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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
27517 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 34 Peggy Godfrey I Need Help In the mornin' when I get up I feed orphan calves and lambs feels like I'm bartendin' happy hour at 6 a.m. Next I feed the cats and dogs the calf with frozen feet gets hay and grain to fatten then i check the sheep. Time to fry my bacon pour some coffee in a cup
27518 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 36 Peggy Godfrey Perfect Wife George and I been thinin' 'bout tryin' to find a wife a sweet and gentle martyr who'd like the ranchin' life. Ya know, someone to stay at home to mop the floors and dust tidy up around the house and never show disgust. Not he horse-back ridin' sort
27519 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 40 Peggy Godfrey Old Vogal Told me I was lucky when I went to cut his hay a bloom or two means lots of leaves 'Course it's best that way. He assured me I was lucky that my bales were done up tight lucky that I caught the dew and chanced to bale it right. Oh yes, and I was lucky
27520 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 41 Peggy Godfrey My Neighbor Vogal is my neighbor he's nearly twice my age I heard when he was a young man he drew a cowboy's wage. I can see he's mighty puzzled by his neighbor's ranchin' wife- her mother should have taught her 'bout her station in this life.
27521 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 44 Peggy Godfrey I Tried Seven barely-yearlin' bulls was chasin' Punkin 'round she didn't "take" on her second calf I'd have to haul her to town. Ralph and Vogal worried 'bout ol' Punkin' sorry plight she'd stand chin-deep in a muddy ditch watchin' the earlin' fight.
27522 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 46 Peggy Godfrey Listen At home with a tiny new baby that mid-November day the neighbor's cows are in the stack, eatin' up my hay. This was twice the cows had come, pushed down a corner of fence I mended the break and set some posts; now they're back again. Finally got 'em all chased home
27523 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 53 Peggy Godfrey In Forty-Five Years I've leaned to see the mountains as more than stone and mud come to know my neighbor as more than flesh and blood I've grown to see the work I do as more than passing time poetry means more to me than getting words to rhyme. I'm not aware each day is more than getting on with life I see myself as more than just my role as mom or wife
27524 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 58 Peggy Godfrey Why Ranchin'? Misunderstood intentions mislabeled: "Not to bright" some folks look down on ranchin' as a crude irreverent blight. "Regular" folks get jobs in town accumulate some wealth invest themselves in culture get preoccupied with health. Jog or walk around the par weight-life at the spa
27525 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 61 Peggy Godfrey Die-Hard There's some of us left who still stack our hay on a trailer behind and old truck not big squares or round nor the five hundred pound but bales on person ca buck.
27526 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 61 Peggy Godfrey Necessities Cattle I'm raisin' for profit hay that I bale is for feed I sell my spare time to a neighbor looks like a I got all I need.
27527 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 62 Peggy Godfrey Team Calving Bod and I were riding heifers in the early morning cold tagging sluggish baby calves less than one day old. Looking out for heavies having trouble giving birth a job that comes with cattle no matter what they're worth. We eased up on a heifer
27528 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 65 Peggy Godfrey Sellin' Postholes On a lazy after-dinner we were all too full to move conversation drifted aimlessly through economic grooves. Robert was a moanin' quite sure he'd be unpaid for 300 feet of dry well and casin' he had laid. Us ranchers bemoaned the weather an' the dropped-out price of cattle
27529 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 68 Peggy Godfrey First Year Cleanin' Ditches The Rio Chiquito mother ditch on her way to the Rio Grande owned me nine acres of water rights so with shovel in hand I set off, a new landowner, to join that Saturday band of ditch-cleaners, hired and borrowed my share of the water to claim. My over-wintered muscles and snugly-booted feet
27530 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 71 Peggy Godfrey Cattle Work Sun's high day's hot cowboy's are ready cattle are not. Cattle are penned fences get fought cattle are ready trucker is not. Winter's a whinin' there's mud in the lot cowboy's are ready horses are not. The sale is over cattle are bought trailer is ready critters are not.
27531 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 74 Peggy Godfrey Green-Horse Hash Aha! You laugh at the little no doubt you'd laugh at my lunch if you'd seen it there on the mountain as we cow punchers started to bunch in the meadow sometime close to midday I opened my saddlebags lunch was beyond recognition. You know when the cowdog gags that lunchtime has gone awry.
27532 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 76 Peggy Godfrey Aspen Tax Ridin' in the mountains gatherin' stragglers in the fall cows that won't meander down who'd never come home at all. The sun is still a measure warm aspens turning' gold oak brush dressed in orange and brown say summer has been sold. Crisp air has got that autumn smell flower colors deepen words or paint or photographs:
27533 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 78 Peggy Godfrey Out West The West was not built with excuses for why I can't do this or that times may have changed but at home on the range the cows not the cowboys get fat. The west was not built with excuses for why one can't do what he sez a handshake was good and the good understood without some slick lawyer's finesse.
27534 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 78 Peggy Godfrey Definition I'm not opposed to Western wear and this may sound absurd if ya wear the store but don't punch cattle then "cowboy" is just a word.
27535 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 80 Peggy Godfrey Word Wrangling My rhyme's not academic 'cause I didn't go to schools to study bein' a write so I never learned the rules. I'm fond of some poetic forms aware each has a name it's just that I don't know them but I know all aren't the same. There's names for words that sound alike
27536 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 83 Peggy Godfrey Stereotypes Cowboys I know weren't cast in a mold I've never seen two the same from the hats that they wear or caps or just hair bein' human is all that's to blame. There's tall ones and skinny some big ones and little young 'uns and old grown thick in the middle. Cowboys come gentle there's tempers that fly
27537 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 85 Peggy Godfrey Today's Troubadour What is the role of cowboy poets among their ranching peers? Will their place be honored in another hundred years? They celebrate diversity in seasonal ranching lives weaving its hardship and pleasure 'til my flagging spirit revives.
27538 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 86 Peggy Godfrey The Cowboy's Gone Corrals are great for workin' stock we build 'em good and stout but large or small, there'll be a squall 'cuz a critter's wantin' out. We build our fences tight and high electrify the line the gates are snug, there's not a bug we've sure done mighty fine.
27539 75 Years! My Time In Rhyme FC 11 M-65 viii E.W. "Roy" Miller The Years Have Flown! I guess my early ridin' days started at the age of four but I gave my pony too much grain and he couldn't walk no more. So a couple of years down the road we got a P.O.A. We rode him and we drove him almost every single day.
27540 75 Years! My Time In Rhyme FC 11 M-65 1 E.W. "Roy" Miller The Lamb's Book Of Life There's a record that is kept, of all that's said and done; Every unkind word and thought, every single one! We'll have to stand before the "Judge," the Greatest of them all; Account for everything we've done, will we rise of all?
27541 75 Years! My Time In Rhyme FC 11 M-65 2 E.W. "Roy" Miller A Cat With Nine Lives When I was just a toddler, about the ago of three; I had a little kitten, I was happy as could be! Dad was cleaning out the barn, stopped at the well house first; He left the team and spreader and went to quench his thirst! My kitten was in danger when she ran beneath the spreader;