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



salinaslm.jpg (16790 bytes)  Larry Maurice is a cowboy, horse wrangler and packer, the Academy of Western Artist's Cowboy Poet of the Year in 2000. Read more about him below.

Visit Larry's web site for information about his recordings and appearances (and more):



Buenos Dias, Viejo Vaquero
Your eyes hold the tears of your age
Can you tell the truth of this grand hacienda
What is written on your faded old page?

Ola Viejo Cabbellero, Que tal?
What was the grulla stallion's name?
That you bucked out for the two silver dollars
Held tight between boot sole and stirrup

The one with the long flowing mane
Does your heart long for the feel of the ramal and the rawhide?
Does your back feel the sweat of the day?
Does your heart ache for your family so dear?

All who have now gone away
Kern River and Madera are calling
Back to the time of the dream
Back to the time of the hidalgos
Made rich by the rush of the stream
This land will never forget you
It owes you its life and its flower
When these days are gone and only memories linger on
Via con Dios, Viejo
You gave us our finest hour

© 7/12/02, Larry Maurice, Truckee, Calif. 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



I Am America

I am America

Don't push too hard on me
For I know the price that has been paid,
to keep my liberty.
If you come to me with malice and treachery in your heart?
Then make no mistake,
you will regret and suffer the fury of my
for whatever you may start.
But if you come with a longing for: truth, justice, happiness
and the will to do what's right.
Then here's my hand in friendship, thought and deed.
Take it.  Hold it tight.
Bring me all your hopes and dreams.
I will fulfill your every need.
I will be your armor in times of strife.
I will protect your right to all these things,
no-matter where the road may lead.

I am America

One man, one heart, one true and loyal friend.
To see you through and light your way.
Your life I will defend.
In all of this,
I only ask one simple thing of you.
That you keep the spark of freedoms light, in everything you do
I am America
Not something that you cannot see.
For I stand here with open heart and
unwavering resolve.
You can count on me.
Walk my streets, climb my mountains,
move freely, from my blue Pacific ocean to my great Atlantic shore.
Be safe and secure in my strength and
Only your God can give you more.

I am America

I make no excuses for what has come or past.
In politics, in boast or in the derision of others.
The failings of the individual,
cannot set aside,
that when you tread on me,
all within my domain
will stand and fight as brothers.

I am America

I am the eagle on the fly.
I am the shopkeeper and the school teacher.
I am the innocent child lost in play.
I am the farm and the factory.
I am the family,
that bows its head to pray.
I am the dissenter and the dreamer.
The soldier, airman and the sailor,
I am every creed and race.
I am every man who stands and sweats
to make this world a better place.

I am America

Here's my hand in peace or pain.
A better friend you will never know.
But do not mess with me!
For my wrath, when stirred,
will crush any foe.

I am America

I stand here unbowed and unwavering
for all the world to see.
I am here.
I am the beacon of freedom.
If you are afraid.
Come stand here,
next to me.

I am America

© 10/22/01, Larry Maurice, Truckee, California
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Peace On Earth

Snow blows through the little crack in the line shack window
Like a snake
It hisses, spits and slips
Grains of cold diamond sand on the shelf
It piles, melts, puddles and drips

Mostly it's warm and dry inside
You've chinked the holes, patched the rugged door
The stove draws good and there's dry pinion wood
Both dogs are curled up on the floor

There's coffee simmering and the smell fills the room
Along with hot sourdough biskets and "Dinty Moore" stew
It's Christmas Eve and you still believe
This is what "Peace on Earth " means to you

Lamplight and firelight and Owen Wister's "The Virginian"
For the ninth (and you swear the last) time
No one to talk to but memories and shadows
But somehow, you like it just fine

You're not anti-social but at times like these
Conversation can sure get in the way
There's a big difference between alone and lonely
Maybe that's why most who try it, don't stay

The boss will be down at the end of the week
Maybe sooner, if his wife gets to fussin'
He's let you work it out for the last nine seasons
(For all your own reasons)
'til it's not hardly worth the discussin'

He knows you like spending Christmas alone
He never would press you for the why?
But it makes it easier on the married guys
So he just leaves you here to get by

You suspect (just maybe) he's figured it out
You're here because that's the way you want it to be
That you just might know how to keep a couple of cows
 from freezing to death
And it's your way of thinking you're free

The cows are on the hay piles built from fall's hard work
The creek's runnin' strong and hard, like a plow
They'll hide in the quakes 'til this blizzard breaks
You've done all you can do, for now

The horses are safe in the lee canyon corral
Good hay and grain in the box, plenty of dry straw
You know that this small time of the peace is the off-side of the beast
that you fight again and again
 to a win a lose or a draw

Been on your own since you were a pup
Never askin' never takin' more than you're rightful due
In all that has passed and in the questions you've asked
 something else became part of you

You could always feel it
In the bite of the winter wind
In the sweet sweat of a hot desert day
In the blood pounding heart of a good working horse
It would touch you and never go to far away

You see it in the fold of the mountains
Where the shadows give up to granite gray
In the flash of light on a summer storms night
In a Buckskin a Roan or a Bay

You smell it in the campfire smoke
In prairie grass after a rain
In the wild roses' blush, the yellow rabbit brush
In comes and rides off again

It moves with the seasons, it comes and it goes
It lives in every saddle, old or new
It haunts feed lot lanes and star lit plains
It's always there and it comforts you

You hear it in an old coyote's wail
In the bawlin' of a new born calf
In the meter of the pines and the cedars' soft rhymes
In the cry of a mother's laugh

You taste it in the sweet milk of spring
In the dust of memories that don't last
In the nothing times of empty rhymes
And in all of this
The past is only the past

In all these things you find your
 personal peace
They comfort you and ease your mind
They let you know that wherever you go
Peace is never that hard to find

In this there is no lonely
It's all just part of the show
And the more that you see, the more you agree
There's less that you need to know

So here it is Christmas Eve
And you're once again glad of the trail that you took
By choice, not chance, you have this special time
To check your personal "Tally Book"

Tomorrow you'll be back to the life, hard at it in the drifts and blow
Tonight it's time to respect and remember
All the good things that this time of peace brings
They warm you and calm you, like a slow burning ember

You'll give a little thanks for the special gifts
 That have kept you tied to this life and to this land
Allow yourself this precious gift of peace
(Try not to forget)
 how that was the original plan

Here in this quiet line shack
With that darn little drip
Not alone
But with all that you have come to understand
 "Merry Christmas"
is what you carry in your heart
"Peace on Earth"
was the real plan

That peace has to come from you
It is here that the seed must be sown
"Peace on Earth"
 "Good will to men"
starts with one man

© December 2002, Larry Maurice
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem is included with our 2002 Holiday poem collection.


I Wish I Could Have Seen It

I wish I could have seen it

From the deck of the San Carlos in that age so long ago
This land they called California.
The land of the hidalgo
Through the eyes of Father Serra,
riding on the El Comino Real
The tule fog of the San Joaquin
The mission at San Raphael

The mustard fields of the Presidio,
The pounding surf at Refugio Bay
The snow capped Sierra Nevada,
The sunken gardens at San Luis Rey
This land  "del oro"
Made grand by the chaff of the court of Spain
Where the seeds of western freedom were
casually strewn, upon a willingplain

 I wish I could have seen it

The bells of San Diego de Alcala
The cattle on a thousand hills
The mighty Sacramento flowing
to where its delta water spills
The coastal range of pines and promise,
The barranca where the Black Panther calls
The wild bougainvillea,
climbing sun baked adobe walls

Big Sur and all its glory
The twisted pines of Monterey
The wailing hoards of sea lions
on the rocks of Morrow Bay
The caballos del sueno
The silver flash of the proud Vaquero
Senoritas of the manila and the comb
Quiet nights and guitars on the patio

I wish I could have seen it

But perhaps it isn't gone...

I know these things because I have been there
They live in my heart today
In daydreams and memories
That will never fade away

On a moon lit night...

If you close your eyes, (just a little bit)
and gaze seaward from a rugged San Pedro hill
You just might glimpse a Spanish galleons ghostly sails,
fluttering there still

You can still ride ..

From Baja to Alta California
From Rancho to pueblo and feel the history at your feet
Hear the old songs of the people
and the promise, on Olvera Street

The swallows still bring the faithful to worship at Mission San Juan
The Tejon brand still marks the cattle
as it did so long ago

It is here in the fiestas, in sunsets on the beach
In the thoughts of, "Gold in them thar hills"
It is here today, not beyond your reach

It's called California

It was and is.
A promise and a challenge,
for those with the will
to make a brand new start


It's what dreams are made of
History, myth and heart

I see it now and in that time
El gusto es mio, me amigo
The pleasure is all mine

© July 7,  2002  Larry Maurice, Truckee, California
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



She Was Always The Music

Dale Evans was always the music
Even when Roy sang just with
"The Boys"
You could always hear her in there somehow
All her hopes, her fears, her joys

In every song that was ever sung
In every lingering melody
Dale Evans carried the heart and soul of the west
She will always be the music that you can see

You can see her in the rippling water
As it flows down a quiet stream
When the ocean waves pound the beach and roar
You can see her in the crackle of a smokey campfire
In the quiet, gently creaking of the bunkhouses' wooden floor

You can see her in the sparkle
of a tiny grain of sand
In the way a new leaf hugs tight to a tree
In the sparkle of that music
(complex, sweet and amazing)
she saw, the wonder of you and me

Dale taught us that life is a song
And it sings to all of us
Are you listening?
She knew that we don't get to choose every note or to strum every chord
We never know just how many verses
But in the end, it doesn't really matter
For the song is its own reward

The music in the movement of a powerful horse
When you hold a snowflake as it dies
In loving and being loved without fear or reservation
To put God and grace and goodness in our lives

The simple pleasure of the sun on your face
The wisdom to know that our lives are not planned
That all the choices we make are our own
We must choose
To be silent, too run, or stand

When you go to the high places
or small quiet spaces
Dale's song will reach you where you belong
She knew that we may not have written
the words or the tune
But that we are all
Very much part of the song.

Go find your rhythm
Learn the flats and the sharps
Sing it!
Teach it to others
Dale's song and our song is the symphony that never ends
For even when our verse is finished
She knew that the music will go on
Through all those that we call,

© May, 2001 by Larry Maurice
Remembering "The Queen of the West"
Truckee, Calif.
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem is also posted with other tributes to Dale Evans:

Tributes to Dale Evans



Cashbaugh Summer

Where's the logic?
I don't really know.
Why do you bust yer butt from year to year
and then there ain't that much to show?

Maybe, it's the smell of the morning
as you lift the grain bin lid.
The rattle and scrape of that old coffee can,
its been there since you were a kid.

Seeing yer saddles and bridles waiting.
The cats in the rafters scratching their backs.
The way that the dust from your footsteps gives shape to the sunlight
that filters in through the cracks

'Whistle 'em up Tom. Maybe they'll come in?"
But you know you'll have to wrangle.
That's O.K. its part of the deal
and it's something easy to handle.
You don't have to go far today
Just to the creek fence, now they see ya.
And here they come, some at a run
Your minds eye goes back to another era.

An Easy catch on the gray, a laugh with your pard,
At least the days startin' in a riot.
Brush and curry, check feet and tail
First light, familiar, friendly and quiet.

Something spooks the ducks on the creek
and they're off in a rush up-stream.
You watch and file it away
for it fits neatly into the scene.
The Bay is watching you and pawing the ground.
Not hard. but just to let you know
that when you're through fooling around
she'll be ready to go.

Catch up the reins and watch the set of the bit.
Boot to stirrup, straight up and leg over.
You sit with a respect for her back.
Settle in easy, Grandpa said.
"Sit up straight, square yer shoulders"

Lets go girl. Cross the creek
A coyote sets up and runs.
Morning electricity in your reins
like a thousand other suns.
Squeak of the leather, the ring of the rowel,
your bridle chains blink in the sun.
Head up high, breathe it all in.
Take her from walk to jog to run.
Gather her in and settle her down,
cinches and latigos pulled up tight.
Shake out a loop and feel the twist
make sure it coils lust right.
Duffel, where the hell you goin?
Should have left that puppy home today.
He's got to much energy and not enough sense
He's just gonna get in the way.
Ride to the herd that you moved in yesterday
Check for whatever might be,
Screwworms, Pink eye, foot rot or pneumonia.
So many things for the eye to see.

A little ropin' and a little vetin',
pull an old cow from the creek.
Counting dry cows, heifers and steers
mark it all in your book for the week.
Patches and glue, needles and antiseptic,
sulphur pills, pill gun and dope,
trying to finish what your Grand dad started
with patience, tradition and hope.
You stop for a minute and survey the scene,
Mountains rising to the noon.
Cattle and water and tall clover grass.
If you live forever you'll leave it too soon.
That's it for today boys, coil yer ropes
tomorrow we'll get what we missed.
Back to the home ranch, tired and slow,
Pretty good day at the office.
So where's the logic?
I still don't really know.
Its something that's hard too figure,
but no matter how it goes
one things for sure,
These Cowboys are here forever.
For Jim, Gary and Tom
Cashbaugh Ranch
Hot Creek 1992

© 1992, Larry Maurice
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Perched On Castle Peak

As I sit here perched high on "Castle Peak" gazing south by west
I am once again bedazzled by the stark volatile beauty
of the Sierra Nevada's crest

How many times have I contemplated how this beauty
(Impossible to gather with a thousand reverent gazes)
Hides all the challenges and furies of a junkyard dog
Of all the lives and loves, tragedies, triumphs and graves it holds
And yet
Still holds no epilogue

From here I can see the snow sheds of the Central Pacific
Still on duty
A diamond glint of sunlight on the steel ribbon of rail
My thoughts drift to the men of vision, who said
"This is how we will do it" and of the others who said
"This is where they will fail"

With hammer and chisel against polished granite
With mind and muscle against it all
Not by magic.  Not by accident. 
Not by fate or by fall
But by those who took "A Chinaman's Chance"
With crystal clear vision, sheer will, muscle and steel
They harvested the grist's of the vision
and fed it to progresses relentlessly turning wheel
Could it happen again?
No need
The lure of gold and the lies of the bold
Opened the floodgates and they came from every land
With the promise of new life and the redemption of old souls
A time and place to make a new stand
Some would stand in triumph
Some would be broken and bent in despair
All changed forever by the journey and the dream
And by what they witnessed there
Some surely bought their way into heaven
Not with the riches but by heroic and epic deeds
Most never knew what they had accomplished
Or ever imagined
where their legacy still leads
There were those that found  "Hell On Earth"
But never found, "The Glory Hole" of riches or fame
Some sold their souls to the Devil
for the flash and glint in the stream of a better tomorrow?
Some never knew why they came
Most never returned to their starting line
Trapped forever by "Eureka, I have found it"
They stayed the quest with unwavering dogged persistence
Bending or breaking all who would slow the wheels progress
Willing the land and the dream into existence
Nurtured more by the struggle
Than by the pull of distant hearts and hearths of home
These were the children of a new "Mother Lode"
They grew, challenged, learned, wondered, struggled and succeeded
 Never suspecting how many others would travel their road

I think of them often on my journeys here
To find a little peace at the "Home Ranch" of God
And I wonder why it always thrills me so?
Perhaps because I question if I had heard the sirens call,
would I have had the courage to go?
The wind brings the sound of the whistle in the canyon
Who rides the steel ribbon of dreams today?
Now as I sit here perched high on Castle Peak
gazing south by west
Bedazzled by the stark, volatile beauty
I know
I too, am here to stay
© 2005, Larry Maurice
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Damn it!

Whoever built this gate should be out here today
It doesnít hang right
The latch always freezes
And it swings the wrong way
Ya just canít work it from horse back
So cold just the thought of taking off your glove to work the stupid steel latch hurts
In all those places that you can never keep dry
No matter how hard you try
It creeps into those spaces you didnít know were places
Always coming from the direction that you seem to be going
 I read something about a place where the four winds blow.
All at the same time?
Smothers the landscape level and hides the treachery below
Finds the smallest cracks in you armor and piles in without regard for privacy or comfort
Slicker! Ha!
Sorrels, best they make
Wool lined taps, now you donít mind the money Brad charged you
Now you have to get down and work the frozen latch
By the time you get back to your saddle the seat will be an inch deep with snow
What the heck am I doing out here
Stupid Cows
Why donít they figure out how to get home on their own?
Good man
I know you would have liked to stay home
You always give in without grief or protest
You are my windbreak, my snowplow, umbrella, wood stove, and convenience store
When I finish with this dumb gate,
Iíll slide my hand under your saddle blanket (like old Luke showed me)
And your heart will warm me again.
And in that small moment Iíll remember
Summer's sweet sweat
Dry clean nights,  
and know that this tempest world of today will, as always,
fulfill the promise
Of running water, tall grass and fat healthy cows
But right now
Damn it! 

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


Read Larry Maurice's It's That Time Again with other Holiday 2003 poems.


About Larry Maurice




September, 2004:

National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration presents
ďAmerican Cowboy Culture AwardĒ to
Truckee, California Cowboy Poet Larry Maurice

Truckee, California Cowboy Poet/ Entertainer, Larry Maurice, received the coveted "Cowboy Culture Award 2004" for Cowboy Poetry from the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration on Thursday September 10, 2004.

The event, held at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in Lubbock, Texas, is an annual awards show to recognize outstanding contributions to the western life style and entertainment.

Individuals and organizations are singled out for their outstanding work in their respective fields.  Entertainers, ranchers, merchants, writers, western artists, as well as personalities from the rodeo arena, cultural events and museums all received awards from the symposium committee.  This is the sixteenth year of this premiere event that draws twenty to twenty five thousand visitors to the Lubbock area each year.

Larry Maurice has been involved with Cowboy Poetry for most of his life. The committee was pleased to present this award to Maurice for his efforts to keep the traditions of Cowboy Poetry alive and for his efforts to bring the culture and history of the American west to many thousands of school children over the past twenty years.

The award itself is a 10-inch pewter statue of a west Texas Cowboy on a solid oak base.  A background picture of the famous "Four 6's" ranch horses frames the statue.  Produced by well-known western artist and sculptor Tom Ryan, this unique award is prized by all who have received it.

Maurice received the award from long time friend and president of the American Cowboy Culture Association Mr. Alvin Davis who also helped Maurice emcee the gala event.  When asked about his award Maurice stated, "to be included with all the great westerners who have received this award over the years is truly one the highlights of my career."

Larry Maurice has spent the last twenty years as a cowboy, horse wrangler and packer in the Eastern Sierra and the high Deserts of Nevada.  You're likely to find him leading a string of mules into the backcountry, on a hors ed drive in the Owens Valley of California, or working with Longhorn Cattle in Virginia City, Nevada

Over the last few years Maurice has had to juggle his need to be horseback with his busy entertainment schedule.  A sought after entertainer, not only for his Cowboy Poetry that speaks from the heart of the day to day Cowboy but also for his ability to breath life into the history of the American West.  He can be found acting as an Announcer or Master of Ceremonies for Rodeos, Parades, Mounted Shooting Competitions, Film Festivals or singing the National Anthem for the opening of a major sports event.

He is an exceptional after-dinner speaker and also spends a great deal of time in schools around the country, talking to children about the role the Cowboy has played and is continuing to play in the development of the west.

His one-man show, Cowboy; The Spirit, the Lore, the Legacy", continues to keep him traveling around the country.  In 2000 Maurice also received the "Will Rogers Cowboy Award" from the Academy of Western Artists as "Male Cowboy Poet of the Year."

For more information or National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration 806-795-2455



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