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Special Cowboy Poetry Feature

Spring/Summer 2004, Volume 21.3

Cowboy Poetry

Marilyn S. Diamond

Photo of Marilyn Diamond.

Marilyn Diamond was born and raised on her grandfather's farm in Clinton, Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Elementary Education and from Weber State University with a degree in English. She and her husband John own and operate Clinton Nursery, Inc. and Diamond Ranches, a cow/calf operation in Syracuse, Utah. Marilyn is the advisor for the Weber State University Honors Program. She performs original cowboy poetry at many western festivals in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The Army Surplus Store

Now Joby's got this streak in him,
He's a bargain huntin' fool.
And cheaper mean the better,
Accordin' to his rule.

Seems last week down in Henderson
They opened up the door
Of the strangest place ya ever seen,
An Army Surplus Store.

Now shoppin's not a thing
Old Joby likes to do,
I buys the groceries, clothes we wear,
Right down to Joby's shoes.

But suddenly, he's like a kid
Who's headed for some fun,
And he can't eat or sleep
Until his shoppin's done.

So bright and early Saturday,
The Army Surplus Store
Is where we're headed in Job's truck
For treasured buys galore.

Now I'm completely baffled
`Cause I didn't think they made
The things they've crammed behind them doors
To buy, and sell, and trade.

There's huntin' stuff and fishin' stuff
And clothes for men and kids.
There's cookin' stuff and cleanin' stuff
And campin' pots with lids.

There's rabbit pens and cattle feed,
And everything you'd need
For jumpin' out of airplanes,
Or plantin' garden seeds.

And Joby's fillin' up the cart
With all the dangest things,
From cowboy hats to sailor caps
To six inch plastic rings.

But what's it for I mutter
I'm feelin' a mite confused,
But Joby, he won't stop to talk,
He's found some socks that's used!

In a big ol' pickle barrel
With a sign that says for FREE
If you'll buy just one rubber raft
To float the open sea.

"Why look at this," Job grabs a sack.
I can't believe my luck
'Cause he goes on to tell me
That they're twenty for a buck.

He buys some greenish army pants,
They're surplus World War One,
Then turns and says, "Ma grab a pair,
I'd love to buy you some."

He buys a missile casing
And a tent without one wall.
"We'll face her south to catch the sun,
A huntin' deer next fall."

He buys two big old buoys
Some dehydrated meals
And an inner tube they've salvaged
From a cargo plane's rear wheel.

He ain't never gonna use the stuff
He bought, and further more,
He'll probably never figure out
What most of it is for.

It's a good thing that it's Saturday
And Job can't make the bank,
`Cause he'd a hocked the truck and farm
For an army surplus tank!


A Fish Story

On a pleasant Sunday, summer day
An old cowboy fished for perch.
It didn't bother him a mite
That he shoulda' been in church.

He scoffed at thoughts of Sunday School;
He didn't need that hype;
He'd live his life just as he pleased;
He weren't the churchy type.

When suddenly a monster rose
From out the briney deep,
The cowboy was so overcome
He couldn't even speak.

The monster churned the waters
With his broad, enormous tail;
The waves launched cowboy, boat, and alló
They really did set sail.

They must have launched 200 feet,
And as they started down,
The cowboy saw great, gnashing teeth
In the monster's fateful frown.

He raised his eyes to heaven;
He pled with all his might;
He knew that he could never win
A cowboy/monster fight.

"Oh Lord," he cried, "please help me!"
And suddenly time froze;
The cowboy was suspended,
His head below his toes.

Then from the boiling clouds there came
A booming voice that said,
"You never have believed in meó
You thought that I was dead.

You've never stopped to visit me;
I really wonder how
You have the nerve to call on me
To save your hide just now."

"I know that I have not believed,"
Came the cowboy's desperate cry,
"But I've been calculating things.
I'm sure that if I try

I could believe in all you teach.
Heck, I've had a change of heart:
I'll believe in you and monsters too,
And that is just a start."

The Lord then shook his doubtful head
But said, "You're in a fix!
It's plain to both of us that this
Is not a pleasant mix.

But I don't deal in stopping things
Once they have had their start.
The only thing that I will do
Is change a person's heart.

How would you have me change for you
The heart of this great brute,
To change the heart of anyone
Goes clean down to the root."

"Just make him believe in You
The cowboy said with glee."
He figured that belief in God
Might make the monster flee.

"It's done!" The Lord declared at once.
The cowboy's fall resumed,
And there below the monster stayed,
His gaping mouth still loomed.

But just before the cowboy reached
Those terrible gnashing teeth,
He was a witness to a changeó
The monster's new belief.

The monster's claws were folded,
And with reverence he could feel
The monster bowed his head and said,
"Thanks, Lord, for this fine meal!"

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