My momma loves cowboy poetry, and having lived life west of the Pecos for the past week, I thought I’d try my hand at it as a sort of Mothers’ Day gift. I tried for several hours as I rode through Texas Hill Country, but couldn’t quite conjure the pathos of the lone prairie (or find a good rhyme for cayuse). I camped the night at a place called Enchanted Rock—Texas’ mini Uluru—hoping the name would hold true and I would find inspiration in its presence, but to no avail. Desperate, I turned to peyote, and although the hallucinogen-fueled trance carried me beyond time and space and revealed to me my inner shaman, it did not reveal to me a single stanza of “A Cowboy’s Ode to His Mother.”
A Life Well Lived (excerpts)
by Dennis Gaines
It's a blessin' and a curse to always be the restless one
Never knowin' where to bed down with the setting of the sun.
A tumbleweed keeps rollin', and a cowboy does the same,
'Cause a drifter don't take roots just by the changin' of his name.
And the long days stretch to longer nights, with just the lonesome breeze
That stirs the dust in faded tracks and ripples through the trees
Where the line shack stands a beacon and the distant memories roam,
And a cowhand's restless slumber takes him back again to home,
Where his mama waits with patient smile to greet her wayward boy.
And though her heart is aching, still she claims her greatest joy
Is the knowing that her ramblin' son is running strong and free.
And this, my friends, is what my gentle mother gave to me.
A cowhand is a lonesome critter, born and bred to roam,
Though a cowboy with a loving mother always has a home.
But it's a long trail and a hard one; it's a sweet and bitter story,
When a cowboy keeps on ridin' . . . and his mother's gone to glory.