hundred years of history and a hundred before that
All gathered in the thinkin' goin' on beneath his hat.
And back behind
his eyeballs and pumpin' through his veins
Is the ghost of every cowboy that ever held the reins.
in his lasso's been thrown a million times
His quiet concentration's been distilled through ancient minds.
workin' when the silver scratches hide
And a ghostly cowboy chorus fills his head and says, "Let's ride."
and the rowdy, the savage and the sane
the bluebloods and the hotbloods and the corriente strain
All knew his mother's
mothers or was it his daddy's kin
'Til he's nearly purely cowboy, born to ride and bred to win.
Buffalo Bill Cody and Goodnight's jigger boss
And all of the brave blue soldiers that General Custer lost
of Pancho Villa, Sittin' Bull and Jessie James
All gathered by his campfire keepin' score and takin' names.
Royal Mountie that ever got his man
And every day-work cowboy that ever made a hand
Each man that's rode before him,
yup every mother's son
Is in his corner, rootin', when he nods to make his run.
Brown might pull his bull rope,
Casey Tibbs might jerk the flank,
Bill Pickett might be hazin' when he starts to turn
Plus Remington and Russell lookin' down his buckhorn sight
All watchin' through the window of this cowboy's
in the catch pen or in chute number nine
Is the offspring of a mountain that's come down from olden time
A volcano waitin'
quiet, 'til they climb upon his back
Rumblin' like the engine of a freight train on the track.
A cross between
a she bear and a bad four wheel drive
With the fury of an eagle when it makes a power dive.
A snake who's lost its caution
or a badger gone berserk
He's a screamin', stompin', clawin', rabid, mad dog piece o' work.
rollers in his nostrils to the foam upon his lips
From the hooves as hard as granite to the horns with dagger tips
the flat black starin' shark's eye that's the mirror of his soul
Shines the challenge to each cowboy like the devil callin'
In the seconds
that tick slowly 'til he climbs upon his back
Each rider faces down the fear that makes his mouth go slack
his guts to ribbons and gives his tongue a coat
He swallows back the panic gorge that's risin' in his throat.
of hot blue copper fills the air around his head
Then a single, solid shiver shakes away the doubt and dread
flame burns within him 'til his skin's as cold as ice
And the dues he paid to get here are worth every sacrifice.
All the miles
spent sleepy drivin', all the money down the drain
All the "if I's" and the "nearly's", all the bandages and the pain
the female tears left dryin', all the fever and the fight
Are just a small downpayment on the ride he makes tonight.
And his pardner
in this madness that the cowboy's call a game
Is a ton of buckin' thunder bent on provin' why he came
But the cowboy
never wavers he intends to do his best
And of that widow maker, he expects of him no less.
solemn silent moment that every rider knows
When the time stops on a heartbeat like the earth itself was froze
all the ancient instinct fills the space between his ears
Til the whispers of his phantoms are the only thing he hears.
get down to the cuttin' and the leather touches hide
And there's nothin' left to think about, he nods and says, "Outside!"
frozen for an instant against the open gate
Is hist'ry turned to flesh and blood, a warrior incarnate.
they pose like statues in that flicker of an eye
There's somethin' almost sacred, you can see it if you try.
and love and glory-one mortal's chance at fame
His legacy is rodeo and cowboy is his name.
© Baxter Black