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Ridin' Fence: A Cowboy's Lament

Updated on March 7, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

Saddle soap, ammo, and gun oil wrapped in linen rags

Jerky meat and coffee beans shoved into saddle bags

Bed roll behind the saddle seat tied up tight and secure

Step up in the stirrup and let’s ride on out of here


My trusty Henry rifle is in the scabbard of my saddle

My Colt is tied down to my leg, an old friend in battle

Leather chaps keep the brush from tearin’ at my space

Sweat stained hat keeps the sun from burnin’ my old face


A packhorse loaded with rolls of wire, hammer and a bar

We headin’ out to mend the fences that run this land afar

A one-month ride around the rim to find all the breaks

Lots of sweat and hard work, that’s what fencing takes


The creak of the saddle leather and the noise of the gear

Keep tune with our step as we ride this familiar tier

Hawks are circling and sun is bright as the day grows on

We’ll fix a break or two before we camp and rest our bones


Down by the watering hole two strands are down

Cattle crossed over to get at the hay grass that abounds

I head my pony to round them up and get ‘em on home

Then I’ll pull some wire and fix it so they no longer roam


Sun’s a-settin’ just over the ridge now, night is on the way

Time to start lookin' for a camp and try to end this day

A place near the stream with a campfire for some light

A place to keep us safe to watch the stars of the night


Morning comes too quickly; can’t sleep a minute more

Time for coffee, some jerky, and then it off to the chore

Them fences won’t fix themselves and the sun won’t wait

Best I be gettin’ around or I’ll be workin’ mighty late


There’s something about working out alone in this place

Time was there weren’t no fences; just wide open space

I think back on those days as I pull the bar against the wire

Just wide open space; stars above, and a warm camp fire


Progress is a moving thing, it don’t wait for any man

It consumes all that’s in its way all across this land

It don’t leave much room for those of the cowboy aspire

That’s why I like come out here and stretch this old wire


My ponies and me will enjoy our stay out on this old range

Workin’ ourselves hard each day for a little oats and change

But really that don’t matter much; its the life that we enjoy

Just hanging on a little while longer to the life of a cowboy


Our month out ridin’ fence will pass without hesitation

Then it’s back to the ranch to rejoin the new civilization

Progress has probably offered up some new-fangled dream

I just hope it is not a dang electric fencing machine


They say an ol’ cowboy’s work is never really done

It’s just shut down temporarily by the setting of the sun

I hope that ol’ adage will always hold true by heck

Cause this ol’ cowboy still got fences he needs to check

Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved


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    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Wayne. I love those brushes and cacti and all the spicy smelling weeds of that land. They're all in my DNA. :-)

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas

      @nellieanna...Thank you for those kind words, Nellieanna. I saw your recent picture at the "Flying Dutchman" and it thrilled me that I actually new the poetress who experienced all that. I envy your brushes with that which is truly Texas. Glad you enjoyed the poem. ~WB

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Good poem, Wayne. I relate. When I was a baby, Mother and my 10-year old brother took turns with me in their saddles as they rode fences at the ranch. I've always had a sort of innate connection with it.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @MilesArmbruster...Thanks so very much. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it and found it realistic. I really enjoy this subject and continually look for angles of interest to write about. WB

    • MilesArmbruster profile image

      MilesArmbruster 5 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

      Excellent! Beautiful. Really makes the fencing task come alive. Sleeping out under the stars is an unforgettable experience and this poem shows the challenge and the wonder of a necessary job done well!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @LABrashear...Thank you, so glad you enjoyed this one. WB

    • LABrashear profile image

      LABrashear 6 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA


      I live under the "western skies" and know many a cowboy that this could be describe. Beautiful imagery. Up!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @50 Caliber...Thanks would be the one who could speak best to that fact. WB

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Will great write, ain't nothin better than riding out in the wide open just poken along looking at stuff and there is much to see, voted up, dust

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @DTroth....Thanks much, Diana! If I go ridin' fence, I'll take you got to go this time, huh? LOL! Sounds like you are out there in the great open country...would not mind that myself! WB

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 6 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

      Great poem, Wayne. Such vivid detail. I felt like I was right there ridin' along with ya...'cept I'm a girl, so it's probably not allowed. (:

      I've fixed a few fences of my own here and there though. It's kinda hard not to when you have them big, bullheaded critters roamin' around and lookin' for greener grass on the other side of the fence!

      V UP, U, A & B

      May peace be in your heart...always,


    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Mimi721wis...Thanks much, Mimi...I really favor the western venacular...lots of imagery there. WB

    • Mimi721wis profile image

      Mimi721wis 6 years ago

      Wayne that's one beautiful poem. Loved the video two. Voted up and awesome

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @ahorseback...Glad you liked it...we all romance a bit of the cowboy days. WB

      @bluestar...Git'er Done! Life is short and it might as well be fun! WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Lovely to have you back Wayne, loved this poem, it quickened my imagination. It has long been a dream of mine to take a ranching holiday, before the old bones get too sore. This has just made me realise once again, what I am missing. Thank you for sharing Wayne x

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 6 years ago

      Hello stranger , I think the cowboy had the best of lives.Eat ,drink ,ride ,work ,eat ,drink ,ride , women no , highways , no tv .......nice one Wayme.=Awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @samiaali...Thank you, so glad you liked it. I was due a western style poem...feels good when that happens. WB

    • samiaali profile image

      samiaali 6 years ago

      Hi WB, This is a fantastic poem! I loved it! :)

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @chspublish...There are fewer and fewer of those old day, they might just be heresay. What a sad time that will be. I hope the cowboy turns out to be like the cockroach and resists extinction. WB

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      The voice of the ol' cowboy - something to cherish.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @cardisa...The cowboy life seems to bring a bit of romance to many. I think there is a perceived freedom and an "honesty" in the work. Thanks much! WB

      @marellen...Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it! WB

      @A.A. Zavala...I was overdue for a western verse! Thanks much! WB

      @Truckstop Sally...It probably gets pretty lonely out there on the fence. I imagine a stop at the local saloon is high on the priority list on return...might just run into a pretty girl! LOL! WB

      @maven101...Thank you, Larry. So glad you enjoyed this one! WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Ken R. Abell...Sounds like you are out ridin' fence yourself, Ken. Hope you have a good run! Thanks for the good words. WB

      @The Frog Prince....Now I am back digging out...vacation create issues! LOL! WB

      @Jo_Goldsmith11...I just kind of write them as they come to me. Sometimes I get lucky! Thanks and glad you liked it! WB

      @Harvey Stelman...Right on, Harv...I made that edit...thanks for the heads up. WB

      @TimBryce...Thanks for the good words Tim. I am all for recording it for the show, I just have to work these kinks out. I uploaded to system to a different computer yesterday but still have the same issue with the "out" side on the sound. I think it is recording it but I cannot listen to it. I am going to try some different software. WB

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Beautifully crafted Cowboy's Lament...I hear the refrain " Don't fence me in " loud and clear...

      Thanks for this gift of your incredible talent...Voted up and beautiful...Thanks, Larry

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      We all love the cowboy, Wayne Brown! Great lines:

      They say an ol’ cowboy’s work is never really done

      It’s just shut down temporarily by the setting of the sun

      I feel that way lots of times, and all my work is indoors. Ha!

      There is a line in Rodney Atkins Farmer's Daughter song about fixin' fences. Now, is your cowboy dreaming about a gal too?

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 6 years ago from Texas

      Hard days work on the range. A Wayne brown original.

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Wayne, very nicely done....Oh! the love and life of a cowboy....Enjoy it.....

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I do have a thing for cowboys. It seems like hard work yet fun. I really love the last verse.

    • profile image

      TimBryce 6 years ago

      Wayne -

      Good visual imagery. Makes you want to be out there with him. We should record it and put it on the show.

      All the Best,


    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Wayne, That was my personal thought to keep it consistent. I had to do that with the book I published. It has many immigrants in it, and I had to make it each accent fit them. H

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 6 years ago

      What a beautiful poem! I loved the way you expressed what is in your heart. I am honored to read about a real cowboy who loves his work. take care.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      About time you got back in the saddle Wayne. Everyone needs a break though. Good to read something done by a cowboy.

      That's from one cowboy to another pardner!

      The Frog

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Wayne. I really appreciated the imagery & feel. It stirred up all the good stuff about cowboy lore in my bones, especially since I'm on the road & heading for the southwest for a six month stint near the Four Corners in New Mexico.

      Voted up & awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @mckbirdbks...Thanks so much...I was overdue for a western verse! WB

      @RealHousewife...Thank you. I have stretched a litte wire many moons ago...not my favorite pasttime! LOL! WB

      @THAT Mary Ann...That's where I'll be doin' my "cowboyin'" Mary Ann! LOL! WB

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Harvey Stelman...Know exactly what you mean Harv...I get goin' on that stuff and pretty soon it looks like the page is covered in it. I'll make the adjustment..I'll do anything to look better! LOL! WB

    • profile image

      THAT Mary Ann 6 years ago

      Your passion for the cowboy life comes through in this, Wayne. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. (When you're ready for some city life, stop by my hubs...)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      WB - I felt like I was saddling up and riding out to fix some fences. Now I'm glad I'm not camping out doors...:) very well done as always Tex. Up and all that.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Mighty fine picture you painted here, mighty fine.

      Well done.

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Wayne, "looking for a camp" Ain't it spose ta be lookin'.

      I was expectin' thins like mornin', ta, ol', etc. Lest say that wou be more consistent. At least that's how I heard things in Oklahoma. I really didn't want to critisize you, I enjoy your stories. Just felt it might help. H

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Motown2Chitown...Guess I've always been infatuated with the cowboy story. It makes for good writing and lots of folk like it. Glad you enjoyed this one too and thanks for the welcome back...had a good visit with mom! WB

      @CMerritt...I think all of us guys who grew up with cap pistols and Saturday westerns at the movie always enjoyed saddling up a good bean stick and headin' out on the trail. There's a romance there that pulls on our hearts. Thanks for the good words! WB

      @WillStarr...Thanks Will...good to be back! WB

      @Hypenbird...You just need to start writing some cowgirl poetry and short stories...that'll scratch that itch! LOL! WB

      @Poolgranma...A first kissed you lady sounds right to me about now...dirty old man! LOL! Thanks for those good words. So glad you liked it. WB

      @dahoglund...I'll bet they have one somewhere out there, DA! Thanks much! WB

      @drbj...LOL! I'll bet you can order one from Sears. Cowboys would likely not be buying it! LOL! Them large spreads are the only ones who can still afford a cowboy! LOL! WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      A whole month to make that ride you said.

      Wow, Wayne, that is one heck of a spread.

      When you get back to the ranch

      Check out the latrine,

      There's a Sears catalog there

      With ads for a fencing machine.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Seems I have seen ads for a fancy fencing machine. Nice poem.

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

      Well your work is never done as on of the finest writers. storytellers and musicians there ever will be. I really enjoyed this! Very image inspiring and smooth as as the cheek of a first kissed young lady.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Love me a cowboy. Maybe he will allow a girl to ride out with him next time.

      Thanks for a read into the land of cowboys, big skies and peaceful trails.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Glad to have you back, Wayne!

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Even to this day, I STILL want to be a a kid, I loved anything cowboy. Wayne, I really enjoyed this.....I could feel the "cowboy" all over this one.

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 6 years ago

      And welcome back, Wayne Brown!! Missed you while you were tendin' to Mama. Glad to have you back. Better be careful. I got two favorite things in life - my husband and cowboys. ;-) Up, awesome, and beautiful - as always!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...Thanks Will, kind of getting back in the saddle after vacation time. WB

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Very well done, Wayne! Up and awesome!