Urban Rancher Publishing

The Old Cowboy

  It was after one of these steak fry evenings that the Urban Rancher experienced one of those magical evenings which come so rarely. The guests had all departed, and it was just the family left, and an old friend of the family by the name of Edgar Hyatt.

  Edgar was one of the few remaining old-timers, an old horse-shoer all bent and battered, with an incredible memory. As we sat by the fire, he began to sing old cowboy songs, and then he shared with us a special poem he had written ...

Poems

The Urban Rancher
My Bike
Childhood's Maze
It's Almost Too Late
Little Brother
Floppy-Eared Dog
Only in Estes
Midlife
Death of an Old Friend
Flowers
The Mirror
McGraw Ranch
The Breakfast Ride
The Steak Fry
The Old Cowboy
The Mummy
The Ride
The Character
Our Steeds
The Garden
The Honeymoon Night
The Perfume
The Last Ranch
Patterns
Our Reunion
Where Are You Now?
The Forties
Mortality
Co-Dependents
Make Some Memories
Reflections
The High Country
How Can We Help?
Skybear
One of Those Days
The Vultures
Looking Backwards

It was a magical night, the fire had burned low,
And the guests had all gone to bed.
There were five of us left -- our family of four
And the battered old cowboy who looked half dead.

His body was bent and mis-shapen by work,
By years of shoeing horses, and by falls.
We sat by the campfire, one warm summer night,
Listening to the wind and the wild coyote calls.

Then Edgar, the old cowboy, started singing his songs,
In his monotone, gravelly voice so strange,
Not the modern well known ones, but the really old ones
That they sang years ago on the range.

The wind whistled gently, the aspens leaves rustled,
And the coyotes howled out their refrain.
At once we were transported sixty years back,
To when Edgar was a young cowboy again.

After a while he grew quiet, and we savored the sounds
That we'd heard ... a time beautiful and rare.
Then he told us a poem about lion hunting and dogs,
A personal thing he'd very rarely share.
. . .

He rumbled: "Come all you rough and tough hombres
Draw up your chairs to the fire
And we'll make big talk of lion hunting
To see who rates as the biggest liar."

"Some folks will tell you that hunting 'em is easy
To run them and tree'em is a snap
But pay them not much heed, little brother
For that is all a big bunch of . . baloney."

"You gotta be tough like the rawhide
And you gotta be rough like a cob.
And if you don't have these qualifications
You had darn well better not start on the Job."

"I've run them in snow to my pockets
In weather way down below zero.
And the first fifty years are the roughest
After that you might could be a hero."

"We have run them till darkness o'ertook us
Then make camp on the track for the night
You build a good fire to keep warm by
All you have got to do is wait for day light."

"With nothing to eat, not even a bisquit
Before morning your hunger is acute
And you ask the Good Lord to grant one favor
And that's let me latch on to that brute."

"And along about daylight next morning
After you have shivered the most of the night
You'll make of your mind for darn certain
That a lion hunter is not too darned bright."

"I'll give you the specifications to hunt lions
And to kinda set up front with the experts
It takes lots of guts and determination
And a size one hat and size 44 shirts."

"And whether you hunt them for money or pleasure
You will find lots of sorrows and joys
And if you live up to the specifications
It will darn well sort out the men from the boys."

"You will never hear more blessed music
Than Old Ranger and Spot and Old Red
As they run a hot track down the canyon
With the old cat not too far ahead."

"Now listen to them old hounds a'straining
As each one is trying to stay in the lead
But now they have stopped their running
And I'll bet you the chips they have treed."

"Let us get to them, you muscle-brained heros
Get prepared for a beautiful sight
For the old lion will look down from the tree top
And the old hounds will all want to fight."

"Well the lion has been treed and slaughtered
This brings to an end the wild chase
As night settles in, your work is not ended
For you're ten miles from home in a heck of a place."

"The weather is cold as a well diggers gable end
Things don't look too cheerful and bright
The snow is knee deep and is crusted
I wonder if we will ever get home tonight."

"We stagger in to the home spread about midnight
Both the men and dogs are tired and foot sore
And we tell the whole world to heck with it all
We'll never hunt lions no more."

"Well I've hunted with some darned fine fellows
The most of them True Blue to be sure
But once in a while one can't help but be chicken
And he smells of the fresh chicken manure."

"They tell of a beautiful place called Heaven
Where nothing is known of sorrow or care
But if they don't have snow to track lions
What in heck would I do if I was up there?"

"One night as I sat by the camp fire
I looked at the stars in the sky
And I couldn't help but wonder if ever a lion hunter
Had made it all the way to that sweet bye and bye."

"I am sure not one ever made it
I don't think very many would want to go
But if there was any way of telling
I am sure you would find several down below'"

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Estes Park CO 80517-3946 USA
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Copyright (c) 2006 Urban Rancher Publishing, Revised 27 November 2006