Cowboy Poetry: "The Drought" by Jerry Laskody

This is a poem about the challenges ranchers face during a drought.

Each morning when he wakes up

He searches the western sky

Then checks the daily weather report

And lets out a disgusted sigh.

 

The snow pack it was average

And things were looking fine

Then 'long about mid-April

Came the first tell tale sign.

 

Instead of normal rain fall

Why the weather it was dry 

And the temperatures they got warm

Well it felt like mid-July.

 

Optimistically he thought

It will surely rain in May

And if it didn't why there's still time

For a wet June to save the day.

 

To be on the safe side

And to keep the grass 'a growin'

He turned the sprinklers on

So in July he would be mowin'.

 

He put water on the pastures

Got to keep those cows a'milkin'

And them new born calves

He gotta' keep 'em growin'.

 

May has come and gone

And it keeps getting' drier

The run off it's comin' early

And the situation is looking dire.

 

The BIA who runs our Project

They are surely misbehavin'

Instead of storing precious water,

None of it they're savin'. 

 

The temperatures are getting hotter

And the ground is gettin' drier

Here it is mid-June

And we're worried about fire.

 

Surely it will rain in June

It always has before

But the month it just passes

Without a big downpour.

 

He cuts the hay in July,

In the blazing summer heat

But it's only half a crop

So once again he's beat.

 

He keeps the water sprinklin'

Hoping for a break

If the water runs out early

Was this strategy a mistake?

 

Now he's thinkin' of Plan B

Wean 'em early and sell 'em light

Or start buyin' extra hay?

It's hard to know what's right.

 

When your partner is Mother Nature

She's as fickle as can be

Ya' gotta' expect some bad years

It just happens naturally.

 

Ya' just keep rollin' with the punches  

And keep tryin'to do yer best

Yer brain is workin' over time

Dealin' with each new test.

 

There's one thing about most cowmen

Some folks just call it grit

Never once does it cross his mind  

That he'd give up and quit.

 

He knew this day might come

When he picked this here profession

But he wishes that it hadn't  

And to that he'd be confessin'

 

Well this story it ain't over

And it sure ain't nothin' new

'Cause every year some cowman somewhere

Has to face it with much rue.  

 

This verse might sound like whining

But I deny that this is true

It's just a reality of ranchin'

And all you cowboys know it, too.

 

 

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