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How to woo the one you love: Valentine’s Poetry for the Cowboy or girl in your life

Dirt Road Boots & Love

Because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, our McKinney’s family wanted to share some poetry inspired by cowboys and cowgirls. Write one of these in your Valentine’s Day card and woo the one you’re with. Don’t forget to throw in that McKinney’s gift card to seal the deal!

1. “Real Affection,” by Robert V. Carr

I’d use a comet fer a bronk,

And ride him stuck-up like an’ proud:

My spurs would be a pair of stars,

My blanket jes’ a fleecy cloud.

I’d roundup all the planets an’

I’d do it sudden, sure an’ soon,

And then I’d set back ca’m an’ watch

Them mill around the helpless moon.

2. “To Her” from Sun and Saddle Leather by Badger Clark, 1922

To Her

Cut loose a hundred rivers,

Roaring across my trail,

Swift as the lightning quivers,

Loud as a mountain gale.

I build me a boat of slivers;

I weave me a sail of fur,

And ducks may founder and die

But I

Cross that river to her!

Bunch the deserts together,

Hang three suns in the vault;

Scorch the lizards to leather,

Strangle the springs with salt.

I fly with a buzzard feather,

I dig me wells with a spur,

And snakes may famish and fry

But I

Cross that desert to her!

Murder my sleep with revel;

Make me ride through the bogs

Knee to knee with the devil,

Just ahead of the dogs.

I harrow the Bad Lands level,

I teach the tiger to purr,

For saints may wallow and lie

But I

Go clean-hearted to her!

3. “Overland’s Delight” from Songs of the Outlands by Henry Herbert Knibbs, 1914

It was underneath the stars, the little peeking stars,

That we lay and dreamed of Eden in the hills;

We were neither sad nor gay, but just wondering while we lay,

What a mighty lot of space creation fills.

Our fire was just a spark; dot of red against the dark,

And around the fire an awful lot of night.

The purple, changing air was as quiet as a prayer,

And the moon came up and froze the mountains white.

There was nothing much to say, unless my pal there, while he lay,

Got to thinking of his bronc-and-saddle days,

And a woman that he knew. He believes that dreams come true,

And they do, if I’m believing what he says.

It was Overland’s delight, when we quit the road at night,

And the birds were folding up their music-bars,

Just to smoke a little bit; rub his chin a while, and sit

Like a Hobo statue, looking at the stars.

Then he’d cough to clear his throat; strike a kind of chesty note,

Not like preachers—but just deep down near his heart;

And I think his dreaming eyes saw way up to Paradise;

Then, remembering me, he’d nod his head and start.

It was all about some woman that he loved long, long ago,

And he loved her in a kind of way I can’t just understand;

But if I could talk like he could, you could have my bundle, Bo!

For he talked like this, and, pardner, it was grand:

“Her hair was like the sun that drowns the poppy fields at noon,

And there was something in her eyes too deep and pure to tell;

Her lips were like the red of buds that greet the dawn of June,

Blush of roses on a sun-lit lily-bell.

“A little motion of her hand was more than words can say;

It spoke a language all its own in pretty gesturing;

And when she smiled the flowers sang to see her smile that way;

It made a man hold up his head and feel himself a king!

“I met her riding down the trail when morning-dew was young;

Her pony’s feet were castanets that dipt a happy tune.

Somehow, I took my hat off, just as if an angel sung,

As she came riding down the trail to greet the dawn of June. “

She nodded, smiled, and rode along, brave-eyed and bright andsweet;

I stood and watched her in the sun and saw the silver stream

Run down across the canon trail; and heard her pony’s feet

Like castanets, now far away, still ringing through my dream. “

Click, clink! a passing melody that melted in the air. .. .

And in my heart a whispering like meadow-grass at night,

When some lone wind is talking to the sleepy daisies there,

Just wavering and wondering and waiting for the light.

“Since then I’ve told her stories while she laughed and clapped her hands;

Of Yuma and Sonora in the rich red days of old;

Since then I ‘ve ridden far for her delight, in haunted lands,

Where desert ledges crumble and the sand is specked with gold.

“Have you ever loved a woman like the meadow loves the sun,

Just contented to be living just because she’s living too?

If you have, and never spoken, it’s the best thing you have done;

Then you know there is a heaven that is not beyond the blue.”

I loved—but did not tell her. It came time for me to go

Almost anywhere, for her sake; so I drifted up along

The northern trails where winter locks the passes deep in snow,

But I dreamed of southern ranges and a land of sun and song,

“Where a trail runs toward the meadows; where the poppy-fields unfold;

Where the mocking-bird is listening to the patter of a tune

Rung by mellow canon echoes in a melody of gold,

As she rides along the morning down to greet the dawn of June.”

Yes: ’twas Overland’s delight, when we quit the road at night,

And the birds were folding up their music-bars,

Just to smoke a little bit; rub his chin a while and sit

Like a Hobo statue, looking at the stars.

There was nothing to be said—for the talk had drifted dead,

And his dreams were done of bronc-and-saddle days

And the woman that he knew. He believes that dreams come true,

And I almost think they do—from what he says.

4. “The Tryst” from Cowboy Lyrics by Robert V. Carr, 1908

I’ve ridden since the day throwed back

The trailers of the night.

An’ what fer, shall I tell you,

In a stampede o’ delight?

To wait out by the cottonwoods.

An’ dove-call softly to

A girl I know will answer:

I’m a-comin’, boy, to you.”

‘Twas no time to spare my bronco;

His breathin’ spells were brief;

He’s white with foam an’ shakin’

Like the Chinook shakes the leaf.

Fer I’ve splashed thro muddy rivers,

An’ loped across divides,

An’ ridden where no puncher

In his reason ever rides.

Thro’ wallers caked with gumbo,

The buffalo once knew;

Thro’ water holes an’ washouts,

An’ a-boggin’ in the slew.

O’er alkali an’ sage brush flats

I cut the whistlin’ breeze,

An’ come straight as the eagle

When his lady bird’s to please

I’m a-watchin’ and I’m waitin’

With heart as light as air,

As happy as they make ’em,

Either here or anywhere.

Jes’ to listen fer her footfall,

An’ hear her sweet voice thro’

The prairie silence murmur,

“I’m a-comin’, boy, to you.”

5. “Juanita” from Trail Dust of a Maverick by E. A. Brininstool, 1914

Drear are the prairies; the ranges are silent;

Mournfully whispers each soft, passing breeze;

Down in the canyon and eddying murmur

Echoes the sigh through the giant pine trees.

Lone are the trails on the brown, dusty mesa,

Up where the gems of the star-world peep through;

Sadly the night-bird is plaintively calling —

‘Nita, Juanita, I’m longing for you!

Out where the herds dot the range in the Springtime;

Out where the flowers you loved nod and sway,

Memory brings me a vision of sadness,

Brings me a dream of a once-happy day.

Over the trails you are riding beside me,

Under the canopied heavens of blue;

Smiling the love that your lips have repeated —

‘Nita, Juanita, I’m longing for you!

When steals the night with its grim, dusky shadows,

As ’round the herd I am jogging along,

Your gentle face seem to lighten the darkness,

Each vagrant breeze seems to whisper a song;

Whispers a melody sweetly entrancing,

Telling me, dear, of your love ever true;

Whispers and echo which sets my heart dancing —

‘Nita, Juanita, I’m longing for you!

For more Western Valentine’s Poetry, visit

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