Poetry

PoetryCowboy Poetry is a great way to keep rural heritage alive.  Check here for weekly entertainment from Ron Wilson, Geff Dawson and other featured poets throughout Kansas. Poems are fun easy reminders of what makes our state great. Feel free to share this with your friends, or share great poetry with us through our contact us page on the website.

Horse Training 

Cowboys love to train animals; sometimes the animals can train us. This poem is entitled Horse Training. On a hot summer morning, I walked out to train a young horse we were teaching to ride in the ring.

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Poem by Ron Wilson “The Code Of The West” 

Howdy, folks. I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. In the days of the Old West, the cowboys lived by a code, an unspoken set of rules that we called the Code of the West. Cowboys lived by what we called the Code of the West


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Head, Heart, Hands and Health
One of the great organizations for farmers historically was the 4-H Club, which is now open to youth, from the new settings; city, or rural. But this is my tribute for the 4-H Club, “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health”. My voice began to quiver, and my knees began to knock

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-5-47-11-pmZoonotic 
I’m proud to say that my daughter is a Veterinary student at Kansas State University and as a result, I’ve been able to learn some things too. This is the term she shared with me; the poem is entitled, Zoonotic. Those boys were working cattle one day in early Spring, a veterinarian



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Birth of a Breed
Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws, and the stone, which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is titled, Up Hill and Down, A tribute to the Fencing Man.



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Horse Show Mom
One of the great things about multi-generational farms or 4-H Clubs is that it’s a family affair. It’s a time when parents help kids work on their projects and learn. In Horse Shows, for example, we know that for every kid in the ring, there’s an anxious mom or dad or grandma or granddad helping outside the ring.


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Birth of a New Breed
Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws, and the stone, which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is titled, Up Hill and Down, A tribute to the Fencing Man.


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What’s Wrong with the Horse/What’s Wrong with the Rider
Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws, and the stone, which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is titled, Up Hill and Down, A tribute to the Fencing Man.


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Up Hill and Down 
Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws, and the stone, which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is titled, Up Hill and Down, A tribute to the Fencing Man.


Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 2.21.35 PMLost and Found A One of the joys we have is a good ranch dog. But those ranch dogs sometimes get into misadventures. This poem is entitled Lost and Found. I have a good dog, his name is Jake. Australian Shepherd is his make.


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The Gateman A cowboy has a lot of dirty messy jobs and oftentimes that involves the south end of a cow going north but when we’re sorting cattle, there is a very important job and that is the job of the gateman.


Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 11.43.12 AMJust Wait Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. Those of us who live out here in the middle of the country get used to one thing and that is the weather’s going to change.


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Barns are Beautiful There is a group called the Kansas Barn Alliance, which promotes and preserves barns as a vital part of the rural lifestyle of Kansas. This poem is entitled “Barns are Beautiful”. I think a barn is a beautiful thing, surrounded by grass in the early spring.


Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 1.15.21 PMBullfighters and Barrelmen One of the great summer traditions and fun things to do in the summer time in Kansas is rodeo. This salute is to bullfighters and barrelmen. When you go down to the rodeo, there’s folks you see as part of the show. They’re a vital part of the rodeo’s plan.


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Horse Show Mom One of the great things about multi-generational farms or 4-H clubs is that it’s a family affair. It’s a time when parents help kids work on their projects and learn. In horse shows for example, we know that for every kid in the ring, there’s an anxious Mom, or Dad, or Grandma, or Granddad


Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.14.48 PMZoonotic I’m proud to say that my daughter is a veterinary student at Kansas State University, and as a result I’ve been able to learn some things too. This is a term she shared with me. The poem is entitled, Zoonotic. As boys were working cattle one day in early spring, a veterinarian watched carefully a checkin’ everything.
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Death of the Open Range 
The mid to late 1800s made a huge change in the culture of what would become Kansas. Homesteaders came in to the state of Kansas following the Homestead Act and with them they brought fencing. And this poem is based on the true story of the invention of barbed-wire fence.


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.27.31 PMKnucklehead 
Years ago there was a cartoonist named Gary Larson who wrote cartoons, some of which featured cows talking to each other.


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Blowin in the Wind
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. There is one element of Kansas life which is found in the stereotypes that people have about the state of Kansas.


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The Trip
So many families take these big family trips where the kids all pile into the car, Mom and Dad drive and they get out of the driveway before the kids say, “Are we there yet?”


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First Cowtowns
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. The cowboy really came alive in legend at the time of the great cattle drives. And the goal of the Texas drovers was to get to Abilene. This poem is in honor of the “First Cowtowns.”


Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.35.02 PMYellow Brick Road
When I travel far outside of Kansas and I tell people I’m from the state of Kansas I get one of three reactions. Number one, they say Oh, Kansas City? Number two, they say Oh I drove THROUGH there one time. Or number three, they’ll make a Wizard of Oz joke.


Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 3.15.08 PM Livestock Trailers
One of the key pieces of equipment which a cowboy uses in modern times is the livestock trailer. This poem is a tribute to the livestock trailer. I wrote this poem on the back of a sale barn receipt while I was sitting in line at the sale barn getting ready to unload cattle.


Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 4.53.08 PM Blowin’ in the Wind 
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. There is one element of Kansas life which is found in the stereotypes that people have about the state of Kansas. And there is an element of truth to it folks. I’m talking about wind. This poem is entitled, “Blowing in the Wind.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 4.43.08 PM Mavericks
Way down in south Texas, more than a hundred years ago, there was a feller practicing law in San Antonio. He got title to a cowherd in payment of a debt somehow, which was a problem cause he knew nothing about raising a cow. So he hired some local fellows to look after this herd, but they were pretty lazy, according to this word.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 4.27.24 PM Death of the Open Range: Barbed Wire
 When the open range era came to an end the homesteaders and settlers moved into Kansas and started building something that would change the life of the cowboy forever, I’m referring to fences. This poem is based on the true story of the invention of barbed wire.

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Barns are Beautiful 

There is a group called the Kansas Barn Alliance, which promotes and preserves barns as a vital part of the rural lifestyle of Kansas. This poem is entitled “Barns are Beautiful”. I think a barn is a beautiful thing, surrounded by grass in the early spring. It’s a place of shade to store some hay, with stanchions for milking cows from bygone day.





Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.13.32 PMGambling Man
Farming is a gamble. A farmer puts a crop into the ground, a rancher raises a calf, not knowing what kind of weather conditions, market conditions or other factors could affect it in the end. So, farming is a gamble. Just like Las Vegas. This is a poem I wrote titled, “Gambling Man.”





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Revenge of the Farmall
My Dad bought a tractor, used, way back in 1958. It was a Farmall Super H, which he thought was great. Yet it wasn’t big or fancy, had no roll bar, cab, or radio. No three-point hitch or power steering for turning it just so.





Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 2.45.44 PMFirst Cowtowns 
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. The cowboy really came alive in legend at the time of the great cattle drives. And the goal of the Texas drovers was to get to Abilene. This poem is in honor of the “First Cowtowns.”





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Kansas Poem
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. Some years ago I was invited to a statewide festival and it was mostly urban people. And I felt I needed to do a reminder of the great cowboy history of our state, Kansas.




Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.59.31 PMCowboy Up

Years ago we had a bad fire here on the ranch when our daughter was little. We lost an entire machine shed and it was a traumatic experience for her. I wrote this poem about that day and its titled “You have to Cowboy Up”.



Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.45.55 PMGeff Dawson – Horses

There’s no alarm clock needed to get me out of bed, for today I’ll be a cowboy. Now let’s get them horses fed. The chores are done before the sun tops the eastern hill and I saddle up my horse and up my back there goes a chill.


Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.27.31 PMBlowing in the Wind
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. There is one element of Kansas life which is found in the stereotypes that people have about the state of Kansas. And there is an element of truth to it folks. I’m talking about wind.

Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 3.11.04 PMBuilding Boots
Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. There are many great things that come from our cowboy heritage. One of the very simplest, is one we find on our feet. This poem is entitled “Building Boots.” Many things have been invented and not all have taken root.

Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 2.23.13 PMRodeo
When you go down to the rodeo, there’s folks that you see as part of the show. They’re a vital part of the rodeo’s plan: I speak of the bullfighters and the barrel man. They wear a painted smile and a goofy hat, suspenders and floppy pants at that.


Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 12.30.29 PMGive Thanks Three Times a Day

Years ago we had a bad fire here on the ranch when our daughter was little. We lost an entire machine shed and it was a traumatic experience for her. I wrote this poem about that day and its titled “You have to Cowboy Up”.

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Cowboy Up
Years ago we had a bad fire here on the ranch when our daughter was little. We lost an entire machine shed and it was a traumatic experience for her. I wrote this poem about that day and its titled “You have to Cowboy Up”.

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The Gateman

A cowboy has a lot of dirty, messy jobs and often times that involves the south end of a cow going north. But when we’re sorting cattle, there’s a very important job, and that is the job of the gateman. It’s kind of a thankless job because he has to make some split-second decisions. In his honor this poem is entitled

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Barbed Wire

When the open range era came to an end the homesteaders and settlers moved into Kansas and started building something that would change the life of the cowboy forever, I’m referring to fences. This poem is based on the true story of the invention of barbed wire. It’s called the Death of Open Range.

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Terror on the trail
Kansas is sometimes called “Tornado Alley,” along with Oklahoma and Texas. And those were the very same states where the great cattle drives happened in the post Civil War era when the legend of the cowboy came to life. Imagine being on the trail drives in those days without.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 12.01.47 PMJust a Bit Off
We’ve started having weddings out at the ranch and that makes for some interesting combinations when cowboy culture encounters bride and family. This is a poem I wrote titled, “Just a Bit Off.” The cowboy stared in bewilderment across the crowded room, filled with venders, young women and the prospective groom.

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Never Kiss a Wasp
The best cowboy poetry is based on true stories and unfortunately this one is a true story. It’s titled, “Never Kiss a Wasp.” The cowboy climbed the ladder one pretty day in June to fill the diesel tank so he could bale some hay real soon.

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Getting Groceries
All of us are familiar with the routine of going to the store to get groceries. But for the cow/calf man, getting groceries has an additional meaning. This poem is entitled “Getting Groceries.” Getting groceries is something we have to do, for supplies from the store, each week or two. There’s milk, bread, cereal, eggs and juice.
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We have all kinds of relationships in our daily lives. This poem I wrote is titled, “The Date.” She looked forward to the date when her boy would come to call, but the time moved oh so slowly, the hours seemed to crawl. That day she had a thorough bath, as many females do.
Farming is a GambleScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.36.47 AM
Farming is a gamble. A farmer puts a crop in the ground, a rancher raises a calf, not knowing what kind of weather conditions, market conditions or other factors that could affect it in the end. So farming is a gamble, just like Las Vegas. This is a poem I wrote titled Gambling Man.

Cowboy Poetry “Lady Luck”Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 3.36.58 PM
Lady Luck is a tease. She can tear you apart. When you’re trying to
please she’ll come break your heart. You’ll have things goin’ right and you’re rockin’ along, but just when it’s bright then something goes wrong. And just when you think you’ve come through with a burst



Cowboy Poetry “Horses Made His” Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.50.28 PM
A national magazine reported for all to see what it called The Animal that Changed History. The animal which provided this historic force was the wonderful critter which we call the horse. In the history of man, across centuries of time, we find the contribution of the species equine. Columbus brought horses into the New World, when he landed at Hispaniola with the Spanish flag unfurled.

Cowboy Poetry “Horses Made His” Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.50.28 PM
A national magazine reported for all to see what it called The Animal that Changed History. The animal which provided this historic force was the wonderful critter which we call the horse. In the history of man, across centuries of time, we find the contribution of the species equine. Columbus brought horses into the New World, when he landed at Hispaniola with the Spanish flag unfurled.

Cowboy Poetry “No Meds”Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.26.43 PM
Me and the guys were at the café, eatin’ lunch and swappin’ lies, and listenin’ to our local veterinarian philosophize. It’s not medicine; it’s management, the old vet said to me. He was goin’ on about the bad cases that he’d see. He made the point that medicine couldn’t fix a situation when it was underlying management that caused the complication
Cowboy Poetry “Chisholm Trail”Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.16.56 PM
 One hundred fifty years ago emerged a vital tale. It helped a fledgling nation grow along the Chisholm Trail. The battles of the Civil War had left the nation frail. Beef would come to help restore along the Chisholm Trail. There came a man named Joe McCoy whose vision would entail moving of cattle and cowboy along the Chisholm Trail.
Cowboy Poetry “AQHA”Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.48.38 PM
Throughout the history of the west, a legendary horse was part of the horse breeder’s quest, a cowboy’s major force. This horse had a quick burst of speed to win the quarter mile. There was strong muscling in the steed that gave him certain style.
Cowboy Poetry “Ron Mavericks” Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.50.53 PM
Way down in south Texas, more than a hundred years ago, there was a feller practicing law in San Antonio. He got title to a cowherd in payment of a debt somehow, which was a problem cause he knew nothing about raising a cow. So he hired some local fellows to look after this herd, but they were pretty lazy, according to this word.
Ron Wilson “Terror on the Trails Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.13.48 AMKansas is sometimes called Tornado Alley, along with Oklahoma and Texas. And those were the very same states where the great cattle drives happened in the post Civil War era when the legend of the cowboy came to life. Imagine being on the trail drives in those days without weather radio,
Ron Wilson “Livestock trailor”Livestock Trailor
One of the key pieces of equipment which a cowboy uses in modern times is the livestock trailer. This poem is a tribute to the livestock trailer. I wrote this poem on the back of a sale barn receipt while I was sitting in line at the sale barn getting ready to unload cattle. It’s called Hitch Me Up! There’re red ones and blue ones, silver and gray, some are splattered with manure, some are leaking hay.
Cowboy Poetry Cowboy poetry
Howdy, I’m Ron Wilson, chair of the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest. This year is the fifth annual contest and I’m mighty pleased to give the results and explain a little bit about how these cowboy poets got here. In 2015 we had three regional qualifying contests in three different locations-Ellsworth, Benton, near Wichita and Strong City, at the Flint Hills Rodeo. And only the top poets in each of those contests qualified for the state finals.
Ron Wilson “Livestock Judge” ron wilson livestock judge
When I was in 4-H and FFA, one of my very favorite experiences was the livestock judging. And we did a lot and we had success. We managed to win the state contest in 4-H and went to internationals. So now, I go to county fairs and the big livestock shows and I’m very interested to watch the guy in the center of the ring.
Ron Wilson “The Legend of Buffalo Billron wilson legend of buffalo bill
In the late 1860s as the railroad built west, as part of our nation’s destiny made manifest. All those railroad workers needed to eat and the obvious solution was buffalo meat. William F. Cody hired on with the railroad then, to hunt buffalo to provide meat for the men. His shooting demonstrated such excellent skills, his friends started calling him Buffalo Bill.
Ron Wilson “The Grub” Ron Wilson The grub
Cowboys like to eat and we also complain about the food. In the days of the old cattle drives, of course, there were chuck wagons that went with the cattle herds. And the guy who was chosen a chuck wagon cook, sometimes his only qualification was that he was too stove-up to drive cattle, which didn’t make for much of a culinary resume. This poem is entitled, This Grub is Out of This World
Ron Wilson “Bargin” Ron Wilson Bargin
Being thrifty is a virtue. My kids might say that I’m cheap, but of course that all depends on what the Cowboy wants to spend money on. This poem is entitled The Bargain. My wife and I went to the big city sometime back. I stopped by the western store to price some tools andtack. I need another pitchfork.
Ron Wilson “The Gateman” Ron Wilsn The Trip
We’re all driving home from a nice family trip, dog tired but happy with smiles on our lips. We’d been driving for hours on the big  highway, and we thankfully turned onto the ranch driveway. We were all looking forward to the end of the ride, when suddenly signs of concern that I spied.
Ron Wilson “The Gateman” Ron Wilson the Gateman
It’s kind of a thankless job because he has to make some split second decisions. In his honor this poem is entitled, “The Gateman.” There are certain thankless jobs that you encounter in this life, like a policeman giving parking tickets or perhaps the farmer’s wife, who’s sent to town for parts, oh it’s about yeah big, we don’t know…click for more!
Ron Wilson “You Have to Cowboy Up” Ron Wilson Cowboy Up
“You Have to Cowboy Up.” Daddy what do we do my little girl said, as we stared at the burning remains of our shed. The machine shed on our ranch had just gone up in flames, with the tractors and trailers and wagons it contained. I looked at my daughter as she cradled her scared pup, and said at times like these you have to cowboy up…click for more!
Ron Wilson “The Perfect Name” Ron wilson The Perfect Name
This poem is entitled, “The Perfect Name.” Three new horses were talking over the pasture fence. They thought they’d get acquainted so their grazing could commence. “What’s your name?” They asked the first horse. And he swelled up with pride. “My owner calls me Champion, when we go out to ride.” They turned to the second horse and said, “So what’s your name?” Just as the first horse swelled with pride, the second did the same!
Ron Wilson “Sunrise in Flint Hills” Ron Wilson Sunrise Flinthills
I was grumpy cause I started in the dark before dawn, griping to my wife while I put my hat and work clothes on. But there’s little time to complain, I need an early start. I saddled up the horse and was ready to depart. I rode down the gravel road. The sky lightened in the east. I needed to check cattle so I was looking for the beast. We went in the pasture gate headed up the old…click for more!
Randy Sparks “Old Single Spur” Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.39.17 PM
The hinges are rusty on the old cabin door. They sing heir mournful song with every breeze. The cowboy who lived here doesn’t live here anymore. And all he left behind were memories. The morning glory climbs where roses once were along the path form the porch to the gate. On an ancient square nail hang and old Single Spur I wonder what became of its mate…click for more!
Ron Wilson “Just Wait a Minute and it Will Change” Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.34.20 PM
We’ve had lots of winter weather, so when we got a thaw, the chance to get outside was really quite a draw. It felt like cabin fever so I was glad to get outside clean the feeder, built some fence and managed to get in a horse ride. I stripped down to my shirt sleeves and got a whole lot of good work done. And found it was the spring’s first exposure to the sun….click for more!
Ron Wilson “Building Boots” Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.16.48 PM
Many things have been invented and not all have taken root. But one of the greatest inventions was the simple cowboy boot. The cowboy boot is something that won’t cross most people’s minds. They think it’s just a footwear style like all the other kinds, because they’re made a certain way. And that is what I want to explain to you today…click for more!
Ron Wilson “Kansas” Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.09.47 PM
Kansas is a cowboy state, it’s in our legacy. Kansas blazed a trail, throughout western history. It all started with the Native American Indian as you know, who roamed the open prairie, and hunted buffalo. The new explorers charted the wilderness, braving harsh conditions Coronado, Lewis and Clark and John C. Fremont’s expeditions….click for more!
Ron Wilson “Blowin’ in the Wind” Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 3.11.58 PM
The railroad train stopped at a station out west, out stepped a city dude in bowler hat and fancy vest. The wind was a howling as Kansas’ winds sometimes do. And off went his hat as one particular gust blew. This wind is just horrific the easterner said, is it always like this, he wondered with dread? So he looked around and what caught his eye was a Kansas cowboy…click for more!
Ron Wilson “Kansas Day” KansasDAy
In Kansas, early pioneers came west to build a state. Now, we look back through all the years to pause and celebrate. Our native tribes were first we saw to bring us early fame. The Kansa Indians, known as Kaw gave us our very name. Then cowboys drove wild cattle north to meet the Kansas rails. And brave explorers ventured forth to blaze…click for more!

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