Christian Cowboy Poetry and more

Christian Cowboy Poetry and more
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Friday, July 30, 2010

God Bless the Buckaroo

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.

Some folks 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, July 29, 2010


I consider myself blessed that a number of my poems have been published in various National magazines. But, after this poem was included in an issue of American Cowboy, I got a request from one of their subscribers. She wanted permission to copy it and hang it on the wall in her office. Of course, I told her okay. Don't know if she ever did, but you know what they say, "it's the thought that counts." (That's not really true, I think it was made up by people who only want to think about things and never take action, but that's a story for another time.)


I’ll never be what you might call
a poet of the West.
I’m just another workin’ stiff
who tries to do his best.
I’m more a cow, than cowboy,
like many now a days.
We’re herded off to work and back,
but long for simpler ways.
The range I ride is concrete hard;
my work is just routine
but in my little cubicle
my mind is free to dream.
I see sunrise on the prairie.
The grass is moist with dew.
The air has just a hint of chill
as I grab a cup of brew.
Bacon sizzles on the campfire.
Biscuits cooked up golden brown.
When the cook says, “Come and get it,"
all us cowboys gather round.
I can almost smell the leather
as I saddle up my mare.
I can see the cattle movin.
I can hear the trail boss swear,
“Come on boys, time to get to work,
we’re burning daylight here.”
And I take off a chasin’
some old ornery longhorn steer.

I can feel my horse beneath me
as my loop swings in the air.
My pony’s hot breath blowin’
‘cross my face and through my hair.
When suddenly, I’m caught up short
by a ringing telephone
that brings me back to here and now
where my life is not my own.
But when I need escape,
I head past cactus, through the streams,
to where a cowboy, rough and ready,
is a-ridin’ in my dreams.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mountains in the Mirror

I've been in Colorado since 1994 and I still marvel at the mountains. If you're not from here or have spent much time here, you probably don't realize that we are not living in a plush green oasis. You hear about the snow, but not about the lack of water we endure every summer. But, the mountains offer cooler temperatures and shady get-aways from summer in the city.

Mountains in the Mirror

There are mountains in the mirror
as I drive to work each day
and I can’t help but watch them
at each stoplight on the way.
Through the brown and leafless branches,
past the foothills, dark and dry,
God’s majestic handiwork
juts upward to the sky.
And if I leave for home in time
there is glory to behold
as the sun sets past those mountains
and the sky is pink and gold.
Do you think it’s just coincidence
or was it prearranged
that what I see each way to work
is God’s mighty mountain range?
The sight lifts up my spirit
and I thank God right out loud.
for the beauty He’s created
mixing peaks with sky and clouds.
There are many things reminding me
to praise the Lord of Hosts
but the mountains in the mirror…
that’s the one I like the most.

Jeff Hildebrandt, Copyright 2000

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paula's Puzzling Predicament

“I’m telling you”, grinned Pete Purdue,
“my Paula’s so dern cute.
Blue eyes, blond hair, with charm to spare
and humorous, to boot.”
Well, there must be more than what I’ve seen
to this waitress at the dairy queen
so I proceed to ask him to explain
precisely what this Paula did
to make him act like such a kid
and the reason for his rapture soon was plain.

He said she called him late last night
to say she’s in an awful plight
Her brand new jigsaw puzzle is a mess
He thought that she was gonna cry
so he got dressed and drove on by.
What happened next I‘m sure you probably guessed

She’s just as charming as can be.
Tousled femininity
in cowgirl t-shirt and her argyle socks.
He saw the problem right away
and told her he’d be glad to stay
and help her put the corn flakes in the box
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Fish Story

I combined a joke I heard with a touch of reality and it ended up being this poem.

Give a man a fish;
you’ll feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish
and you know what they say
He’ll learn to lie, drink lots of beer
and buy a big old boat
Then he and all his buddies
will go some place remote
to spend the weekend goofing off;
not working in the yard.
And his wife will just get even
with her well used credit card.
She’ll buy more kitchen gadgets,
at least one pair of shoes
with matching purse and sweater set.
And since it’s hard to choose
she’ll meet her friends for lattes
and ask what they suggest.
Then they’ll go off together,
suddenly obsessed
with searching for the perfect blouse
and frilly lingerie.
So when it comes to fishing,
all he has to say
is never mind, he’s staying home
to help around the house.
Besides, it’s so much cheaper
to spend time with his spouse.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 12/16/09

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blessed are the Poor

Lynn Anderson and me at the 2009 Western Music Association Festival in Albuquerque. Lynn is one of those people who don’t let their talent and celebrity get in the way of making someone else feel important. If you’ve met her, you know what I’m talking about. Back in 1970, she had a huge hit with her song, Rose Garden. “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden…” I’ve never told anyone, but that song was going through my head as I wrote the next poem. I’m sure you’ll see it in the first stanza. That, coupled with the glut of so called “prosperity gospel” messages on TV and radio, led me to pontificate on just what being a Christian was all about.

Blessed are the Poor

Who told you that it would be easy?
Who said it would all go your way?
Who promised a garden of roses
or comfortable bed where you’ll lay?

Who told you your problems are over?
Who said that God’s waiting to serve?
Who promised a road without pot holes
and nary a hill or a curve?

The Lord made it clear you’re a servant.
The point’s not to get, but to give.
Don’t be fooled by the promise of plenty.
You must die to yourself, so you’ll live.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

White Line Fever

4 lane blacktop.
Drive fast, don’t stop
don’t think, don’t blink,
don’t turn.
White lines separate
what I love and what I hate.
Feel the stress, deadlines,
I’m oppressed inside the lines.

Off the road I unload,
take a minute, glory in it
Choya cactus, yellow flowers,
a pony perch in floral bowers.

It takes some time but I unwind
when I play outside the lines.

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2003

I just got back from playing outside the lines.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sons of the Tumbleweed

Above: Johnny Neill and me
Bill Barwick, 2009 WMA Male Vocalist of the Year

Back story: I guess the first "cowboy singer" I got to know is Bill Barwick. As a matter of fact, I used Bill and a couple of his friends, on a music video for Encore Westerns. There were several musicians who would work with Bill when they were available and when they performed they were booked as "Bill Barwick and Friends." Johnny Neill is a wonderful fiddle player who has expanded into other instruments as well. It was just natural to write about them and the feeling all of us get when we hear them make music. I coined the term, "Sons of the Tumbleweed," more as a description of the group than anything else. But after hearing the poem, they decided that they would call themselves Sons of the Tumblweed. Bill even used that as the title for one of his wonderful Western music CDs. If you look inside the jacket liner, you'll see the poem.

Sons of the Tumbleweed

They sing of ring-tailed ponies
and ridin’ for the brand.
And you can almost smell the campfire
when you hear this cowboy band.

There’s “Guitar Bill” and “Fiddlin’ John”
and the friends of the double-B.
And all who hear, just sing along
with these sons of the tumbleweed.

When Johnny Neill starts playin’,
it’s like hearin’ history.
You’d swear that music’s comin’
from 1883
when a cowboy and his lady
would dance Virginia’s Reel
or waltz away the evenin’
waitin’ for a kiss to steal.

And when Bill Barwick gets goin’
his fingers fairly fly.
You can hear the cattle runnin’
and those riders in the sky.
You can feel the mornin’ mistin’
on the Colorado slopes,
see a sunset on the prairie
with the deer and antelopes.

There’s “Guitar Bill” and “Fiddlin’ John”
and the friends of the double-B.
And all who hear, just sing along
with these sons of the tumbleweed.

Cause they sing of ring-tailed ponies
and ridin’ for the brand.
And you can almost smell the campfire
when you hear this cowboy band.

If you want more information on Bill Barwick, check out his web site:

And if you're ever in Denver on a Saturday night, look for him at the Historic Buckhorn Exhcange.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It Can't Be Done

I've heard it said that a lot of believers think of God as an A-T-M. (Any Time Miracles) Our prayers end up being a litany of what we want God to do for us. Sometimes, we don't even wait for God to act, we just push ahead in our own strength and are dismayed when things don't turn out they way we want.

People said, “It can’t be done,
you might as well forget it.”
But I’m not one who quits that fast
and so, I did not let it
get me down or make me stop
pursuing what I dream.
“That’s not the Cowboy Way,” I said,
“Despite how it may seem
the goal is not out of my reach.”
I tried and tried again
spurred on by those naysayers
till finally in the end
I emerged quite black and blue.
I must have looked a sight.
And when it all was over,
I found those folks were right.

And then I prayed.

“Now, that’s the cowboy way,” I thought.
“I’ll pray so God can hear it
and help me do what can’t be done
by sending down His Spirit.”
Again I tried with all my might
but ended up the same.
I didn’t understand it,
since I’d prayed in Jesus’ name.
But now I know I should have paused
to wait for God’s reply
before I took off like a bull.
So, if you wonder why
your plans don’t work out like you want.
Remember to go slow.
God only does what’s best for us.
Sometimes He answers “No.”
Jeff Hildebrandt © 12/11/09

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Time Religion

We used to sing of Christian Soldiers marching off to war.
But we don’t seem we have that sort of feeling any more.
We used to hear of Christian values; turn the other cheek.
But now the world says it’s okay to trample on the meek.

We need old time religion where the Word of God is spread.
We need Jesus resurrected and the poor in spirit, fed.
We need old time religion and a spirit filled revival;
nothing flowery, just the basics, to equip us for survival.

We need to hear God loves us and it has been His plan
for Jesus, the Messiah, to save the souls of man.
We need to share that message leading others to The Way
and wish folks Merry Christmas, not Happy Holiday.

We need old time religion not new age fuzzy feelings.
We need real revelation not made-for-TV healings.
We need old time religion and prayer put back in school.
We need to trust in Jesus and live the “Golden Rule.”

We need to speak what we believe. It soon will be too late
for those who live in darkness to change their awful fate.
And Christian, God expects you to be His voice and hands
to show his love and share good news to everyone you can.

We need old time religion not gooey gospel goop.
We know there’s strength in numbers, so join a Christian group
and stand up with the faithful. No longer quake in fear.
Speak out old time religion cause the end is very near.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 12/16/09

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You Didn't Read the Instructions

You Didn’t Read the Instructions

Lots of Christians today are affected
by injustices each of us sees.
And I fear that we’re also infected
by a mind clouding social disease.
It’s symptoms include Bible thumping,
pointing fingers and narrowing views.
People’s actions just get our blood pumping
and we can’t stand to stay in the pews.
The media says we’re misguided.
And you know what, they may just be right.
Our priorities have been divided
and division is blurring our sight.
If our protesting things that are sinful
angers those who don’t see it that way.
Than what good are Godly intentions
when our witness drives others away?
We can protest and picket till doomsday.
Take saving the world as our goal.
But when Jesus comes, you know what he’ll say?
“You should have been out saving souls.
What happened, I told you to love them?
Not condemn them for things that they do.
But, instead, you wanted to judge them
and frankly, that’s not up to you.”
So, it’s time we stop pointing a finger.
Instead, we should offer a hand.
Help the needy, then take time to linger
and share the Good News if we can.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace; how sweet the sound.
But when a wretch, like me
is faced with someone needing grace,
I’m blind and cannot see.

The evidence of God with us
is how we treat another.
And without Grace we don’t forgive
but tend to judge each other.

Grace forgives the things we do,
forgives the things we don’t.
Grace puts up with all our faults
when those around us won’t.

Grace is what we get from God.
Grace is what we give.
Grace is not a mealtime prayer,
it should be how we live.

Amazing Grace; how sweet the sound
when it helps other’s see
God’s love and mercy exercised
in Christian charity.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2001

Nuf Said!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Fence Mender

While I was at one of Michael Martin Murphey's WestFest gatherings, I wandered thru the mercantile area and was drawn to a painting called, "The Fence Mender." by the end of the day, the poem was completed and I performed it on stage that night, with the painting next to me. Later, I shared it with a writer I respect, Corinne Brown, who helped me smooth some of the rough edges and actually finish the poem. Oh, one more thing. When I read the poem to the merchant who was selling the print, he told he he'd never noticed some of what I talk about. Isn't it amazing how often we miss what's right in front of us? By the way, Murph is having another WestFest soon. You should check it out and go if you can. Who knows what you might discover.
The Fence Mender
Fresh Snow…
except by the horse tracks behind him
and the sagebrush,
like polka dots on a bed sheet,
stretching to the mountains ahead.
He’s alone but far from lonely
as he rides up through the snow
along a sagging fence line
with the valley down below.
Pausing where the wire is down
this old fence mender looks around
to see if he can find a clue
of just what critter busted through.
But fresh snow…
covers any sort of sign
except those horse tracks back behind.
So he picks up the wire
nails it back in its place
under gray skies that cover
this wide open space.
Then the clouds split apart
by shafts from the sun
as if they’re God’s spotlight
on a job that’s well done.
Shadows shorten.
Boot and horse tracks
melt together as one
and tight wire is all that’s left behind.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2004

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Angel's Mom

Jamie Williams’ vision is to preserve a part of American history that has long been overlooked.
Thanks, in part to Western movies, there is a common misconception that men tamed the frontier and women decorated it. The reality is that women worked just as hard as men to settle this country and they also helped civilize it.
The American Cowgirl project chronicles the dust and the mud; the joy and tears; the hard work and giving spirit of women who know the code of the west and live it.
Their inspirational stories not only inform us, but also inspire us to think beyond ourselves in a way that breeds respect and tolerance.
These are real people and their stories need to be preserved. We will all be better for it.
This comes from one of those stories submitted to Jamie by a woman named Angel.

A man once wrote this famous quote;
“I have a dream.”
For Angel’s mom, the dream lives on
despite the dust, the bills and rust.
Despite back pain, the lack of rain,
the coyote’s howl and banker’s scowl;
for Angel’s mom, the dream lives on.

Winter wind whipping, ice cycles dripping,
as mom chopped ice, not once, but twice.
Then toted water while her daughter
watched it from the pasture.
She saw her mom walk past her
with grit not tears.
Though it’s been years,
for Angel, the dream lives on.

Memories of that cowgirl swirl
like dust devils do where grass once grew.
She sees mom’s face; that sweat stained grace,
a road map to all she’d been through
and all she did to raise cows and kids
so, for Angel, the dream could live on.

Angel’s tales of hauling bales,
re-stringing wires and changing tires,
aren’t softened by the mind’s patina.
Her mom’s no barnyard ballerina
tiptoeing through the clover.
She’s stooped and pooped and all bent over
so, for Angel, the dream could live on.

For Angel, mom’s an inspiration
whose perfume is pure perspiration;
She’s a symbol of integrity
and other hard hewn qualities.
As long as cattle graze the field
mom says there’s hope and will not yield
so, for Angel, the dream can live on.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2008

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dean Smith

He’s a cowboy legend with a Golden Boot.
He could ride a trick horse;
he could rope and could shoot.
But the movies were full
of those heroes, of course
so he showed them real talent.
He fell off a horse,
he jumped off a building;
he slipped off a cliff,
he was thrown from a wagon;
he had quite a gift.
He worked really hard
to learn all that he could
about TV and movies
in old Hollywood.
He learned more than acting.
He learned how to act;
how to think about others
and how to give back.
Now Dean Smith continues
what Ben Johnson did;
raising money and hope
for both parents and kids
who pray every day
doctors soon find an answer
in their search for a cure
for all forms of cancer.
He’s a cowboy at heart
who is honest and tough.
A friend through and through
who can’t do enough
for those who need help.
And, I think that it’s true;
When folks see an angel,
it sure looks like you.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2006

Cowboy's Comfort

The sun’s sinkin’ low,
way off in the West
and this cowboy’s a-thinkin’
it’s time for a rest
‘cause he’s been in the saddle
since just after dawn
makin’ sure all the doggies
stay where they belong.
So he steps off his pony
and takes off the saddle.
Then hobbles that cayuse
so it won’t skidaddle
when those coyotes start howling
their mournful old cry
at the moon, as it rides
through the dusty old sky.
His dinner is simple,
sowbelly and beans.
Then he kicks off his boots
and loosens his jeans
as he pours him some coffee
that’s boiled up just right
and sits there a listenin’
to the sounds of the night.
It’s a lonely old life,
that’s a fact, to be sure.
But, bein’ alone
has a certain alure
cause it gives you some time
at the end of the day
to listen to all that the Lord has to say.
See, a cowboy alone,
sitting there by the fire
doesn’t need to hear preachin’
or songs from a choir
to know there’s a God.
Cause God’s there in the breeze,
and the sagebrush and cactus
and all that he sees.
God’s footprints, he’ll tell you,
are plain as the day.
if you don’t let that other stuff
get in the way,
like worry and frettin’
how this or why that,
or complainin’ how unfair
things are where you’re at.
So, he pours out his coffee
and hunkers on down
ah-hearin God whisper
in each little sound,
“you can rest easy pardner
and I’ll tell you why,
cause I’m always right with ya,
and that ain’t no lie.”

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 1999

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Freedom's Cost

I read a story a number of years ago about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. I was moved by their dedication which seemed to mirror the American Spirit reflected by the military today. A historian told me later that some of the incidents could not be verified as true. It's not that these incidents didn't happen or the facts were distorted by the media back then, or that they were embellished by George Washington's press agent, it's just that they couldn't be verified. As we get ready to celebrate America's Independence, remember, we are "One Nation Under God." Also, look down the list of poems and you'll see one from June called, "Independence Day."

Freedom’s Cost

56 men signed a sheet of paper; they’d had it up to here.
They would stand for no more tyranny, and wanted to be clear.
56 men said enough’s enough, they pledged to fight or die.
But sometimes we forget the cost when Old Glory passes by.

Nearly half of them were lawyers whose income would be lost.
There were businessmen and farmers who heeded not the cost
but pledged their sacred honor, their fortunes and their lives.
Some lost all they’d worked for, some lost children; some lost wives.

Five of them were captured, they were beaten and were killed.
Another nine fought hand to hand before their blood was spilled.
A dozen had their homes burned down, four saw children die.
But none of them were ever heard to stop and question why.

We remember Boston harbor where the patriots dumped tea
and the bell that cracked while ringing out our new won liberty.
We remember Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and a few
who went on to shape the framework for a country that was new.

But no one seems to talk about the ones who fought and fell;
the ones who gave up everything, the ones who went through hell.
56 names on a declaration demanding liberty.
56 names remind us all that Freedom’s Never Free.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2000