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Happy New Year!

Below are new poems and toasts to the New Year, along with some favorites from past years.

See a complete list with links to all the holiday poems posted starting in 2000 here.



By S. Omar Barker, Diane Tribitt, Michael Henley, V. June Collins, Rod Miller, Victoria Boyd, Glen Enloe, Hal Swift, Pat Richardson, Jeff Hildebrandt, Lincoln Rogers, Jeanne L. Thompson, Stan Carroll, V. June Blevins Collins, Jane Morton, Andy Nelson, Linda Kirkpatrick, Sam Jackson, Pat Richardson, Bob Schild, 

Old Favorites

James Barton Adams
A Cowboy Toast   

S. Omar Barker
 Cowboy's New Year's Resolutions

Jack Thorp
The Cowboys New Year Dance 



Rod Nichols
New Year's at Cutter Bill's 
New Year's Eve

Bob Schild
Ode to an Old Friend

Janice Gilbertson 
The Porch Light
If I, the Poet

Mike Puhallo
A New Year a New Day!
Wishful Thinking


postmarked 1915


May you never lose a stirrup,
May you never waste a loop;
May your can stay full of syrup,
And your gizzard full of whoop!
S. Omar Barker


May your haystacks last the winter.
May your grass green up come spring.
May your cattle top the market.
May you live on what they bring.
Jane Morton


May your pony never throw you.
May your pickup never stall,
But in case it needs some fixin’,
May you  find the wherewithal.
                                     Jane Morton

To The Cowboys

Though you might not make much money,
May you always have enough.
May the landscape fill your spirit.
May you do without the stuff.

                                      Jane Morton


May the aroma of cowboy coffee

Greet your morning, every day

May the flicker of a campfire

Light your everyway

May your friends live in happiness

May you remember the ones who have gone

And may the sun shine brightly on you

At each and every dawn.
Linda Kirkpatrick


A toast (with ice) in December cold
My thanks, to God, those calves are sold—
You break the bales so neatly rolled—
That job, like me, is growing old!
Bob Schild (aka B.S. and "Burma Shave")


Toast to the Shepherd

I salute you noble shepherd

            Here’s a wishin’ you the best.

If yer caught out in a snow storm

            May you wear a woolly vest.


When in rocky tera firma

            An yer pony takes a fright

Jumpin’ sideways—may you always

            Find a happy place to light.


When yer out a courtin’ sweetie

            With the team of dapple greys

An the matches in yer pocket

            Rub together—start to blaze

An ya piles off the buggy

            With yer manhood in some doubt

May yer sweetie not start laughin’

            As ya puts the fire out!


May the woollies in yer pasture

            Multiply each year ten fold

May the mirror in yer wagon

            Never show yer gettin old


When ya beds down fer the evenin’

            May yer dreams be dreams of wealth

An when ya wakes up in the mornin’

            May yer day be one of health!
Sam Jackson


To the rewards of bein' a cowboy
And to livin' a cowboy's life
With only the fear of bein' afoot
Or saddled down with a wife
Diane Tribitt


May all that you reap be righteous and fine
Like your woman, your horse, and your hat
As long as you keep your hands off of mine
Then By Golly, I'll sure drink to that.
Diane Tribitt


I drink to your health when I'm with you,
I drink to your health when I'm alone,
I drink to your health so darn often,
I'm starting to worry about my own!
Unknown, by way of Diane Tribitt


May your horse never slow,
May your loop find its mark;
May your Get Up have Go,
From morning till dark.
Victoria Boyd


Here's to good water,
and to rest in the shade,
and to total success
for the plans that you've made.
Hal Swift 


May your ropin' hand stay steady,
and your cinch stay good an' tight.
When you get to where you're goin'
may you sleep in peace tonight.
Hal Swift 


May your days be filled with usefulness,
your nights be filled with rest.
May your life be filled with happiness,
and all that you love best.
Hal Swift 


May your grass always be green,
May your pony never tire,
May your days be long and lean,
And you always have friends around your fire.
Stan Carroll


May your ponies all be gentle.
May your saddles all be soft
and may The Good Lord
ride beside you on the trail
  Jeff Hildebrandt


May a Stetson lie close to your favorite boots,
May a saddle be where you sit.
May you always remember your Western roots,
Full of try and empty of quit.
Lincoln Rogers

May your horse never stumble,
Your spurs never rust,
Your guts never grumble,
Your cinch never bust!
S. Omar Barker


May you never miss a dally,
On a cow-brute or her calf.
Nor get bucked off for trying,—
And hear the other fellers laugh!
V. June Blevins Collins

May your cinch never loosen,
may your saddle never turn,
not too proud to pull leather,
until you reach point of no return.
V. June Blevins Collins


A Farrier’s Toast

May your anvil be tempered, your hammers be tight,
And your tools not go to loaners;
May your horses stand quiet, with never a bite,
I wish the same for their owners. 

May the trainers be kind, and never reprove,
From here to far distant lands;
And may you ever be able, and always remove,
That nasty thrush smell from your hands.

May your nails be “five city,” your shoes be all “oughts,”
With nail holes that never forge closed;
May joy fill your psyche, and garner your thoughts,
And your hind end be seldom exposed.

May horse flies not bother, the mosquitoes pass,
And miracles not cease to wonder;
May your horses not colic, and never pass gas,
At least while you’re standing there under.

Andy Nelson 


May your memories all be good ones
May your matches always strike
May you spend many pleasant hours
With the kinda folks you like

May your days be bright and sunny
May your grass be stirrup high
May your calves be fat and sassy
And here's the reason why:

If you get a dandy calf crop
And they bring a decent price
You could pay me what you owe me
That dang sure would be nice.
 Pat Richardson


May you never lose direction
may you never take to flight
as you make a slight correction
if your horse bucks to the right
Pat Richardson

May your spring storms be gentle.
May your summer rains be plenty.
May your calves be born just eighty pounds
and wean at seven twenty.
Michael Henley


Here's to colic, strangles, and scours,
Founder, prolapse, and pink eye;
Greasy grub, poor pay, ridiculous hours
May we be cowboys until we die!
 Rod Miller


May hot coffee be a brewin'
On the campfires of your friends

May good Mulligan be stewin'
When you reach your last trail's end.
Glen Enloe

May your horse always guide you
May your saddle fit just right
May you count your New Year's Blessings
In the wondrous stars so bright

May you ride in peace and safety
Wherever you may roam
May you drink when you are thirsty
The love of Heart and Home

May your inner sense guide you
When the path becomes too steep
For the Good Shepherd watches over you
Just look for the light and leap!
Jeanne L. Thompson


May the warm winds of heaven
blow softly on your house
and may the Great Spirit
bless all who enter there
Indian blessing by way of Jeri Dobrowski

Also see Leslie Cline-Carbah 's Cowboy Birthday Toast.


Old Favorites

postmarked 1913


A Cowboy Toast

Here's to the passing cowboy, the plowman's pioneer;
His home, the boundless mesa, he of any man the peer;
Around his wide sombrero was stretched the rattler's hide,
His bridle sporting conchos, his lasso at his side.
All day he roamed the prairies, at night he, with the stars,
Kept vigil o'er thousands held by neither posts nor bars;
With never a diversion in all the lonesome land,
But cattle, cattle, cattle, and the sun and sage and sand.

Sometimes the hoot-owl hailed him, when scudding through the flat;
And prairie dogs would sauce him, as at their doors they sat;
The rattler hissed its warning when near its haunts he trod
Some Texas steer pursuing o'er the pathless waste of sod.
With lasso, quirt, and 'colter the cowboy knew his skill;
They pass with him to history and naught their place can fill;
While he, bold broncho rider, ne'er conned a lesson page,—
But cattle, cattle, cattle, and sun and sand and sage.

And oh! the long night watches, with terror in the skies!
When lightning played and mocked him till blinded were his eyes;
When raged the storm around him, and fear was in his heart
Lest panic-stricken leaders might make the whole herd start.
That meant a death for many, perhaps a wild stampede,
When none could stem the fury of the cattle in the lead;
Ah, then life seemed so little and death so very near,—
With cattle, cattle, cattle, and darkness everywhere.

Then quaff with me a bumper of water, clear and pure,
To the memory of the cowboy whose fame must e'er endure
From the Llano Estacado to Dakota's distant sands,
Where were herded countless thousands in the days of fenceless lands.
Let us rear for him an altar in the Temple of the Brave,
And weave of Texas grasses a garland for his grave;
And offer him a guerdon for the work that he has done
With cattle, cattle, cattle, and sage and sand and sun.

James Barton Adams


The editor's introduction to a 1968 publication of the Socorro County (New Mexico) Historical Society, "Some Letters and Writings of James Barton Adams" comments:

The letters of James Barton Adams (alias Jim Carlin) are here published for the first time...For several years he lived and worked in the rugged San Andres mountains of central New Mexico on a ranch owned by Captain Jack Crawford, famous Indian Scout and Poet. The land was harsh, the climate equal in its intensity and variety to the harshness of the land, and human companionship was only an occasional experience. Adams, educated and having an unusual way with words, was able to capture in his letters the spirit of this one small segment of the American Frontier.

A biographical sketch adds:

Adams was employed by Capt. Jack Crawford at his Dripping Springs, N. M. ranch from 1890-1892, and for reason or reasons unknown used an alias during this time. He chose to be called James "Jim" Carlin, and it is doubted that it was a pen name. Many of his poems were probably drawn from his life and experiences during this period in New Mexico. Adams wrote the foreword to Capt. Jack's book Whar the Hand O' God is Seen, published in 1913.

A biography in The Mecca, February 3, 1900, tells that Adams was born in Ohio and moved with his family to Iowa, "...when that state was 'way out West.' He enlisted at the first call for troops in 1861."  The Socorro County biographical sketch tells that at age 75, during World War I, he volunteered his telegraphic services and "was probably the oldest telegraph operator working the key in the U. S...."

Adams became a newspaper columnist, and wrote poems still recited (and put to music) today. Read some of his other works, including A Cowboy Toast, The Cowboy's Dance Song" ("The High-Toned Dance"), and A Song of the Range here at the BAR-D.

Read more about James Barton Adams' in 1918 obituaries from The Denver Post and Denver Times, along with "Bill's in Trouble," here. (Read more about Captain Jack Crawford here.)



Cowboy's New Year's Resolutions

As one who's been a cowhand since the wildcats learned to spit,
I've made some resolutions for the comin' year, to wit:
Resolved, to ride a shorter day and sleep a longer night;
To never come to breakfast till the sun is shinin' bright;
To draw a top-hands wages when they're due or quit the job
And hunt a wealthy widow or an easy bank to rob.
Resolved, to quit the wagon when the chuck ain't up to snuff,
To feed no more on bullet beans nor chaw on beef that's tough.
Resolved, to straddle nothin' in the line of saddle mount
That ain't plumb easy-gaited, gentle broke, and some account.

Resolved, that when it blizzards and there's stock out in the storm,
To let the owner worry while I stay in where it's warm.
Resolved, that when it comes my turn next spring to ride the bogs,
I'll don the bib and tucker of my town and Sunday togs,
And tell the boss, by gravies, if he craves to shed some blood,
Just try to make me smear 'em tailin' moo-cows from the mud.
Resolved, that when a thunderhead comes rollin' up the sky,
I'll lope in off my circle to the bunkhouse where it's dry.

Resolved, to do such ropin' as a ropin' cowhand must,
But never when the air ain't free from cattle-trompled dust.
Resolved to show no hosses, and resolved, to swim no cricks;
Resolved, no dead-cow skinnin', and resolved, no fence to fix.
Resolved, to swing no pitchfork, no pick, no ax, no spade;
Resolved to wear my whiskers—if I want to—in a braid!
Resolved, to take this New Year plenty easy through-and-through,
Instead of sweatin' heavy like I've always used to do.

As one who's been a cowhand since before who laid the chunk,
It may sound like I'm loco, or it may sound like I'm drunk
To make such resolutions as you see upon my list,
And others purt near like 'em that my mem'ry may have missed;
But gosh, they sound so pleasant to a son of saddle sweat!
And New Year's resolutions—well, I never kept one yet!
So why make resolutions that bring furrows to your brow?
Let's make 'em free and fancy—'cause we'll bust 'em anyhow!

© 1966, S. Omar Barker, from Rawhide Rhymes
reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker; further reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.


See our feature about S. Omar Barker here.


The Cowboys New Years Dance

We were sitting' round the ranch house some twenty hands or more
Most of us Americans but a few from Arkansas
One Dutchman from the fatherland one Johnny Bull from Leeds
A Cornishman from Cornwall all men of different creeds.
They were a sittin' an a arguin' busy as a hill of ants
How they'd get rid of the money they had buried in their pants
That they'd made by hard cow punching working all the year around
From sunup until sundown an' a sleepin' on the ground
Where at night the polecat saunters round the chuck box after grub
And in passing by your hot roll gives your head a friendly rub
Where the rattlesnake lays dormant his fangs are like a lance
'Twas with them that I attended The Cowboys New Years Dance.

The town it was Roswell City old Chaves' county seat
Where they raise fine shorthorn cattle that are mighty hard to beat
Where they send the frail consumptive in search of instant health
And the hills is just a bustin' with their pent up mineral wealth.
Where the wells are all artesian and flow fish and water too
'Least so says the Roswell people so I sorter guess it's true
Where laughin' Joe the darky bust up Mulkey's show one day
By laughin' at prayer meetin' and old Abe he went away
Charles Perry he was a sheriff and G Curry county clerk
Where they caught Bill Cook the outlaw and sent him off to work
Where the moonbeams on the Pecos seem to glitter and to glance
I received an invitation to the Cowboys New Years Dance.

The boys had been invited and they just come in herds
The ladies more numerous had flocked to town like birds
Old Roswell was just crowded there was horses everywhere
Looked like some long procession headed for a county fair
Where everything was orderly as I remember well
Invitations were extended to the Roswell Stone Hotel
The music was a fiddle a guitar and a banjo
And the way those three boys played em'
It was fully half the show the women folks set together
All the boys stood in the door 'till the caller commenced yellin'
For just one couple more
And the music started windin' an' a wailin' like some hants
That had come to cast their hoodo on the Cowboy New Years Dance

The caller was a feller one of Atkinson's men
Who had the reputation of once being in the pen
His outfit sort of gaudy big spurs an' concha's bright
Fringed leggin's and gold buttons six feet about his height.
He was tall an' angular an, a broncho buster right
An' at callin' out the dances he was simply out of sight
Soon he commenced to beller now fellers all begin
Grab your lovely partners an' every one jine in
First bow to your partners now four hands cross an' change
An' chase those pretty footies once around the range
Join once again your partners around the circles prance
It was getting interesting the Cowboys New Years Dance,

Next dance will be the Lancers round up your ladies boys
Cut them all to the centre and never mind the noise
Chase your lovely critters all into the branding pen
Everybody swing everybody else's girl and swing them once again
Dash your line on the nearest filly and drag her from the herd
Re-sume your former places and swing her like a bird
Now Brownfield strike out in the lead all grand right and left
Swing each one when half way round never mind their hat
Now ladies to the centre all hands do se do
Right hand in left hand out swing and let her go
Trail block Jack to your settees for that winds up the lance
My but it was getting furious the Cowboys New Years Dance.

The refreshments came round often till all hands had their fill
Past round uncerimonous like by Broncho Buster Bill
Though his gait was quite uncertain he never lost his feet
And at complementing ladies he was mighty hard to beat
To close up the night proceedings we ragged "Turkey in the Straw"
Till we wore out musicians and they could play no more
We were served with soda water red eye and pilsner beet
And the conversation never lagged 'twas most penetrating clear
'En those who never danced before would dance with all their might
'En the most peaceably inclined citizens went hunting for a fight
So we saddled up our horses drifted homeward to the ranch
With a happy recollection of the Cowboys New Years Dance.

from Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys, 1908

Thorp attributed "The Cowboys New Year's Dance" to "Mark Chisholm" in Songs of the Cowboys, but evidence indicates it was Thorp's work.  Mark L. Gardner, editor of the 2005 book and recording, Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys, comments:

"The Cowboys New Year's Dance" was one of several songs that Jack Thorp sent to music publisher Kenneth S. Clark in 1934 and claimed as his own.  "The Cowboys New Years Dance" is mentioned at least twice in correspondence between Thorp and Clark, now in the Thorp collection at the Huntington Library.  Here's a telling quote from a letter from Clark to Thorp of June 22, 1934:

As to the verses in the book [1908 edition of Songs of the Cowboys] which
were written by you, can you tell me if the following were written to any
particular tune or if some tune has been set to them: "Chopo," "Pecos River
Queen," "The Cowboys' New Year's Dance" and "Speckles."  If so, I'd be glad
to reproduce them in the new book with credit to you as the author.

Thorp seems not to have had a tune or melody for "The Cowboys New Year's Dance," and Clark, in a letter of July 7, 1934, wrote that he tried to compose an original melody for the song but "came to the conclusion that the best plan would be to publish it in the book to the tune of 'Turkey in the Straw', which fits it perfectly and which, indeed, is mentioned in the song."

Later that same year, Clark did publish "The Cowboys' New Year's Dance" to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw" in his The Happy Cowboy and His Songs of Pioneer Days (New York: Paull-Pioneer Music Corp., 1934), pp. 5-7.  On page 5, under the title of the song, it states "Words by N. Howard (Jack) Thorp."

See our feature about Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys here.


"The Cowboys New Years Dance" is a parody of Larry Chittenden's "The Cowboys Christmas Ball": 

The Cowboys' Christmas Ball 
To the Ranchmen of Texas

'Way out in Western Texas, where the Clear Fork's waters flow,
Where the cattle are "a-browzin'," an' the Spanish ponies grow;
Where the Northers "come a-whistlin'" from beyond the Neutral Strip;
And the prairie dogs are sneezin', as if they had "The Grip";
Where the cayotes come a-howlin' 'round the ranches after dark,
And the mocking-birds are singin' to the lovely "medder lark";
Where the 'possum and the badger, and rattlesnakes abound,
And the monstrous stars are winkin' o'er a wilderness profound;
Where lonesome, tawny prairies melt into airy streams,
While the Double Mountains slumber, in heavenly kinds of dreams;
Where the antelope is grazin' and the lonely plovers call--
It was there that I attended "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The town was Anson City, old Jones's county seat,
Where they raised Polled Angus cattle, and waving whiskered wheat;
Where the air is soft and "bammy," an' dry an' full of health,
And the prairies is explodin' with agricultural wealth;
Where they print the Texas Western, that Hec. McCann supplies
With news and yarns and stories, uv most amazin' size;
Where Frank Smith "pulls the badger," on knowin' tenderfeet,
And Democracy's triumphant, and might hard to beat;
Where lives that good old hunter, John Milsap, from Lamar,
Who "used to be the Sheriff, back East, in Paris sah!"
'T was there, I say, at Anson with the lovely "widder Wall,"
That I went to that reception, "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles;
The ladies
"kinder scatterin'"had gathered in for miles.
And yet the place was crowded, as I remember well,
'T was got for the occasion, at "The Morning Star Hotel."
The music was a fiddle an' a lively tambourine,
And a "viol came imported," by the stage from Abilene.
The room was togged out gorgeous-with mistletoe and shawls,
And candles flickered frescoes, around the airy walls.
The "wimmin folks" looked lovely-the boys looked kinder treed,
Till their leader commenced yellin': "Whoa! fellers, let's stampede,"
And the music started sighin', an' awailin' through the hall
As a kind of introduction to "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,
They called him "Windy Billy," from "little Deadman's Branch."
His rig was "kinder keerless," big spurs and high-heeled boots;
He had the reputation that comes when "fellers shoots."
His voice was like a bugle upon the mountain's height;
His feet were animated an' a mighty, movin' sight,
When he commenced to holler, "Neow, fellers stake your pen!
"Lock horns ter all them heifers, an' russle 'em like men.
"Saloot yer lovely critters; neow swing an' let 'em go,
"Climb the grape vine 'round 'em
all hands do-ce-do!
"You Mavericks, jine the round-up- Jest skip her waterfall,"
Huh!  hit wuz gettin' happy, "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball!"

The boys were tolerable skittish, the ladies powerful neat,
That old bass viol's music just got there with both feet!
That wailin', frisky fiddle, I never shall forget;
And Windy kept a-singin'-I think I hear him yet

"Oh Xes, chase yer squirrels, an' cut 'em to one side;
"Spur Treadwell to the centre, with Cross P Charley's bride;
"Doc. Hollis down the middle, an' twine the ladies' chain;
"Varn Andrews pen the fillies in big T Diamond's train.
"All pull yer freight together, neow swallow fork an' change;
"'Big Boston,' lead the trail herd, through little Pitchfork's range.
"Purr 'round yer gentle pussies, neow rope 'em! Balance all!"
Huh!  hit wuz gettin' active-"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball!"

The dust riz fast an' furious; we all jes' galloped 'round,
Till the scenery got so giddy that T Bar Dick was downed.
We buckled to our partners, an' told 'em to hold on,
Then shook our hoofs like lightning, until the early dawn.
Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans. No sire 'ee!
That whirl at Anson City just takes the cake with me.
I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill,
Give me a frontier break-down, backed up by Windy Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhar: when Windy leads the show,
I've seen 'em both in harness, and so I sorter know

Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget yer, and I'll oftentimes recall,
That lively gaited sworray
"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

by Larry Chittenden, from Ranch Verses, 1893

See our feature on Larry Chittenden here.



c. 1910




New Year's At Cutter Bill's

'Twas New Year's Eve at Cutter Bill's,
the old year 'bout to pass.
The boys stood tall as one and all
prepared to raise his glass.

The room was filled with music now,
an ol' piano roll.
It had to do since losin' Lou
with midnight 'bout to toll.

"It don't seem right," a patron said,
" that Lou ain't with us here
a-bringin' in the New Year men
with song and glass of beer."

"You're right as rain," the barkeep said,
"I'll tell you what we'll do.
I'll draw a round and put it down
in mem'ry of ol' Lou."

And so a draft of foamy beer
was placed where all could see
atop that ol' piano roll
where Lou's spot used to be.

The barkeep, Slim, had set the clock
to signal in the year.
and as the stroke of midnight broke
the boys began to cheer.

When suddenly the room went quiet
the music now had changed.
the hauntin' rhyme of Auld Lang Syne
was playin' sure and plain.

"My Lord," the barkeep raised alarm,
"there's somethin' awful wrong.
That tune I swear weren't put on there
and half that beer is gone."

The impact of that bit of news
caught ever' man off guard,
and there and then them full-grown men
found need to swallow hard.

"It must've been," a cowboy said,
a roll don't change it's song,
and as for how it's half full now,
it likely was the foam.

Then sure enough as though on cue
the music weren't the same
that ancient roll returned as old
to Buff'lo Gals again.

Then all the boys began to laugh.
"That was a good'un Slim."
I know ol' Lou would sure approve
the way you honored him."

The boys now took their leave to go
twas time for headin' in.
The New Year here, the barroom clear,
of all that band of men.

The barkeep smiled; he had indeed
played tricks upon the crew,
then got a poke to help the joke
by askin' 'bout ol' Lou.

Ol' Slim was 'bout to laugh out loud
when somethin' struck him wrong,
and at the sight his face went white:
that entire beer was gone.

© 2005, Rod Nichols
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without  permission.


New Year's Eve

I'll saddle the roan then ride out alone
neath a clear moon with frost on the ground,
to a high ridge I know
through the dark pines and snow
far away from the dim lights of town.

In a short space of time a hillside I'll climb
to the top with my face to the wind,
and there I'll just wait
as the hour grows late
and a new year once more will begin.

I'll take a look then on where I have been
and the changes the old year has brought,
the good times and bad
some happy some sad
as the faces of time fill my thoughts.

In the silence of night from that small patch of white
I'll say "Adios" to lost friends,
with a small prayer at last
for the present and past
then I'll ride down that hill once again.

© 2000 Rod Nichols

This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without  permission.


Rod Nichols 

All of Rod Nichols' many, many friends, fans, and family are saddened by his death on December 22, 2007.

Read more of Rod Nichols' poetry here.



Ode to an Old Friend

This life's been a grand undertaking
On a long and a tortuous trail;
Emotions and dreams kept us floating
Like ships breaking waves at full sail.

We've partaken of visual wonders...
Watched the trout rise to harvest a fly

While mountains--shaken by thunder

Flashed neon 'neath lightning-framed sky...

We've thrilled at the elk's lusty whistle
Marveled at spots on a fawn;
Then, quick as a shot from a pistol:
These symbols of freedom were gone.

We've rigged a team in dray trappings,
Sowed joy from a buckboard behind,
Motivated by multitudes clapping,
In response to old ballads aligned.

We've sought for the fruits of the forest

These ravaged and gutted by man,
Whose intentions
not always the purest,
Embrace his municipal plan.

We've seen sections of lush vegetation

Which loss we may never atone,
Yield to a civilization...
Its asphalt, skyscrapers and stone.

Ox wagons, once truly symbolic...
A vestige of migrations west,
Wore wheels that preceded the frolic
of autos man soon would possess.

Songs Written in Delicate sonnets,
Harmonized in a warm hearted swoon,
Emphasized a pure life on the planet

While rockets raced up to the moon.

We've seen the invincible humbled,
Our century three quarters gone,
From the full bloom of youth we have stumbled
And still times march presses on.

Now fanatics die by the legion;
They call this, "Allegiance to God,"
Others leap to defend each his region;
It's the righteous who bloody the rod!

It's peculiar, the road we have traveled,
And, no doubt, we'd transverse it again.
Do not bolt as the world comes unraveled,
But, drive on, for great goodness remains.

© 2006, Bob Schild
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

Read more of Bob Schild's poetry here.



The Porch Light

When your mountain trail is long and daunting
And your spirit's feeling cold and wanting

Like a far-away flicker of firefly light
Or Polaris, bright, in the high dark night

There's a glow that guides you homeward bound
And bids you welcome without a sound.

It shines its light for your safe return
The porch light waits with patient burn.

When your steep trail tumbles for the valley floor
May you ride to the light at your front door.

© 2006,
Janice Gilbertson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


If I, the Poet

If I, the Poet, could lend you the simple words I know
That would take you to the high ridge, would you go?

If you could hear the winds a'rush and breathe the piney air
Could you close your eyes and travel with me there?

If my humble pen could lay the words across the barren page
Could you go with me and ride the desert sands and sage?

Would you lope across the prairie? Would you ride the river break?
Would you go if I, the poet, wrote until my fingers ache?

Oh, If I, the poet, wrote the words that brought a nod of knowing
Or a smile at a memory or shameless tears a'flowing...

Or could you hear the merriment of leather squeaks and bridle chain!
My search for telling words to share would not be done in vain.

If lasting until eternity or fleeting as a shooting star
I, the poet, give to you my words, ordinary as they are.

© 2007, Janice Gilbertson
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.

Read more of Janice Gilbertson's poetry here.


A New Year a New Day!

A crisp new canvas on the easel,
An untouched meadow, snowy white,
 We pause to choose our palette,
To see what tale our tracks may write.

So rest a while.
Reflect a bit,
Start your New Year slow,
Lest rage and passion of bygone days,
 Stain crimson on the snow.

Choose the path that suits you best,
Paint with colours that will last!
For the future lies unblemished,
By the errors of the past.

© 2006, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Wishful Thinking?

I wish you all the hope and Joy,
This season ought to bring.
Enough hay, grub and firewood,
To see you through to spring.

May you all find peace and happiness,
With friends and family near,
And may a stronger cattle market,
Bring a real Happy New Year!

© 2007, Mike Puhallo
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.



Mike Puhallo, photo rustled from his web site


His family and many friends mourn the loss of Mike Puhallo, popular poet, cowboy, artist, Kamloops Cowboy Festival organizer on June 24, 2011.

Read more of Mike Puhallo's poetry here.


A Special Year-end Message

This past year, did you find something at that interested you? Did you visit for poetry, news, event information, features? Was your own poem included at the BAR-D? Was your local gathering announced, or were you a part of a gathering report? Did we share your news with our many readers? Your support is vital.

All that happens at the BAR-D is made possible by the essential contributions of generous supporters:; Cowboy Poetry Week and its annual Western art poster; The BAR-D Roundup compilation CD; and the Rural Library Project that distributes posters and CDs to rural libraries. We've received generous donations of $10 and donations of $1000; and we are grateful for them all. 

Become a supporter, make a tax-deductible donation, perhaps in memory of someone who treasured our Western Heritage: Make a difference.

Read some of our supporters' comments here,  visit the Wall of Support, and donate!

Read all about our history, the Center, and about how you can be a part of it all right here.

You can make a donation by check or money order, by mail (please use the form here for mail to PO Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450) or by a secure, on-line credit card payment through PayPal (a PayPal account is not required): is a project of The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, a tax-exempt non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Act. Contributions to the Center are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes.

As in all journalistic endeavors, no editorial preference is given to financial sponsors or supporters.



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