Special:  Cowboy Love Poetry

Complete list of cowboy love poetry


Jo Lynne Kirkwood
Merle's Opus
Longer than Time Understands 

Charley Sierra
Gunnin' for Cupid

Mike Puhallo
Valentine's Day on the Ranch
Scour Pills and Roses

Don Gregory
Texas to St. Paul
Fancy Words

Hal Swift
Jimmy's Valentine Poem




Page Five 

Merle's Opus

Merle was known to be frugal.
He had a conservative way.
He’d wear out his jeans plumb to rivets and strings
whilst saving for some rainy day.
He lived on the wages of wranglin,
which is pert near the same ones as sin,
But since nothin’ came out of his pockets
he was able to keep what come in.

Merle had grown up with the wisdom
his daddy had known about,
That if you had somethin’ then you made it do,
and if not then you done without.
And Merle had been makin and doin’
for goin’ on forty-some years,
Till he met himself up with a woman
singin’ siren’s songs into his ears.

Her name was Velma.  And she’d been away.
Educated at cosmetology school.
She’d fallen a little, then picked herself up.
And she weren’t nobody’s fool.
She called her establishment
Velma’s International Beauty Bazaar
and it happened it was situated
just across the street from Pete’s Bar
and Grill, where the boys all gathered
to engage in coffee and talk.
And Merle couldn’t help it.  He was intrigued
as she came in and went out of her shop.

And as Merle was of the opinion
that girls was a pricey affliction
He’d done without women ‘most all of his days,
held out for the bachelor condition
But now Merle set to thinkin’
about choices he’d like to make over, ‘cause
He’d seen it revealed. The things you ain’t got
is the things you’re most hankerin’ for.

A cowboy’s life can be lonely.
There ain’t many feminine charms
And ‘times a man longs for a gentler voice,
and the comfort of womanly arms
To wrap close around him and ward off the night,
comfort him when he’s sick.
Merle got the feelin’ later than some fellers do,
but when it hit, it hit like your ton o’ brick.

He strung out the hose, found a bucket,
then hauled out his old pick-up truck
And by the time he got finished polishing the chrome
you wouldn’t a recognized it
for the ‘74 Ford F-150
he’d bought cheap back in ‘83.
Then he shocked the whole outfit by purchasing boots,
new Larados from Duke’s Saddlery.

He set out to court Velma with gusto.
She never stood a chance.
Had her eatin’ at Pete’s and goin’ to movies
and out to the Buckskin to dance.
Some folks used to say Merle was stingy.
A skinflint.  A tightwad.  Cheap.
But Velma didn’t see nothin’ that she didn’t like,
and it turns out their courtship was brief.

And since Velma had gone for some schoolin’
and had learned her a little bit
‘bout just what it takes to get on in this life
and appreciate what you git,
‘fore September had turned into Autumn
she’d said “I will, without a doubt.”
And according to Merle, he said “I do”
‘cause he was done with doin’ without.

February 2000  Jo Lynne Kirkwood


Jo Lynne Kirkwood is a Lariat Laureate.  Read more of her poetry here.



Longer Than Time Understands

Up on Stuart Johnson’s place, which is the old M & O in Salina Canyon, you can find the remains of a cabin where the original homesteaders somehow or another made a life for themselves thirty miles from town, up beyond what would barely pass for a wagon track road. I first learned about this story from one of my students, who is part of the Johnson family. Then last summer during the roundup we did a trail ride on the ranch, and I got to actually see the site. There’s not much left there now, other than some old weathered timbers and memories. But the story is that the original couple is buried there, side by side. And if you look in the underbrush you can still see where those mounds must be. The story just fascinated me, that people could be so strong, have such faith in their ability to endure.

He had little money so he gave her the morning,
Blue and sparkling like diamonds and gold.
And he hadn't much learning but the poems that he told her
were sunsets and dawns to behold.
Then she gave him her heart and a lock of her hair,
braided gold for their wedding bands,
and he promised to love her, to honor, to stay by her
for longer than time understands.

In the mountains of Utah surrounded by aspen
Near a stream fed by snowfields up high,
He built her a cabin of pine logs watched over
by a cloudless deep blue Utah sky.
And he could buy no fine things but he built her a bed
From aspen he'd hewn with his hands,
and he promised to love her, to honor, to stay by her
for longer than time understands.

Utah do you still hear their voices,
Calling soft through the clear mountain air?
In that high Wasatch Range
That cabin remains
Filled with whispers of the love that lingers there.

There were trials that came to them but they faced them together,
Hard winters, poor crops, deadly storm,
But they held on to living and they held to each other
and together they weathered life's harm.
And now by a marker half hidden in brambles
in that clearing where the cabin still stands,
two mounds mark his promise to love her, to stay by her
for longer than time understands,
two mounds mark his promise to love her, to stay by her
for longer than life understands.

Utah do you still hear their voices,
Calling soft through the clear mountain air?
In that high Wasatch Range
That cabin remains
Filled with whispers of the love that lingers there.

2002, Jo Lynne Kirkwood 
This song may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Read more of Jo Lynne Kirkwood's poetry here



Gunnin' for Cupid

I got my twelve-gauge primed up
With a double-ought buck load;
If Cupid wants to keep his hair,
He won't come up MY road.

If that varmint comes around this year,
I'm gonna lay him low;
He won't get no chance to nock
An arrow in his bow.

Ya guessed it- love has wounded me;
My heart's shot fulla holes,
'N' one dang woman slapped
A runnin' iron on my SOUL!

Them ladies throw a big wide loop
'N' rope me ever' year;
But I'm gonna shoot their scout,
Afore they make this bull a STEER!

I think I'll mount his cherub head
Right up above the door;
Or should I let him live,
'N' keep him 'round to do the chores?

Either way, I reckon
I'll be doin' men a favor;
They'll break them chains of love at last,
'N' consider me their savior!

He's comin' now, 'cause I can hear
The sound of flappin' feathers;
All right, Cupid, fill yer hand!
Time to slap some leather!

Aw dang, there's someone with him!
That Cupid shore is shady;
How'd he know that I ain't got
The heart to SHOOT A LADY?

1994 Rip-Snortin' Press


Charley Sierra is a Lariat Laureate runner up.  Read more of his poetry here.



Valentine's Day on the Ranch

You might buy your darlin' chocolates,
wrapped in a bow or two.
Or a dozen pretty roses,
The choice is up to you.

You could take her out to dinner,
or go dancing for a change.
do what ever it takes to brighten her life,
in your home out on the range.

It's a matter of survival,
Because once calving's in full swing.
you'll have very little time for romance,
until the first green grass of Spring.

Don't take your Valentine for granted,
be sure to show her that you care.
So when you need her help at 2 A.M.
With luck she'll still be there!

2002, Mike Puhallo

Scour Pills and Roses

Well! so it is, once again,
that romantic time of year.
Time to tally up the vet supplies,
'cause calving time is near.

Sulpha drugs and Penicillin,
Scour pills and a dozen roses.
Rubber gloves and Vaseline,
to rub on frostbit noses.

At least two dozen needles,
some iodine and suture string.
I make a list of the stuff we need
To get us through 'til spring.

So I gas up the pick-up
Off to town before everything closes.
for groceries and essential stuff,
like scour pills and a dozen roses.

2004, Mike Puhallo

Mike Puhallo is an Honored Guest.  Read more of his poetry here.



Texas, to St. Paul

He was a Texas cowhand,
From down around Ft. Worth.
And he had never been gone too long,
From the country of his birth.

But he met this little filly,
A girl with flaxen hair.
And she hailed from Minnesota,
Which is way up north, somewhere.

He tried his best, to keep his mind,
On the herd he’s hearing bawl.
His body’s stuck in Texas,
But his heart is in St. Paul.

His mind it starts to wander,
And pictures fill the air.
He sees the gold reflected,
As the sunlight hits her hair.

He recalls her awesome beauty,
Her smile, her flawless skin.
But the thing that touches him the most,
Was the beauty deep within.

His mind it keeps adriftin’
As he’s working out a draw.
His body’s here in Texas,
But his heart is in St. Paul.

He takes a long hard look,
At the land that he loves so.
A place he thought he’d never leave
And his feelings start to flow.

He gazes that the house he built,
‘Neath the trees, up on that hill.
“Everything a man could want…”
That’s what he told old Bill.

But now it seems so empty,
And it echoes, at his call.
His body’s here, in Texas,
But his heart is in St. Paul.

Now he’s on the platform,
Rail ticket in his hand.
Written instructions handed,
To his old and trusted friend.

These tell you what to do, old pard,
In case I don’t come back.
The lower 40’s yours, my friend,
For taking up the slack.

Just sell the rest, and wire the cash,
‘Cause I wont need the land at all.
I won’t come back to Texas,
Without my darlin’ from St Paul.

Don Gregory


Fancy Words

How much do I love thee?
A poet one time asked.
His answer was an awesome thing,
As in love's glow he basked.

Now I can't speak at all like that,
Fancy words don't come my way.
I find simple words, the best,
For things I have to say.

Like how much do I love you?
Well, old Shakespeare, he might say.
I love you as the morning dew,
Doth love the brand new day.

And how strong are my feelings?
He'd prob'ly say with glee.
My love is strong enough to bind,
My soul, with that of thee.

And I wonder what old Bill would say,
About how long my love will last.
Till both earth and time stand still,
They sure spoke fine in days gone past.

Words like that, you just don't hear,
Around no cattle camp.
Anyhow they'd sound plum strange,
Spoke by a saddle tramp.

I wish I had those fancy words,
To tell about my love.
I even hit my knees, and asked,
For help from up above.

My hands are cold and clammy,
As I try to find a word,
I've even asked these waddies,
For any phrase, they might have heard.

They all just laugh at me,
And say, "go give her a kiss.
You're gonna have a heart attack,
If you keep on like this.

But I got to get this message right,
You simply have to know.
How my heart feels deep inside,
And how I need you so.

I'll love you for forever,
My love is strong and true.
My love's so big my heart might burst,
These things, I'd say to you.
But I ain't no fancy writer,
So I'll just say I love you.
Ill leave the fancy words to someone else,
Just say you love me too.

2002, Don Gregory

 Read more of Don Gregory's poems here



Jimmy's Valentine Poem

Jimmy, a friend, of mine tells this story
of a poem that he once wrote.
It's for a girl he seen in a local parade,
ridin' the Kiwanis' float.

He says she looks like an angel come down
to bless ever'body on earth.
And he decides he'll tell 'er first hand,
just what her visit is worth.

He figures that writin' a Valentine's poem
is maybe the best way to go.
So that's what he does, he takes pencil in hand,
and the words just literally flow.

"You are," he writes, "more beautiful than
a baby pig is to 'er mother.
Your face is sweeter than a fresh green onion,
when compared to any other.

"Your smile lights up the morning sky,
like a fire at brandin' time.
Your voice is softer than the belly of a calf,
whose parents have been judged prime.

"I gotta say, you're the purtiest gal
this cowpoke ever did see.
And, if you ever wanta go out on the town,
just put in a call to me."

Well, Jimmy, he sends his poem to the girl,
and waits by 'is phone for her call.
He just sets there, in front of 'er photo
that he's hung on the bunkhouse wall.

A week goes by, before the telephone rings,
but it's the beauty queen's mean ol' dad.
He says t'Jimmy, "Stay away from my daughter!
If ya don't I'm gonna hurt y'bad!"

Well, Jimmy is no small amount dismayed,
by this unseen turn of events.
And it hurts 'im deep—so deep in fact,
he ain't wrote another poem since.

And I've heard tell, that this beauty queen
has taken a serious vow, boys.
That whatever happens the rest of 'er life,
she ain't never datin' no cowboys.

2012, Hal Swift
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.





 Read more of Hal Swift's poems here



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