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The Best Cowboy Poems by Michael R. Burch
The Best Cowboy Limericks by Michael R. Burch

These are the best cowboy poems by Michael R. Burch, including cowboy limericks, cowboy songs and even a cowboy villanelle (or, more correctly, a cowgirl villanelle).

Cowboy Limericks

A cowboy exclaimed, “Fiddle-faddle!
Who cares if I ‘date’ my own cattle?”
But his wife cried, “You chump!”
Kicked him hard in the rump,
And now he can’t sit in the saddle.
Michael R. Burch

A cowboy confessed to his brother
That he’d taken his horse as his lover.
But the mare neighed, of course.
It was rape, and by force.
Then the prick was killed by the nag’s mother.
Michael R. Burch

A cowboy confessed to his priest
That he’d screwed twenty cattle, at least.
“Father, am I forgiven?”
But the dude died unshriven,
Since the thunderbolt left him deceased.
Michael R. Burch

The New Year approaches, with goals
Prancing about like wild foals;
But they dodge the damn harness,
Retreat into farness ...
Now I’ll have to walk home, I suppose.
Michael R. Burch

Villanelle of an Opportunist
by Michael R. Burch

I’m not looking for someone to save.
A gal has to do what a gal has to do:
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

How many highways to hell must I pave
with intentions imagined, not true?
I’m not looking for someone to save.

Fools praise compassion while weaklings rave,
but a gal has to do what a gal has to do.
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

Some praise the Lord but the Devil’s my fave
because he has led me to you!
I’m not looking for someone to save.

In the land of the free and the home of the brave,
a gal has to do what a gal has to do.
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

Every day without meds becomes a close shave
and the razor keeps tempting me too.
I’m not looking for someone to save:
I’m looking for a man with one foot in the grave.

Blue Cowboy
by Michael R. Burch

He slumps against the pommel,
a lonely, heartsick boy—
his horse his sole companion,
his gun his only toy
—and bitterly regretting
he ever came so far,
forsaking all home's comforts
to sleep beneath the stars,
he sighs.

He thinks about the lover
who awaits his kiss no more
till a tear anoints his lashes,
lit by uncaring stars.
He reaches to his aching breast,
withdraws a golden lock,
and kisses it in silence
as empty as his thoughts
while the wind sighs.

Blue cowboy, ride that lonesome ridge
between the earth and distant stars.
Do not fall; the fiends of hell
would leap to feast upon your heart.

Blue cowboy, sift the burnt-out sand
for a drop of water warm and brown.
Dream of streams like silver seams
even as you gulp it down.

Blue cowboy, sing defiant songs
to hide the weakness in your soul.
Blue cowboy, ride that lonesome ridge
and wish that you were going home
as the stars sigh.

I believe I wrote this poem as a "trail song" during my songwriting phase, sometime between 1974 and 1976, around age 16 or a bit later.

by Michael R. Burch

Sleep, old man ...
your day has long since passed.
The endless plains,
cool midnight rains
and changeless ragged cows
alone remain
of what once was.

You cannot know
just how the Change
will rape the windswept plains
that you so loved ...
and so sleep now,
O yes, sleep now ...
before you see just how
the Change will come.

Sleep, old man ...
your dreams are not our dreams.
The Rio Grande,
stark silver sands
and every obscure brand
of steed and cow
are sure to pass away
as you do now.

I believe this poem was written around the same time as “Blue Cowboy,” perhaps on the same day. That was probably sometime around 1974, at age 16 or thereabouts.

Roll on, Red River
by Michael R. Burch

Roll on, Red River,
a cowboy has died.
Roll on; we lay him
down here at your side.
Carry him off
to the wild, raging sea . . .
Roll on, Red River,
and set his soul free.

Roll on, Red River,
roll on to the sea,
and sing him to sleep
as you roll up his dreams.
Sing him to sleep
with some old, lonesome song . . .
Now roll on, Red River,
and roll him along.

Roll on, Red River
and say a kind word
for an old surly cowhand
who died poor and hurt;
poor as a pauper
and hurt by his friends . . .
Roll on, Red River,
roll on to the end.

Roll on, Red River,
a cowboy has died.
Nobody loved him
and nobody cried.
A cowboy's not much,
but at least he's a man . . .
So roll on, Red River,
roll on and be damned.

I believe I wrote the original version of this poem as a dirge or lament, around the time I wrote “Blue Cowboy” and “Cowpoke” – perhaps even on the same day. I believe I had been reading Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour around this time, and I pretty religiously watched the Kung Fu western TV series from 1972 to 1975.

impressions of a desert
by michael r. burch

a barren

nothing grows

from the sky
molten gold
heats, congeals

oases vanish

or waver

even scorpions

shift and merge

dustbowl seas
at the verge
of the horizon
stretch, converge

the sky is poison

sand storms

curse the sky
squinting fire
from burnt eyes

slipping, squirming
quench awful
for moisture
and hate

a flower
every thousand miles
worn and dry

I wrote this poem during my “cummings period” around age 16 in 1974-1975 and revised it around 1976, according to my memory and notes.


by Michael R. Burch

Have you ridden the fences
   of plains never-ending
as the wind sighed for lovers
   long past, or long gone?
Have you dreamt of a night
   with a pale moon ascending,
as Death stole a kiss
   from your lips before dawn?

If love is the gold that you seek,
   are you fleeing
for fear that its luster
   may blind you again?
Oh, desperate lover, I loved you
   not knowing
you would flee from my arms
   through this cold, driving rain

to wander alone where the stars do not shine,
having stolen the brightness from love — yours and mine.

This poem was inspired by the Eagles song “Desperado” and was written as a song in 1973 when I was 15 years old and still in my songwriting phase. The Eagles song came out in April 1973 and I remember writing my song soon thereafter. My song is close to a sonnet in form, but that was not intentional on my part.

While the following poems are not cowboy poems, per se, they are about deserts, oases, mirages and the search for lifegiving water...

Dry Hump
by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once.
But joys are wan illusions to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.

by Michael R. Burch

I want tears to form again
in the shriveled glands of these eyes
dried all these long years
by too much heated knowing.

I want tears to course down
these parched cheeks,
to star these cracked lips
like an improbable dew

in the heart of a desert.
I want words to burble up
like happiness, like the thought of love,
like the overwhelming, shimmering thought of you

to a nomad who
has only known drought.

Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Because you came to me with sweet compassion
and kissed my furrowed brow and smoothed my hair,
I do not love you after any fashion,
but wildly, in despair.

Because you came to me in my black torment
and kissed me fiercely, blazing like the sun
upon parched desert dunes, till in dawn’s foment
they melt, I am undone.

Because I am undone, you have remade me
as suns bring life, as brilliant rains endow
the earth below with leaves, where you now shade me
and bower me, somehow.

I wrote the first version of this poem around age 18, then forgot about it for 30 years. Then something about my wife Beth made me remember the poem, so I revised it and dedicated it to her.

Related pages: The Best Donald Trump Limericks, The Cosmological Constant: Limericks by Michael R. Burch, Perfect Poems, The Best Sonnets, The Best Villanelles, The Best Ballads, The Best Sestinas, The Best Rondels and Roundels, The Best Kyrielles, The Best Couplets, The Best Quatrains, The Best Haiku, The Best Limericks, The Best Nonsense Verse, The Best Poems for Kids, The Best Light Verse, The Best Poem of All Time, The Best Poems Ever Written, The Best Poets, The Best of the Masters, The Most Popular Poems of All Time, The Best American Poetry, The Best Poetry Translations, The Best Ancient Greek Epigrams and Epitaphs, The Best Anglo-Saxon Riddles and Kennings, The Best Old English Poetry, The Best Lyric Poetry, The Best Free Verse, The Best Story Poems, The Best Narrative Poems, The Best Epic Poems, The Best Epigrams, The Most Beautiful Poems in the English Language, The Most Beautiful Lines in the English Language, The Most Beautiful Sonnets in the English Language, The Best Elegies, Dirges & Laments, The Best Poems about Death and Loss, The Best Holocaust Poetry, The Best Hiroshima Poetry, The Best Anti-War Poetry, The Best Religious Poetry, The Best Spiritual Poetry, The Best Heretical Poetry, The Best Thanksgiving Poems, The Best Autumnal Poems, The Best Fall/Autumn Poetry, The Best Dark Poetry, The Best Halloween Poetry, The Best Supernatural Poetry, The Best Dark Christmas Poems, The Best Vampire Poetry, The Best Love Poems, The Best Urdu Love Poetry, The Best Erotic Poems, The Best Romantic Poetry, The Best Love Songs, The Ten Greatest Poems Ever Written, The Greatest Movies of All Time, England's Greatest Artists, Visions of Beauty, What is Poetry?, The Best Abstract Poetry, The Best Antinatalist Poems and Prose, Early Poems: The Best Juvenilia, Human Perfection: Is It Possible?, The Best Book Titles of All Time, The Best Writing in the English Language, The Best Poems about Mothers, Erotic Poems by Michael R. Burch, Poems for Children by Michael R. Burch, Poems for Poets by Michael R. Burch, Cowboy Poems by Michael R. Burch, Did Lord Bryon inspire Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein?

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