started yelling with a scratchy voice
‘Cause chickens don’t speak human, so’s I really had no choice.
And though I squawked and bellered like a chicken probably would
That chicken kept on hiding and things just weren’t looking good.

The smoke was getting thicker and I headed for the hose
I cranked it so hard that the water hit me in the nose.
Flustered and quite anxious I really tried as best I could
To catch that dancing hose, but that durn hose misunderstood.

But then finally, by some pure luck, I caught that flying snake
And thanked my lucky stars that I had got a little break.
That’s when I turned to see red flames a coming from the stack
And I started in spraying and a praying in my track.

The flames they started dying and I took a long deep breath
When all the sudden something nearly scared me clear to death.
That chicken flew straight at me with some smoke still on her tail
Like a real hungry coyote on a frightened rabbits trail.

I don’t know how she done it but I landed on my back
And I opened up my eyes ‘neath that smoking old haystack
Standing right there above me and looking not too happy
Was a man I know quite well, there stood my good ol pappy.

“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?” came the words out of his mouth.
All I felt like doing was getting up and running south.
“I’m just trying to brand my chickens, so’s people know they’re mine.”
“I want to be like you Dad!” and I nearly started cry’n.

I described my situation I could see the rage die
Luckily the fire was out in the haystack and Dad’s eye.
We cleaned up from the mess I’d made it weren’t and easy chore,
Because I’d burned up three whole bales and I’d singed many more.

And as we turned to head inside, I brightened at a thought
“Dad,” says I, “I’m thinking with all these chickens that I got
If may be sometime really soon or even clear next year
Instead of branding all my hens, let’s mark ‘em on the ear.”

© 2010, Cathy Brian 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Cathy comments: This poem comes from the highly imaginative mind of a five-year-old chicken farmer who knows darn good and well that you don't brand chickens AND that Chickens don't have ears to mark. He laughs at the absurdity of the poem each time we read it and is doing his best to memorize it.

We were sitting around the breakfast table discussing five-year-old Chance's chicken operation one morning when this story emerged...I love the fact that my five year old "gets it" We have 15 chickens that he takes care of. He feeds and waters them and gathers the eggs each day, which he sells.

 



  About Cathy Brian:

I live in Loa, Utah, My husband, Roger, is and has been, his whole life, a cattle and sheep rancher. I was raised in the city, but felt misplaced my whole life. I would often escape into a Louis L'Amour book and dream of my own cowboy, not realizing that that was, indeed, exactly what my future held.

So, for fourteen years I have ridden the range beside my husband and, in time, my three sons, Braden (12), Caib (11), Chance (3) and my little cowgirls, Aubree (7), and Oaklee (1). The oldest four have recited my cowboy poetry on stage for the last nine years. Each has tried his or her hand at writing about their own cowboy dreams.

The poems I have written are all about the experiences my husband, the kids, and I have had as we've grown together. I have written a few poems that come from the lives of our ancestors and hope to be able to continue finding unique stories from those who rode the range before us. But, the greatest joy I have is from watching and writing about my children as they grow, learn, experience and enjoy the beauty of life and living through the hard, monotonous, and often back-breaking labor of working cowboys.
 

You can email Cathy Brian.

 

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