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An Old Cowboy

Updated on September 2, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

From my warm campfire up here on the ridge

I see the car lights shining in the night so bold

Life is crowding close to our kind’s ragged edges

We’re a slowly dying, shrinking breed I am told

Once this cowboy life was the wide, open range

We rode its far horizons with some of the best

Now this progress crowds our little place in time

Calling for cowboys to move over and join the rest

That call is an empty one to my ol’ stubborn breed

It’s not what we want; not at all one that we heed

We stand on what we have; All that we have done

Yet aware progress will not stop until it has finally won

Starry skies on the open prairie night live in my heart

But only in dreams now in which I play only a small part

Dusty trail rides while punching northbound cattle herds

Reality once, memories now, etched now only in words

Progress is comin’ on fast; we cowboys have had our day

Change is comin’ so fast; a stampede headed our way

Turnin’ ranchland into towns; making trails into interstates

Soon there’ll be little left if it keeps movin’ at this rate

But I’m not one to let the cowboy life just go on by

I’m not for changin’; hell, I’m too damned old to try

Progress may be comin’ but I’ll not build it a bridge

I’ll just ride my pony a little higher up here on the ridge

When the cowboy life is finally done, I’ll be done too

That will be the point at which my life will be through

But until then I’ll just stay right here where I’m at

Lookin’ at the world from underneath this ol’ cowboy hat

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

2 February 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @BongSantos...You just keep dreamin' your dream, Bong. Us cowboys aren't done yet. There still a lot of wide open range here in Texas and up in Wyoming and Montana. We got time yet. Thanks much for the read. You'll find other cowboy poems here as well. Might I suggest "The Cowboy Way" and "Horse Thief" as two good ones. Thanks much! ~WB

    • BongSantos profile image

      Jobb Gosamo 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I was so taken by your poem. I had dreamt of becoming a cowboy since I was a kid, and you telling us that cowboy days may soon be over breaks my heart.

      Wonderful poem... happy to drop by.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Angela Brummer...It should be a topic in many peoples' cirlces...cowboys are part of the heritage of this land...we will always need their character. Thanks much, Angela. WB

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Oh my! This is a constant topic of discussion in my circle. Great poem! I will share it!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @teaches12345...Kind of sad...time waits for no one and so it is for the cowboy. Thanks much. WB

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      A wonderful portrait of a cowboy's life and perspective on the environment. Enjoyed your hub.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...I envy your proximity to the life, Will. There's an honesty there that keeps a man focused on what is right in life. Glad you like the verse. WB

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Really nice, Wayne. I come from the era where most little boy heroes were cowboys, like Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. I never got over it, and now I live in the Old West, where my wife’s relatives still ranch.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Sample Gifts of Love...Thank you, so glad you enjoyed this one. Look around, I've got more! WB

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      6 years ago from Colorado

      I love this, it captures the heart of what I feel when I get to go to our ranch in northern Idaho, quiet peaceful simpler forms of life. Maybe there's a cowgirl in me too! Up, interesting and beautiful. Oh and following of course!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Dim Flaxenwick....Thanks so much for those great words..I love it! WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      6 years ago from Great Britain

      AWESOME!!!! I loved every word, agreed with every word.

      Three cheers for real cowboys. May they never die.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Flickr...You get a bit of the cowboy life if you have a horse close by. Thanks for the good words! WB

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I take my hate off Mr. Brown, thank you for the read, I enjoyed it very much. I enjoy being outside with my horse just listening to him, it's nice being out on the trail.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @MartieCoetser...I am sure that it was not all fun and games but it was honest work and required some good physical effort. We all sleep better after a good day's work. I hope that it never dies. Thanks much! WB

      @drbj...Funny, Doc...I almost used that ol' song with this piece. Maybe Harry Reid will one day invite me to the Western Poets Reunion out in Nevada...I will go if I am assured that I will not be dealing with him! LOL! Thanks much! WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      You are the Voice of the Cowboy, Wayne. No one ever said it better than you in this exceptional piece of poetry. I swear I could hear a rinky-tink piano belting out the rhythm of "I'm an Old Cowhand," in the background of a noisy trail saloon. Voted Up.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Wayne, through this poem of yours the life of a cowboy seems to have been heaven on earth... and yes I believe it was less complicated than the lives of our modern Tarzans and Janes living in concrete jungles, at least when he could manage to duck and dive crooks.

      As always I enjoyed reading your work. Take care!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...Thanks, Poppy...cowboys are always a winner! WB

    • breakfastpop profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the poem and the American cowboy! Up, all the way.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Genna East...Great points, Genna. There is something really special about putting on a pair of gloves and stretching a strand of barb wire or getting a bit dirty while actually accomplishing something of value. Our society throws away this lifestyle along with that of the farmer like it has no present day value or meaning. These are our roots where we honed many of our rock solid values that unfortunately are no longer taught to our children. There is an honesty in it that one can seldom find anywhere else in the world. On that basis alone, it is well worth perserving in our society. Thanks much! WB

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      From their history on cattle drives to the now more confined ranching, these men were, and are, unsung heroes. I like the way your poem sings of their love and understanding of the land -- that which is so precious -- progress seeks to destroy. I wonder when people will fully comprehend that such progress is destroying who we are, and what truly supports us as human beings.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @manlypoetryman...Thank you as well for those great points!. There is still so much we could learn as a society from those old cowboys...things like hard work and work ethics; things about simple dreams of perserving a way of life and the honest aspects of it. I certainly would trade where we are now as a nation for a heartbeat. All the best! WB

    • manlypoetryman profile image


      6 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

      Most Excellent...Loved "An Old Cowboy"! The Old Cowboy is a breed destined to be blown a swift prairie wind...while interstates get built over famous cattle trails...but the Old Cowboy will never change...(Why? because he's too damn old...that's a great point right there...I tell ya') yet... his spirit will live on and on!

      I could almost hear Sam Elliot's voice narrating this. Best to ya', WB...and Thanks for noting through poet form...the ways of the Old Cowboy.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @TIMETRAVELER2...Thank you...glad I could create such imagery for you with my words. Look around, there are a number of cowboy type poems and stories here on my site that you will also like. WB

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      6 years ago from USA

      Voted up and beautiful. My husband is a cowboy at heart and once he actually got to ride in a wild buffalo roundup and even brand some of the herd. We both understand exactly what your words are saying and mourn the loss of a past that was free and beautiful. I'll be following your work, as you write what we feel. Thank you.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @marywanders...Well, thank you. I am so glad I could have that effect with my words. WB

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @LABrashear...Thank glad you enjoyed it! WB

      @Vincent Moore...I was thinking of all those aging cowboys who still sit a good saddle and work a hard day when I wrote this. They see a different sunset than we do and I envy them for it. They lived a magic time of life. Thanks for the good comments and the good words of praise. WB

      @marellen...I just write what's in my heart and the rest seems to fall into place. Thank you! WB

      @rahul0324...Thank you! If I can create a mental image of a cowboy life for you with my words then that makes for superb compliment for me. I appreciate your kind words and so glad you liked it. WB

      @The Frog Prince...Thanks much,Jim. I agree, we need to tip a couple. Barbara and I will be at Biraporetti's about 8PM tomorrow night if things go as plan. Stop by if you get the chance. WB

      @Angela Blair...I sure do like them cowboys and the times that they lived. There is something magical about it all. Thanks much! WB

      @writer20...Thanks so much. Glad you liked it! WB

      @Kathleen Cochran...That's my favorite line in the poem as well along with the last two lines. Thanks much! WB

      @CMerritt...I am right there with you, Chris. There is an abundance of material there for the writing...lots of imagery. Glad you enjoyed. WB

      @Diana Lee...So very true, so true. Glad you enjoyed it! WB

    • marywanders profile image


      6 years ago from minnesota

      I'm speechless this is wondeful.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Beautiful poem and cowboys will always be a special breed. Voted up.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Being a Cowboy has been a dream of mine since I was about five years, I love this one. You have done a few along these lines, and I have loved them all.

      There is something about the cowboy life that fascinates me.

      Up and awesome.


    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Progress may be comin’ but I’ll not build it a bridge - That's poetry friend.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Love this poem, great work. Voted up and awesome.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Wow -- this one sparkles -- and so very true, Wayne. Looks you have the "touch" for cowboy poetry -- but then it takes one to write about one. Sure enjoyed this Hub. Best, Sis

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Wayne - Marvelous poetry as usual. We need to link up soon and down a couple of cold ones.

      The Frog

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      the flow of words- beautiful!

      the essence- charismatic!

      hats off! man

      beautifully written beautifully versed!

      i am not from the land of cowboys! but surely i can connect! voted up! shared!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nicely done Wayne. You can sure make those words flow.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 

      6 years ago

      Simply beautiful my cowboy poet. You touch a nerve here for all the cowboy's who still are out there riding the ridge and range. I tip my hat to all of them, I've seen a plenty as I drove my big rig through Oklahoma and Texas and I would pull over, light up my cigar, pause and watch them out on their range riding their ponies and pushing their herds along their way. Love it Wayne, you brought out the cowboy dreams in me with this piece.

    • LABrashear profile image


      6 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Loved this! You definitely captured the spirit and feelings of the American Cowboy. Voting up and sharing!


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