Lake County Arts Council

Main Street Gallery
325 North Main Street
Lakeport, California 95453
(707) 263-6658

Cowboy Lesson

R. V. Schmidt

I hear folks talk about how cowboys drink,
raise hell and get foolish and are too dumb to think.

The truth of the matter is way far from that,
you can’t handle this job with fog under your hat.

If you think I’m foolin’ just climb up on top
of that green-broke cayuse and see if he hops.

While you’re standing there trying to shake off your fear,
get a rope on your ego and open your ears.

Now check out them stirrups that take in your toe,
you notice the way they are twisted just so?

They wasn’t that way when they come from the store,
I turned ‘em and soaked ‘em for three days or more.

So when I sling my leg over and my butt hits the seat,
I ain’t pokin' around for a place for my feet.

Is your back cinch too loose? Is your front cinch too tight?
Are you sure that big snaffle is hangin’ just right?

Is your breast collar hooked, your riata tied on?
Are your hobbles and keeper right where they belong?

Has he got all his shoes? Is he standin’ ok?
Do your saddlebags hold what you need for the day

of ridin’ the fence and lookin’ for leaks
in five strands of barbed wire that goes on for weeks?

Some jerky, a biscuit, a slicker and tools.
Oh, if you get thirsty there’s plenty of pools

of spring fed fresh water for something to drink
that won't make you goofy and too dumb to think.

So partner, you just spent a minute or two
learnin’ a bit of the job that I do.

I’ll be back by sunset if things go all right,
to start over again just before mornin’ light.

Now I’d like to know how you think I have time,
to drink and raise hell and make all of this rhyme.

Painting by R.V. Schmidt

©R.V. Schmidt


Poetry Circle