Cowboy Poetry : Bruce Kiskaddon

Bruce Kiskaddon –1878-1950–is a real old time cowboy, having started his cattle ranch experience in the Picket Wire district of southern Colorado as a kid cowhand and rough string rider and later on northern Arizona ranges, especially as a writer for the late Tap Duncan, famous as a Texas and Arizona cattleman, and one time the largest cattle holder in Mojave County,  Arizona, where Bruce rode for years, after which he took a turn as a rider on big cattle stations in Australia. All this experience is reflected in his western poems, because he has had actual experience in the themes he puts into verse, He had no college professor teach him anything. He is a natural born poet and his poems show he knows his business.



Yes, he used to be a cow hoss  that was young and strong and fleet   Now he stands alone, forgotten, in the winter snow and sleet. Fer his eyes is dim and holler and his head is turnin’ gray, He has got too old to foller “Jest a hoss that’s had his day.”

They’ve forgotten how once he packed ‘em at a easy swingin’ lope. How he braced his sturdy shoulders when he set back on a rope. Didn’t bar no weight nor distance;answered every move and word, Though his sides were white with lather while he held the millin’ herd.

Now he’s stiff and old and stumbles, and he’s lost the strength and speed That once took him through the darkness, ‘round the point of a stampede. And his legs is scarred and battered; both the muscle and the bone. He is jest a wore out cow hoss so they’ve turned him out alone.

They have turned him out to winter best he can amongst the snow. There without a friend and lonesome, Do you think he doesn’t know? Through the hours of storm and darkness he had time to think a lot. That hoss may have been forgotten, but you bet he aint forgot.

He stands still. He aint none worried, fer he knows he’s played the game. He’s got nothin’ to back up from. He’s been square and aint ashamed. Fer no matter where they put him he was game to do his share. Well, I think more of the pony than the folks that left him there.


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