2023 Inspirational Western Women
Are you familiar with cowboy poetry?
I’m excited for you to meet my featured gal for this month. So sit back, sip that steamy beverage, and enjoy . . .
This was my first poem. I wrote it after my husband and his cronies took off for Alpine, TX, for the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and I assured Floyd that I’d be fine taking care of things at home. A small blizzard blew in (we were expecting it) and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on our lives and why we love it.
I later entered a poetry contest at the International Western Music Association convention with the Western Wordsmiths Chapter and won the novice division. After that, I was compelled to continue learning more poetry to recite as well as to write more of my own.
No Better Life
The old faucet drips, as slowly she sips
Her coffee in morning’s dull glow.
Storm’s ragin’ a battle, she’s home with the cattle.
The temperature reads five below.
The wind was a blowin’, and it was still snowin’,
She stepped out to do morning chores.
The snow was a driftin’, with icy snakes siftin’,
A solid sheen sealed the barn doors.
Wet flakes stung her face, she steadied her pace;
Her scarf danced an icy staccato.
Wires thrummed out a wail, trees bent to the gale,
Barn eaves moaned a mournful vibrato.
Inside it was still, she forked them their fill,
They knickered in stalls safe and warm.
She calmed down their fears, scratched soft neck and ears,
Then plunged right back into the storm.
(Photo Credit Jennifer Dennison)
The truck started rough, but it was enough.
She’d loaded the bales night before.
Then drove from the haystack with two dogs in the back
And one settled down on the floor.
A drift to the knee, she broke the gate free,
Plowed into the sheltered corral.
With no cows in there yet, but a fella could bet
That horned rip would soon be her pal.
Was it worth the chance to play the gate dance
In case the old jessies came in?
She rolled bales to the ground, and glanced round at the sound
Of old Horn just sporting a grin.
Horn sallied right up, and started to sup
On hay that she’d jerked to the ground.
Ignorning that cow, the wife furrowed her brow and
Spread bales with a vigor newfound.
Confronting the cow she knew that somehow
She’d wrestle that bale on again.
With a wave and a yell, that cow could just tell
‘Twas time to move on in the pen.
Now with the cow gone, she tossed the bale on,
The dogs hunkered down by the spare.
She crawled back in the truck and spun out of the muck,
Back into the rime-frosted air.
Her cowboy’s away, thoughts with her today,
He worries for her with the chores.
They warned of the squall, arrived at nightfall,
He wished she could just stay indoors.
Back home in the gale, she knew without fail
Ice on the tank would be frozen.
A lick of the ax, and several hard whacks;
She thinks of the life that they’ve chosen.
Shards fly here and there, spray froze in the air;
Ice chunks were soon scattered about.
Cattle filtered in slow, and they all seemed to know
She’d be there for them there’s no doubt.
Cows walked to their hay, a bovine buffet.
She’s glad they’d come in from the range.
Now two years in a drought, but they’d never sell out.
She knew others might think it strange.
Stood watching them eat, the wild wind beat
At her clothes caked and frozen with snow.
Then after awhile, walked off with a smile,
Thought no better life she could know.
“Valerie adds a fresh new voice to the world of cowboy poetry, and it doesn’t hurt that she lives the life that she talks about.”-Yvonne Hollenbeck
Valerie Beard’s Story
In April 2022 I released my first cowboy poetry CD titled “No Better Life”. If I can get your address I’ll drop one in the mail to you. God has blessed me abundantly and it has been warmly received by the western music and poetry DJ’s. I just received word the other day that it remains the #1 most played cowboy poetry CD again this past quarter. It debuted as #1 and is still there nine months later. I am overwhelmed and so appreciative.
Also, last November at the IWMA Convention I was named the Female Poet of the Year. When I wrote my first poem I had never imagined that I would be honored with this award.
There are so many of my mentors and very good friends that have earned this honor and now I walk among them. Wow, it still does not seem real to me.
God is so good.
I guess he thinks this is something that I should be doing. At times I wonder because writing poetry does not come easily to me, I have to work at it. Some poems take me years to put together from their first thought to final draft . When I was committed to producing my CD I needed two poems in order to get the number of original poems that I felt worthy of publication.
I made myself sit down to write and prayed for God’s guidance because I knew what He sent would be what should go on the CD. Of course, He came through.
Also, I had SUCH good help with my CD. I called musician, Dale Burson, to provide background music for some selections as well as Jean Prescott to come along and sing her song that we included with a poem and to add whatever touches she thought necessary.
We were just mulling over where to begin in the studio when Jean grabbed my hand, held it up in prayer and asked for God’s blessing on this project. After that moment, things just clicked and we pulled it together in two days.
Thank you Jean, it has been blessed!