April 19 through 25 is Cowboy Poetry Week—a time to celebrate the poems and poets who honor cowboy life through poetry. Cowboy poetry is a long-standing tradition, stretching from the nineteenth century to our day, and destined to last as long as there are, or memories of, cattle and the horseback men and women who tend them.
The poem below is posted in observance of the seven-day jubilee.
In spring and fall in the country where I grew up, v-shaped strings of Canada geese honked their way overhead as they migrated in spring and fall. The regularity of their flights reminded me of the cycle of cowboy work, specifically spring branding, and the gathering and shipping of beef cattle to market in the fall. And, the anticipation that accompanies the rhythms and rounds of nature and life and work.
The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry has been, since the year 2000, and will continue to be, a driving force in preserving and promoting the poetry of cowboys. Your support will be welcome. Enjoy browsing the archives at CowboyPoetry.com, as well as regular postings on the Cowboy Poetry blog and on Facebook.
I hear them in the evening winging northward—
Their eager, maybe longing, kind of sound.
It reminds me that we’ll soon be done with calving;
That branding time ain’t far from coming ’round.
And I think how fall works really ain’t that distant;
Shipping calves under sundown pewter skies
Wherein arrowpointed flocks are winging southward,
Trailing echoes of urgent, mournful cries.