Christian Cowboy Poetry and more

Christian Cowboy Poetry and more
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rancho Reality

This seemed to take a long time to come together. (I know, some of you think I should have given it more time) A lot of what I write is shaded by the fact that I make my living in an office with occasional trips to the West. My feelings about the cowboy spring from movies and classic television shows. That's what this is all about.

Rancho Reality

I expected to see the Marlboro man;
tall in the saddle, broad shouldered and tan.
I looked for Tom Selleck or someone like that
wearing chaps and spurs and a big Stetson hat.
Instead, there’s a spindly old guy in a truck
who looks worn out and weary and down on his luck.

I hoped for “The Duke” ridin’ hard in his prime
not a grizzled old coot who is long past his time.
But, this geezer explained, “When you live on the land
the hard work will wear down the heartiest man.
The shortage of water and the high price of hay
turns what hair you have left to gunmetal grey”.

I longed for the movie, the myth and the dream
but reality’s different and not nearly as clean.
There’s dust in my dinner plate, sand in my shorts
and gooey stuff sprays from my horse when it snorts.
The cattle are smelly, my saddle is hard,
I got stuff on my boots when I walked through the yard.

I wonder if God feels the same about me?
Disappointed I’m not everything I could be.
Do the things that I do ever give God the blues?
Am I like the stuff on the soul of his shoes?
What would God do in His infinite grace?
Oh, yeah, he sent Jesus to die in my place.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2008

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


While researching old West ghost towns I came across a story that was different from all the other's I had read. This poem sprang from that true story.


The West is littered with remains of towns who’s only worth
was the gold and silver wrestled from the unforgiving earth?
But a town Southwest of Denver had a different tale to tell.
And this is just what happened when its miners went through hell.

In October, 1861,
to a camp called “Buckskin Joe”
came a mutton puncher with a herd
from down in Mexico.
But he brought more than sheep it’s said,
to the folks at Buckskin Joe.
He brought a case of smallpox
and he was first to go.
An epidemic gripped the town;
folks dropping left and right.
The women all packed up and left,
‘cept one who stayed to fight.
She nursed the sick and dying
and laid the dead to rest
in a graveyard midst the aspens
down below the mountain crest.
They say she was a dancehall gal
and no one knew her name.
Though she was shunned by decent folks,
she helped them just the same.
Folks said she’d won the favor
of a silver miner there
who made her shoes with silver heels
that she would always wear.
And the last thing many miners saw
when their life on earth was done
was a smiling face and silver heels
ah-glistening in the sun.
When the worst of it was over
the survivors in the town
came to show their gratitude,
but, she could not be found.
Some say she’d caught the virus
and it scared her lovely face
and rather than be ridiculed,
she up and left the place.
Years later someone spied a woman
veiled and darkly dressed,
who wandered through the graveyard,
there below the mountain crest.
Folks say it was that dancehall gal,
amidst those Aspen trees
who paused and touched each marker,
then vanished like the breeze.
They immortalized her sacrifice,
so we would always know
of the tarnished mercy angel
in the camp called Buckskin Joe.
They didn’t build a statue
or hang up any sign.
Instead, they picked the grandest
thing around that they could find.
Nearly 14 thousand feet, it soars,
this Rocky Mountain high
that’s known now as “Mount Silverheels”
and she’s the reason why.
Well, the mining camp called Buckskin Joe
is just a memory;
a ghost town full of broken dreams
is all that’s left to see.
Unless, of course you look beyond
the mere fact this occurred
and see it as a parable like
those which fill God’s Word.
The message of Mount Silverheels
reminds us here today
how the least becomes the greatest
in God’s own mysterious way.
The stone, at first rejected,
was the one that saved the wall
like the man the world rejected
who is Savior of us all.
Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Monday, June 28, 2010


I spent the weekend watching a wonderful group of volunteers at the first Ed McCaffrey "Dare to Play" football camp for youngsters with Downs Syndrome. The Global Downs Syndrome Foundation organized this event at Valor Christian High School in the Denver area. Kristin Brooks headed up a team of professional cheerleaders who coached the girls in cheer routines that rocked the fans during Saturday's game. Valor's high school football players acted as buddies for all the Downs Syndrome campers and Valor's coaching staff did a marvelous job teaching the skills in a way that made the weekend fun and productive. I came away feeling that everyone involved was moved by the compassion and genuine love shown during the weekend. This morning I was thinking about a poem I wrote a few years back. I wanted to make the point that none of us are "drafted" into eternal life, we have to volunteer.


Wondering what your talents are?
Tell me, can you drive a car?
You can be somebody’s chauffeur
or help a food bank as you go fer
anything that might help feed
some families that are in need.

You can go on mission trips;
praising God with hands and lips.
Help the hopeless, wash the dishes.
God’s not choosey, all He wishes
is that we show some love each day
to all those that He sends our way.

Ask God to open up the door
then walk on through to what’s in store.
I hope it doesn’t make you nervous
to learn that Christian life is service.
Remember, as you live your years
God’s army’s made of volunteers.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2008.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We Got Troubles.

Here is the latest from the Southwest from: I’ll quote, in part, “If you live in southern Arizona now is the time to move if you can. Mexican drug runners and executioners armed with automatic weapons now control three counties stretching from the border to Phoenix… A large area once used for family hiking and off road vehicles now has government signs warning residents of drug and human smugglers. Night vision cameras have photographed cartel members with military arms delivering drugs to vehicles along Highway 8, according to Borderland Beat.” It brought to mind some thoughts I put down on May 5th.

We Got Troubles.

Nashville’s under water, the Gulf Coast’s under oil
New York’s under pressure as jihad hits our soil.
Arizona’s buffeted for finally passing laws
to protect our Nation’s border while D.C. hems and haws.
Arizona, don’t deport them. That’s not smart at all.
When you find illegal aliens, make them stay and fix the wall
that’s supposed to stop the smuggling of the drugs and people who
will gun down border agents then go after me and you
when we stand against the tyranny that Washington endorses.
And they won’t try to close the gate till they’ve run off all our horses.
Unwanted from around the world are washing on our shores.
There is no turning back, my friend. The devil’s at our doors.
So, pray for understanding and for God to show the way
to survive all politicians…until next election day.

Jeff Hildebrandt © Cinco de Mayo, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Old Man at the Bar

This poem came from a scene I watched as I was having dinner by myself at a hotel restaurant years ago. I had finished work for the day was grabbing a bite before I went to my room. I remember writing down notes and later, creating the back story about the guy who was sitting at the hotel bar, alone with his thoughts.


He sits there on the barstool,
his hat low o’re his eyes.
His beard is gray, but neatly trimmed
and about four times the size
of the way he used to wear it
when he was young and wild.
They say he could be fearsome then
if someone got him riled.
They say he’d ride the Brahma’s
till one up and broke his back.
And he still walks bent over
though it’s years since the attack.

Now, he sits there on that barstool
and stares off into space.
And you know that he’s rememberin’
a far off time and place
when he was rough and ready,
full of vinegar and spit
and he’d take on any challenge
just to have the fun of it.

Now he sits there on that barstool,
Jack Daniels by his side.
Knowing he’d a been the champ
if he just had one more ride.

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cowboy Legends (Gunsmoke)

I've been invited to the 55th anniversary of the Classic TV Western, Gunsmoke, in Dodge City the first weekend in September. If you don't have plans, you should think about coming. There's going to be lots of entertainment and insights from folks who were on the show.
I'll be doing some poetry and this is one of the poems I'll perform. I wrote the original version a decade ago and have adapted it to specific situations several times since then. I figure, it's my poem and I can change it how and when I want. So, this is the Gunsmoke version.

Cowboy Legends

He’s a Cowboy Legend from his hat to his boots.
He could ride like the wind, he could rope and could shoot.
And, when we were young, on a Saturday
we would watch him for hours at the matinee.
He’d ride cross the prairie on that big silver screen
and we called him Wild Bill, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean.

We would visit Dodge City on Saturday nights
and cheer as Matt Dillon would fight for the rights
of any lost soul who wandered that way.
And we hoped we’d all do the same thing some day.
Matt Dillon, Chester, Festus and Newly,
Doc and Miss Kitty, we all loved you truly.

The good guys are gone and what’s left us today
are heroes whose morals and feet are of clay.
So, I guess if young cowpokes are gonna learn how
to respect one another, we’ve gotta start now
to teach em there’s value in all that God’s made,
to show love and compassion, not anger and hate.
The young uns need heroes to learn what to do
So, saddle up pard, cause that hero is you.
Jeff Hildebrandt © Sept. 10, 2005

By the way, the original version is in my first book of cowboy poetry: "Prairie Prose...and Cons."

Monday, June 21, 2010

You Don't Know Jack !

Let me digress. Let me take a side trail along this poetry path I've started down. There is a picture on my office wall of actor Jack Palance and me. It was 2004 at the Festival of the West in Scottsdale, AZ. We are both smiling. Me, because I'm glad to have met this icon. Him, because our interview is over and he can get back to selling pictures and books. Prior to our interview, I did some research because I wanted to ask him questions that he never gets asked. I wanted him to talk about the sort of things that inspired him without coming off like a trite reporter. Then, this poem came to mind and I titled it with a phrase that I'd heard directed at me more than once. It seemed to fit.

You don’t know Jack!

I know Jack -
have for years.
Two dimensional
unless you count emotion.
Mostly mad but with passion.
Snickering shooter in Shane
Double-crossed Heavyweight
Imposing Icon for City Slickers
Always tall, Raspy drawl
Impressions all from celluloid.

An American Comedy Award?
Not the Jack I know.
Action, Adventure, Monsters and Mayhem
Killer, Thriller, War and Westerns
That’s the Jack I know.
Who would have thought?
Multi-dimensional, Multi-colored
not merely grayscale.
Who would have thought?
A painter, A poet
“The Forest of Love”
expressing His emotion
not verbalizing another’s words.
I thought I knew Jack
but for years
I only saw the shell.

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2004

If Jesus had an Icebox

I was trying to remember what inspired this and I think it was something said in church. At any rate, this is one of those that flowed like a little stream until it seemed to pool up into what you see below. (For those who don't remember, an "icebox" was what we used to call a refrigerator back before they do everything that they do now. for more history on "icebox" talk to a geezer.

If Jesus had an icebox

If Jesus had an icebox
your picture would be there;
the one with several missing teeth
and a cowlick in your hair.
There’d be crayon drawn self portraits
and home-made valentines
and the color page where you first learned
to stay inside the lines.
If Jesus had a scrapbook
there’d be clippings of your hair,
X rays of your broken bones
and notes of when a where
you learned to say Psalm 23
and believed John 3:16
then asked the Lord to save you
from all that’s cruel and mean.
But, he doesn’t have a scrapbook
so from your very start
Jesus has kept everything
wrapped up in His heart.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 4/22/09

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sermon on the Mount


The J-Bar-H boys, we all knew
were really, quite an ornery crew.
They’d chew tobacco, scratch and spit
and tended to carouse a bit.
They’d spend all week out on the range
then Saturday, wash up and change
and when they made it into town
all good sense would soon be drowned
and they’d spend Sunday, flat in bed
with one hellashish aching head.
They saw themselves as a dying breed
and didn’t really see the need
for folks who went to Sunday service.
Those folks always made ‘em nervous
by the way they shook their head and such,
looked down their nose and glared so much.
And you know that cowboys as a rule
will bow their backs just like a mule
when someone’s got em under tow
to places he don’t want to go.
Well, one day, out there, on the range,
all of that began to change.
When a parson, just a-riding through,
asked em if they’d spare some chew,
and he sat there silent on his mare
as those cowhands commenced to swear.
Well, them roughneck fellers were amazed
this Bible thumper wasn’t fazed
but laughed right with them at their jokes
just like he was common folks.
He asked if he could stay the night
and they said that’d be all right.
Round the cook fire they dished up some stew
and watched to see just what he’d do.
He closed his eyes and bowed his head
but they don’t know just what he said.
Then he looked up with a big old grin,
picked up his spoon and dug right in.
Next morning, he was set to go
but one cowpoke just had to know
why he would spend time with the crew
when that’s not what those church folks do.
That parson sat there on his mare,
and in his Bible, showed them where
God sent his Son to not cast blame
but love all peoples just the same.
Their lives were changed, those hands recount,
thanks to that “Sermon on the Mount”.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today is my anniversary. I was reminded of a poem Kip Calahan asked me to write several years ago when she was preparing to sing at a wedding. I think it speaks to the idea of following God's will and you will find the joy and companionship you need.

He would ride to the top of the mountain
convinced he was loving the view.
But the sunset was never so perfect
as when he could share it with you.

She would look out over the desert
and the wind would carry her dreams.
Then one day, her wishes were granted
as he smiled and said, “Darlin’, it seems
We are meant to go riding together.
It’s just what the Good Lord has planned.
And I promise I’ll love you forever
as we ride through this life hand in hand.”

And as one they will raise up a family
with a promise in all that they do
They will cherish the love God sent from above.
And she smiled and said, “Darlin’ it’s true
We are meant to go riding together.
It’s just what the Good Lord has planned
And I promise I’ll love you forever
As we ride through this life…
As husband and wife
We will ride through this life hand in hand.”
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2006

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ridin' for the Brand

Donnie Blanz is a great song writter and several years ago, he penned something called, "You just can't see him from the road." One line reminds us, "as long as there's a sunset, he'll keep riding for the brand. You just can't see him from the road." I was at Denver's Historic Buckhorn Exchange listening to Bill Barwick sing that song when inspiration crept up and smacked me on the back of the head. That phrase from that song lead to this verse. The title is nothing new, there are lots of "Ridin' for the Brand" poems, but I'd like to think this is worth the time it takes to read it.


When the boss says, “There’s some fence to mend
and you all lend a hand”.
There’s never hesitation
cause you’re ridin’ for the brand.
If you have to move a herd of beef
much sooner than you’d planned
you saddle up and head out
cause you’re ridin’ for the brand.
There are certain obligations.
There is pride and loyalty
and you’ll always lend a hand
because you’re in the family.
I think that it’s the same for those
who heed the Master’s call
and witness to the love God showed
through Jesus Christ for all
The Lord said there is right and wrong
and you must take a stand.
He won’t accept the middle ground
when you’re ridin for His brand.
The branding iron that sears your heart
was fired by sacrifice.
God sent His Son to die for you
so take some good advice.
Count yourself as lucky
if you’re cut out from the herd
by the wrangler that is wisdom
on a horse that is the Word.
And know that what awaits you
is the glory that God planned
when he sends His Son to round up those
who’ve been riding for the brand.
Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 2000

Monday, June 14, 2010

Independence Day

Wait, "Independence Day"...aren't I rushing the season? Well, I can't tell you how many times I've been in church and thought "I have a poem that would go well with that sermon." So, I thought, if you wanted to share this with someone, like your preacher-pastor-priest,'d have time.

Independence Day

July the 4th, we celebrate
our beginning as a nation.
We wave the flag and fill the sky
with explosive celebration.
Then, we stand, and praise the land,
it’s mountains, plains and valleys.
We march the streets with heads held high
while drugs are sold in alleys.
The homeless just won’t go away.
In fact, the problem’s worse.
And, dependence on the government
has become this nation’s curse.

The stars and stripes that I salute
are symbols of salvation.
The stars are those my Father made
and tell of his creation.
The stripes show courage for a cause
that bought my liberty.
They’re lash marks suffered by the Lord
who sacrificed for me.
My independence came the day
God’s victory was won.
When I accepted Jesus Christ,
and said “Thy will be done.”
So I’ll salute Old Glory,
may she proudly wave on high.
But the cross has my allegiance
and will until I die.

Jeff Hildebrandt ©2005

Friday, June 11, 2010

You and me

This poem just sort of wrote itself while I was listening to a Beth Moore Bible study. (it's not just for women any more!) She ended with a poem she had written and it started me thinking. In just a few minutes, the first half of this was written and I think I shared it with the class before we left the study. The next day, a friend and mentor, Dr. "Chick" Bishop heard it and suggested that there might be more to be said. That generated the second half and my desire that you finish it; add your own thoughts and then ask your friends to do the same. TGBTG!

You and me

You are the poet, I am the rhyme
I am the clock, You are the time.
I am the rider, You are the horse.
I run the race, You set the course.
I am the clay, You are the potter.
I’m parched and dry, You’re Living Water.
You are the helper, I am the hand.
I am adrift, You are dry land.
I play the cards, You are the dealer.
I am in pain, You are the healer.

I’m not forgotten, You’re always near.
I pray for help, You always hear.
I smile and wonder at Your creation.

I am the lost, You are salvation.

You are a symphony, I am a note
When I’m treading water, You send a boat
I am the wings, You are the breeze
I seek the shade, You made the trees.
I’m shifting sand, You’re Rock of Ages
I seek direction that’s there in your pages
You’re word is my compass when I am lost
Your grace is the one thing I cannot exhaust
I’m good intentions, You’re Love in Action
I slip and slide, You give me traction
I hem and haw, You are unchanged
All my priorities You re-arranged

Your here when I’m troubled, I don’t feel alone
When I face Goliath, You’re the sling and the stone
You paid the ransom I could not afford

For all that You do, I worship you Lord.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 4/26/10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

witness or Witness?

Are you helping or are you part of the problem? I don't know
about you, but I've heard that a lot. (usually, I'm part of the problem)
When it comes to faith, are we passive or active? Do we just watch
what is happening around us or do we speak and act out of God's love?

witness or Witness?
Some sit on the sidelines and watch the game go on.
Some cheer and wave their pompoms as if there’s nothing wrong.
Some swear they have the playbook and think they know the score.
Some warn a trick play’s coming but they are just ignored.
Make straight a highway for The King;
fill in the ruts and valleys.
The Lord approaches from His throne
so we should walk the alleys.
Some sit there in plush offices. Some work for meager wages.
Some can’t find any job at all and search the want ad pages.
Some just ignore the poverty, starvation and the war
and go about their hum-drum lives just striving to get more.
Make straight a highway for The King;
fill in the ruts and valleys.
The Lord approaches and it’s time
for us to walk the alleys.
We witness all that’s going on; we want to ease the pain.
We should be Witnessing God’s plan, but mostly, we refrain.
Speak out the message of The King
from mountain tops to valleys.
Don’t be afraid to tell Good News
on city streets and alleys.
The signs all say the time is right, the harvest time is near
when Jesus comes to gather those who’s faithfulness is clear.
Those who witnessed what was wrong and acted with compassion
then Witnessed how God saves us, though it was not in fashion.
Speak out the message of Good News
to every tongue and nation.
Sharing how God changed your life
can lead to their salvation.
Tell of Jesus’ crucifixion,
resurrection and the rest
so those on streets and alleys
may hear and so be blessed.
Jeff Hildebrandt © May 6, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Packing it in

This is another of those, "a picture is worth a thousand words" poems.
In my case, a picture spawns a few dozen words. The pictue shows
a lone rider leading a pack mule as they cross a stream leaving
a meadow and heading into a forest.


He’d had enough of 8 to 5 and some days 8 to 8.
He’d had enough of know-it-alls who piled work on his plate.
He saw no future working where appreciation’s thin.
So, one day he just told the boss, “I guess I’ll pack it in”.

He sold his downtown condo with the covered parking space,
pawned his season tickets and left the old rat race.
He cashed in his retirement so his new life could begin.
And told his friends to look him up but for now, he’d packed it in.

He headed where the air is crisp. Where ‘high-rise’ means a butte
and not a single horn would honk to jangle his commute.
He lost the frown he’d worn for years and found a big wide grin
lit up his face as he’d recount just how he’d packed it in.

He spends his days on horseback. Sitting straight and riding tall
and helping fellers like he was escape cell phone withdrawal.
He’ll guide you through the wilderness to find the peace within.
And everything you need is there. You just have to pack it in.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005

I have to go now, my phone's ringing and someone is waiting at my
door with a problem. Have a great day!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I started this poem before I discovered the joys of "Range Rhyming." As a matter of fact, the first draft was going to be a blues song. The chorus is all that's left of that. But I liked the idea of coming to a place in your life where you have to make a decision and I like the play on words at the end.


He was ridin alone on his Strawberry roan
jest a-lookin for what he had lost.
Not noticing where he had gone on that mare
till she stopped, where two roads were crossed.
She made no decision, cause the choice, it was his
and he couldn’t tell which way to go.
So, he looked to the sky, with a tear in his eye
then got down off that pony real slow.
He’s at the crossroads.
They say you live and learn
but, he’s at the crossroads
and can’t tell where to turn.
He dropped to his knees and asked the Lord, please
“Show me, which is the proper direction.
I get so confused knowing which road to choose.
I need a Divine course correction.”
He said, “I try to be good, do the things that I should
but it just seems I’m getting depressed.
I woke up today and thought God’s moved away
without leaving me His new address.”
He’s at the crossroads,
and feelin’ mighty low
Cause, at the crossroads,
you’re not sure where to go
Then this hand bowed his head and through tears, to God said
“Show me how I can make a new start”.
And right there in the road he un-shouldered the load,
and the cloud that had covered his heart.
And his story goes on, that before very long
he felt peace like he never had known.
His face had a smile and in a short while
he got back on that Strawberry roan.
Now, his message is clear, when you’re smothered by fear
and you feel like your whole world is lost,
God is waiting with love to send help from above,
if, at the crossroads, you look to the cross.
Jeff Hildebrandt Copyright 1999

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Came Late to Palo Duro

I have been to the Palo Duro canyon area of Texas a couple of times. You should read up on the history that happened there and then take a little trip through that history. The last time I was there was to see an outdoor musical-drama called "Soul of the West," about some of the people who lived and died around Amarillo. While I was there, I listened to the stories,myths and legends about the canyon. I also experienced a thunderstorm from the bottom of the canyon. Lightening was dancing around the rim and thunder was rolling through the valley. When I got home, this came to mind:

I came late to Palo Duro;
To understand its place in the history of the cowboy,
the Comanche and the chase toward some destiny;
toward the setting sun to seize some opportunity
with clenched fist and with gun.

I came late to Palo Duro
and the ghosts who linger where the Native People made their homes
till blue coat trumpets blared.
The Comanche fought for freedom here;
fought white man’s greed and lust for everything that wasn’t his.
Their dreams are now the dust that blows through Palo Duro
coating mesquite trees and me till rinsing rain removed the stain.
I thought then I could see their spirits dance
in lightening bolts along the canyon rim,
drums thundering off jagged walls, songs echoing within.

Most say, in Palo Duro it’s just the Texas breeze
that bends the brush and branches.
Cause no one really sees Ghost Dancers in the valley
or hears the warrior’s song.
But they tend to feel uneasy when night time’s coming on.

I came late to Palo Duro; to walk in history’s tracks
and marvel at the colors, the crevices and cracks
where smoke from ancient fires carried Native prayers aloft.
Wind blowing through the canyon, be it brisk or be it soft
cannot explain the way I feel or the voice I hear within.
“Tread lightly in this canyon. You are…where we have been.”

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2007

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cowboy Ethics

A local High School features a class on Cowboy Ethics. It's focus seems to be on learning to do what is right, not always what is fashionable. The teacher asked me to come and present some cowboy poetry to the class and it was quite an eye-opener. A few of the students were aware of cowboy poetry, but most had never heard of it. It reminded me a little of when I performed cowboy poetry in mainland China. They understand the words but don't have the background to make sense of the feelings. But, I digress. This is a new poem I wrote for that class. Well, the part before the break is what I presented to them. (Church and State issues prevented me from reading the last half and I didn't want to possibly get the teacher in hot water)

Cowboy Ethics
A cowboy’s code of conduct is a guide to right and wrong
when dealing with the world today so we all get along.
If it isn’t yours, don’t take it. If it isn’t true, don’t say it.
If it isn’t right, don’t do it, but there’s a lot more to it.
Don’t take unfair advantage. Don’t betray a trust.
Always be respectful. Fight only when you must.
Always tell it like it is. Be gentle, kind and fair.
Be helpful when you’re needed; show others that you care.
Be brave but never careless. Be neat and always clean.
Protect the weak and helpless when others treat them mean.
A cowboy’s code of conduct: A western way to live.
The lesson for the rest of us: Less taking and more give.

It’s sort of like the code of conduct we learned as a kid;
Ten rules of interaction that governed all we did
from knowing who created us and all that we hold dear
to how we serve and honor Him. It’s also made real clear
that we’re to treat each other with honesty and grace,
be happy with the things we have and not get in the chase
for temporary treasures that someone else enjoys.
Contentment can’t be measured by more money or more toys.
It’s when you see a sunrise, taste the air after a rain
and know how much God loves you that eases your soul’s pain.
It’s a Godly code of conduct for how the world should live.
We’d get along much better with less taking and more give.
Jeff Hildebrandt © May 17, 2010

Dude Wrangler & God Bless the Buckaroo

Just what is a "cowboy?" I'd venture to say that each of us has our own idea of what is inside the person with the big hat and boots.

Dude Wrangler
Look at me.
No, really look at me.
Look through the mist of your imagination.
See me as I am not as you’d have me be.
See me as a person, not a symbol.
Look at me.
See the calluses and fingernail grit.
Hard work for low wages and no benefits.
Oh, there is one benefit.
Look at me
Saddling someone else’s horse,
sharing dos and don’ts with forced smiles.
See me as I am not as I used to be
It’s difficult being an icon when your back hurts.
Look at me,
a saddle pal to new starry eyed wannabes every week.
But, when you go home to Starbucks and stress
I still get to ride where spaces are wide.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005

A cowboy can be simply someone who works with cattle and all that entails. It can be someone who is not afraid to stand up for what they think is right. "Cowboy" can conjur up lot of different images depending on our feelings and objectives at any moment. I've met a few real cowboys who also have spent their lives playing cowboys in the movies. It strikes me that the traits we admire in a silver screen hero, such as independence, speaking your mind, not abiding foolishness and not pandering, can appear to be just rude behavior when you are confronted by them in the flesh. But they're just being who they are, not who I think they should be.

God Bless The Buckaroo
He’s a symbol of America, of mom and apple pie
who helps because you need it and don’t care the reason why.
Some sneer at his integrity. Some tend to put him down.
But every time there’s trouble, folks are glad that he’s around.

But, in peace, they say, “Don’t be John Wayne.”
As if that’s something wrong.
I tell you if we’re not like him it sure won’t take too long
for us to lose our freedom, lose our focus, lose our way
and wander round like sheep that simply graze the day away
on what ever is before ‘em. They go where they are led
“Like a lamb off to the slaughter” is one way I’ve heard it said.

So, set yer jaw and set yer course. Set out to do what’s right.
Our country needs its cowboys; rough and ready for the fight.
God Bless our hard won freedom, bless the red, the white and blue.
And while you’re at, I’d just add, “God Bless the Buckaroo”
Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I am a Cowboy Poet!

One of the best things about performing Cowboy poetry
is the forgiving spirit that seems to live in the audience.
There are a lot of us who, at times, lose our train of
thought right in the middle of a verse. I've never heard
a single "boo" from an audience. Instead, there is encouragement
and appreciation for the effort. Wouldn't it be great if everybody
who saw you stumble, would help you up, pat you on the back
and give you an "atta-boy".

I am a Cowboy Poet

I am a Cowboy poet. Well, not the “cowboy” part.
I don’t spend days on horseback but there’s cowboy in my heart.

I am a Cowboy poet. I wear a wide brim hat
just like those for-real cowboys do. I make dern sure of that.

I am a Cowboy poet. I use phrases like “dern sure”,
“all-you-all” and “Adios” to give my rhymes allure.

I am a cowboy poet and I love the out of doors;
the glistening mountain glaciers and verdant valley floors.
I love the smell of fresh cut pine, the chill of mountain streams
and the sound of saddle leather. I’m bustin’ at the seems
with joy for all things cowboy except the cowboy way
of walking round in high heeled boots all the live long day.

But, as a Cowboy poet I have to play the part
cause folks expect the image when there’s cowboy in your heart.

That’s sort of like a Christian; there is joy, but also pain
when standing on God’s principals while those around complain
that you’re just a soggy blanket; a fool and not real smart.
But God applauds the sacrifice when there’s Jesus in your heart.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2/3/09

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Buffalo Bill

This ended up being one of actor, Dennis Weaver's favorite
poems because of his passion for the environment.

The Buffalo Bill

They cared not for the future. They cared not for the past.
They cared not for tradition, and so, the dye was cast.
They only thought of conquering the people, so they planned
to starve them to submission before they took a stand.
They hunted down the buffalo. They killed them for their hide.
They killed them just because they could, and millions of them died.
They killed them just for pleasure and never gave a thought
to the impact of their slaughter, and what their carnage wrought.
And, only now, we understand what the ancient people knew.
That, the One who made the buffalo, is the One who made us too.
The Creator had a reason. The Creator had a plan.
So that all things He created were for the good of man.
And the ancient ones remind us in their stories and their songs
that the buffalo kept man alive in times that have since gone.
The warnings of our ancestors today are coming true
They said you’ll have to pay and now the Buffalo bill is due.
We must learn from our failures or the cycle will go on
and we will just eliminate what we depend upon.
So, be cautious of the earth and streams. Make sure the sky stays blue
or the next things that may go extinct, my friend, are me and you.

Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 2002

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Cowboy Considers Creation

This is what you might consider "free verse" poetry.
I guess, since it's posted on the web, it is definately FREE verse.
I hope, in this case, you get more than what you pay for.

A Cowboy Considers Creation

I saw the Rockies;
snow capped and glistening
and thought how beautiful.
I saw the sunset explode with color
behind the peaks
and thought it can’t get any better.

I saw the Kansas prairie;
a tall grass table for buffalo and beef
and thought how marvelous.
I felt the wind on my face
and sucked in the smell of a stream
then thought how lucky I am.

I saw the night sky
and was immersed in the moon and stars
while thinking about the One who put them there.
All I can say is thanks
and wonder why you’d even think of me
when the heavens declare your glory.

I thought of Your Son,
Your sacrifice, Your saving grace
and thought how unworthy I am.
But You did it all for me.
That’s why You’re God and I’m not.

May you see God’s handiwork every day.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2007