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

Independence, Missouri
About Glen Enloe 




There's lots of cowboys come and gone,
From Hoot, to Tom and Johnny Mack,
But there's just one that I admire--
That smiling man all dressed in black.

His name: Hopalong Cassidy,
For short we just call him Hoppy,
Gray hair that's combed neatly in place,
A big black hat that's not floppy.

His sidekicks numbered Gabby Hayes,
And there was that old Andy Clyde--
Edgar Buchanon was there too;
They joked and stayed right by his side.

He liked you when he gave a smile--
If not, then you could sense his wrath;
He was the man on the white horse
Who warmed you with a crackling laugh.

Yet, now he's gone except in minds,
Riding the screens of gold again--
His likes are rare this day and age:
A cowboy, gentleman and friend.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Last Roundup

I'm headin' fer the last roundup,
But it be a long way from here,
My time on this ol' ranch
Can't be much more than a year.

My wife done met her maker
'Bout thirty years ago,
And I jest been a roamin'
On the wild plains to and fro.

But when my time is up
And my new gal kicks me far,
I'll be headin' fer the Last Roundup,
It's my kind of honky tonk bar.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

He Who Sees Dreams

That wrinkled old Apache:
He Who Sees the Dreams,
Is said to be half-crazy and old
As the rivers and the streams.

He says he saw two great mountains
Made of iron and of glass--
And then two silent Thunderbirds,
Before his dream did soon pass.

And then there came great lightning
As the birds hit solid rock,
Then both the mightly mountains fell
And all the world stopped in shock.

What next I asked He Who Sees Dreams:
He said it was unfulfilled.
Enemies like wolves surround you
And your great land goes untilled.

I trembled and then I shuddered
To hear of this dreary foe:
"There are those brave and those that die--
But rewards are what you sow."

These were last words of He Who Sees--
As he pointed to the moon so high,
The two twin mountains were now gone,
But eagles filled morning sky.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

An Ol' Cowboy Still Remembers...

When that cold autumn wind comes a blowin' hard
And a sharp rain slaps against his wrinkled face--
The lonely prairie starts a turnin' brown and charred,
While all the cattle start movin' at a slower pace.

The winter's jest over that far distant hill
And the chill of the next season is right near--
But an ol' cowboy yet remembers still,
The sound of a flowin' stream bright and clear.

He remembers a ridin' a warm summer breeze
And the soft touch of the sun's sorrel rays,
As the girl that he loves waits fer 'em in the trees
And evening sky gently blends into a purple haze.

Yep, an ol' cowboy still remembers the day
When he realized the range would be his wife--
And that girl that he loved moved far away
To seek her summers in another man's life.

So the wind blows cold and this cowboy grows old,
Set in his ways with the cattle that he oversees--
Yet cowboys have dreams in which they are bold,
And the soft, sweet memories of a summer breeze.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The New Gun in Town 

I shot Jim Joe Waco and did the same to Silent Bill--
Chased John Wesley Hardin clear up to boot hill--
Whupped Apache Gringo and sent many to their end--
Paid Wes ten bucks, thanked 'em--it's good to have a friend.

The town folks, they like me--and Marshal I was made,
Said my draw was fastest on which their eyes had laid--
They handed me a star and called me mighty brave--
Then aimed me toward the street to find an early grave.

I been the scourge of Baxter Springs, a year or two,
But there's one faster who in with the wind jest blew--
Folks fear my gun for now, but word is gettin' round:
There's one thing that I fear--the new gun in town.

My time is drawin' short, I kin see it in their eyes--
They ain't expectin' me to see another ol' sunrise--
I feel it in my bones; I know it by the sound,
It's all now in the hands of that new gun in town.

I see him from a distance, he's one bull of a man--
Pearl-handled six-shooter, low slung holster of tan--
He must be six foot, six inch and all dressed in brown,
There ain't no denying--he's the new gun in town.

I hear he's makin' trouble and been callin' me out--
Looks like this showdown won't be nothin' but a rout.
He knows my final minutes are surely numbered now--
But at least I'll good down a shootin' for my final bow.

And now he stands before me: young and big and mean,
He's got to have the fastest gun that I've ever seen--
His lead's like silver lightning: snakebite to my chest--
I draw but know already, I have not passed the test.

We both stand there a waitin' for one of us to fall,
Then I turn and walk away as town folk hoot and call--
I look down at my boots and see blood on the ground
As everyone keeps a cheerin' for that new gun in town.

I got a flesh wound for my trouble, sixty miles to ride--
Varmints stop and stare at my dirty, bloody hide.
I finally come to Grub Wood and wonder what I found--
At least now I am a stranger: that new gun in town.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


College Cowboy

Dad and me had always been real close,
But then college seemed to get right in the way--
I got my degree and started out to teach,
And when we talked, we didn't have much to say.

Time went by, Dad began to show his age--
Started phoning for me to lend him a hand;
Guess he depended on me more since Ma died--
Calling all time of day to upset my plans.

"College cowboy," one morning Dad's voice said,
"Got a mare that's foalin' and need some help."
Said I'd be over--I hung up the phone--
When my bare feet hit that cold floor, I gave a yelp.

Must have been about 5 A.M. that snowy morning
When my car slowly drove down that icy road--
As I pulled up by the barn, Dad was grim;
Standing by the mare, he looked tired and old.

He called me "college cowboy" as a joke,
Since I left the ranch and was out on my own--
He didn't understand then and was hurt
I wasn't ranching and had left him alone.

Now I helped him out whenever I could--
Guess he was getting too old to run the spread--
He'd not admit it and I liked the work,
Using my back and muscle as well as my head.

"They's somethin' not right," my Dad slowly said,
As the mare flailed in the hay and kicked and moaned--
"At least it's not breach," I replied as I pulled hard
On the new colt's tiny hooves and groaned.

But the colt wasn't coming like it should
And my Dad and me knew something was real wrong--
"Have ta use the puller," Dad then said--
We hooked it up, ready to help her along.

"Not too hard or fast," Dad said as I cranked;
"Ya don't want ta tear her up," he declared with dread--
Finally, the colt came loose from the womb,
But by the smell we both knew it was long dead.

The mare trembled hard--and looked back at her colt
As we then sadly watched the bloody display--
Not only had we lost a colt to death--
We'd have to end the injured mare's life that day.

The snow in the field turned to a pastel pink
As I helped Dad clean up that hopeless mess;
I then washed up and headed into town
To get ready to give my college students a test.

It seems nature has a way of using death
To right what's gotten twisted in the wrong ways--
I found myself spending more time on the ranch
Alongside my Dad in his dwindling days.

Dad never called me "college cowboy" again--
And then he passed away last year in late fall;
The ranch is now mine, I rent out the land--
But each morning, I keep half-expecting Dad to call.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Glen Enloe adds that the inspiration for this poem came from his pard Mark Scheel, who "wrote a fine short story about him and his dad helpin' with the birth of a calf."  Mark worked with Glen on the poem, and Glen changed the calf to a colt and introduced the theme about communication that was closer to his own experience.

This poem is included in our collection of 
poems about Cowboy Dads and Granddads


The End of the Old West

In January of 1929, silent screen cowboys Tom Mix and William S. Hart were two of the pallbearers at Wyatt Earp's funeral. It was noted that Tom Mix wept.
      Adela Rodgers St. John (journalist)               

"So play the soft, somber music that sends him to his rest--
Sing the silent gospels slowly for the end of the Old West."

Wyatt was one of the last in America's long string--
One of an original breed from our nation's fresh spring.

Young Earp lived hard and he grew to be a very old man--
Outlived most of the good and the bad men roaming our land.

Years later he became friends with that screen cowboy, Tom Mix,
They soon became equals with stories that left Tom transfixed.

Tom Mix knew that he was just some make-believe cowpoke--
But when he talked to Wyatt, he knew the West was no joke.

Did Earp speak of Ringo and what happened to Curly Bill--
As they read Shakespeare together--never getting their fill?

"So play the soft, somber music that sends him to his rest--
Sing the silent gospels slowly for the end of the Old West."

In real life they said, Tom Mix wasn't always a good guy--
Like most of those cowboys, he just wasn't too prone to cry.

But on that cold day when they put Wyatt Earp in the ground,
There wasn't any sadder friend than Tom that could be found.

There were others that shed tears for the era and the man,
But of them all, there was only one that did understand.

Not many note or remember Wyatt Earp and his lot--
Fewer even think of Tom Mix, who is all but forgot.

After many winter seasons, on the day Wyatt died--
Not many can recall that it was the time Tom Mix cried.

"So play the soft, somber music that sends them to their rest--
Sing the silent gospels slowly for the end of the Old West."

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Glen Enloe told us about his inspiration for this poem: My inspiration for it came from the end of the movie "Tombstone" starring Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot & Val Kilmar. At the very end the narrator states that Wyatt Earp died in 1929 and that the silent movie cowboy star Tom Mix wept. Somehow that struck me. I hadn't realized Earp lived that long and I couldn't figure out why Tom Mix would even care. That got me to doing a little research and I found out that Wyatt had come to Hollywood to do some consulting on some of the western movies of the day. Of course Tom Mix was the biggest cowboy star of that time and their paths crossed. Incredibly they became friends, shared stories and it's said that Tom Mix would read passages of Shakespeare to Wyatt. To me Wyatt Earp has always been one of the central symbols of the Old West. So went he died, I somehow imagined that Mix could almost see it as a symbolic ending of the American West, even though in some respects it had already ended in the late 1800s. Thus, Tom Mix crying for his friend means that he not only cries for the man, but for all that he represents.


A Range Too Far

When day's done and you're sleepin' under lonely prairie sky,
You dream of trail drives, cattle and that one day when you die.
You think of wrong paths that you've followed, dreamin' on a star
As you find yourself ridin' toward a range that's much too far.

It won't be soon when you make that ride just around the bend,
You'll spur your ol' horse the slower and hope it does not end.
Sometimes you think you see it at the end of long hard trails--
Then it's gone in just a moment: it seems it never fails.

We keep ridin' on each day when we think just what's the use--
Till we slump from saddles as that master hand cuts us loose.
And when at last we see it in flaxen and purple haze,
We'll know life has some meaning, we have not wasted our days.

We sense it in rose sunsets, blue rivers and silver sand bar--
It comes sooner that we know, that distant range that is too far.

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Devil and Prickly Pete

It was in them Black Hills of Dakota by a big crevasse,
That Prickly Pete LaPetamay stopped at Canary Pass.
He lead a string of outlaws--the meanest hosses 'round--
He shifted saddle, stared afar, then thought he heard a sound.

And lo and behold, comin' up the trail, the Devil himself did tread,
His eyes afire, his horns knife sharp, his oily skin bright red:
"Last cowboys I come across," he said, "was on Sierry Pete's knoll--
I'd just as soon fry you, pard, but I think I'll take your ol' soul!

"I heard of you, Pete, you're mean with deceit--made many men die--
Stole and pillaged, hung innocent folk--you're really our kind of guy!"
Well, ol' Prickly Pete admitted his mistakes--been called the Devil, too--
Then he sat back in his saddle and proposed what they should do:

"Well, 'ol Nic, reckon I is partial to my soul, of course--
Why don't we have a little contest to see who kin ride this horse?"
Prickly Pete pointed to a scrawny and scarred-up strawberry roan,
"The one of us that can ride her, kin take the other's soul and go home!"

Ol' Satan weren't so sure, he still had cow brands and knots in his tail--
He'd learned not to trust cowboys--too many was already in Hell!
"Now if I ride that horse eight seconds," Scratch asked, "your soul's mine?"
"That's how it works, ol' pard," Pete replied, "with me that's jest fine!"

"Then I figure you ol' cowboys IS as dumb as you all look--
When the Devil gets his claws into something, it stays hooked!
But I'll give you first ride just to see if you have what it takes
To avoid eternal damnation and a pit full of fire and snakes!"

Well, Pete knew he had been a sinner, but he said a little prayer,
Then he rode that roan for all he was worth in that brimstone air.
And as the seventh second passed and he thought he'd made the round,
Ol' strawberry belly-flopped and speared him into the hard ground.

"Now ain't that a shame," Beelzebub said, "guess this means I win."
But Pete came up brushin' alkali, "Not till ya ride that roan, ol' friend!"
When that demon mounted that roan, it seems his claws grew an inch,
And ol' Prickly Pete frowned 'cause he knew he was in a real pinch.

You know the dues are always given to the Devil for his skill,
As he sunk his claws into that roan, ripe and ready for the kill.
And the wild-eyed outlaw hoss looked like he had met his master,
But Lucifer is always too cocky when it comes to his own disaster.

Then sure enough eight seconds passed and the Devil won the day,
But that hoss kept a buckin' and would not let him get away!
As Pete rode off with his soul and string, reckoned he forgot ta tell
The Devil that the strawberry roan was already a horse from Hell!

Riders in that part of the hills still say they see Satan ridin' fast
On that fierce and hellish horse that would not yield its grasp.
It's quite a sight to see them forever flyin' on that fiendish fray,
As the Devil cusses all cowboys and Prickly Pete LaPetamay!

© 2002, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Cowboy That Found Life's Creek

He'd searched those plains for many years until he had grown weak,
He had all but given up on ever findin' ol' Life's Creek.
But there it was before him 'twixt the butte they called Tin Cup,
He and his horse needed water but Life's Creek was all dried up.

In cattle herdin' and each man's life, we often do ask why,
When things at last start goin' good, we just grow old and die.
Seems when young ol' death ain't somethin' that we think about,
Until our life just goes all wrong and we become devout.

We ride 'round final questions and it seems we don't even think--
We say that the only answer is to live life on the brink.
Yet we know the sad alternative of dyin' right in our prime--
There's much we don't accomplish when we leave before our time.

Yet now that this agein' cowboy had found that fabled stream,
Had it all been worth the journey for a tumbleweed dream?
And do all of our life's answers simply trick and mock us
Or is there some higher mountain in which to put our trust?

We just keep tryin' and it seems we always need a friend
To prod us into ridin' down that ol' trail to the end.
We know that we're just small specks in some eternal eye--
Yet we do the best we can, till we just grow old and die.

© 2003, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Big Red Lowell

He had dark copper hair, oil-slicked straight back,
A red, clean-shaven face rock hard and all stern--
A man you respected that gave you no slack,
The kind of man you trusted without concern.

His name was Wesley, but we called him Big Red,
Stood six-foot four inches, near three hundred pound.
He was stronger than most men I heard it once said--
He could win bets lifting a horse up off the ground.

He tried to teach me right and keep me from bad
As I gave it my best, learning cowboy ways--
And sure enough I was proud to call him Dad,
Though I wasn't up to snuff on rough riding days.

Seems every horse I mounted bucked me high,
No matter just how gentle or old it be--
And each cow I herded, ran off on the sly,
Seemed like that cowboy pride I'd just never see.

Well, I suppose at some point Big Red gave up;
Realizing his ranching life wasn't my real style.
And though I sensed disappointment with his pup,
I didn't want to admit it for awhile.

Then the two of us alone on the trail one day
Stopped atop a hill--and Big Red, who seldom spoke,
Said, "Son, each of us has ta find his own way."
And with those simple words, it seemed I awoke.

Then I knew I wasn't cut out to ride the West
And tend the cow herds, as was my father's skill--
You have to be true to yourself and do your best
With whatever talents the good Lord has willed.

So I put words on paper as seemed my art
And left the ranch and home of Big Red Lowell--
Yet when he died from sickness to his old heart,
It was like I'd lost a piece of my very soul.

And though the cowboy life wasn't in me then,
It's now part of these words I pen on this night--
I think back to my Dad and remember when,
We made our own decisions, and we both were right.

© 2003, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

When Cowboys Rode Away

There were clear, sunny mornings with the rustle of leaves,
A patchwork of sunlight beneath the green wind-blown trees--
There were roundups and long rides that lasted all the day,
In times of our innocence when cowboys rode away.

Gone are all the clear choices--knowing the right from the wrong,
There's just too many gray shades that mute the night bird song.
The cattle are calling--it's the same old cowboy life,
You help burn brands in spring to prove you are a wife.

The West is gone they say, there are no cowboys anymore--
At least just not like the old ones that we knew before.
We've got rodeos, pokes and horses that have their way--
But nothing like those times before cowboys rode away.

That small shack is empty and a thousand acres bare,
We rode our separate ways, but it seems we go back there.
You didn't like the loneliness, but that's just my lot,
We take the cards dealt us--it's the only hand we've got.

You left your horse there and rode my sorrel into town,
Wanting to hurt me more, with everyone around.
Now the morning has turned cloudy and so is the day,
When you took all I had and those cowboys rode away.

These modern times are hurtful and stare us in the eye--
Tell us to change or else, we'll just fall behind and die.
But if this hatefulness is what we need to be real,
I'd rather live in my own world where I can love and feel.

"The world is too much with us," a poet one day said--
If this is reality, I guess I'm better off dead.
We build our worlds to please ourselves with our yesterday--
You'll find my world gone years ago, when cowboys rode away.

© 2004, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Faces in the Fire

On those cool summer evenings when coyotes haunt the night
And the campfire is dying--burning low, then flaring bright,
A cowboy plays harmonica while others sing and hum--
While down by the chuck wagon a lonely guitar still strums.

A few pokes like Lon Stonecipher stare silent at the fire,
Imagining old friends and folks in times both dear and dire.
Lon sees and talks to faces that flicker in gold flames--
He asks them of the weather--remembers all their names.

"There's Delton and Rosella, old Burlin and Rob Alcorn,
There's that sweet Renata Robins that kissed me one June morn.
There's Cal Shirlo and Spud Scanlon, that both died in the war,
And Addie Belle from Abilene that said she'd love no more."

Cowpokes yawned and nodded--on his wild words did not dwell--
They knew the man he used to be, but this was just his shell.
The faces in the fire gave him comfort and offered hope,
They were his last salvation--without them he could not cope.

Lon stared into the fire for many hours before sleep--
His rest was fitful, frenzied--never calm, peaceful or deep.
And often he'd awake and gaze mournfully once again
Into those glowing embers in search of friend or kin.

"I can see my last saddle pal, young Matthew Leatherwood
And a Dodge City gambler that I shot right where he stood.
I see my dear grandmother and my sister Anna Lee--
My grandpa and brother Jim who died at the age of three."

The fire burned low and so did Lon out on that prairie bow,
But this was as it always was, at least until just now.
"I see you, ma--I see you, pa--your faces smile at me,"
So said old Lon one last time drifting upon a prairie sea.

They buried Lon Stonecipher right out on that cold dark land--
And right beside him built a blaze as hot as they could stand.
Then they watched the flames dance and stared long into that pyre,
And to this day some still swear Lon's face was smiling in that fire.

© 2004, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




We'd bought a good herd of cattle to replenish our stock
And were unloading and sorting them down at Tanner's dock.
Then Robey cut out a downer and thought we should pull the string;
Put it out of its misery 'cause it was just a puny thing.

"Now wait," I said to young Robey, "it's the first one that's down,
Let's check 'em all and tally to see just what we've then found."
Well, Robey didn't see much point, but he got her up to bring.
"That calf's puny now," I said, "but let's give her till the spring."

Sure enough that rheumy runt was soon strong and running free,
Young Robey shook his head in wonder at what he did see.
But come that fall a horse bucked Robey high into thin air
And he landed wrong on his neck and just lay still right there.

The doctors said he'd never walk, that he'd be down for life,
I took it pretty hard but not as bad as his young wife.
"Reckon I ought be put down now," Robey moaned from his sling,
I shook my head and sighed deep, "We'll see how you do come spring."

I came to believe miracles when Robey rose from bed
And slowly started walking, like a man back from the dead.
It took a year of therapy but it was worth the wait--
Both that calf and young Robey eluded an uncertain fate.

The months flowed by like rivers rushing to the distant sea,
Robey walked and rode again--twice the man I'd hoped he be.
That calf went on to be prime stock, a winner all around--
Those were my happiest days till Robey pulled me from the ground.

"I reckon I'm a downer," I told Robey with a wink--
"Never thought it'd happen to me--lest that's what I did think."
The doc said it was my age and just an old bad heart thing--
That I'd be just as good as new with the coming of spring.

It seems sometimes we're downers that just need but one more try,
Before the fall winds blow and whisk us off into the sky.
But there's always hope aplenty and to that we must cling,
Till we rise again and smile with the coming of the spring.

© 2004, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Cowboy's Desiderata

Off into the desert he'd rode in search of a stray,
Miles into strange land where buzzards scream and wolves bay.
He thought he'd been all through that barren land around,
But its desolation was the worst that he'd found.

But then out of nowhere appeared a small graveyard
With no other sign of life save but for this shard.
Gray stones and crude crosses had been worn by the wind--
Dimly on one stone some words he could comprehend.

He dismounted and tried to read the faded script,
But time had but erased the names upon that crypt.
Yet the timeless words below now could still be read,
A final tribute to the living and the dead.

He pulled pencil and paper slowly from his vest,
To write down those frail words or at least do his best.
Thoughts drifted like music in a lonely sonata,
As he wrote that ancient cowboy's Desiderata.

There he stood reading by that stone and withered tree,
As a snake came slithering just as close as could be.
But the words he saw enraptured and held him still
As he read on with wonder on that sandy hill:

"Go placidly amid hoof beats--silence is peace.
Hold close to your best friends; make all your harsh words cease.
Speak truth softly and listen to what cattle say--
Even those unimportant speak truth in their way.

Stay afar from those who are boisterous and loud,
Don't brag too much to others--don't be vain or proud.
Always are some faster or slower with their brand--
Feel good in your saddle; ask when you need a hand.

Do not be blind to virtue--life is rich with good,
The world is full of tricks, let that be understood.
Do not mock affection or be a cynic in love--
Take kindly the counsel of chiefs and Him above.

Do not doubt that this vast world unfolds, as it should--
Find rest in yourself; always conceive God as good.
Hold the cards you draw in life--keep peace in your soul,
Mend your broken fences--make happiness your goal.

All men's doubts come from fear and not doing their best,
As children of this universe we are each blest.
Be gentle to all animals--that should be clear--
Find peace with your God--we have a right to be here!"

Those were the simple words scribbled down on that chart,
As he tucked it in his pocket over his heart.
He'd read them again when he got home the next day--
He bowed and said "Amen" as that snake slunk away.

Then when he had mounted with leather creak and moan,
He took comfort in those words and did not feel alone.
He pledged to do his best and rest his faith in Him,
As he rode out his last days toward that final rim.

Then as his land and ranch slowly came into view,
He reached for that paper--he knew what he must do.
But as he rode on home without so much a care--
Those etched words of wisdom by his heart were not there.

© 2004, Glen Enloe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Glen told us ""Cowboy's Desiderata" came about when I ran across the original "Desiderata" that I remembered reading back in the 1970s. I just thought it would be interesting to work it somehow into a new cowboy's version. .."

Here are some words about the original from a source we like, 

The Music of Memories

A gray and black life sketch--small man in overalls--
Somber as his guitar, lifted high all those times--
Playing Ozark tunes with those wild figure-eight squalls--
Glasses glint raw reason as that happiness chimes.

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers--
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives--
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters--
The music of memories that molded our lives.

Music rests in remembrance and lingers on winds--
It wasn't merely one--it was many guitars--
Whispering that bright music like long scattered friends--
Quilting its melodies in our lives and the stars.

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers--
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives--
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters--
The music of memories that molded our lives.

Reunions bring photographs with smudges and frays:
Dad and his first cousin in that photo still clear--
They strummed and they fiddled all those songs of past days--
As we cherished our friends and held family near.

Oh, play to us softly those songs of our fathers--
The tales of the Old West and those last cattle drives--
Oh, play for us gently, the sons and the daughters--
The music of memories that molded our lives.

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

This poem is included in our Art Spur project, inspired by a drawing by Dee Strickland Johnson (Buckshot Dot), "At the Jollification," and, as Glen told us, this "recently-discovered photograph of my father playing a guitar with his cousin playing fiddle":

Glen writes, "My dad (Emil "Red" Enloe) is on the right. Playing the fiddle at the left is his
cousin (Elmer Enloe). Elmer was more like Dad's brother because he lived
with Dad's family after his parents died. 


Such a Thing as a Cowboy 

When there was such a thing as a cowboy
And the open range was still wild and free—
When there was such a thing as the Old West—
A man could be what he wanted to be.
When the far plains were ripe with the longhorns
And buffalo thundered the sage for miles—
When there were still railheads and Dodge City—
We raised our glasses to life with all smiles.
When the blue of western sky was endless
And prairies spread as far as you could see—
When there was s! uch a thing as wild horses—
This was still the heart and land of the free.
When there was such a thing as a man's word,
You could seal bargains with just a handshake—
A solemn vow was as good as pure gold—
The look in your eye was all it would take.
Yes, there is such a thing as a cowboy,
There is a part of him still in us all—
He was someone that we could look up to—
He's why we ride in our saddles real tall.
And when there's no such thing as a cowboy,
The whole world will be an emptier place—
But there IS such a thing as a cowboy—
God rides the sky with a cowpuncher's face.

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


Read Glen Enloe's:


The Secret Life of Horses in our 2015 Cowboy Poetry Week Art Spur project


The Third Horse by the Trees in our 2010 Christmas/Winter Art Spur project


Homestead in our Art Spur project


The Waxed Coat Man in our Art Spur Project


The Cowboy from Cutter Bill’s, a tribute to Rod Nichols


Campfire Christmas Eve in our 2007 Christmas Art Spur project


Kiskaddon Christmas with other 2007 Christmas poems


Partners with the Wind in our Art Spur project

The Surest Way, posted with other 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poems


Blue Moon Christmas posted with 2006 Christmas poems


Heading Home (the Work's All Done) in our Art Spur project


Moon Shadows on the Snow in our 2005 Christmas Art Spur project


The Christmas Orange, posted with 2005 Christmas poems


The Music of Memories in our Art Spur project 

Riding Out in Red Sunrise in our Art Spur project 

Dust and Tails and Trails, in our Art Spur project 


Ponderin' Paul, in our Art Spur project


Christmas in a Bottle in our Art Spur project


The Red Calico Cowboy Santa Claus of Concho County posted with 2004 Holiday poems


Don't Ever Sell Your Saddle, posted with 2002 Holiday poems


A Christmas for Cowboys posted with 2003 Holiday poems.



About Glen Enloe:

I'm from Missouri (a native of Independence, Missouri--where Wild Bill Hickok picked up his moniker "Wild Bill," and where Frank James is buried--I think there was a president from here, too, named Harry as I reck'alect).

I'm employed as an ad writer for United Country Real Estate, which specializes in ranches, farms and other rural property. I'm also one of them thar "baby boomers" that believed Hoppy and Roy when they told us to drink our milk. I've written poetry for over 35 years ... I do leather work (fancy carved gun holsters and other items) and have had published a chapbook of non-cowboy poetry entitled AFTER EDEN and once won the John G. Neihardt Award years ago. I like writing cowboy poetry because it's a challenge after writing free verse for years and just because it's so much fun to write. 



Glen describes his newest book of poetry, No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes:

No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes is an often wistful yet sometimes ornery compilation of cowboy poetry that juxtaposes the Old West with the modern world. It harkens back to a simpler era that helped to forge our country into a great nation. Yet like the legendary Texas longhorn of the title poem, this collection foreshadows the longhorn's and America's innate dread of the end of a long trail, the loss of its own legacy, its sovereignty and even its way of life. And like the lonely longhorn, what is left of America and the West senses the end of something that will never come again as it lumbers off toward the darkening horizon, not knowing but understanding its true fate.

Glen says that the book's dedication and foreword about the late Rod Nichols. He adds, "I'd had it in my mind to dedicate my next book to Rod ever since his untimely passing. I feel that it was Rod who stoked the fire at the beginning of my discovery of cowboy poetry. His friendly internet campfire encouraged both greenhorns and hardened hands in one of our most vibrant poetic forms. Perhaps the old cowboy saying and my poem of the same title say it best: 'He'd do to ride the river with.'"

No One Knows Where the Longhorn Goes is available for $19.95 plus postage from Publish America.

Glen's book of poetry, When Cowboys Rode Away, has a foreword by Rod Nichols and an afterword by Hal Swift

From the back cover: 

When Cowboys Rode Away brings the Old West vividly back to life, pays homage to old western movies and relates the trials of modern ranchers. In these poems you'll sense a cultural loss, a yearning for what has gone out of our lives, a loss of the very codes that once were the foundation of the West and America itself. When Cowboys Rode Away carries the hope that when cowboys do ride back into our lives, we will be ready to saddle up and ride off with them to greener ranges where everyone is free as earth's wild wind.  

When Cowboys Rode Away is available from and for $10 postpaid from Glen Enloe, 805 N. Tepee Drive, Independence, Missouri 64056.



Glen's previous book, Don't Ever Sell Your Saddle, includes:

A Cowboy Herdin' Stars                                                                 
A Cowboy's Campfire Prayer                                                          
A Cowboy's Shoppin' List                                                               
A Cowboy's Song                                                                           
A Range Too Far                                                                               
A Waddie From Wichita                                                                    
Again We Will Go Out Ridin'                                                             
Another Face on the Barroom Floor                                                   
Ballad of the Lightnin' Saddle                                                              
Big Joe, the Drover                                                                            
Big Red Lowell                                                                                  
Bony Ledbetter's Gold                                                                       
Buckle Up Yer Cowboy Cuffs                                                           
Channelin' Slim Pickens                                                                      
Clara Jane Done Come Back                                                               
College Cowboy                                                                                 
Cowboy Without a Horse                                                                    
Daddy, What's a Cowboy?                                                                  
Don't Ever Sell Your Saddle                                                               
Ghost Herd at Longhorn Pass                                                               
Ghost Town Church in Snow                                                                
Hoss and Little Joe                                                                              
Idaho in the Autumn Rain                                                                    
Just Like Hopalong                                                                             
Lakota Joe                                                                                         
Life on the Ranch                                                                                
Littl' Stub and Waco                                                                           
Ma on the Porch in the Spring                                                             
Marsh and the Old Ranger                                                                  
Me and Ol' Red Roan                                                                         
Melancholy Cowboy                                                                           
Mesquite Cleat                                                                                    
Nealy O'Rourke                                                                                  
Never Ridin' Night Herd, Agin                                                             
Ol' San the Saddlemaker                                                                      
Ol' Too Dern Fine                                                                               
Patsy Malamute and the Preach                                                           
Prickly Pete and Pecos Bill Lock Horns                                               
Prickly Pete at the Pearly Gates                                                           
Prickly Pete Meets Sierra Sara                                                            
Real Cowboys Sez "Mizzuree"                                                             
Remembering the Rifleman                                                                   
Ridin' Out Past That Timberline                                                            
Shadow in the Wind                                                                             
Sourdough Joe Ruminates                                                                     
Stone Saddle Hill                                                                                  
Stoney and Woody                                                                               
Tall Sea Grass                                                                                       
That Old Drift Fence                                                                              
That Old Heartpine Gate                                                                        
That Silent Gary Cooper                                                                        
The Ashes of Sam McGee                                                                     
The Boy That Stayed Too Long at the Rodeo                                         
The Cowboy Consultant                                                                         
The Cowboy That Found Life's Creek                                                    
The Dandy of Dougal's Rot-Gut Saloon                                                  
The Devil and Prickly Pete                                                                    
The Donut Saddle                                                                                
The Duck Tape Cowboy                                                                      
The End of the Old West                                                                      
The Farm My Father Never Had                                                          
The Old Cowgal From Circle L Corral                                                 
The Plug Tobacco Cutter                                                                     
The Redemption of Coug LaRue                                                          
The Return of the Sundance Kid                                                           
The Smell of Sage After Summer Rain                                                  
Them Boys Go Huntin' Bare                                                                 
When I Get Old Someday                                                                    
When Trails Have All Grown Over                                                       
Young Buck From Buck Snort                                                             

This 129 page book was published by Passage Publishing in 2003.

It's available for $16.95 postpaid from Glen Enloe, 805 Tepee Drive, Independence, Missouri  64056.




  Glen's earlier book, An Ol' Cowboy Still Remembers, is available for $10.50 postpaid from Glen Enloe, 805 Tepee Drive, Independence, Missouri  64056.





 What's New | Poems | Search

 Features | Events  

The BAR-D Roundup | Cowboy Poetry Week

Poetry Submissions 

Subscribe | Newsletter | Contact Us

  Join Us!


Authors retain copyright to their work; obtain an author's
permission before using a poem in any form. is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc., a Federal and California tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  


Site copyright information