Poems

 

 

Heaven for the Cowboy
Bob Upchurch

When a cowboy pictures Heaven,
I wonder what he might see.
Heaven thru the eyes of a cowboy
Is Creation, the way it used to be.

When that cowboy ponders Heaven,
His pony steps back in time.
To the Texas of 1880,
Leavin' concrete & steel behind.

You see ... Heaven for the cowboy,
Is rollin' meadows lush & green.
That just seem to go on forever,
As far as the eye can see.

It's spring fed waterin' holes & clean runnin' rivers,
That snake across the lay of the land.
It's tendin' the cattle on a thousand hills,
Determined to make a good hand.

It's a breakfast of biscuits & black coffee;
A sunrise that starts each new day.
Checkin' the cattle to make sure the count,
Or findin' that new calf that wandered away.

It's walkin' hand in hand with Nature,
With the feelin' of being free.
Knowin' his time here is only borrowed,
From a Maker he longs to see.

Yeah, when a cowboy pictures Heaven,
He looks back in hope of what's to be.
Heaven for the cowboy is doin' what he loves,
Tendin' God's Creation, throughout all eternity.

 

 

 A Mule Called Poetry
Bob Upchurch

(This poem was inspired by the movie "Sheffy",
a circuit ridin' preacher in the Appalachian Mountains;
and by the imagination of this old circuit ridin' poet.)


High in the mountains of Southern Appalachia,
A circuit ridin' preacher rides all alone.
On a sure footed mule he simply calls Poetry,
With a soul on his mind; in his heart a new poem.

These mountains are like his own backyard,
He loves travelin' this beautiful land.
From homes to churches to brush arbor meetings,
The poet of the common man.

God's amazin' grace has got him this far;
He continues on through sunshine & snow.
It's been his calling since days of childhood,
Sharin' the Word thru poetry & prose.

Grace, Grace ... God's Grace
Grace that will pardon & cleanse within
Grace, Grace ... God's Grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

He's known as the circuit ridin' poet.
His pioneer spirit lives on.
One soul saved makes it all worthwhile,
In these Great Smokey Mountains he calls home.

For some forty years it's been his life,
The Lord ridin' there by his side.
The pioneer folk have become his family;
The Bible in his saddlebag his guide.

The winters now seem a little colder;
The north wind chills him to the bone.
But what would he do if he stopped sharing,
The greatest story mankind has ever known?

So the circuit ridin' poet will keep goin',
Till the Lord says he's passed the test.
Then the poet and his mule called Poetry,
Will lay down for their final rest.

High in the mountains of Southern Appalachia,
Overlookin' a valley where wildflowers grow,
A circuit ridin' poet and his mule called Poetry,
Now rest where the quiet waters flow.

 

On the Outside Lookin' In
Bob Upchurch
 

Got up the nerve to go see him.
Ashamed to say I didn't really want to go.
Others had told of the shape he's in,
Till you see for yourself you can't know.

We'd worked together on the Four Sixes;
A reason to put it off this long.
Now I hear say his time is short,
Hopin' to God folks is wrong.

Asked old Shorty to go with me.
He'd been our third musketeer.
When he saw him sittin' with a far away look,
It brought old Shorty to tears.

We got his attention as he looked around;
Said our hellos and how ya' beens.
Could tell by the look he's somewhat confused,
Like bein' on the outside lookin' in.

Shorty started tellin' about the time
They loaded some steers for the sale.
Run out of diesel in the bosses' old truck;
A story we're embarrased to tell.

The conversation lagged so I took up the slack,
As our old friend began to nod.
We said our goodbyes and got up to go,
Leavin' him in the lovin' hands of God.

We reached for his hand of friendship,
As his smile turned into a grin.
Just maybe we'd brought back a memory
To someone on the outside lookin' in.


Ridin' with Charley
Bob Upchurch
(Based on the book Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman
by J. Evetts Haley, Copyright 1936
Used by Permission)

We left the Keechi Valley, spring of '66,
Determined to be worthy of the trail.
Headin' southwest on the Butterfield Line,
Followin' the trace of Overland Mail.

The Comanche & Kiowa held the north country.
A more direct route would surely mean war.
So we did a roundhouse to New Mexico;
West to the Pecos and then north.

On point rode two seasoned cowboys,
The best Charlie Goodnight could find.
Behind them rode fifteen trail hands;
Holdin' the herd to good size.

And me, well I hired on as old Cocinero,
That's vaquero lingo for the cook.
The Colonel had upfitted a government wagon;
Put me a box on the back for the chuck.

Now Goodnight had partnered up with Loving,
And on the sixth day of June we left.
Two thousand beeves and eighteen men;
Forgin' a new trail to the Northwest.

The old trails still in existence;
The Chisholm and the old Shawnee.
Due north to the railheads in Kansas,
Supplyin' beef to the folks back east.

But Goodnight had another market in mind.
You see, the Colorado gold rush was on.
First to Ft. Sumner in New Mexico,
Then on to Denver thru Pueblo.

We let the frontier of Texas,
Determined to be worthy of the best.
No longer just punchers from Texas,
We're makin' history as men of the West.

So the Goodnight-Loving Trail lives on,
In the fondest memories of our past.
The prairies, the rivers, the cross timber breaks,
And the cowboy whose legacy still lasts.