Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch

near Calhan, Colorado 
About George Bourbeau




The Catch Rope

The cowboy threw his lariat
The loop just landed wide.
He dragged it in and threw again
It went to the other side.

Once more he threw the rope it flew
And missed just short this time.
The cowgirl grabbed ahold the rope
And now, it fit just fine.

She snugged it 'round her tiny waist
And with a cowgirl grin,
Hand over hand with easy grace
She reeled the cowboy in.

George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(George told us he wrote and performed the above poem for his daughter's wedding)



Christmas Mystery

Was a fine weather day for gathering strays
But I grumbled to Smoky, my horse
They was havin' a party and eatin' real hearty
And I was missin' it out here, of course.

Now I don't know how those danged ol' cows
And their calves got away from our gather,
But you sure could bet that the boss was upset
You could say, he was in a real lather.

He talked awful loud to this puncher crowd
And we sure enough all heard him say,
"Now, I don't know how you boys lost them cows,
But someone's ridin' on this Christmas day."

Well everyone saw that I drew the short straw
And I tried hard to be a good sport,
But old Smoky and me, we seemed to agree
In this deal, we both come up short.

We turned into a draw, and right away saw
Them cows by a clear river branch.
I started to think, "I'll just let them drink
And then push them on home to the ranch."

It was just midday as we made our way
Through the rocky, rough canyon park.
Why, we'll move them along and sing them a song,
And get them all in before dark.

Then, in rolled a storm that wasn't real warm,
For a cold wind blew from the North.
Along with the blow, white flakes of snow
Commenced fallin' for all they were worth.

The temperature fell and I sure could tell
We were in for a cold, snowy gale
And, no matter how I pushed them cows,
To the wind they'd just turn their tail.

Now, the snow's fallin' free, I could hardly see
Them cows there, ahead of my roan.
To get out of the wind, on their own they turned in
To a canyon with high walls of stone.

Then, I was sure glad that them stubborn cows had
For the wind here was just a stiff breeze.
As we drifted on down through that cleft in the ground
Right and left there were snow covered trees.

Here, the wind weren't so strong, but I would be wrong
If I claimed to be warm and dry,
Cause I was near froze, from my feet to my nose
An' startin' to think I might die.

The rock walls looked stark, it was getting dark
When, the trail to the left took a turn.
Then, I thought I could see just beyond a pine tree,
A light in a window did burn.

Though my eyes were foggy and my mind kinda groggy
Like when I'd drunk too much beer.
This here's Bar S range and it's kind of strange
There shouldn't be no one out here.

We moved toward the light, a warm, beckoning sight,
To a cabin against the rock bluff.
Made from logs cut from pine, all fitted so fine
That the wind couldn't slip in a puff.

And Off to the left in a deep, rocky cleft
A corral had been built strong and tight.
A screen from the storm, they could keep themselves warm,
So I drove the cows in for the night.

I stepped down to the ground, and that's when I found
That my cold legs would not hold my weight.
To the fence I grabbed hold and then in the cold
With a shove, I pushed shut the gate.

Then, all ganted and sore, I lurched to the door
And knocked as loud as I could.
It seemed so unreal that I could not feel
Me knuckles contacting the wood.

The door opened wide and I fell there inside
And was caught by arms hard and strong.
I was weak as a pup, so, he just scooped me up,
Set me down by the stove before long.

The fire burned bright that cold winter night.
In the warmth, I came back to my senses.
Then, I thought of my horse, the storm might get worse
And Smoky was tied to them fences.

As if reading my mind, I looked up to find
My host in his boots, coat and hat.
He said "You stay there, for your horse I will care,
Do not worry at all about that."

While he was gone, without even a yawn,
My eyes shut and I drifted to sleep.
Guess I slept for a while and awoke to a smile
And dark eyes set wide and deep.

His hair shoulder length and a sense of strength
Just seemed to come from him.
On his cheeks and his chin, on brown, weathered skin
Was a beard all neatly trimmed.

I looked him down and up as he passed me a cup
Filled with coffee, hot and dark.
The smell of that brew started filtering through,
As I sipped it, it found the mark.

Then, he offered me stew to go with the brew,
I nodded, he filled up a dish.
It tasted so good, I ate all that I could.
He said, "Have some more if you wish."

I answered, "Thank you, but I guess that'll do"
So we pulled our chairs up to the heat.
I lit up a smoke as he quietly spoke
Of how happy he was we could meet.

Then I heard him say he was born on this day
And Jesus is the name his folks gave.
I answered that "Now, I sure reckon as how
That's a right proper name for today."

We talked for a while, and, I saw him smile
When I talked about workin' with cows.
And I told, of course, 'bout the pig eyed ol' horse
Made me wallow in mud with the sows.

He told about sheep and the nights he would keep
Guard to save them from grief.
I heard him talk 'bout how some of his flock
Might could get run off by a thief.

He told of the days spent chasing those strays
To get them back to home grass safe and sound.
Their wounds he would heal and how good he's feel
Once he felt they'd be stayin' around.

Then Jesus got up and refilled my tin cup.
He offered some pie that he'd made.
I took out my old knife, cut us each a slice,
Then cleaned off the worn metal blade.

I was pretty well fed when I rolled out my bed.
From the stove, watched firelight play.
In the warmth of the embers, I couldn't remember
Having had such a fine Christmas day.

I woke the next morn, just before dawn.
The wind and the storm had passed on.
I looked at the bed where my host lay his head,
It was empty; his hat and coat gone.

As I lay there asleep, he'd gone out to his sheep,
At least, I assumed that was so.
I finally stood up and found my old cup
And filled it with fresh, hot jo.

On the stove, near the pot, still fresh and hot,
Beans and bacon, and biscuits on the side.
I ate what I could, brought in firewood,
Rolled my bed and got ready to ride.

When I got outdoors to tend to my chores
I found someone had done the deed.
It was Jesus, I guess, while I got my rest,
Gave my livestock water and feed.

So, I settled my kack on Smoky's old back,
Cinched him up and tied on my roll.
To the saddle I sat, pulled down on my hat,
Took them cows for a nice mornin' stroll.

We were ridin' light, it had been quite a night,
Got a chew from my vest for me.
I groped for my knife to cut me a slice
It was not where I knew it should be.

Then my mind wandered back to that cozy, warm shack
And the pie I'd cut by lantern light.
My knife I had placed in an empty space
On the table top late last night.

Well, now Spring's settin' in, grass is growin' again
And I'm goin' to visit my friend.
He'll sure be surprised when he sets his eyes
On this pack horse comin' 'round the bend.

I've brought coffee, dried fruit, and all kinds of loot
There's flour and sugar and such.
Brought new shirts and a hat and much more than that.
Now I'm anxious to get back in touch.

In the canyon we ride, life on every side,
There are birds of every hue.
They flitter and sing 'till the rocky walls ring
With the sounds of life born anew.

I make the turn to the left, there in a rocky cleft
There's just post where the corral had been,
And the cabin so tight on that cold winter night
Has a lean, and the roof's saggin' in.

I tie the ponies to a post, I'm white as a ghost.
What's happened since I was here last?
Was it wind or snowslide that buckled the side
And the roof of this cabin so fast?

The door fallen down, window glass scattered 'round,
I slip into the cabin so dark and damp.
As I focus my eyes I soon realize
It's weather and time that's destroyed this camp.

The pale wood spoke clear of the many year
It had taken to weather it so.
The rain and the sun had acted as one
As had the wind and the snow.

I do about face, this can't be the place
Where I spent last Christmas night.
Must have gone astray and turned the wrong way,
A mistake is what caused my plight.

As I walked to the door, there on the floor
My eyes catch a glimmer like frost.
I pick it out of the dirt, wipe it off on my shirt,
In my hand is the knife that I lost.

1997, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Reindeer Wrangler

Santa's wrangler had quit him, up and left him cold
It was coming on to Christmas and Santa felt too old
To be caring for them reindeer, doing all the work himself
What he needed in a hurry was a brand new wrangler elf.

So he called up the editor of the North Pole News that day,
Advertised for a new helper who would work for modest pay.
There was a nice, warm bunkhouse for when the work is through
And Mrs. Claus cooked tasty meals for all of Santa's crew.

Now Shorty'd been a wrangler, though he's a cowboy now.
He figured that them reindeer can't be worse than pushing cows,
And he's out of work this winter, ain't got nothin' else to do.
Thought he'd check in with old Santa try to sign up with his crew.

But Shorty's kinda worried 'cause he ain't so very tall
He stands just barely five foot one in high heeled boots and all,
And folks who didn't know him, of his skill in the bucking chutes
Wondered if a man his size could handle big cow brutes.

But Shorty saddled up and rode through drifted mounds of snow.
When he showed up at old Santa's door it was forty-one below.
A coat of ice broke off his chaps as he stepped off to the ground.
He knocked upon the wooden door, it made a friendly sound.

Santa hired Shorty then introduced him to each elf
And Shorty was surprised to see; they're smaller than himself.
Santa took him to the reindeer and told him "Come what might,
Those reindeer must be ready for deliveries Christmas night."

So Shorty got right on it, he forked them out fresh hay
And he thought "Now this here's easy. I reckon that I'll stay."
The next chore's trimmin' deer feet. He climbed into the pen
Carryin' his old gutline. He got right to it then.

He threw a loop at Dasher but it wasn't wide, you see
And ropin' at them antlers is like throwin' at a tree.
The next try is much better, for a bigger loop was thrown
But when he saw just what came next, old Shorty gave a groan.

The loop it caught old Dasher right smart around the neck
And the reindeer took to the sky and nearly caused a wreck.
Now Shorty's awful stubborn, of the rope he won't let go
Until he landed on the roof in a couple of feet of snow.

That night poor Shorty's tired and early went to bed
And just as he was dozin' off, that's when he turned his head
A red glow in the window gave our boy quite a fright
He pulled on boots and blue jeans and ran out into the night.

He started yellin' "Fire" as to the barn he ran
He made a racket loud enough to bring out every man.
He pulled the barn door open and grabbed a firehose
But then he felt so silly, it was only Rudolph's nose.

Santa laughed so loud that it started up the crew
'Till everyone was laughing as friends are prone to do.
But Shorty wasn't laughing, embarrassed you might say,
He feels he's looking foolish, and this is his first day.

Santa put his arm around him and said, "Don't feel so bad.
If that had been a real fire, we sure would all be glad
That you were there to notice, that you were on the ball
And your devoted action just might have saved us all."

"Now, don't you feel discouraged, be easy on yourself.
It takes more than a day to become a wrangler elf."
"To get to know those reindeer, just talk to them each day
And before you even know it, they'll be doing what you say."

So Shorty listened careful to Santa's kindly word
And within a week, he was really friendly with the herd.
Now he just had to tell them he was there to trim their feet
And each would hold their feet up 'till the job was done real neat.

When Christmas rolled around, he had the job down pat
And all of Santa's reindeer came to know his old black hat.
So Shorty went and called them when it was time to go
And the bunch of them walked over and stood in two neat rows.

Shorty got the harness out and put on all their gear
Then gave each one a friendly pat and a scratch behind the ear.
And as he watched them leaving, he felt a surge of pride
That he'd become a little part of Santa's yearly ride.

1996, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Dakota Jim

He was born a'horseback while his ma was gatherin' cattle,
She smiled as he lay there cooing on the saddle.
She picked him up and kissed him, wrapped him up in an old rag
Then, she gently put him in her saddlebag.

When the cattle where penned, his ma hit her a lope,
While Jim balanced on the cantle and tried his hand with a rope.
He threw a loop o'er his shoulder, caught a cougar with ease,
Jumped on that cat and rode it till it's legs wore plumb to the knees.

When he started teething early, he had a horseshoe to chew.
At six months old, workin' horseback, knew instinctively what to do.
Always worked his cows easy, no point in runnin' them down,
Got his chores done by sunset then headed straight to town.

Partied wild and woolly, kissed every gal he could find,
Drank up all the good whiskey, left devastation behind.
Danced and drank 'till sunup, then went back to the ranch to begin
Another day with the cattle, and do it all over again.

By the age of five, he's an expert on horses and heifers and steers,
Branding, dehorning, castrating, implanting Ralgro in ears.
Preg checking was out of his reach, his short arms just wouldn't do,
But if you wanted to try it, he sure 'nuff could talk you through

His birthday was some celebration, he turned ten years old the day
That he won his first championship buckle ridin' broncs in the PRCA.
He'd ridden all of the outlaws, the worst that rodeo had,
He'd never think of ridin' 'less they was the worst of the bad.

And when they done their worst buckin' and he had 'em all rode down,
We'd hitch them up to a carriage and take the ladies to town.
'Cause an outlaw would quit his profession once he felt ol' Jim's spurs on
his hide,
He'd decide to make life simple by becoming plumb easy to ride.

As a teen ol' Jim was a terror on horses and women and girls
He was present at all of the dances, gave all of the females a whirl.
The young gents all were jealous of the attention paid to him
But, they kept their silence about it, no one wanted a fight with Jim.

Jim got older and wiser, and tougher, most hurry to say.
He's as wise as anyone's seen since we read about Solomon's day.
So tough that Wolverines hide, and Grizzlies are quick to back down,
And thunder storms leave the county at the sight of Ol' Jim's frown.

He'll advise on Supreme court decisions, and wrestle a bull, just for fun,
And the President will come a'runnin' when Jim wants to get something done.
The Senate will sit at attention, stay that way the rest of the day,
And the House will hold special session when Jim has something to say.

Now, I admire Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill was a hell of a man,
But, if truth be told today, ol' Jim has a lot more sand.
Ol' Pecos and Paul, I know, did remarkable things, it's true,
But some of their deeds were exaggerated, Something that I'd never do.

I believe that when Jim finally goes to that ranch in the great by and by,
It won't be ill health that deports him to a better place in the sky.
It'll surely take ten or twelve bullets, at the age of a hundred and ten.
An act of significant protest, fired by six jealous men.

1996, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Giving the Bride Away

His face shines with pride, but he works hard to hide
The tear that might run down his face.
She holds to his arm, her tiny hand's warm
And it trembles  in her glove of lace.

He's thought of this day in an emotional way,
Anticipation and dread holding sway.
He's proud to be here with his little girl dear,
But he's loath to give her away

Then, a smile comes to his lips as a thought now slips
Through his mind like sweet, sweet water.
For the rest of her life she'll be that man's wife,
But, he'll always keep her as daughter.

2000, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Riding for the Three Cs

I walked up to the big house
On the new three Cs ranch
I was looking for a riding job
And thought I'd take a chance

The foreman came to meet me
a tall and lanky cuss
And asked me right out front
"Why do ya want ta ride fer us?"

I said I wasn't workin'
I'd sure ride for their brand
And since this here's a new place
I thought they'd need a hand

He asked me were I'd worked before
I mentioned several places
And the names of all the range bosses,
He said he knew their faces.

Well he aimed me at the bunkhouse
I threw my blankets on a cot
Then he pointed out my horse string,
They were a handsome lot.

The next day I greased windmills
And from that elevation
I gazed out at some cattle
grazing on the prairie ration.

Some real fine white face cattle
That looked real stout and tame
But something was peculiar,
They all looked just the same.

When I rode into the yard that night
Some chickens scratched around
And chased after grasshoppers
That jumped across the ground

They were white with black legs
And sure 'nuf quick to strike
But what stood out about them
They all looked just alike.

Next morning, after breakfast,
I asked old John, the cook,
If he had noticed anything
That deserved a second look.

I mentioned kind of casual
The cows that I had seen
How each looked like the other
Like a bunch of peas of green

I asked about the chickens
That sure were all close kin.
Then John looked kind of funny
And he broke into a grin.

He said "You heard o' clonin'?
The boss is in it big.
Just wait until you see
his herd of identical pigs."

John said that to breed critters
No male was really needed
They used a cows own body cells
To get the critter seeded.

My brain was overloading
as I saddled up that day.
I loaded my fencing tools
Then went along my way.

As I worked the Chub creek fence line
A rider approached this place.
He was riding a bay horse like mine
But I couldn't see his face.

He came riding at a trot
When closer I could see,
That that there handsome rider,
By golly, he was me.

2000, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


His horse was throwin' up dirt clods
As he raced down the road to the school.
His brain was spinning and frantic
Thinkin' how he'd been such a fool.

Ya see, he'd been seeing the school marm,
They took long, slow walks by the crick.
And once, last Spring, he danced with her
When they went to the school picnic.

In his arms, she made his heart flutter
'Till he feared that it would burn itself out.
He thought of some love words to utter
But they wouldn't come out of his mouth.

His mind was all hearts and flowers
But his words were all horses and cows.
He babbled of screw worms and branding
While his heart screamed out wedding vows.

He wanted to tell of that valley of green
And the ranch he was hoping to buy,
But the words that emerged were of geldings,
Or of brand new vaccines he would try.

Once, he looked in her eyes deeply
And he wanted to say something sweet,
So, he gulped down that lump in his windpipe;
What came out, concerned mud on her feet.

One day, he's down at the feed store.
He's looking at horses and ropes
When he overheard Mister Clark, the owner.
What was said nearly dashed all his hopes.

Mister Clark said that his son Junior
had been seeing the schoolmarm too,
And tonight, he's plannin' to ask her
To get something borrowed and blue.

Hearing this made our hero plumb panic.
The door banged as he ran to his steed.
He was up on its back in an instant.
He's intending to plant his own seed.

Mister Clark's words were still ringing,
Causing him this wild ride to take.
They slid to a stop in the schoolyard
When the cowboy put on the brake.

He ran wildly into the classroom,
Yelled so loud that it startled the kids.
The teacher ran back there to meet him
And she ushered him out when she did.

Outside, his mouth still weren't workin'
He was talking in tongues, you might say.
But she calmed his fears when she told him,
"We'll go meet with the preacher today."

Well, the wedding was some celebration.
They left church in a rice cascade
And the town fathers gave them a party
In a nearby cool, shady glade.

When the cake had been cut and the fiddler
Was playing a tune pretty fair,
Mister Clark, from the feedstore, came over
To shake hands with the new wedded pair.

Our hero asked Clark, kind of gloating,
How his son had taken the news.
Mister Clark stared at the bridegroom
With a look that said "I'm confused."

He said, "Son, you must be mistaken
For Bertha and I have no kid."
Then he turned to the bride, his niece,
And he threw her a wink as he did.

2000, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Good-bye Ol' Friend

The vet got here before I did
You've had your tranquilizer shot.
I'd hoped to visit with you kid,
But you hardly know me, like as not.

I'd brushed you down the day before,
Pulled your tail and your mane.
I knew I had to do this chore
But I groomed you all the same.

When I was done, you seemed to mock
The years that had gone by,
But the swelling at your knees and hocks
Told a story I couldn't deny.

You always had high withers, pal.
You were tough to ride bareback,
But a saddle wouldn't slip atall
With a steer pullin' at your kack.

Now your back, once straight and stout
Has a heavy earthward dip,
And where rounded muscle filled you out
You've got a hollowed hip.

Some teeth fell out, you could hardly chew,
You'd lost a bunch of weight
And some days, t'was all that you could do
To walk a line that's straight.

In weather cold or damp or wet
That your legs hurt was plain,
But you refused to bow or fret
You walked proud in your domain.

In the dozen years since we first met
I've never seen you shirk.
In blistering sun or cold and wet
You always did your share of work.

In the mornin, cool, you'd buck a bit
But you weren't rank or sour,
Two or three jumps and then you'd quit.
You just felt good at that early hour.

How many time you took up the slack,
I was just there for the ride.
Some brute would bolt, you'd cut him back
Then I'd beam with pride.

Some old cowman, watching the show
Would smile and call my bluff.
His words would dim my prideful glow,
"That ol' hoss sure knows his stuff."

We've been together these dozen years.
You've been my partner and my friend.
You know all my thoughts and fears
But now, it seems we've reached the end.

Soon the cold harsh winter'll be here again,
With blizzards, and snow two feet deep,
And, I can't put you through a season of pain.
It's time you get your long sleep.

Now the vet has given the fatal dose,
You're down, and at peace you'll stay.
I squat down and hold your head close,
Pat your neck, and then walk away.

With my back to the vet, there are tears that I hide.
My stomach is knotted and tight.
I feel confused and empty inside.
Though I know that what we've done is right.

I'll bury you here on this prairie hill
You'll be safe from the cold and snow.
If I live to a hundred, you'll be with me still,
Good-bye old friend.......Esperame amigo viejo.

2000, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Reflections by a Hot Stove

This snow is driftin' around real bad and this wind makes a fella feel real glad
That his cabin's tight and keeps out the cold.
It's times like this when you don't have to go very far outside through all this snow
And the stack of firewood's worth more than gold.

Felt like my hands and feet  might freeze walkin' outside in that brisk little breeze
While doin' my chores today.
But the ice on the pond just had to be broke and the cows understood the words I spoke
As I forked out their daily hay

They all got a drink while the ice was still thin and small icicles formed on their hairy chin
But broke off as they chewed their feed.
I finished my chores just before dark, and my pony and me crossed that white and stark,
but beautiful landscape that meets our needs.

This ain't the first year I've ridden this trail, yet, you know, I've never seen it fail
To make me feel that I'm doin' something worthwhile.
I wouldn't trade this to be off somewhere away on a beach in the warm salt air
Cause the prairie is home for this child.

So, if on occasion, I gripe and complain, Lord, pay no attention, don't change the terrain
Cause You made me human and sometimes I'm weak
I love what I do, the life that you gave. You saved me from having to live as a slave
In a big crowded city where the air really reeks.

I feel like one of Your chosen working out here, with my horses and cattle, the elk and
    the deer
Where the air is so pure it just makes you giddy.
Where there's space to ride or stretch out my wings and my mind is less bothered by
    worldly things
Thanks for not making me work in the city.

November 14, 2002, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Pistol Pearl

A Mounted Action Shooter is our Pearl's claim to fame.
Balloons would quake in fear when she entered the game.
With pistol blazing left and right her horse running full tilt
Making whirlwinds in the gun smoke and making targets wilt.

The two guns that she carried were she could reach them quick
In matched tooled leather holsters that really did the trick.
The holsters on a wide brown belt positioned to her front
Were designed just for this action, to help perfect her stunt.

It was Scottsdale on the tenth of June, a sunny, warmish day
When our girl ran the shooting course in a most unusual way.
Those of us who saw that match could not believe our eyes
And I can still remember the audience's cheers and cries.

She had busted every target, had only one balloon to go
And she knew that to win this match she couldn't go too slow.
To free her good right hand a moment, she holstered her sixgun
And slapped her pony on the rump to urge a faster run.

Now this girl was a buxom lass, her figure sure was fine,
The kind that, in a restaurant, inspires  men to buy the wine.
Her face was like an angel, her locks like liquid fire,
It was hard to tell by looking, that  her gun was up for hire.

She quickly grabbed once more for her trusty Ruger gun
And what happened next, to her, was surely not much fun.
A soft and tender part of her, between hammer and her thumb,
Was sorely pinched, the pain caused her brain to just go numb.

She jerked her hand away so fast, her pistol took to air.
It made a loop behind her and hit the ground right there.
The strong impact on the butt, that sunny day in June,
Caused that pistol to fire and popped that last balloon.

The judges were in a quandary, the crowd was just amazed,
And our girl Pearl and her fast horse, both were slightly dazed.
Her time would stand, the judges said, and it would be no sin,
So long as she could run the course the same way once again.

2004, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

George told us that this poem "was inspired by a particular lady in the cowgirl mounted action shooting at the Festival of the West. It really didn't happen, but I think that it could have."




The old man stares at the mountain
Through eyes that are misty and wet
The memories rise like a fountain,
Of things that he just can't forget

Like the years that he rode for the brand
Working cattle from old Dusty's back
They went lightly on rolling grassland
Leaving nothing behind but their tracks.

How the heifers would frolic in Springtime
When the new grass was taking a hold.
When life was so great though he hadn't a dime
And he thought that he'd never grow old.

But the years have snuck up on him
They've stalked him even at night
And his world has been growing dim
And will soon be extinguished of light

His kids are all grown and left now
And they live in a different world.
To them he never talks of a cow
Or his pride when our flag's unfurled.

Horses and mules don't interest them
His adventures, to them, are a bore,
He might tell a story he thinks is a gem
But the audience fades out for sure.

They live in a world of electronic things
Computers and high tech doodads
They follow pro sports like the Redwings
But they think rodeo's just a fad.

He likes the Old West and cowboy stuff
So he looks up old guys like himself
Who have lived a life that was free and rough
And have also been put on the shelf.

2006, George Bourbeau
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


George told us: What inspired that poem was that as my Dad grew older, he told me that he didn't enjoy family get-togethers as much as he used to because he was out of touch with what the younger people were talking about. After that, I watched and realized that he was right. Now, I'm finding the same thing happening to me. The kids aren't interested in the things I am, so I'm usually left out of the conversations. They don't do it intentionally, but often when I try to get into the conversation, it just seems to drift right around me. That generated the feelings that I put into the poem.



Read George Bourbeau's Christmas Conversion, posted with other Christmas 2004 poems and The Gift, posted with other Christmas 2005 poems.


About George Borbeau:

I live outside of Calhan, Colorado. I was born and brought up in Massachusetts where I never felt at home. I finally found home when I moved to Colorado. We have five kids, three daughters and two sons and
eight grandkids, five boys and three girls. 

I worked 26 years in the computer industry and spent all my spare time on the East coast with horses. I worked part time for a horse trader for about 8 years and he taught me a lot about horses and their care. Even out there, I wore western clothes; boots, jeans, hat and all. 

When I moved out here, we brought our Appaloosa mare with us and I bought a grade gelding. We bought 40 acres on the plains and put a mobile home on it, and then we fenced it and I built a barn for the horses, and we bought a young appaloosa mare from a friend. Over time we bred the young mare a couple of times, and raised two nice foals, both geldings (though obviously not born that way. 

My neighbor here was an older man and his wife who owned a 2400 acre ranch. the man, Fred, had had heart bypass surgery and couldn't work in the winter so he bought about 1400 yearling steers and heifers every spring and sold them in the fall. I volunteered to help on the ranch, and about six months later, when he was desperate for help, he asked me to help his son. I guess I did OK, because, he had me helping often, I learned to brand, vaccinate, dehorn, and implant. I also learned to understand cows, and became a fair hand working on horseback (Fred's words). 

One big help in my education was my horse Charley, he knew the job much better than I did. It was the hardest work I ever loved. If I could have paid my mortgage on a cowboy's pay, I would have quit my day job and went to work for Fred and Elizabeth.

Six years after I started working for them, Fred and Elizabeth sold out and retired. The Government dairy buyout helped them to decide.  

I started listening and reading cowboy poetry about 15 years ago, when I bought a Baxter Black tape at the National Western stock show. I was hooked. I'm a big fan of Baxter's and have everything he's ever done (I think). I also enjoy Waddie Mitchell who I've also had the pleasure of talking to several times. These guys are real people, and their performances take me back to those wonderful, hard, hot and dusty days on the ranch. I also enjoy Red Steagall and nearly every cowboy poet I've ever heard. I also love Western music, especially Don Edwards and Red Steagall. After listening and reading the poetry of the masters (Baxter and Waddie) I decided to try to write some myself. I have about 50 or so, including several Christmas poems.  I did them because I enjoy writing them, and my kids get a kick out of it. 

I started going to poetry gatherings a few years ago and entered the open sessions, and loved doing it, and was fairly well received, but a year and a half ago I had to take a job as a correctional officer in the state prison system. This requires that I work weekends, so I haven't been able to go to any since. I hope to retire in a couple of years and then maybe I'll be able to go more often.





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