Poetry of a Florida Cowboy

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Overview

This book is a collection of poetry and experiences related by a Florida Cowboy. The Author explains the inspiration that led to most of these poems, and includes a brief personal history of himself and the cattle industry in the the state of Florida in his Introduction to the book. He will continue writing poetry, as this has become a part of his life. You can keep updated on some of David's latest cowboy poetry, as well as other Cowboy Poets by going online to ...
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Poetry of a Florida Cowboy

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Overview

This book is a collection of poetry and experiences related by a Florida Cowboy. The Author explains the inspiration that led to most of these poems, and includes a brief personal history of himself and the cattle industry in the the state of Florida in his Introduction to the book. He will continue writing poetry, as this has become a part of his life. You can keep updated on some of David's latest cowboy poetry, as well as other Cowboy Poets by going online to http://www.cowboypoetry.com/davidcarlton.htm .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477268568
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 9/28/2012
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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Poetry of a Florida Cowboy


By David Carlton

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2012 David Carlton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4772-6857-5


Chapter One

During my life I have traveled far and wide, and I have had people ask me, "What is a cowboy?" Some things, all cowboys have in common and some things differ, depending on their environment. With that in mind, I wrote the following.

    What is a Cowboy?


    What is a cowboy?
    Let me tell you sir
    A cowboy's a man
    With a jingling spur

    He never walks
    But rides a horse
    He moves around
    As he changes course

    His legs are crooked
    From a worn out saddle
    Some say they're bowed
    From sitting astraddle

    He seldom bathes
    And he usually smells
    You would too ...
    Living on the trail

    A cowboy is master
    Of ropes and guns
    The guns are for trouble
    The ropes are for fun

    A cowboy loves
    The sky so clear ...
    After all it's his home
    Year after year

    He loves the grass
    It's shimmering sheen
    The brown dry summer
    And the green of spring

    What is a cowboy?
    Let me tell you sir ...
    He's a kind hearted man
    Whose company I prefer

Most people recognize cowboys as being from out west, but all cowboys share a kinship, regardless of where they are from. Regardless of where a cowboy might work, a couple of times per year, the cattle must be gathered and worked. Calves have to be branded for identification, and bull calves have to be castrated. This working of cattle, before fence laws were enacted, required that cow crews go to where the cattle were. Cattle had a tendency of establishing their own favorite grazing territory. A chuck wagon became the cowboy's home away from home, while the cattle were being worked. The next couple poems describe cowboy life when the wagon was out.

    Cowboy's Life

    Silver spurs upon my feet
    A John B. on my head
    A saddle for my pillow, and
    A blanket for my bed

    The stars they sparkle in a violet sky
    With dew upon the ground
    A coyote howls his mournful cry
    It's a haunting weary sound

    I hear my pony munching grass
    As he hobble hops around
    Trying to fill an empty belly
    With some grass that he has found

    The cattle are bedded on the upwind side
    Scattered across the ground
    I hear the singing of the night rider
    As he slowly makes his rounds

    I think of the pleasures I left at home
    And wonder about my wife
    Such are the thoughts of a lonely man
    Who has chosen a cowboy's life


    Southern Cowboy

    I roll out of my bedroll
    At a quarter till five
    I pull on my boots
    It's good to be alive

    I rope me a pony
    From my little ranch string
    By the time he is saddled
    The breakfast bell rings

    I eat till I'm bloated
    That tasty ranch chuck
    I crawl on my pony
    To see if he'll buck

    On this day I'm lucky
    I don't have to mount twice
    We leave the camp easy
    Like walking on ice

    The sun starts climbing
    And shedding some light
    It's a hell of a day
    And a long time until night

    My pony is sweating
    With no water to be found
    The grass is all dry
    And a pale shade of brown

    We drive the herd easy
    It'll be a long day
    We have a long way to go
    Before we earn our pay

    With roping and branding
    Your back starts to ache
    It seems like a month
    Since the last time you ate

    Finally ... old Cookie
    Starts ringing his bell
    You shovel it down
    This life is pure hell

    You change your tired pony
    For a fresh one ... you see
    You'd give half a month's pay
    For a cool Southern breeze

    It's back to the herd
    And working again
    You're half way to sundown
    And then you'll turn in

    The afternoon's no better
    Up until three
    When over the horizon
    The clouds you can see

    They're rich and they're black
    And moving real fast
    You can see lightning flashing
    But you know it won't last

    You forget about the heat
    With a chill in your blood
    You feel the cool breeze
    That precedes a bad flood

    The rain really pours
    The lightning so bright
    You hold the herd steady
    It's getting dark as night

    Then rain finally passes
    The sun shining down
    The cows are splashing
    And milling around

    When the branding is over
    You're muddy and cold
    The foreman starts cutting
    The cows to be sold

    When the cutting is finished
    You let the herd go
    You're aching all over
    From your head to your toes

    The ride back to camp
    Is silent and slow
    The sun in the West
    Is a cherry red glow

    You pull off your saddle
    And rub you pony down
    The supper bell's ringing
    It's a heavenly sound

    The biscuits are fluffy
    Though cooked in a pot
    The meats cooked real tender
    The beans spicy hot

    You roll in your bedroll
    And pull off you boots
    Off in the distance
    You hear an owl hoot

    The whippoorwill's calling
    His voice sweet and clear
    You wish for a lady
    To hold and be near

    Another day's over
    You're tired to the bone
    The stars and the heaven
    Are the roof to your home

    It's a hard life for sure
    And though you'll die young
    You'd rather die happy
    In the hot Southern sun ...

Back when our ancestors were building this country, the average cowboy didn't have a lot to do for recreation or pleasure. Even in rural Florida, cow town's provided what entertainment they could. Other than a shave and a haircut, a bottle of booze and a town dance, there wasn't a lot else for a lonely cowboy to do.

Female companionship was sometime available, until the town mothers decided it was time to run that sort of painted lady, far away from the men in her life.

It wasn't often that payday rolled around, and when it did, many a lonesome cowboy headed for the nearest watering hole, looking for any type of fun he could find. Arcadia was one of the cow towns in Central Florida that earned a rough reputation. Even Frederick Remington, during his only visit to Florida, noted for Harpers Weekly what a wild place Arcadia was.

One thing that was common in any cow operation was that cowboys worked when it was time to work, and raised hell when it was time to let the wolf howl. The cow boss didn't necessarily like it, but it was easy for him to forgive these wild sons of nature. The following poem is based upon those fun times.

    Cow Town Jail


    Ten days ago he saddled up
    And rode old paint to town
    To do the things all cowboys do
    Whenever time is found

    He went to the saloon and the barber too
    And then he found a dance
    He wanted company, a girl to meet
    But he never got the chance

    For in the whole town, none were found
    That wasn't already wed
    So a lonely cowboy with love on his mind
    Had nobody to share a bed

    It was back to the bar and the whiskey too
    To forget the lonely night
    As often happens in a cow town bar
    He was soon involved in a fight

    On Monday morning ... before a Judge
    When finally the gavel fell
    Ten dollars or fourteen days ...
    In a lonely cow town jail

    He just rode in and to the barn he went
    To pull his saddle down
    He's ready to ride for the brand again
    Until his next trip to town

On June 25 and 26, 1876, on the banks of the Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and Gall lead about 1800 warriors in defense of their village. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, known as Yellow Hair to the Sioux, defied his commander's direct orders and chose to attack the Indian village ahead of the main force. Custer was seeking the glory that would get him elected as the next President of the United States. Custer divided his force of 700 men and made his attack without his unit being at full strength. Five of his companies were annihilated and Col. Custer himself was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Total U.S. deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded. It is with these facts in mind that I wrote the next poem.

    Custer

    Custer led the 7th
    In glory and in fame

    The Indians knew him as Yellow Hair
    They didn't know his name ...

    Upon the morning ... into the draw
    He led his brave young soldiers

    Their death and destruction is his to carry
    Square upon his broad dead shoulders ...

Driving herds of cattle over long distances was always a challenge. Keeping cattle under control at night, while resting horses and men, was always dangerous work. A night rider watching cattle on a bedding ground had to be prepared to ride for his life at the drop of a pin. The next two poems are based upon this fact.

    Night Rider

    The moon is up and the cattle rest
    As you slowly make the rounds
    The only thing on a night riders mind
    Is the normal bedding sounds

    The cattle are slowly chewing their cud
    As they lay upon the ground
    You skirt the herd and sing real low
    As you slowly ride around

    In the distance you hear a coyote sing
    His haunted crying song
    You hope he keeps a mile away
    As you slowly ride along

    It doesn't take much to make them run
    Once they've bedded down
    Just about anything out of place
    Can send them all to town


    Stampede

    The night riders were posted
    The camp was really quite
    It's the way of the cowboy
    On a cloudy stormy night

    When out on the prairie
    "Stampede" was the cry
    The earth began shaking
    With flashes in the sky

    The cattle were all running
    With lightning all around
    It started kind of sudden
    From a clashing kind of sound

    After half a night of torture
    With death all around
    The cattle began to circle
    And began to slow down

    The ponies were all winded
    And sucking air real fast
    The storm was finally over
    Cause they never seem to last

    Another night has come and gone
    The night is really quite
    It's the way of the cowboy
    On cloudy stormy nights

I sometimes like to take ideas from friends, and as a challenge, write a poem about what that idea inspires. A friend of mine sent me a picture of a cowboy silhouette, painted black, leaning against a fence post at the entrance to a ranch. It was one of those crafty type things that on first impression looked kind of like a real man standing in the shadows. The following poem is based upon what the image inspired.

    Shadow

    Some people call me "Shadow"
    As I stand against this rail
    Let me miss just one visitor
    And see who catches Hell

    I don't work hard, it's just the hours
    When you're standing here alone
    I see them in, them see them out
    And can't wait until they're gone

    My pay is weak and my back is strong
    I don't do this for the praise
    But if I stick around a few more years
    I'm hoping for a raise

    Until that day I'll do my job
    And welcome those who pass
    And if they don't wave and say hello
    I'll tell them to kiss my ass ...

Another challenge came from an old friend in Wyoming. This challenge was in the form of a cartoon. An old cowboy was standing in a drug store, and a Pharmacist was standing across the counter from him. The following poem was based upon what was being said.

    The Bag

    An old cowboy dropped in one day
    To the local Rexall Drug

    He wore a battered Stetson hat
    His whiskers as thick as a rug

    Three condoms sir, the cowboy said
    I just rode into town

    I'll only be here for a short spell
    With this lady that I found

    Do you need a bag, the pharmacist asked?
    Even though there was only three

    The cowboy said, no thank you sir,
    She's not that ugly to me

The following poem is about the simple pleasure I feel when I'm riding a horse. I've had horses blow up under me, and that brings on a different type of feeling, but on a good day, when I'm on a good horse, this is what I feel.

    The Ride

    To feel the power between my knees
    The feeling is really neat
    The pulsing muscles, the throbbing flesh
    As the body releases heat

    There is a feeling that stirs my mind
    It's really hard to describe
    As I mount a horse on a summers day
    And take him for a ride

    The smell and feel of the saddle I ride
    As my pony tries to please
    The sun on my back, the wind in my face
    And my tensions finally ease

I was sitting on my patio with a hot cup of coffee when this verse came to me. I now live in the city, and it's a condition I'm not totally happy with, but it's important to my job.

    Morning

    I sit here on this patio
    With my first hot steaming cup
    Not the typical place a cowboy
    Watches the sun come up

    This city life is getting old
    The sounds they drive me crazy
    Even though I'm getting old
    I know that I'm not lazy

    I reminisce about the past
    The memories I hold dear
    Even though I'm far away
    The memories are still so clear

    So, I start each day while looking east
    I watch as the sun comes up
    This old cowboy ... just sitting here
    With his hot and steaming cup

Not long ago, I was very pleased to see my poetic cowboy idol, Baxter Black, on the cover of Western Horseman magazine. Baxter is one of the reasons I started specializing in cowboy poetry. His ability to tell a story, either as a short story or poem, helps to inspire me to put pen to paper. I like the way his work makes me feel like I am there. I can relate to the things he writes about.

    Baxter Black

    Baxter's made the Big Time
    He's fulfilled a writer's dream
    When he was asked to write a Bio
    For Western Horseman magazine

    They even took some pictures
    Of Old Baxter and his horse
    Through fancy words and the usual humor
    The story ran its course

    Old Baxter is finally aging
    And the years are adding up
    That old Dog is still making tracks
    But not as many as a Pup

    He's still in demand to do his thing
    And spread his works and whit
    He's filled with truth and loads of humor
    And a heap of bovine shit

    He's worked real hard to reach the top
    And satisfy a writer's dream
    To see his face and share his life
    With a "Big Time" magazine

In the summer of 1965, the rains came daily to South Florida. The canals of the Flood Control District were out of their banks, and cattle pastures looked like very large lakes.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Poetry of a Florida Cowboy by David Carlton Copyright © 2012 by David Carlton. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Dedication....................v
Introduction....................1
What is a Cowboy?....................5
Cowboy's Life....................7
Southern Cowboy....................8
Cow Town Jail....................11
Custer....................13
Night Rider....................14
Stampede....................15
Shadow....................16
The Bag....................17
The Ride....................18
Morning....................19
Baxter Black....................20
Beast....................22
Bighorn....................25
Boots and Saddles....................26
Building Fence....................27
Cook....................31
Devil's Garden....................33
First Bull Ride....................35
Gates....................36
Hard Times....................38
Headstone....................40
High In The Mountains....................41
Too Late....................42
Jessie James....................43
Longhorn's Tail....................45
The Billy Bowlegs War....................48
Mosquitoes....................51
Mr. Bell....................53
Nagging Old Wife....................54
Old Wind Mill....................56
Texas Drought of 2011....................57
On The Run....................59
Rank Bull....................60
Tiger....................63
Treed....................65
The Trail....................68
Epitaph....................69
Border....................70
David's Prayer....................71
Dinner On The Grounds....................72
Christmas Past....................73
Christmas tree Hunting....................74
Everglades....................76
Getting Old....................77
Hard....................78
If Walls Could Talk....................80
Maters....................81
Memories....................82
Old Friend....................83
Plastic....................84
Rain....................85
Stones....................86
Texas in Spring....................88
The Tiki Bar....................89
Then....................90
Touchdown Jesus....................91
The Dash....................92
Fixed....................94
Dust Covered Rider....................96
Fresh Horses....................97
Aunt Mary....................100
Family Tree....................103
Photographs....................104
Closing Remarks....................113
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    This book is a great read for anyone who loves poetry and or has

    This book is a great read for anyone who loves poetry and or has spent time on a horse looking at the backs of cows.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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