Quatrains offer a neat challenge to the poet because each requires a complete thought, image, or story in four simple lines.

There Were No Mourners
Western cooks had tough lives and, although
berated and cursed, most managed to survive.

Beneath this stone lies Cookie.
They buried him here today
‘cause he ate his own cousine
just before he passed away.

A Rural Third Grade Saga
Rural school districts often hired teachers
right out of high school and, honest,
some of the students were older than the teachers!

The teacher married a student,
perhaps her choice was fine,
but she was only seventeen
and he was twenty-nine.


At the Dance

We all looked forward to the dances held down at the schoolhouse each month. Although the events were generally peaceful, there were those occasional times when a fight might erupt, fueled by white lightnin’ and ignited by the glances of some country belle. Maryann was a cute little gal and an accomplished flirt.

It was an amazin’ rukus
there at the dance tonight.
A few cowboys was liquored up
and lookin’ for a fight.

That fight was over pretty quick
and no one went to jail
but black eyes did abound tonight
and sev’ral folks looked pale.

How it started no one would tell.
It just erruped there
and soon ev’ry one was involved
in that sordid affair.

But Maryann knew very well,
it was her flirtin’ way…
flippin’ her skirt, blinkin’ her eyes,
at the young lads today.

A cowboy gets mighty lonesome
ridin’ all by himself
so he gets mighty attracted
to a sweet western elf.

Today it’s back t’ward home
to nurse his blackened eye.
Rememberin’ sweet Maryann,
he breathes a heartfelt sigh.

One Regret

Here’s a simple three stanza cowboy poem written spontaneously to illustrate to a class the effective use of consistent meter and true rhyme. The poetic form is that of a ballad with a metric pattern (syllable count) of 8-6-8-6 and rhymes of ABCB in each of the three verses.

To be a cowboy for the brand,
he lived a lonely life.
The only true regret he has…
he never had a wife.

Oh, he had a bunch of chances
but he just passed ’em by
’cause he was havin’ too much fun
to give that life a try.

So today he’s old and lonely
just waitin’ for the end.
This cowboy has no wife or kin
on which he can depend.