Christian Cowboy Poetry and more

Christian Cowboy Poetry and more
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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Timely Trick or Treat

This is actually meant to be read on Sunday as you wait patiently for the goblins to come knocking at your door.

A Timely Trick or Treat (Halloween Irony)

The time of year has come again
when children change their looks;
Pretending to be someone else
like heroes, ghosts or crooks.
They walk in bunches down the street
and go from door to door.
They say politely, “Trick or Treat”
in costumes we adore.
Sweet smiles shine behind their masks
as they go on their way.
They’re candidates in training;
Polls close in just two days.

Jeff Hildebrandt © Halloween, 2010

Just Desserts

I admit from the start that some of you will just shake your head in disbelief, others will groan and some will even share this as part of the "trick" in trick or treat. All I can say is that I had too much haloween candy and was out of my mind.

Just Desserts

Down in San Antonio,
there’s a battle that’s intense.
But for those who aren’t from Texas
it may not make much sense.

The standoff all got started
with two cowboys eating lunch.
At first they started bickering
then one guy threw a punch.

When the reason for their dust up
was reported in the news,
the community was split apart;
each side with different views.

I’m sure you won’t believe this
but it’s true, I wouldn’t lie.
The war of words is all about
the way to eat fruit pie;
Hot with cold ice cream on top
or simply serve it plain.
The not so civil war of words
has sparked an old refrain.

Newspaper editorials
in bold face type, I’m told
support ice cream, by saying
"Remember the Ala Mode."

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blessed are those....

(Psalm 1)

There are those who think only
of how to get more.
They rob and they cheat
and they take from the poor.
They abuse all their power,
they beg for a fight
and they laugh at the ones
who stand up for what’s right.

But, then there are others
who plot and who plan
how to make living better
for their fellow man.
They give what they have
and don’t worry or fret
cause their God’s always faithful
and hasn’t failed yet
to reward them with riches,
glad hearts, peace of mind
and when the end comes,
they know that they’ll find
The Lord will be waiting
with arms open wide
and He’ll say, “well done servant,
now please come inside”

But when those, who’s ambition
was just to get more
stand before God Almighty,
He’ll just slam the door.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handlebar Mustache

Before you read this, you might want to go to You Tube/Jimmy Buffet/ Pencil Thin Mustache That way, you'll have a sense of the musicality in this poem. The inspiration for this came while I was at Denver's Buckhorn Exchange listening to Bill Barwick and Roz Brown. They sang Pencil Thin Mustache and I got a mental image of Sam Elliott. Don't ask me, it's just how my mind works.

Handlebar Mustache

I’ve been watchin’ movies about the old west
…seems every hero survives every test.
Now I find I’m dreamin and I just wanna be
a white hatted hero like those on TV.
I wish I had a handlebar mustache,
the Sam Elliott kind.
Quick draw pistols and big leather chaps,
I could have a sidekick, like Andy Devine.
I remember being a fan as a kid
and savin’ the homestead the way Hoppy did.
Now, if I had a handlebar mustache
I could be a hero too.
It was backyard, ridin hard, livin the dream,
bein’ Gene Autry all day.
It was cap guns, lots a fun in those early years.
Why, I remember leadin’ the three mesquiteers
Yeah, I wish I had a handlebar mustache
So I could be a hero too.

But it’s my fate, I’m too late, those times are gone
And I find I just wanna be
Not a five-and-dimer, but a real range rhymer;
a Cowboy entertainer, who does po-e-try.
Yeah, that’s why each evening, to God I do pray
make me sorta famous like Wally McCrae
so folks will come to see me and leave with a smile.
That’s the way it ought to be.
That’s why I wish I had a handlebar mustache,
the “Waddie Mitchell” kind.
A two toned Stetson I’d wear everywhere
If I could make a livin’ well, that would be fine.
Oh I’d be respected, not be just a hack
and make lots of money like ole’ Baxter Black.
That’s why I wish I had a handlebar mustache.
Then, I could be a poet too.

Jeff Hildebrandt, copyright 2002

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More or Less Bein'

Those of you in the western entertainment industry...I don't know if it can be called "industry" or not. Western entertainment is mostly independent contractors scratching and scrambling to make ends meet. It seems to me that western entertainers spend their time trying to get hired at events that don't pay them enough to cover expenses, let alone turn a profit. My friend, Bill Barwick, told me when I first started going to these events that promised no money but a lot of exposure, "You can get all the exposure you can afford." But I digress. Anyway, there was a joke circulating a few years ago that I decided to turn into this poem.

More or Less Bein’

An old cowhand sat at the bar
the way old cowhands do.
His mind is off to somewheres else,
his hand’s wrapped round a brew.
When a lady sat beside him
and looked him up and down
from spurs to chaps to cowboy hat
with a feather in the crown.
“Are you a real cowboy”? she asked.
He said, “I s’pose so mam.
I worked on ranches all my life.
So, yes, I guess I am”.
“How ‘bout you?” he says to her
and drains his bottle dry.
“I’m a lesbian” she tells him
and proceeds to ex-plain why.
“I think of women all the time
from dawn to days last light
and then, as if that’s not enough,
I dream of them at night.”
He’s lost in thought as she moves on.
He asks for one more round
when a couple see the way he’s dressed
and both just set on down.
“Are you a real Cowboy”? they asked.
He sighed and then he said,
“I though I was but now I find
I’m a lesbian instead.”

Jeff Hildebrandt copyright 2002

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Are Writers

Imagine sitting around a table with a group of writers. All listening to each other and adding their constructive criticism. I stress "constructive." They all have a story to tell and are open to verbal editing. I have always been in awe of those who can write something that goes on for more than a page; storytellers who can keep you from getting a good night's sleep because you can't put it down. After my first encounter I felt the need to describe it.

We are Writers

Like pioneers round a camp fire
we circle up, settle in and smile.
Only, there is no campfire,
just a round table with Styrofoam cups
and notebooks that runneth over.
The fire comes from within.
The warmth of each one’s passion
radiates as they read aloud
this week’s insights and inspiration.

Like pioneers,
we explore the unknown
or the once known and long forgotten
trails, trials and triumphs that converge
into who we are.

Like pioneers,
we pause and ponder each new awakening.
What does it mean?
Where will it lead?
I need to know and so,
I keep going.

We are pioneers;
exploring unbroken trails,
discovering meaning amidst memories,
uncovering paths from what was to what is,
finding scenic routes linking you with me.

We are pioneers.
We are Writers.

Jeff Hildebrandt © Feb. 4, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

White Line Fever

In my business, we're told to think outside the box. It makes me wonder who created the box in the first place...and why? The problem I've found with those who want us to think outside the box, is that they really want us to think inside their box. If you understand, fine. If you don't, well, that's fine too. That really has very little to do with what's coming next. Unless you see a parallel between outside the box and off the beaten path.


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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Lone Ranger

This developed from a true story about a guy in New Mexico. I was told it was a true story but you know how that goes.

A lone Ranger

I saw him at the diner
sippin’ coffee all alone;
a far off gaze to yesterday
and memories all his own.
“It must be 50 years”, he said,
“Since Buck and Ralph and me
formed a little white hat gang
like our heroes on TV.
Buck passed on in ’96.
We buried Ralph today
I’m the last of the white-hat gang;
my posse’s gone away.

Seems we’re losin’ all the heroes;
who taught us wrong from right
I feel like a lone ranger
but I’m just too old to fight

He stood up slow and waited
for his muscles to un-kink
put on that silver Stetson,
cocked his head and gave a wink.
In baggy jeans and Ropers
he shuffled toward the door.
Then paused a moment, turned around
and thought out loud once more

We’re losin’ all the heroes;
who taught us wrong from right
I feel like a lone ranger
but I’m just too old to fight

As we headed to his pick-up,
3 young men strutted by.
When they got beside us,
he looked each in the eye
and said “Y’all need silver Stetsons.
Look me up when you get back.”
See, these 3 desert cowboys
were headed to Iraq.

We may lose all those heroes
who taught us right from wrong.
But when one old posse leaves us
another comes along
that has our same respect for God,
the Flag and liberty,
full of courage and compassion
just like we used to be.
Then that old cowboy showed a smile
as tears began to fall
and said “I’m just an older ranger,
not a lone one after all.”

Jeff Hildebrandt ©2006

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Passion on the Plains

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, October 19, 2010

Singing Cowboy Salute

I wrote this for the 3rd Dean Smith Celebrity rodeo in Abeline, TX. The theme of the event, which raised money for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, was Salute to the Singing Cowboys. Part of the entertainment feautred modern day singing cowboys singing songs made famous by earlier singing cowboys.


When westerns were a dyin’ breed
Hollywood said there’s a need
for something new that we can do
to freshen up the look and feel
and give our cowboys sex appeal.

That’s when we saw the cowboy star
who fought and shot and played guitar
like the one from 1933;
Monogram’s “Riders of Destiny”.
Back then they thought John Wayne was dandy
as cowboy-crooner “Singin’ Sandy”.

Well, that concept was mighty thin
so movie makers tried again.
This time they found success of course
using singers who could ride a horse
like Rex and Tex, Roy and Gene,
Monte Hale and Eddie Dean.

No one thought that it would last
but more than 50 years have passed
and we still find we sing along;
familiar words from days long gone.

Back in the Saddle,
that song from High Noon,
Ghost Riders, Cool Water
and that Tumbleweed tune.

Those musical memories are bound to live on
when we gather together and all sing along
like Gene Autry taught us.
Take a deep breath and grin
cause it’s time to get
Back in the Saddle again.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2006

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Answered Prayer

I went to a wedding over the weekend and thought I'd post this for all those who seek but haven't found their soul-mate or those who have given up the search all together.

An Answered Prayer

Two Trails; winding and well worn

Two Travelers; wary and withdrawn
Broken Dreams
Broken Promises
Broken Spirits
Cautious and Cocooned,
with no thought of a butterfly
Single minded

Two Trails intersect
Two Travelers interact
A polite “hello”
A “thank you, no”
Then, “maybe so”

Two Trails converge
Two Travelers emerge
as one
Hope Restored
Dreams Reborn
Love Resurrected
Thank God

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2006

Friday, October 15, 2010


“Why are you a cowboy,” I asked the buckaroo.
“Cause my daddy was a cowboy
so it seemed the thing to do.”

“But the work seems awful boring. Does it pay well?” I inquired.
“Don’t do it for the money,
if I did, I’d soon be fired.
There’s no such thing as overtime
when calving comes around.
Snow days only mean more work
and all on frozen ground.
In summer it can be so hot
there’s sweat stains where you sat
and the only shade you come across
is right beneath your hat.”

“So, why are you a cowboy?” I asked him once again.
He said, “Just take a look around
and breathe in deep, my friend.
That’s the scent of freedom
and the look of liberty.
No hydrocarbons clouding up
the air so you can’t see
the West the way God made it;
clear streams and rolling plains,
snow capped peaks in summer,
the fresh smell when it rains.
There’s no clock watching worker bees
in multi-story mazes
who never look you in the eye
except for fit-full gazes.
The people serving breakfast
at the restaurant down in town
can talk to you in English
and they’re glad you came around.”

“So, that’s why you’re a cowboy. I finally understand.
It’s more than just a job to you, it’s really something grand.”
“Naw, it’s just a job,” he said.
“I work to keep my family fed.
That other stuff may sound real good
but it’s just hot air from Hollywood.”
That one really threw me so I turned and walked away
while he just stood there laughing. It really made his day
to tenderize a tenderfoot. It’s what some cowboy’s do
so folks who visit there won’t stay and clutter up their view.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 12/3/09

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good Time Coffee Shop

This one comes from the days of performing anywhere and everywhere in order to get used to an audience and refine my skills. It's one thing to write poetry, alone with just the "muse." It is quite different to put your self in a position to have your work rejected or ignored. I heard about a coffee shop on East Colfax in Denver that had a western themed open-mic night for poets once a month. So I went a few times and that was the inspiration for this little verse.

Good Time Coffee Shop

There’s a place I know where cowboys go
to swap a yarn or three
of things they did whilst jest a kid
and at their mama’s knee.
They tell their tales of hoistin’ bales
or how they birthed a colt.
And after each, these cowhands reach
for a fresh brewed Java jolt.
Oh, the stories told of exploits bold
and dangers that they face
each buckaroo’ll swear are true
cause to lie is a disgrace.
Cow stampedes and tumbleweeds,
Hackamores and hobbles,
Pick up trucks and lady luck,
Jinglebobs and baubles
provide the inspiration
for each evening’s conversation.
There’s them who play the Western way
and sing a cowboy song
‘bout being at home where the buffalo roam.
and the whole crowd sings along.
Now, Friday night, when the mood is right
it’s somethin’ you should see.
A whole room full of wranglers
spoutin’ cowboy poetry
‘bout cattle queens in Abilene
and the tough life on the trail.
‘bout callused hands that work the land
and folks who’s word won’t fail
Oh, the stories told of exploits bold
are what them cowhands swap
as long as there’s hot java
at the Good-time Coffee Shop.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When I first switched my rhyming style from the more traditional to the more Western influenced poetry, I started reading established cowboy poets. One in particular spent an entire poem complaining about wannabe poets muddying up the waters of Western wisdom. So, I felt I had to let folks know from the very beginning that I am Not A Cowboy.


I am not a cowboy,
though I wear a cowboy hat
and the boots I wear have pointed toes
and heels that ain’t near flat.
I want to be a cowboy,
but I’m stopped by one condition
I just can’t get a handle
on those cowboy definitions.

When you say Ranch,
I think salad dressing
and that’s not all, there’s more
a Quarter Horse is what kids ride
outside the K-Mart store
A Bull is the just first part
of an expletive deleted
and Pony’s just a little keg of beer,
too soon depleted.
I’m not sure what a Cayuse is,
but, it’s my recollection
that the Spurs play basketball
and Red Eye’s an infection.

No, I am not a cowboy
and I guess that’s clear to you
but, I read books by Cowboy Poets
to find out what to do.
How I should walk, how I should talk,
and even how to spit.
When to drink and when to eat
and when to take a
sit-down with some pardners,
play some cards and chew the fat
about the Dallas Cowboys
and topics such as that.

A fella told me “get a horse”,
that’s the thing that I should do.
So, I got a little pinto,
but the body rusted through.
I used to have Colt 45’s.
I’d drink some every day
now, the Saddlebags it gave me
just won’t go away.

But I want to be a cowboy
wearin’ jeans and denim shirts
and dance that Texas Two Step
till my old doggies hurt.
I’ll eat my Texas Chili hot,
washed down with Lone Star Beer.
I’ll vacation at a Dude Ranch
and maybe milk myself a steer.
No, I am not a cowboy
but I think that I could be
once I get a handle
on their terminology.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Monday, October 11, 2010

Textured by Time

This poem was somewhat of a surprise to me. I know that sounds strange, but I was headed in one direction and all of a sudden I found myself taking another path. (sort of like life, I guess) Now this is free verse poetry and I hope you see the picture it paints.

Textured by Time

Paint peels; reveals silver splinters
amidst the gray grain of winter-warped wood.

Once a showplace, now a showcase of hard times.
Rusty tears, from too many years of neglect,
weep from 10-penny punctures.

Once a haven for Herefords;
twice a day hay,
3 legged stools and galvanized pails.
Now, musty and dusty;
a home for birds and barn kitties.

Once sturdy and straight;
now stoop shouldered and
textured by time.
But, still beautiful, some say, in a natural way.
Barns are like that.

Once brown and bushy
now silver streaked and scarce,
covered by a tractor hat in need of an oil change.
Penny candy pockets,
all tickles and teasing.
A soft touch at bedtime.

Once lean and feisty now leaning and forgetful;
Once raising cane now held upright by one.
Textured by time
but beautiful, some say, in God’s way.
Grandpas are like that.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2006

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'd like to give my boss the bird!

I’d like to give my boss “The Bird”.
I mean that from my heart.
But so many folks deserve it
I don’t know where to start.
Our Congressmen and Senators
should get it on the hill
along with special interest groups
who ask for cash refills.
While thinking of some sermons
and preaching that I’ve heard;
It strikes me that some ministers
should also get “The Bird”.

By now, you must be wondering
how I can be so rude.
So, let me tell you what’s behind
my bird-brained attitude.
On the day that Christ was baptized,
from the heavens up above,
The Holy Ghost descended
and appeared just like a Dove.

So, when I wish someone “The Bird”
I’m hoping that they find
The Spirit of Almighty God
will change their heart and mind.
Without God’s Holy Spirit
we are deaf to truths we’ve heard.
We cannot truly know the Lord
until we get “The Bird”.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 2009

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Devil's Mission

Our pastor is dealing with various "isms" that confront us everyday. The first in the series is Atheism. Wednesday nights there is a follow up with different insights into the topic. Last night a former athiest who came to realize the falicy of faithlessness described his journey away from and then back to the family of God. His mission now is to use the internet to spread the Good News. Please check it out:
Then, this morning I heard about the tornadoes in Arizona and thought this poem might be appropriate.

The Devil’s Mission

If I were the devil, you know what I’d do?
I’d do all I could to sabotage you.
I wouldn’t stick strictly to doing what’s wrong.
I’d win over souls by way of a song
or some other ploy, using things you enjoy.
At first, I’d use movies, magazines and TV
to show you how great greed and lusting can be.
And while your attention is focused on smut
I’d find somewhere else where I’d undercut
all your claims of good works and helping the poor
or feeding the hungry. And then what is more
I’d organize better; be first on the scene
with disaster relief. Do you see what I mean?
If I were the devil I’d protest and plead
that an end to abortion is what we all need.
I’d protest pollution, I’d say save the whales,
I’d show starving children, cause that never fails
to focus attention on somebody’s plight
so all the do-gooders can do what is right.

But, if I were the devil, the one thing I’d hate
is filling a soul, while filling the plate
of some down-and-outer who came off the street.
Don’t feed him on Jesus; just give him some meat.
Don’t think of your mission as means to an end
be content with the fact that you’re being a friend.
But, if I were the devil, my fears would be solved.
I’d just have you give money and not get involved.

Athiests are deluded by the devil into believing they don't need God. Athiesm amounts to "self-soverenty." might be able to help believers answer their doubts. Thus endeth today's message....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please Put Off Procrastination

Please, put off procrastination.
There’s no peace when you delay
and you put off till tomorrow
things you should decide today.
Oh, we think our time is endless;
there’s no hurry to decide.
I’ll have time to find salvation
but for now, I’m satisfied.

I believe there is a heaven.
I believe there is a hell.
I believe the devil tricks us
to believe there’s time as well.
Fight against procrastination.
You cannot afford delay.
You may find there’s no tomorrow.
So, accept God’s Gift today.

Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Cowboy's Bread

Now, the story I’m a tellin’ you
was told to me as bein’ true
by a hand who heard it from his pa,
who’d cowboy’d out-a Wichita
with a fella who cooked
for the outfit in question.
At least I think
that’s his recollection.
They were drivin’ a herd
through wind and rain
to a railhead in Kansas,
cross that flat open plain,
when they came to a spot
that seemed to be right,
so they halted the herd
and camped for the night.
Round the campfire that evenin’
as cowboys will do,
they began swappin stories
and a tall tale or two
‘bout things they had done,
the wild oats they’d sown,
the horses they’d broke
and the trail cooks they’d known.
Then, the talk turned to vittles,
what they’d eat if they could
and just why they thought
their selection was good.
Well, as you might guess,
they all did attest
to lovin slabs of meat.
But, it’s what they’d put beside it,
that made each meal their treat.
One said baked potatoes,
another likes ‘em fried
with onions and green peppers
and ta-maters on the side.
Corn on the cob got several votes
and so did salad greens.
And, I guess it was unanimous
that no one wanted beans.
Then someone asked the cook himself,
when he’s not on the range
just what his favorite food would be.
And they thought he acted strange,
‘cause he just stood there, silent like,
then, to each of them he said,
pay attention and I’ll tell ya
why what I love is bread.
“Rye that's either dark or light,
Pumpernickel, black or white,
Sourdough or cinnamon sweet,
bread is what I love to eat.
Said, “Nothin's better, coast to coast
than anything with Garlic Toast.
For breakfast, what I think is grand,
are biscuits fried up in a pan”,
and added, “What’s good after supper,
is a big old hunk a sopper-upper,
He loves Bread !
Said he met the woman he loves most
one summer at a weenie roast.
They shared a hot dog on a roll
and Spoon Bread in a little bowl.
She's now his wife and children's mother
and once a year, they "Toast" each other.
They love Bread!
But he said the best they’d ever had
was none of the above.
It was made with pure self-rising flour
and kneaded well with love
by a baker who’s goal is to feed the soul
in good times and in strife.
To get it you just have to ask
for Jesus Christ, The Bread of Life.
Then, to a man, those cowhands said
“Amen to that, thank God for Bread.”
Jeff Hildebrandt © 1999

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Milk of Human Kindness has gone Sour

I need to tell you a little story about this next little story. I wrote the first couple of versus back in the summer of 2007, as a way to channel various frustrations. It was not something I wanted to share until I went to a Bible study that focused on God’s mercy toward us and how He expects us to show mercy to everyone else. That’s what finished the poem.

My Milk of Human Kindness has gone Sour

I have a hard time caring
when fanatics claim foul play
about how we reacted when
twin towers were blown away.
I cannot find compassion
for those hell-bent to die
and don’t care for the mothers
or the children standing by.
They claim that we’re all satan
and we take it on the chin.
God forbid that we upset them
or stop them coming in
to undermine our government.
Oops, sorry we’re too late.
Our country crumbles ‘round us
‘cause we can’t discriminate.

The bleeding hearted news doves
no longer can be trusted.
So, let me quote that country song;
“My give-a-damn is busted”
I know that I should love them
and turn the other cheek.
But, I’ll need God to help with that,
‘cause frankly all I seek
is a swift end to this holy war
that sends them to their heaven
with a taste of their own medicine.
Remember 9-11

Then God says, “Where’s your mercy,
where’s compassion, understanding?
Love, don’t hate your enemy
as the scripture is demanding.”
The fate I prayed befalls them
could have been my destiny
had God not shown his mercy
and sent Christ to die for me.
And judgment without mercy
is the judgment that awaits
those whose hearts are hardened.
But the Bible also states
if we love those who mistreat us,
God’s mercy will all be great.
So, help me Lord to love them
and take away my hate.
Jeff Hildebrandt © November 18, 2008

Here are the versus:
“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:35-37
“Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment!” James 2:13

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Can't Play Guuitar

I really enjoy being part of any Western Music gathering or concert. I love watching Bill Barwick, Johnny Neill, Jon Chandler and the like stand on stage and wrap a crowd around their little fingers. But, I must admit that I have guitar-envy. Now that I think about it, I also envy writers like Mike Blakely who can weave history into a novel. But, that's fodder for another poem. This time, I'm sharing my thoughts on the fact that I am musically challenged.

I can’t play Guitar

I can’t play the guitar;
my fingers just won’t let me.
I’ve taken lessons lots of times
and all it ever gets me
are blisters on my finger tips
and soreness in my wrist.
The thrill of making music
is one thing that I’ve missed
cause I can’t seem to play guitar
or banjo or the fiddle.
The “how” of making melody
remains an unsolved riddle.

I can’t play bass fiddle;
I’m just not tall enough
to even tune the gal-darn thing.
And drums are really tough
because you must have rhythm.
And I feel really dumb
when I stumble walking down the street
while also chewing gum,
which means I can’t play tambourine.
I squeak on saxophone.
And my arms are not quite long enough
to play the slide trombone.
I’m terrible at trumpet
cause I have no pucker power
and my wife tells me I sing off key
even when I’m in the shower.

I can’t play harmonica;
my lips get in the way
and I can’t see just where to blow.
But, I guess that’s okay
cause I’m more of a poet
and I use my hot air
to paint word pictures in your mind.
So, really, I don’t care
to learn to pick the mandolin
or thump a washtub bass.
I’m just an old word-slinger
and while there is a trace
of envy for musicians who can play
and also sing,
I don’t have to tote an instrument.
My words are all I bring.

But, they’re words of Western wisdom,
cowpoke philosophy
that help me down the trail of life
as far as I can see.
Like, “Never squat while wearing spurs.
Close gates that I go through”
and “Make dern sure that I can spit
before I take a chew.”
There are other words of wisdom
just meant for us to share
like, “Don’t point fingers, lend a hand”
and “Show someone you care.”
“We all start out with nothing
and we’ll leave here just the same,
so only thinking of ourselves
will prove to be a shame.”

Now, those are words of wisdom,
not just philosophy,
to guide us down the trail of life
to life eternally.
Jeff Hildebrandt © 11/16/09