Cowboy Poetry by Gary Vorhes
Gary Vorhes- Falcon, Colorado
Some folks just have a way with words and Gary's words are as good as they get.
By Gary Vorhes © 2009
This poem is based on an actual story.
The young doctor stepped back to take a deep breath,
And he spoke to the man he’d patched up.
How old are you, sir, and how did this happen?
Seventy-three, came the answer; a little bad luck.
The main herd was five days gone from these pastures,
Scattered ’cross the rich winter meadows of home.
But a yellow ton-plus bull had waged war on the men
And horses, so they’d dropped him to sulk all alone.
So now came the hand and his partner to find him.
Sometimes bulls cool off and come in on their own.
But this one had sulled up and staked him a homestead.
He was hungry and dry and bull-mad to the bone.
He’d hardly budged from the spot where he’d bellered
And hooked and thrown dust and took on the world.
It looked like he’d stay till the buzzards dined on him.
Just a lump of tough meat -- his battle flag cased and furled.
So the hand sent his dogs to rouse him back upright,
Once moving, the bull might move down to the tanks.
If he watered, later somehow, they’d get him into a trailer,
And save his damn life, not expecting his thanks.
Two cow dogs launched full-tilt straight at that old devil,
Who came up on the run with blood in his eye.
The hand jerked his hat down and took off for the pickup.
And as he went he was wishing he’d learned how to fly.
A few steps and he knew well that he wouldn’t make it,
The ground shook behind him, it was judgment day.
The man assayed his chances and then gave up on the pickup,
Parked 50 yards and 50 years way too far away.
The hand faced the bull, thinking that he just might dodge it,
But the first hit broke his sternum and took all breath away,
Still the bull came hunting as the human fell to hard ground,
As if the hammered body still owed a debt to pay.
And the lifeline could have ended way out there in the sagebrush,
Not the first and not the last to have left cowboying that way,
But there came a savage scream and a figure from the pickup;
As the partner of the hand charged headlong into the fray.
And although the bull did bruise her, she roused the dogs to battle,
The bull could not match courage with the forces that he faced.
So he fled the screaming woman and the raging of the cow dogs,
And a desperate call brought help at a life-saving pace.
On the jarring trip to Elko, the hand peered at his partner,
And he said, why do you stay with me, year after year?
This sure is not the first time this life has almost killed you.
She gazed into his eyes and smiled, yes, but we’re still here.
TAKE THOSE GATES BACK TO TEXAS
Poem and photo By Gary Vorhes © 2003
Have you ever cuddled up to a Texas-style gate
with the barbed wire ticklin’ your chin?
I bet you gave blood and a purty good shirt
and said all those cowboy words again!
Sure hope that you were there all by your lonesome,
you don’t want company on that kinda’ day.
Cuz’ if you resort to wire-cutters to close ‘er up
you can get famous in all the wrong ways.
It’s the law of the range to leave gates as they were
and once you get on the other side,
It’s your solemn and unwavering duty, for sure,
to close the gate again before you can ride.
There’s a glorious assortment of diresome disasters
that can parade through an unclosed gate.
From repulsive new crossbreeds of cattle
to lengthy rides into neighboring states.
But some genius misdressed in a cowboy hat
one day figured up a trick deal.
And to my mind that guy should rank alongside
the gent who invented the wheel.
Just take down your rope and noose those posts
right under the top loop of wire.
Dally short and back your horse till it’s tight --
then you’ve got the slack you require.
So I admit that some gates have been tougher
than me, but I got that wire looped.
If you fall short with brute force and ignorance,
use yer’ rope and just add some more brute!
Cautions...For you all that might want to really try this trick, here are a couple of pointers!
You can unthread your rope for a tall post. And one rider can stand his horse right beside the gate if necessary. That is, however, a little risky if your horse ain't rock-solid.
In fact, you should only do this at your own risk and with a horse well-broke to pulling a rope in unusual circumstances.