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FOLK COLLECTION 11: The Skaggs Foundation Cowboy Poetry Collection

Date of Items: 1890-present
Register Prepared by: Randy Williams and Susan Gross, April 2004
Register Updated by: Randy Williams, 23 December 2009
Excel database transfered to MYSQL and uploaded (replacing PHP data): Colin Jackson, Fall 2010
MYSQL database updated: Randy Williams, January 2012
Linear Feet:20

Historical Note & Provenance

Folk Coll 11 is Utah State University's cowboy poetry collection. The collection, originally created by a generation donation by the L. J. and Mary Skaggs Foundation, includes books gathered during a fieldwork project in the early 1980s to document cowboy poetry in the U.S. west (see Folk Coll 11f). From this important fieldwork project came the impetus for the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in January 1985 in Elko, Nevada. Since that time, each January, the Fife Folklore Archives staff take the collection and Access database (that details each book, poem, author, first line and key words), to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for offsite use. Through University purchases and generation donations from poets and collectors, this collection continues to grow.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 20 linear feet of books on cowboy poetry, including press and self published works. The collection can be accessed through USU Libraries online catalog.

As well, poem titles and keywords found in each book in the collection are included in the database below. To use, type in the search term. Tip: Try and use an uncommon word from the poem to ensure less "hits." For instance, if you enter "boots" you will get many hits; but if you enter "bones" you will most liley get fewer "hits" or poems and find the item you seek faster. To return to the search page, click "home" at the bottom of the page.


Poetry table.

First Previous Next Last
IDBook TitleComposerIndexPagesAuthorPoem TitleFirst LinesKeywords
22862 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 22 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Genetics We bought ten Hereford heifers at a sale in Wayne County And put them out to pasture behind the apple trees And for a while there they were docile.
22863 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 24 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Sammy Dean She tied her reins to a gambling man, who took her love then moved on again, Leaving a grass window. Now a woman, but not a wife, And Sammy's path seemed foreordained.
22864 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 26 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Lydia See this box? It was my mother's. It used to hold her pearls. I'd love to see her wearing them, when I was a little girl.
22865 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 31 Jo Lynne Kirkwood The Auction We'd had a good crowd, picked up some change, from those ponies brought in off Nevada's high range, But the arena was quiet now, folks all gone home, And I figured that I was there on my own.
22866 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 33 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Passage They found him, late in the evening Near the spillway out west of town. Face down in a gully with blood on his back And his legs all twisted around.
22867 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 34 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Red River Refrain From this valley they say you are going We shall miss your bright eyes and sweet smile For they say you are taking the sunshine that has brightened our lives for awhile.
22868 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 36 Jo Lynne Kirkwood A Cowboy Season (Part I) (Summe-West Desert Range) In July, the much turns to powder. Waterin' holes crackle like shards of ceramic, the grass shrivels up, and livin' just downright gets hard.
22869 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 37 Jo Lynne Kirkwood A Cowboy Season (Part II) (October-The Pasture Corrals) In late autumn gnarled branches remember their youth, and know they must die, and at night they moan, and creak and cry out, and bare tremblin' limbs to the sky.
22870 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 38 Jo Lynne Kirkwood A Cowboy Season (Part III) (Winter-High Country Line Camp) In those long hollow days of late autumn when the cold is gathering strength like a lariat coiled 'round the horn of your saddle suppressing the power of its length.
22871 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 39 Jo Lynne Kirkwood A Cowboy Season (Part IV) (Spring-in the Pastures) In spring, when the calves started comin' the ground was still covered in snow. That night twenty gave birth the temperature hovered somewhere around three below.
22872 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 40 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Round-up By round-up time the high country was filling up with cold The nights were chill and slivers of ice lined the waterin' hole at dawn, until the churning hooves of near 800 head ground to mud the diamond ice, turned the water a murky red.
22873 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 42 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Horse Killin' It was probably Mont Tulley who spotted the horse. He'd been checking streams that afternoon and when he got to town he called Frank. Told him it looked like his. That big black, Monsoon.
22874 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 44 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Old Stories He was an old man, his shirt worn and faded. He shuffled, and looked out of place. And it seemed that a map of the whole western desert Was etched in the lines on his face.
22875 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 46 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Horse Colt Adoption I was feeling the pleasure of professional pride From pairing some kids with colts they'd soon ride- At least, once someone trained 'em, taught 'em to rein, Learned 'those wild ones the talents it takes to be tame.
22876 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 47 Jo Lynne Kirkwood It Has Been Awhile When I think of the old man, I can still see him there on the steps of the bunkhouse, in an old rocking chair. His fingers were knotted from fencing and rope, his back bent and aching. But he smiled when he spoke.
22877 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 48 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Hank Could Have Done More Hank could have done more with his life, they all said, 'Stead of spending his days on a horse. If he'd chosen a job besides cattle and ranchin' Things could have been different, of course.
22878 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 53 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Owen's Mare Owen ran a ramshackle outfit about three miles outside of town, with those tumbleweed fences full of barbed wire tangles and corrals that was fallin' down.
22879 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 56 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Little Red, Revisited Little Red, the rancher's gal was riding along the ridge With her saddlebags filled with mutton and beef for grandma's fridge.
22880 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 58 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Sweetie Ol' Sweetie was sure a cantankerous feller. The orneriest cuss I ever knew. You think up any SOB, Sweet'd have 'em beat by two.
22881 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 60 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Mornin' at the Post Throughout the history of all mankind they've gathered together, the greatest of minds in Parthenon, senate, forum and mission to ponder the progress of our human condition.
22882 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 62 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Reece's Peace Reece was a hard working rancher He toiled long hours the whole work week through But when the weekend come round He would go to town and have the bartender pour him a few.
22883 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 65 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Ewela Pete stopped in at the auction To see what his livestock would bring. He was selling some steers and an old worn out ewe who hadn't produced this past spring.
22884 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 67 Jo Lynne Kirkwood The Cowboy and the Schoolmarm Leland never got much schoolin' after the year he turned eight. he'd got new spurs and started to wrangle and it were now, he figured, too late.
22885 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 69 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Lessons in Love Lester came into Pearl's coffee shop, and engaged her in conversation about the merits and drawbacks or personal ads in resolvin' romance inclinations.
22886 Cow Tracks on the Land FC 11 B-66 64 Lona Tankersley Burkhart What Do You Mean? Hello pardner, gee, but its nice and peaceful out here. Thought I'd come out for a few days, and shoot a deer.