Cowboy Poetry/Connected
© 2001
Author: Jane MortonBodie
Cowboy Poetry

The roundups, the calvings
The brandings are done,
As ranchers sell out
And move on one by one

We must tell the stories
So memories live on
Past time when the tellers
Themselves are all gone

Like snowflakes in blizzards
changes come thick and fast
Obliterates the landmarks
that link ranching past

We need tell stories
share memories we’ve amassed
To help the ones who follow
Ride out the storm's blast

Jane Morton/Bodie 6-16-07


My father loved his cattle ranch.
His life was centered there.
And so, connected to that earth
Knew who he was and where.

He knew about its history,
And its geology,
And how his land had lain beneath
A once vast inland sea.

"The bottom land is rich," he said,
"Where rivers used to run.
The best land in the world," he said.
"This soil is next to none."

He knew each inch of pasture land
And every cow by sight.
He knew how good his corn crop looked
In early morning light.

He'd frozen in the winter cold
On truck beds forking hay.
He'd sweltered in the summer sun
Out looking for a stray.

He'd branded cattle in the spring,
Cut silage in the fall.
He seldom took on extra help,
But tried to do it all.

He'd seen the drought go on and on,
And grass turn brittle-dry.
He'd seen the price of cattle drop,
Expenses go sky-high.

The weather and the price of beef
Were things he couldn't change.
He couldn't keep a grass-fed fire
From burning up his range.

Beyond that, though, there wasn't much
That he could not control
Except the years that went too fast,
And age that took its toll.

Dad never would have left his ranch,
For he had been ground-tied,
Connected to that place of his
Until the day he died.

Although his body may be gone,
His spirit's still out there
Astraddle his old buckskin horse,
He's workin' cows somewhere.

© 2001, Jane Morton