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photo by Tanja Bark

 

About J. W. Beeson
Poems and Songs
Tape: Last of a Breed

 

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About J. W. Beeson 

J. W. Beeson is a cowboy poet, saddlemaker, and ranch cowboy from Lipscomb, Texas. He was born in Pampa, Texas in 1951 and raised in Northwest Oklahoma. When Beeson turned to saddle making as a career, he began in Amarillo, Texas at Bob Marrs Saddlery, and went from there to Elko, Nevada to the J. M. Caprolia Company. In 1984, he moved to Shattuck, Oklahoma where he operated his own shop until a tornado destroyed it in 1990. He returned to ranch work, or whatever was available.

In 1995, he was hired by the Great American Cattle Drive to help drive a herd of Texas longhorns from Fort Worth to Miles City, Montana. Beeson left with the herd March 5, 1995 from the Fort Worth Stockyards and arrived September 1 in Miles City, Montana, six months and 1600 miles later. In October of 1996, he was inducted into the Old Trail Drivers Association of Texas, and was credited as being the only cowboy to be "in the saddle" every day of drive, a feat not accomplished since 1886.

Since returning from the drive, Beeson woks for the Heart Ranch in Lipscomb and entertains at cowboy shows around the country.  He has been a featured poet at the
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada; The Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboy Hall of Fame) in Oklahoma City; The Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering in Fort Worth; and at the Cowboy's Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas.  His poetry has been featured in Western Horseman Magazine, and in such books as Cowboy Love Poetry, Coolin' Down, and Bronc in the Parlor.  He has recorded a cassette tape of his original Cowboy Poetry titled Last of a Breed and hopes to do another tape in the future that will include songs he has written.

J. W. is single and has one son who is a professional bull rider and equine massage therapist.

  

J. W. Beeson
photo by Tanja Bark

 

A Few Poems and Songs

 Rosie's Eagle
Last of a Breed
The Teacher
Nevada Blue Memories
The Time Machine
The Bear Trap
Christmas Serenade

 

Rosie's Eagle

Rosie was a widow
Who lived up north of town.
If you cross Wolf Creek about a mile
And circle back around,
You'd find a big ol' ranch house
Made from sandstone, rock and sweat
And Rosie raised her family there.
Her grandson lives there yet.

Now, I became acquainted
With this grand ol' pioneer
When I was just a youngster,
Nearly in my fourteenth year.
I'd go out and feed her cattle
While Rosie went to stay and
Visit with her children
Who had grown and moved away.

And once, while I was feedin'
I saw a wondrous sight,
A big ol' Golden Eagle
Just soarin' like a kite.
So high above the wagon
He would circle all around
Like he was on a search for
Something down there on the ground.

I watched him for a minute,
Hangin' silent in the sky
But the silence soon was broken
By the echo of his cry,
As he screamed his disapproval
Of the place I chose to rest,
Then I spotted the remainder
Of what once had been a nest.

The nest was old and brittle,
The aftermath of age,
And it laid beside a marker
Nearly covered by the sage.
My youthful curiosity
Had grabbed me by the shirt,
I knew that I had work to do
But five minutes wouldn't hurt.
So I got down off the wagon,
Kicked the tumbleweeds away
Revealing an inscription
In a stone of granite gray.

"Return to me in Springtime with love
   forever new
And dance with me upon the wind, the way
   the eagles do."
I stood there kind a puzzled
Tryin' hard to figure out
Just what these words engraved in stone
Were really all about.
So, when Rose returned from visitin',
I told her what I'd seen
And how when I got near the stone
That bird would start to scream.

With eyes reflecting memories
Through the traces of a tear,
She took me by the hand and said,
"There's something you should hear.
I'll share with you a secret
That up till now's been known
By only me and God above
Of the eagle and the stone.

"The Caliche hills that weave their way
Through what once was Box-T range
Was once the home of eagles
That nested on the plains.
And the Indians had a legend
That they believe is true,
That for every man who lived out here,
An eagle lived here too.

"And if the eagles nested
When a man would take a wife
Then the spirits of the lovers
Claimed the nesting ground for life.
And when their life was over,
Their spirit would ascend
And gather with the eagles,
To dance upon the wind.

"And that was how it happened,
As if decreed by fate,
For the day that I became a wife
The eagle took a mate.
And as he made for her a nest of
Willow branch and silt,
I was borne across the threshold
Of a ranch house not yet built.

"And so we spent our wedding night
Beneath the prairie moon,
In a Studebaker wagon
In the early part of June.
As he held me in his arms
And pledged to me his love,
He said, "If we should ever part,
I swear by God above,
That in Springtime I'll return to you, as
   when our love began,
And with the eagles we will go, and dance
   upon the wind.

"The year my husband passed away,
The lady-bird was killed.
They're buried side by side,
Beneath the stone upon the hill.
And every year in early June,
I watch the morning sky
And listen for the sound of wings,
Like angels passin' by.

"And when I see that old eagle,
My heart begins to glow
And I think about a promise
Made so many years ago.
The words are carved in granite, our love
   will never end
And my heart goes up to meet him, and we
   dance upon the wind."

© 1991, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

J. W. Beeson write : "Rosie's Eagle" is based on a true story. The story itself is fiction, but when I was a kid I fed cattle for a little lady named Rosie Baysinger. In her house was a female Golden Eagle that was mounted in the 1930s. She told me how a pair of Goldens nested on her place, and that in 1937 the female was accidentally killed in a coyote trap. Eagles mate for life, and for 40 some years, the male returned every year, looking for his mate. I have seen him, back in the 60s, when my Dad and I would work for Rosie, while she visited her children in California. It always stuck in my mind, that love between those two eagles, was the way it should be between two people. True and Everlasting. That's how "Rosie's Eagle" got written.

Beeson also told us that he has had the great privilege to perform "Rosie's Eagle" for Rosie Baysinger's children, in the presence of the mounted eagle.

 

Last of a Breed

As the sounds of the morning come dancin'
Through the darkness that's just before dawn,
An old sorrel mare lifts her head in the air
As a light in the bunkhouse comes on.

And then like an echo of things from the past,
A cowboy walks out toward the barn
With a Blue Heeler pup staying close to his heels
And a bridle hung over his arm.

And he walks in the tracks that his granddaddy made
Like a trip through a crevice in time;
It's a hundred year walk from the house to the barn,
But he knows in the back of his mind—

That he's one of the highly exalted
In love with the life that he leads.
He's known as a cowboy, a wild buckeroo,
A hero in legend and deed, he's one of the last of the breed.

The horses stand patiently waiting—
The sorrels, the buckskins, the blues,
And like him they're the grandsons of legends
Like Badger and Peter McQue.

And soon the time honored tradition
Of choosing a mount will take place,
And two kindred spirits will be partnered up
By a houihan's whirling embrace.

From the Blue Bonnet Prairies of Texas
Where the Indian Paintbrush grows wild,
To the Bitterroot Range of Montana
Where the big sky stretches for miles,

On the T L X and the Matador,
And the Quarter Circle A—
As the sunshine splits the darkness
The cowboy starts his day.

And he'll sit there like a monarch
In a three X beaver crown,
On a throne of hand tooled leather
Sixteen hands above the ground.

And he's sure that he's the richest man
That ever breathed in air,
Though his kingdom's filled with soapweed
And the sage and prickly pear.

He's one of the highly exalted,
In love with the life that he leads;
He's known as a cowboy, a wild buckeroo,
A hero in legend and deed —
   He's one of the last of a breed.

© 1989, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

J. W. Beeson says "Last of a Breed" was written "as an answer to people, when they ask me why I wanted to be a cowboy."

 


The Teacher

Good morning little spotted bronc
And how are you today
If you've got a couple minutes
There's some things I'd like to say

I know that you can't answer me
And that's probably for the best
But if you don't mind I'd like to get
A few things off my chest.

I know it's silly talking
To a horse to say the least
But I'll feed you some alfalfa
If you'll let me speak my piece

Cause you see my little broncy friend
I'm awful fond of you
And I've got this sixteen year old boy
That I'm pretty fond of too

And I've begun to notice
That he's a lot like you
It's causin' me some problems
And I'm not sure what to do

Cause the time has come for both of you
To learn to take the bit
And you either one don't like it
Cause you've both thrown quite a fit

So I'll try to make you understand
The reason and the rhyme
And if I don't lose my patience
It'll all turn out just fine

There's lessons that you have to learn
Cause someday you'll be grown
And you're gonna be expected
To make it on your own

I know that if I wait too long
You'll be too old to teach
And the good things life can give you both
Will be plumb out of reach

If you'll stop trying to buck me off
And learn to cut and rein
You'll wind up living easy
Stall fed on hay and grain

And if like you, he comes to know
The things I've tried to teach
The things inside his wildest dreams
Won't be too far to reach

It's my responsibility
To teach you while I can
So you don't wind up an outcast
Or in a dog food can

So when I lose my temper
And you think I'm being mean
I hope you'll come to realize
Things aren't always what they seem

And it's not just you that's learning
Cause I've come to understand
That a spade bit does more harm than good
If a man's got heavy hands.

And kids are not much different
Cause when you get too severe
They stop learning and start fightin back
They just get confused and scared

It takes a lot of patience
Raising kids and breakin horses
It takes a special frame of mind
To combat all the forces

Of stubbornness and memory lapse
And constant clash of wills
Of saddle sores and colic
And a thousand other ills

And unrequited love's the worst
Cause you lose all trace of sense
When the neighbor's little filly
Prances up and down the fence

And I can haul you out to the vet
To cure romantic whims
But his Mamma'd be a shade upset
If I used that cure on him

But I've realized that both of you
Are champions in the make
And your future may depend
On the amount of time I take

To put you through your paces
So you learn to do things right
And I'll try to remember
It won't happen overnight

I hope someday you'll understand
When things like that occur
You wouldn't have worn the saddle
If I hadn't worn the spurs

© 1990, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

J. W. Beeson says "The Teacher" was written for my son, when he was not quite 16 years old.

 

 

Nevada Blue Memories

(Guitar Cord--Key of G)

1.
When my memories go wanderin to places I've been
and Time for a moment stands still
I can see in the Distance a Girl with Dark Eyes
and again in my heart feel a thrill
my pockets were jinglin as loud as my Spurs
as I headed my Pony toward Town
with the Rubies wrapped up in a blanket of Snow
and a Capricorn Moon shinin Down

2.
I remember a dance down on Idaho Street
and the music still plays in my Head
when a Cowboy went Waltzin on top of the World
and he danced with a Lady in Red
and the Smell of her perfume still Lingers
like a Ghost in a Night Herder's Dream
and Nevada Blue Memories come callin
and I want to go Dancin again
I want to go Dancin again

CHORUS
When the Shadows of Evening start Fallin
and the Herd starts settling in
those Nevada Blue Memories come Callin
and I want to go Dancin again
I want to go Dancin Again

3.
Well I've saddled my Night Horse and started my rounds
I'll come in for some Coffee at Two
If I drift off to Dreams and go Dancin again
Ol Rusty knows just what to do
He'll circle the Herd while I dream of a Girl
and remember a Night of Romance
and then like he did the next Mornin
He'll carry me home from the Dance
He'll carry me home from the Dance

CHORUS
When the Shadows of Evening start Fallin
and the Herd starts settling in
those Nevada Blue Memories come callin
and I want to go Dancin Again
I want to go Dancin Again

LAST CHORUS
I remember that Lady and wonder
If She thinks of me Now and Again
and when Nevada Blue Memories come Callin
Does she want to go Dancin Again
cause I want to go Dancin Again

© 1991, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

J. W. Beeson says "Nevada Blue Memories" is a song.  It is a waltz.  I think the waltz is the most beautiful dance there is, and I wrote this song for the most beautiful woman I ever met.  Her name is Stephanie Lodge and she was from Castro Valley, California. I met her in Elko Nevada at the 1991 Poetry Gathering, and have never seen her since, but she has never left my mind, so I wrote her a song, hoping someday she might get to hear it. (I'm a hopeless romantic, you know.)

 

The Time Machine

What ya doing Grampa?
Can I come out here with you?
I promise not to bother you
but there's nothin else to do.

Mom and Grandma's in the kitchen
makin Sis a party dress
They wanted me to help, 
but I ain't gettin in "that mess"

They put that danged ol dress on me
just what do they think I am
then Mom poked me with a needle
and I got whipped for sayin "Damn!"

You could tell by the look on Grandpa's face
that he knew how this story went
He knew what it's like to be stuck in the house with the girls
and how their time got spent

So he said "Little Pardner, I'll strike you a deal
A trade if you know what I mean
If you'll help me Feed, when we're finished, 
we'll go for a ride on my "Time Machine."

"Your time machine!" the child exclaimed
as his eyes flew open wide
"Do you really have one Grandpa
can we really take a ride?"

"Why sure we can" the old man said
"there's no sense in being idle"
Then he reached up on the tack house wall
for a curry comb and bridle

"Now there ain't no knobs or switches
nor buttons," Grandpa said
"the workin parts to this machine
are mostly in your head

"But it can take you places 
that you never even dreamed
you can ride with Colonel Goodnight
trailin steers to Abilene

"Or go with Davy Crockett
down to San Antonio
to that small adobe mission
that they call 'The Alamo'

"Why it carried me to Shilo
and Gettysburg as well
I saw the cannon's belchin fire
and heard the rebel yell

"And it carried me up to Montana once
when I wasn't no older than you
to the place where Custer came across
The Cheyenne and the Sioux

"I was there at Little Big Horm
Upon that fatal day
But I was ridin' ol' Comanche
that's how come I got away

"I've scouted for the army
and hunted buffalo
with Sittin Bull and Crazy Horse
and old Geronimo

"Why you'd think that I was 'windy'
If I told you all I'd seen
and the places that I've traveled
thanks to that ol' Time Machine

"There ain't no place it can't take you
'ceptin in the house, of course
all you really need's a good imagination
'and a horse'"

So the two rode off together
in search of distant dreams
on a stocking legged sorrel
Grandpa called "The Time Machine"

Two bright eyed children
separated only by their age
through a wonderland of time and space
wrapped up in sand and sage

And as has been known to happen
with adventures of the mind
they got to chasin legends
and lost all track of time

They got to gettin hungry
it was dark when they came in
and Grandma said "Your supper's cold
Where the Devil have you two been?"

And the little fellow turned around
and dusted off his jeans
and winked at Grandpa as he said
"Trailin steers to Abilene."

©  J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

J. W. Beeson says "The Time Machine" was written for my grandson, several years before I even knew I would have a grandson. I always thought how great it would be to have a grandson, who would crawl up in your lap to hear your stories, who would hang on every word, and look at Grandpa like he was someone special.  My first and only grandchild was born March 15, 2001 and he is definitely "Grandpa's Boy," so I got my wish and the poem has become special to me.

 

 

The Bear Trap

The old saddle was built on a Freemont Tree
With the swells a-slopin' back.
It had a nickel horn, fourteen inch seat,
And a six inch cantle back.

It was made on a flat plate riggin'
That was set to centerfire,
And it came from down in Texas
From the shop of S. D. Myers.

It was still in good condition,
As near as I could tell,
As it hung in the back of the old man's barn
By a rope run through the swells.

The stirrups were Visalis's
Of nickel plated iron,
With hearts and spades cut out of the sides
In a classic old design.

The skirts were square and pointed
and had both begun to curl,
And across the back in silver
Was the first name of a girl.

The fenders read San Angelo,
And beneath that could be seen
The words Champion Lady Bronco Buster
Nineteen Seventeen.

I asked if he would sell it,
Though I didn't have much hope,
And I was right cause the old man shook his head
And sadly just said, "Nope."

"It ain't for sale and as you can see
I've throwed away the girt.
That damned ol' saddle's only good
For gettin' people hurt."

His sad old eyes grew misty
As a memory came in view;
Then he told me what had happened
Just like I'm tellin' you.

Her name was Angelina,
But as you can plainly tell,
Everybody called her Angel--
A name that suited her well.

Her mama was Comanchero,
But her daddy was a white,
And her hair was dark and colored
Like her eyes, black as night.

She was born down near Ft. Davis,
In eighteen ninety-three,
Where her daddy busted re-mounts
For the U. S. Cavalry.

The round corral was her playpen.
Her first rattle was a spur,
And she grew up givin' cowboys
A healthy respect for her,

'Cause she had a way with horses
That some said was unreal.
A bronco just didn't have a chance
When she buckled on the steel.

'Cause she rode like it was easy,
She had balance like a cat,
And the toughest bronc was done for
When she pushed down her hat.

By the time that she was twenty,
In the winter of thirteen,
She's won herself a buckle
At the show in Abilene.

So she headed up to Dalhart
To ride the X I T,
And that was how it happened
That she met up with me.

She was makin' conversation,
Standin' back behind the chutes
With Prairie Rose Henderson, Ruthie Roach,
And cute little Kitty Canute.

And when she looked up and smiled at me,
I melted like snow in May,
We were married two years later,
Almost to the day.

And she almost got domestic,
My little cowgirl bride,
But she nearly lost her sanity
When the child she carried died.

So she limbered up her Ellensburg,
Took off her wedding ring,
And headed for San Angelo
To the rodeo that Spring.

That was where she won the bear trap,
At the roundup there, ya know.
They awarded her that saddle
When she rode ol' Pigeon Toe.

And she came away the champion
With a saddle custom made,
But she wouldn't ever ride it
'Cause she said she was afraid

That the swells was just a little too big,
And the seat a bit too small
For her to get away from
If a bronc should ever fall.

And then she'd make a little joke,
As laughingly she said,
"That saddle's gonna leave somebody
Crippled up or dead."

But her words were like an omen,
And I wonder if she knew
That the joke she made so carelessly
Would someday all come true.

'Cause she drew a horse called Reaper
One night in Burkburnett,
And the chutes back then were shotguns,
So she got her saddle set.

And hobbled up her stirrups
Before they ran him in.
But the stirrup hobble got hung up,
And the horse flipped end for end.

She heard a crack as the horse fell back,
But when he got up she knew
That the fork on her old Ellensburg
Was busted half in two.

So she said, "I'll get the bear trap
To put on this cayuse,
But I'll pull the hobbles tight this time,
So they won't be hangin' loose.

I'd rather ride a saddle
I got on instead of in,
But I ain't gonna turn ol' Reaper out,
So run him through again."

Now ol' Reaper was a veteran,
He knew the whole routine,
And he had a reputation
For being rank and mean.

Nobody's ever rode him,
And we figured no one would
'Cause he buckled like hell boiled over,
And he'd bite ya if he could.

But he didn't worry Angel none.
She was sure he'd met his match
When she got down in the saddle
And hollered, "Pull the latch."

You could hear her old Garcias
Playin' tunes like steeple bells,
And when Angel fanned him with her hat,
The crowd stood up and yelled.

But the bronc raired over backwards
And came crashing to the ground,
And the crowd grew quickly silent--
There was stillness all around.

They watched as Angel tried in vain
To kick her stirrups loose,
And free herself from underneath
This thrashing wild cayuse.

She was trapped in that old saddle,
T'ween the cantle and the swells,
And her soul just hung suspended
T'wixt the Pearly Gates and Hell.

The cantle broke her back in two,
And the horn went through her gut
When the jaws of that old bear trap
Like a coffin lid snapped shut.

When they finally got out to her,
She was dead, of course,
But to get her off the saddle,
They had to shoot the horse.

She's buried over in Wichita Falls
Beneath a little tree
In a plot between the child she lost
And the grave reserved for me.

So I tool my Barlow pocket knife
And cut the cinch away,
And hung that saddle in the barn
Where it's hangin' right today.

It'll never again spill precious blood
Or cause hearts to break inside.
'Cause Angel rode the Reaper
On that saddle's final ride.

© 1991, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

J. W. Beeson says "The Bear Trap" was written because of a picture of a lady bronc rider named Bonny McCarrol, who got her neck broke at Pendleton, in 1919, and a story my ex-Father in law told me about an old Hamley Form Fitter saddle that was given to him when he worked for the Dixie Valley Ranch in Northern California.

 

Christmas Serenade

It's 15 below on the prairie
   the wind chill's down near 42
and I'm watchin' a Texas blue norther blow in
   and I'm not sure what I'm gonna do.

'Cause the tanks are froze pretty near solid
   and the handle broke off my best ax
and the feed's gettin' wet from a hole in the roof
   where it's leakin' all over the sacks

And I'm feedin' more hay than I planned on
   'cause the snow covered up all the grass
the tractor's broke down and the pickup won't start
   and it's cold as a well digger's...shovel

It's the 24th day of December
   and the sagebrush is covered with ice
and I think that a hot cup of coffee
   or a good shot of rye would be nice

'Cause my feet are so cold I can't feel 'em
   and my fingers are purty near froze
and there's icicles hung off my moustache
   from the drip drippin' off of my nose

I was hopin' I'd get to quit early
   and be back at the house Christmas Eve
but these baldies are cryin' and hungry
   and there's no one to feed if I leave

And there's one little motley-faced heifer
   who somehow got in with the bull
and she's just too little to leave by herself
   'cause the calf's gonna have to be pulled

And there's one other thing I might mention
   a fact that is painfully clear
I'm so broke that I can't pay attention
   so I guess I'll spend Christmas out here

But it's pretty out here on the prairie
   where the stars light the cold winter sky
and though I can't remember when things were much worse
   I guess I'm still a right lucky guy

'Cause I've got a good woman who'll love me
   no matter what time I come home
and my young 'un is happy and healthy
   though I wish he weren't quite near so grown

And I've got that new 3-year-old filly
   who's better than I even dreamed
and my old spotted gelding as good as they come
   so things ain't all as bad as they seem

I've got no cause for being ungrateful
   and to gripe and complain isn't good
'cause there's people all over this country
   who'd trade places with me if they could

So I know that I'll have a good Christmas
   in spite of my problems somehow
I'll just watch as this Texas blue norther blows in
   and sing "O Holy Night" to the cows.

© 1996, J. W. Beeson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem appeared in Western Horseman in December, 1996


 

Tape:  Last of a Breed 

J. W. Beeson tells us that everything on his Last of a Breed tape is "original, and based on people I have known or things I have done.  There is a lot of poetic license in some of them, but they are based on real-life happenings. I hope to do another tape in the future that will include poems I have not yet recorded as well as several new songs, among them, "The Time Machine," "The Bear Trap," and "Nevada Blue Memories."  The tape is available for $12 postpaid from:

J. W. Beeson
102 Main Street, Box 95
Lipscomb, Texas 79056

Last of a Breed includes:  "Last of a Breed," "Nute McHone,*" "The Customer,**" "Retrospect," "Any Other Way," "Road Kill Stew," "My Second Wife," "Rosie's Eagle," "Morning Sickness," "Simple Logic," and "The Teacher."

*J. W. Beeson told us that "Nute McHone" is based on a local unlicensed vet he knew, upon whom everyone depended.  When the vet was very old and they exchanged his boots for house slippers, he refused to wear them, saying that if he couldn't have his boots, he'd go barefoot.  He did just that one winter day, and died of pneumonia at age 99.

**"The Customer" is based on events at Bob Marrs Saddlery, where J. W. Beeson began his saddlemaking career. The poem is a favorite of the Marrs family.

J. W. Beeson's personal saddle, pictured in his shop in Lipscomb, Texas
58 Wade Tree  15 1/2" Seat  
7/8 Flat Plate Riggin
Post Horn

 

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