Cowboy Poetry: “Old Friends” by Doug Velisek

This poem describes the relationship between a man and his horse.

His back, it’s stiff but his head is clear

As he heads out for the field

The three year olds they beckon him

They want their morning meal

 

He loads the cart it rolls and bounces

Across the frozen ground

The smell of hayledge cuts the air

John Deere makes the loudest sound

 

The girls file in the lot

stepping gingerly under foot

The land all white except the trail

It’s dark and looks like soot

 

He counts his cattle as he pulls up

His count’s on the short side

Feed the feed and saddle up

It’s time to take a ride

 

He walks his steed through the place

where hooves have left their marks

Then he mounts his old friend

An adventure as it starts

 

Over the knoll he rides Old Jake

Across the creek they slid

He thinks of many times they’ve done this

Jake’s older than his kid

 

He tugs Jake left but Jake fades right

He scowls at his old man

Then looks in Jake’s direction

And see’s the old horses plan

 

For up ahead behind a bush

A tail it stands out straight

It’s 263 she’s due this week

He hopes he’s not too late

 

He gives Old Jake a little nudge

Jake picks it up a bit

263 her head flies up

Lets not throw her in a fit

 

They circle out a little wide

She calms down and turns her back

Around a tree they travel now

It’s then he spies the calf

 

He see’s that it’s not moving

There’s the sack over its head

As he dismounts he says a prayer

“Lord I hope that he’s not dead”

 

As the cowboy makes a move to clear its nose

The mom lowers her head

Needs stop now, he makes a fake

And goes for it instead

 

This may have been a big mistake

But he wants to clear that nose

He’ll catch the sack and pull it quick

But mom she’s very close

 

His life does not flash before his eyes

though he fears that he’ll be rolled

In his younger days he’d slip away

But now he’s too dammed old

 

He’s sure that she has got him now

He moved as fast as his body could

He makes a tree, there is no cow

Just Old Jake where she once stood

 

She’s mad but goes to licking the babe

It shakes it’s head and kicks

The little critters breathing now

And the cowboys got no broken sticks

 

As he mounts Old Jake he pats his neck,

then heads back to the barn again

He knows that Jake will get extra feed today

And thanks God for his old friend

 

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