Special:  Cowboy Love Poetry

Complete list of cowboy love poetry


Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson)
Maverick Love Affair

Diane Thompson
Movin' On

Don Gregory
She Tied Her Hearts to Tumbleweeds

 George Bourbeau
The Catch Rope

Jim Fox
My Cattle Pennin' Angel

Ron Brinegar

Jack Burdette
The Loneliest Trail



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Maverick Love Affair

That dang little maverick had strayed again,
          and the boss sez to me, "Curly Black,
  Put that calf with the herd before sundown;
         its your job to bring her back!"

  She was down in the blackberry brambles;
          and pickin' berries there
  Was Jess Johnson's middle sized daughter,
          and she had that pretty red hair
  Tied back with a narrow ribbon --
          light blue just like her eyes,
  And before I got that calf out,
          I was in for a big surprise.

  She said, "There's a supper social
          at the church tomorrow at three,
  I thought you might be goin';
         'course it really don't matter to me"
  Well, I hadn't been much at church goin',
          but I sure was there on that day;
  Why, a herd of stampedin' cattle
          couldn't have kept me away!

  Most of the boxes was fancy --
          big flowers to make 'em go;
  But one had just blackberry blossoms
          tied up with a narrow blue bow.
  I'd have bid my horse and saddle,
          and I got that simple box --
  Also Jess Johnson's daughter --
          the one with the reddish locks.

  Now here's little Blossom and Berry Black;
          I think -- and I have to laugh
  When I see their blue eyes and their curly red hair --
          what I owe to that maverick calf!

1995 Dee Strickland Johnson (from her book, The Cowman's Wife)

Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson) is one of our Honored Guests.
Read more of her poetry here.



Movin' On

That cowboy was good lookin'
Great smile and blue eyes.
I never dreamed I would
Win such a prize.

Folks said he was restless,
Wouldn't stay with me long.
After all these years
I guess he's proved 'em wrong.

I've spent years cookin' and cleanin'
And feedin' the crew.
And sortin' and brandin',
Even pulled a calf or two.

He knew he could depend on me
To always be there.
Livin' and lovin' this
Life that we share.

We moved quite a bit
In the early years.
Leavin' family and friends,
I cried a few tears.

A few places weren't much better
Than sleepin' outside
But I was always glad
I came along for the ride.

It was a great way to raise our kids
Who've grown and moved away
But they always laugh
And remember the days

When they had chores to do
Before goin' to school.
Those responsibilities showed 'em
That life has a few rules.

Most cowboys work
At the whim of the boss,
But sometimes they move on
Just 'cause there's rivers to cross.

This was the longest
We'd lived anywhere,
And I thought we might stay
Since there's gray in our hair.

But he says, "It's time to move on.
Everything'll be fine."
That's life with a cowboy,
Taken one day at a time.

That look in his eyes
Says he's ready to go
And I'll be ready, too,
If I don't pack too slow.

Another garden will be left
For the new hired man's wife.
I hope it will ease
Some of the stress in her life.

There'll be lots of memories
In this place that I'll leave,
But it's not in my nature
To sit down and grieve.

The two of us together
Is how it should be.
Stayin' anywhere without him
Never appealed to me.

So I'm packin' our things
With a smile on my face.
The sadness I'll hide
And look forward to a new place.

They sang "Whither Thou Goest"
At my wedding, but see
I never dreamed what that
Would mean for me.

Now I know it means I'll follow
Wherever he goes,
And where we'll end up,
The Lord only knows.

This move might even bring us closer
To a little place of our own.
Yes, I married a cowboy
And I've always known

There'll be new and greener pastures
Somewhere to ride,
And, Lord willin',
We'll ride them together, side by side.

Diane Thompson

(Diane Thompson sometimes calls this poem Ode to Allen)


Read more of Diane Thompson's poems here




She Tied Her Hearts to Tumbleweeds

She looks out of the window,
At the ranch he brought her to.
Newly married, full of love,
By and by, the years they flew.

In time, she learned to love this land,
Even the winters, cold and raw.
For the flowers that bloomed in springtime,
Made up for it all

Then came the time when her husband left,
She’ll not forget the day.
He just went to town, to fetch some seed,
Some sixty miles away…

His horse shied from a rattler,
But, this, she’d never know.
For his life was spent, as his horse did jump,
Into a canyon, far below.

Never did she find him,
For several years she tried.
Most of the time, she worked the ranch,
And late at night she cried.

She started stitching little hearts,
For hers was aching so.
She tied those hearts to tumbleweeds,
And then she let them go.

Writing poems, in her spare time,
To keep her from feeling worse.
Then she’d take those little hearts,
And sew to them each verse.

Carrying hearts out to the wind,
For it always seemed to blow.
She tied her hearts to tumbleweeds,
And then she let them go.

Rafe, worked for the Rafter 7,
Building fence, and riding line.
Nothing in his life to prepare him for,
What he was about to find.

Something caught his eye one-day,
Just a little speck.
A heart tied to tumbleweed….
He wondered, “what the heck?”

He read the little poem inside,
And in his heart he felt her pain.
And he started gazing north,
Across the windswept plain.

What manner of woman did this?
He knew he had to know.
She tied her heart to tumbleweeds,
And then she let them go.

He rode down to the main house,
Just to draw his pay.
He didn’t try to explain to them,
What made him act this way?

For several months he searched,
Every canyon, every draw.
Searching hard for little hearts,
On every tumbleweed he saw.

Old Rocket, pulled up lame one day,
And he got off to let him rest.
When a tumbleweed, blew by,
A brand new heart, there on its crest.

He dropped the reins, and chased it down,
The ink, it wasn’t dry.
Then he knew the one he longed for,
Was bound to be close by.

Walking o’er the next rise,
From the way the tumbleweed came.
He saw the woman in the yard,
He knew he’d never be the same.

As he howdy’d to the house, he saw
The ranch, in need of a man.
He said “ma’am, my horse could use some rest”
“Looks like you could use a hand.”

She looked him up and down, and said,
“I can’t afford the pay,”
“But there hay, there for your horse”
“I’ll turn no animal away”

He said, “ma’am, this might be forward,
But I don’t know no other way”
And he reached inside his saddlebag,
And the hearts he did display.

“Ma’am, I believe that these are yours”
“I’ve been searching for you so”
“You’ve tied your hearts to tumbleweeds,”
“Why did you let them go?”

Dozens of tiny hearts, he held,
So gently in his hand.
In his eyes she saw such tenderness,
And a heart big as this land.

“Come inside, “ said she,
“Let’s get out of this wind”
“And I’ll tell you all about it”
“While your horse begins to mend”

They talked all evening,
Way after the sun went down.
And they were still conversing,
When morning rolled around.

She asked “how long you been searching?”
He said,”since early fall”
“Reckon, what day it really is?”
She got the calendar from off the wall.

“Oh my”, said she, in surprise,
As she looked up the date.
It’s February 14th,
She thought it must be fate.

Now, nearly twenty years have passed,
Since Rafe, and her first met.
And if you ride out toward Big Springs,
Their ranch is the biggest yet.

Now many a passerby, has wondered,
About the sign on the gate, and the words below.
Under a crimson heart, and a tumbleweed,
The words “and then she let them go”

Don Gregory


Don Gregory is a Lariat Laureate runner up. Read more of Don Gregory's poems here


The Catch Rope

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

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

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

George Bourbeau

(George told us he wrote and performed the above poem for his daughter's weddin', and he wrote the next one for the weddin' as well)


Giving the Bride Away

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

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

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

2000, George Bourbeau


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2000, George Bourbeau


Read more of George Bourbeau's poems here


My Cattle Pennin' Angel

Well she's loadin' up the horses.
in the first cold light of day.
Cuz there's a pennin' down the road,
and she's just gotta play.

No bigger than a minute,
but she's standin' ten foot tall.
A fire burin' deep inside,
that makes her give her all.

When cows are there for pennin',
she won't be far behind.
she shares with me this game she loves,
her body heart and mind.

And I'm proud to be beside her,
as she runs to chase her goal.
Her true love she gives to me,
but pennin' has her soul.

Jim Fox


Read more of Jim Fox's poems here



A lady pauses briefly
As her eyes well up with tears
For she thinks she's lost her beauty
To the hardships and the years

She remembers all the good times
When she was just a girl
And kept her cowboy smiling
With her laughing eyes and curls.

Now her face is showing wrinkles
And her hair is turning gray
She Wonders where that young girl went
She was here just yesterday

Then her cowboy steps beside her
Puts his arms around her waist
Turns her ever gently
Brushes teardrops from her face

There's something I must tell you
As I've held you through the years
Let me tell you what I see
For I will be your mirror

I can see the blue skies
Where other skies are gray
And I see children laughing
In the meadows where they play

I can see the Cattle Grazing
Just below the rise
And I can see a rainbow
From the twinkle in your eyes

I can see the Sweet grass
Swaying gently in the breeze
And I can see the sunrise
Through the golden Aspen trees.

I can see your heartbeat
Where Eagles cast their spell
And I can see your sweet Love
As deep as any well.

So when you stop to ponder
On reflections you hold dear
Just remember Darling
I will be your mirror

2000 R.L Brinegar

Read more of Ron Brinegar's poems here



The Loneliest Trail

I think by now, I've rode them all,
pushing cattle for little pay,
From Payson up through Happy Jack
and Heber, out the other way.
We drive them down for the winter
and back again, when snow is gone.
These are the roughest in the West,
the trails that climb the Mogollon.

We're winding out of Sedona,
through Bear Wallow Canyon today.
Merry-Go-Round Rock's just ahead.
Reckon tonight that's where we'll stay.
Late tomorrow, we'll hit the switchbacks,
as we climb the steep rim's south face.
With any luck, in 'bout a week,
we'll top out close to Jim Mund's place.

I think oft, as I ride along,
about that girl in Cottonwood.
She's weighing heavy on my mind,
a heap more than any girl should.
Daughter of a copper miner,
who works the claims up at Jerome.
She's the kind of gal that could make,
this cowboy want to find a home.

I met her at a town social
and asked if I might call on her.
That long black hair and cool green eyes,
gave this cowboy's heart quite a stir.
We seemed to hit it off just great
and I think she's carrying a torch.
Because, she didn't seem to mind,
when I kissed her on her side porch.

I think about the ranch up north,
with snow capped peaks and forests of pine.
The beauty there captures your soul,
yet, its far from the love of mine.
Looking back down the trail we've come,
the Verde Valley looks might good.
'Spose one could settle down there fine,
'though, I ain't saying that I would.

Now, no one made no promises
and don't know if she'll wait 'til fall.
Can't seem to shake this anxiousness,
a feeling like none I recall.
I've rode out on many a trail
and never had much cause to stall.
But, when you ride away from love,
it's the loneliest trail of all.

2005, Jack Burdette
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jack told us, "There is a Forest Service gravel road that winds down the Mogollon Rim from just south of Munds Park, Arizona to Sedona, Arizona, that was used for cattle drives. Bear Wallow Canyon and Merry-Go-Round Rock are actual land marks along this trail. The poem was inspired by pure imagination of the hardships of conducting a cattle drive in this extremely rugged terrain and then having to do it while heartsick over leaving a new-found love."

Read more of Jack Burdette's poems here





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