Cowboys moving cattle using their horses and dogs.
Cowboy Poetry: Carole Jarvis
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Carole Jarvis © 2003                    illustrations by Larry Bute

DESERT COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS

The bells this cowboy's hearin',

aren't off of any sleigh.

They're 'round the necks of the old milk cows

comin' in for their mornin' hay.

 

There've been other times and places,

where there weren't snowflakes fallin',

But he can't remember a Christmas,

when there weren't cattle bawlin'.

 

The desert air is chilled,

as daylight tints the sky.

It's plenty cold enough for frost           

but the air is just too dry.

 

Against the graying pre-dawn

there's a darker silhouette.

A remuda horse has just come in,

but he can't tell which one yet.

 

The faint scent of creosote brush

drifts on the mornin' breeze,

And prob'ly because of the day

makes him think of Christmas trees.

 

Pausing, he watches the sunrise

break the hold of the night.

Objects begin to emerge from the dark

changing form in the light.

 

Saguaro, arms reaching skyward,

            cottonwood trees, bare limbed.

A rooster up on the big corral fence

            sittin' there crowin' at him.

 

An old cow begins to bawl,

            knowin' it's time for feed.

He breaks the bales and scatters the hay,

            and the others follow her lead.

 

Cattle and man have a bond,

            they've always been his life.

Over the years they've taken the place

            of a family and a wife.

 

As seasons follow seasons,

            he's never changed direction.

Horses, cattle, and wide-open spaces,

            the "cowboy connection".

 

"Merry Christmas, Girls," he calls,

            "here's a little extra hay.

An old cowboy likes to do his part

            to make this a special day!"

 

His Christmas seldom means presents,

            or bright lights on a tree,

More a time to pause and reflect

            on the way a man ought to be.

 

Some folks don't understand this,

            but it really isn't so strange.

It's what a cowboy's life's all about,

            to a shepherd of the range. 

 

I'm Glad I Still Live Where There's Cowboys
                                     
 by Carole Jarvis © 2003
                                                          illustrations by Larry Bute
I'm glad I still live where there's cowboys
who earn a wage makin' a hand.
Like their counterparts from another time,
these cowboys still ride for the brand.

When a group of 'em gather for roundup,
its like turnin' back a page
In a book on the history of cowboys,
from a different time and age.

They're up and out before dawn lights up the sky,
some youngsters, some old buckaroos.
Each shares a kinship for this way of life,
and each one has paid his dues.

I love watchin' 'em bring the cows in,
calves trailin' along beside,
And I'm thinkin', it won't be long now,
till those calves wear a brand on their hide.

I like listenin' to their quiet western drawls,
watchin' as they ride with such ease.
Jinglin' spurs hung on scuffed high heel boots,
and a good horse between their knees.

Cowboys in Levi® or Wrangler® jeans,
wearin' denim shirts with snaps,
Those dusty, sweat-stained old black Stetsons,
and tight-fittin' leather chaps.

These same men are partial to pickups,
primarily the four-wheel-drive kind,
Which they load with hay bales and cowdogs,
and pull a stock trailer behind.

You can hear their rigs comin' for miles
and see the dust in the air.
They drive like they're out chasin' rustlers,
'stead of only goin' somewhere.

Maybe haulin' a cow to the vet
or a load of calves to a sale,
Bringin' back fencin' supplies from town
or just pickin' up the mail.

There's always work to be done on a ranch,
and I seldom hear cowboys balk.
One exception to the rule, of course-
if the job means havin' to walk.

Yes, I'm glad I still live where there's cowboys,
'cause they're men on good terms with life.
And in them, the spirit of the West still lives;
I should know, I'm a cowboy's wife.

 

This poem appeared in the August 2000 issue of Western Horseman Magazine.  Published by permission of the author.

Carole Jarvis Carole Jarvis lives in Forepaugh, Arizona, near Wickenburg on her desert ranch, she writes and recites cowboy poetry, and is available for gatherings. 

Cowboy Poetry by Charlotte Thompson ] Cowboy Poetry by Mike Meaux ] Cowboy Poetry by Audrey Hankins ] [ Cowboy Poetry:  Carole Jarvis ] Cowboy Music ]

 


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