You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘poetry’ category.

But supposed to get warmer as we head toward the weekend. Bob Peterman is driving down tomorrow and then on Friday we will head to New Hampton. Looks like the weather will be fine, tho’ a bit chilly, but after all, if is January…

Rapid City Stockshow starts this Friday. I will hook up with friends down there at some point. Can’t find out for sure about the bronc riding. they dropped the cutting this year, one of the events I always enjoyed watching.

Finished up some leather projects and cooked a beef heart. Cindy wouldn’t eat any with me so I ate my fill and cut the rest up and stuck it in some stuff to pickle it.

Well, I better go iron some shirts! 🙂

Got a new keyboard today so I am back at my usual pace… 😉

Read this out loud for best effect…


You’d never guess from looking
the name they hung on him at his birth
I guess it wasn’t what you’d maybe expect
it was Johnathan William Hinklesworth

Now, that’s a purty long name
for just a tiny little feller
maybe he got it when Doc whacked his butt
cuz’ he let out a big man’s beller

Johnathan William was an elf
guess that sort’er maybe explains his size
but other than that and them pointy ears
he looked like one a the guys

He was like most little tykes
fightin’ with siblings and goin’ to school
runnin’ an’ wrasslin’ with his buddies and friends
actin’ rowdy and thinkin’ they’s cool

But the thing about ol’ JW
well… that’s what he called his self
was that he wanted adventure and action
more than your typical elf

He yearned to head down west
see… he lived way up north
he wanted to ride broncs and rope wild cattle
rodeo on the Fourth

There’d never been no elf cowboys
heck, they don’t run cattle way up there
horses was scarce as hen’s teeth
just snow and cold arctic air!

Like a kid raised in the city
he got by with books and TV shows
watching Roy and Gene and Lash LaRue
frustrated by cold and the snows

Made do with what he had
forged spurs from old rusty metal he found
built chaps out of a ratty ol’ walrus hide
Mama had left layin’ around

Asked Santa Claus for a Stetson
got it for Christmas, the very next year
order’d him a pony, but typical cowboy
his check just didn’t clear

You can’t keep horses at the Pole
there ain’t no hay or oats or grass
he got a Bruce Grant book on how to braid stuff
just to help the time pass

Braided a reindeer reata
70 foot long and it was a dandy
and after he practiced quite a spell
I tell you, he got plumb handy

But then he got into trouble
he was caught ropin’ ol’ Santa’s deer
snubbin’ ‘em up to an old sled runner
that had frozen up that year

Pleaded his case with St Nick
told him, cowboyin’ was all he wanted to do
so Santa thought it over for a spell
made JW stew

Then Santa made an announcement
said he was just callin’ a spade a spade
nothin’ to do but send him him down south
he could learn the cowboy trade

See, Santa knows lots a cowboys
they all owe Santa a great big debt
so he made a few calls and shipped the boy out
learn to cowboy, you bet!

That’s how it come to be
this little feller from way up at the North Pole
learned to rope and ride from the very best
too bad he learned to chew Skoal!

Now JW’s back up there again
ropin’ and trainin’ and swallerforkin’ ears
only difference ‘tween him and his southern friends?
he’s doin’ it with reindeers!

He’s finally found his niche
Buckaroo boss on the North Pole spread
mostly ropin’ and trainin’ them reindeer
to pull ol’ Santa’s sled

But now he’s got a new plan
called me last night, he’d been drinkin’ beer
put in an order for a custom made saddle
and it’s got’a fit a reindeer!

It’s got to be the right size
better be tuff, but light as air
bet he had a gleam in his beady little eyes
he’s gunn’a rope him a polor bear!


Robert Dennis 12/12
Picture by Lee Stevens

Cindy and I headed out for Pierre on Saturday morning and got there about 10:30, met up with my writers group and ate a bite, had a short meeting then headed over to the Bookstore to do some poetry and music. Then we all loaded up, went to the Capital building and performed there. It was a big deal with all kinds of Christmas tree’s and free pie, tho’ by the time we got there all that was left was Punkin pie so I passed. Afterwords we went to Carmen’s house out north east of Pierre for some supper, visiting and jamming. Several of us spent the night and of course the wind came up and we had a blizzard this morning just as they had predicted, so we all stayed there until about 2 this afternoon. Sounded like the roads were better to the south so we drove about an hour out of our way coming hoe and got here about 5:30. We’d had about 8 inches of snow on Friday evening so it blowed a little. Chance fed some old hay up the creek to the cows and depending on the weather tomorrow, I may have to give them a short feed for a spell if they can’t graze the short grass still up there. Sure glad to get the moisture, but it would be grand if it would melt down so the cattle can graze….

Warm enough and no wind to speak of.

Chance and Hope went to town with sick kids. they were in there yesterday and Chance had strep so they got a bunch of antibiotics but none for Sam or Addy Bear…hope they get it all fixed up. Sounds like it’s some nasty stuff and the Doctor told them if Cindy and I even get a tickle in our throats to get in there quick!

I ran to Punkin Center and got some more salt and some oil for the loader then put out more bean and salt mixed. Turned the calves back out yesterday as I think their mothers are dried up. Had a couple sneak out so I am going to get some blabs and put in their noses so they can eat but not suck their mothers. We will see if that works. hate to keep anything in and feed high priced hay that I don’t have to.

Paul Larson and Ken Cook and I decided we like working together so much we’d start up a deal called Cowboy Culture South Dakota Style. we have some gigs all booked up for after the New Year and are looking for more. Here’s a link to the website and our Facebook page…!/CowboyCultureSouthDakotaStyle

We are all real excited. Please go check it out and let us know what you think. If you have anything coming up that you’d like some real western entertainment at, give one of us a holler!

Cindy rode up with me yesterday afternoon. we stopped and ate a bite in case they weren’t feeding us at the gig, which of course they were…. no matter, we at a little there to be polite and it was good.

Did the show, I was the MC and sang a short part of one of my songs..

Afterwords we spent the night at a motel they provided a room for us at. Fr Tyler came over and visited a bit, but not long as we were tired. Had a hard time sleeping on that hard motel mattress. We were up a little before 5. I dropped Cindy off at her job and then drove back to Spearfish to the Perkins, got the Sunday paper, had a leisurely breakfast and read all the paper, then went to Mass and listened to Fr Tyler’s homily.

You know, watching someone do their chosen work, and doing it well, is very satisfying. Fr Tyler is very comfortable and does a great job of communicating and keeping the talk interesting. All his life he has been pointed at this and he revels in the task. As do both of my other son’s and their work. And it doesn’t matter that they are my son’s, I have many whom I work with and around and it is always fun to watch them, whether it be sorting cattle, branding, working with a young horse, building a house or a cupboard, singing a song or reciting a poem. I can not imagine having to do work that you hate, just to earn the money so you can live as you choose. Must be a hard, mean life….

Weather was great yesterday and cooler and windy today. supposed to be in the 60’s this week and a shot of moisture coming in this next weekend. Probably snow, but then it is November and we need it so we will take it. As if we had a choice….

Remember to vote on Tuesday!

Well, here we are to the last one.

This is all totally true….. 🙂 ‘Cept for the parts Ken made up to add some punch. Ken Cook got cheated on the credits of this one, as I overlooked adding him to the credits when we printed off the packaging. Sorry Ken! I had written it as a poem and took it to his place and we worked on it. He comes up with such descriptive things, like, “Sure hope my socks can swim!”

Now, we all know socks can’t swim ( must have never learned when they was little fellers!) but it does paint a great picture.

We kept going thru’ it with Ken adding suggestions. I almost left it as a poem, but decided to add a quick tune and some tell me it is the best song on the CD…

We had trailed some pairs for a neighbor this spring and we had to travel one of the main highways to the oilfields in North Dakota, so by the time we got off the highway we sure were happy. And just as I say in the song, when we got them all thru’ the gate, man oh man did it go to blowin’, rainin’ and some small hail! When it finally eased up a bit we headed them up to a knob to pair them out and then the lightning got a lot closer, the wind picked back up and our horses wouldn’t face into it, so we sat on the downstream side of the herd, horses butt’s facing the herd and allowed pairs to go between us, side passing to get out of their way or stop one that wasn’t right. Every once in awhile a cow would grab a calf and head out, but they weren’t a pair so someone would jump out in the deepening mud and bring them back. One neighbor, Lyle, mentioned that the big boss had almost got hit by lightning twice before, but hadn’t gotten hit so he wondered if we should stay away from him or ride real close! Wildest deal I’ve ever been involved in. But… it had been dry so when we headed back to the trailers we were all grinning at the moisture.

I have never gotten so wet so fast other than jumping into a big waterhole. Water ran down my legs and filled my boots to over flowing in just a matter of minutes. Some of us were shivering by the time we got back to the outfit and we still had to go get another so as to haul everyone. Recently I posted pictures of shipping some red calves. Same bunch of cattle as in the song. We sure didn’t have to worry about getting wet when we shipped them, worse the luck!

So this concludes the songs and the stories behind them. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Again, both of these songs started out as poems. Written by a neat guy named Slim McNaught ( yes Slim, you should see this skinny booger!) Slim was reciting a poem a few years ago at a gig we were doing and he had stumbled on a poem he had been doing. He made the Joke, “It’s not fair, when these singers miss a line they just yodel!” So I started strumming along behind him, quietly as he started up again. When he came to this poem I just strummed along. It had a very good meter and rhythm to it, so afterwards I asked if I could try and make a song out of it. He said yes and I worked at it off and one for a year. All of a sudden a new set of chords came to me and I really liked it.

On Beyond, I just heard it the end of July at a gig and again asked if I could try to make a song. He was gracious enough to say yes, tho’ he was aware I might butcher his baby, so to speak!

Slim grew up on a ranch down near the Badlands and then worked on ranches for quite a few years until his family started growing and he went on to other occupations, so when he writes a poem he knows of what he speaks. He always has good meter and rhyme and also the subject matter is always dead on. For some reason, probably the way I pronounce the words he uses, I have to drop or change a word to make it flow easier and better for me, but again, he is kind enough to like what I have done. I hope to use more of his stuff in the future..

He also is a whale of a leather stamper and carver and he and his wonderful wife Darlene go to many of these poetry shows and set up a booth which Darlene man’s while Slim is performing. If you need some leather work done or are looking for some great stuff already made up, check them out at

You get a twofer on this one. Both if these are made from poems a friend of mine wrote. Ken Cook, a good feller and a whale of a poet and performer..

About 5 or 6 years ago, Ken called one day and had a new poem he wanted to try out on me. We do this amongst ourselves. We all have good friends who will tell us honestly what they think, give good instructive but kind criticisms to help us out with one we are stuck on or wondering about. Ken is one who is great about doing this for me and occasionally will ask me about one of his.

Anyway… he called and recited Cowhand ( I think, it might have been Revel, I don’t remember which was first, at the moment) for me. I told him I really liked it and thought it would make a whale of a song. He told me to take it and make it into one. I told him that I didn’t think I had the ability, but he talked me into trying it. Chance is pretty handy with a guitar and also had written a few songs so I thought between us we might come up with something. Nothing ever really worked or jelled, so I let it set. A couple of springs ago, I decided that for Lent, I would not just give something up, but also do something to try and improve myself, so decided to play my guitar every day and maybe get better at it. I found some lessons on Youtube, a guy named Marty Schwartz… he’s really good and I picked up quite a bit of licks and idea’s. He showed one chord progression I had never thought of or heard. While playing these chords, I got to thinking they might make a cool song as I didn’t think it was anything I had heard any cowboy singers us…. I ( I was wrong, of course, Daron Little uses this same pattern and style on q1uite a few of his songs)

I thought of Ken’s poem and tried it out and did some changing and pretty soon I thought it sounded pretty cool. So I called Ken, told him to listen, put the phone where I could somewhat sing and play the guitar in it for him to hear. When I was done I asked what he thought and he just really enjoyed the process and liked the tune so told me to get after it. I had to change a few words around to make it fit, but kept working at it and we even met at New Underwood one day when he was kind of in the area. I brought the song and my guitar and we sat out in a parking area and messed around with it.

He and his wife Nancy said they really liked it. So much so that Ken sent me another poem he had that he thought might work for a song also. That was the poem that turned into the song Revel ( or Cowhand , depending on which came first and which came later…. )

As time went on I kept working on them, singing and playing them, smoothing out my rough spots. Finally at Valentines last year I played them before a live audience and they seemed to enjoy them. Then this spring Ken called and told me he was making a book with Jay Snider and including a CD with both he and Jay reciting a few of the poems and asked if he could include a rendition of me singing these songs on it. He had some recordings, but I was afraid they would not sound good enough to suit me as they came from a live gig and sometimes that doesn’t really produce a sound I like. So I told him I had been thinking of making a CD anyway, so this was the impetus to get into the studio and record them… the rest is history… 😉

By the way, Ken and Jay Snyder did come out with a wonderful book with great art and their poems and the CD with ten poems and the song, Cowhand, on it, in the back of the book. It is called, Passing It On. If you are interested in purchasing one of their books, contact Ken at or Jay at

went for a ride. This is the picture I took of him afterwords….

This is what I wrote after we came in the house…. real rough, haven’t even started polishing it yet but thought some of you might like to see it…

Ridin’ with Sam
Yellow gold leaves with a touch of red somehow
show the course of the creek
where the Ash tree’s are changing folige for winter
they mask the smell of the weak

Along that watercourse deer have died in scores
a tiny bug has laid them low
Sam on Squirt and I on Mijo, look for sick calves
we move along, slow

Sam is four and Squirt is twenty eight this year
born before Chance was born
Sam is the son of Chance and today my top hand
and now my heart is torn

The joy of riding with a grandson of mine
makes my old heart smile
his magpie chatter and ceaseless barrage of questions
has me grinning for the first mile

Then we find a dead calf alongside of the creek
the drought fills my mind
dry dusty conditions have prevailed for weeks
so I worry at what else we may find

Driest I have ever seen it in over fifty years
set new records for dry
this years clouds that came brought little rain
fire instead of wet from the sky

Sam has filled my heart this morning as we rode
the drought far from my mind
but a calf that was under my care is now dead
failure and drought are back on my mind

I failed to save this poor calf by my neglect
not finding him in time
perhaps I could have saved him with some magic potion
in my vaccine bottle of slime

I understand, it’s really not totally my fault
cowmen know you don’t save them all
but you try your best to prove that theory wrong
so my world now has a dark pall

we ride on, there’s nothing we can do for this calf
my worries cloud my thoughts
Sam chatters on with questions and laughter
unaware of “I shoulda’s and Ought’s

At the end of the ride we find only one more
sick, not dead this time
A quick throw of rope and Mijo holds him still
I feel a bit better of my crime

“Well, perhaps I’ve saved that one” I console myself
tho’ it does little for my heart pain
Sam chatters about him and his “cowboy grampa”
Lord please, send us some rain

RD 9/25/12

Left about noon on Friday and got to Hot Springs with a short stop in Custer to drop off a CD for Tate and Kass. Had a great show with some newcomers on Friday night and then just a jam packed wonderful time on Saturday. found a new coat at a second hand store just like the one Cindy hates I have now. Cost 6.50. 🙂 Hey, it’s a classic old wool coat with a fur lined collar and split up the back for riding…..

Chance and Hope and the kids were here when I got home and we had a good but short visit. They left Sam for a few days so that’s going to be fun! 🙂

Preg checking heifers tomorrow. Chance took fresh horses back to his job and left two sore and thin horses here. Mijo is still a bit lame so Woody is in the corral for the morning. I bet Squirt is going to get ridden by Sam in the next few days…. 🙂