Cowboy Poetry – Big Ed

By September 23, 2009Media, poetry

LC-S59-363

Found this on the internet but unfortunately there was no identification of who wrote it. If you know please let me know so I can give credit.

Big Ed

Now my tale is of the early years, when the century was new
And the rankest critters in the Basin were cows and buckaroos.

Picture a saloon in Prineville, where the liquor’s flowing free,
Where gamblers deal up faro and the girls smile easily.

It’s early on a weekend – maybe three in the afternoon,
The pianer’s playin somthin ’bout love and a silver moon.

When suddenly the doors burst open and boys, it’s a terrible sight…
A cowboy staggers forward his eyes rolled back to white.

His hands they fairly tremble and his face is chalky pale
” I come to warn you, Big Ed’s comin’… I seen him on the trail!”

There’s a moment of deepest silence, but before another breath is drawn,
The bar empties out like a winter cup when the last of the coffee’s gone.

The barkeep, fresh from Ireland, stands frozen to the spot,
Mindful of his immigration and having second thoughts.

Now the windows start to rattle and the chairs begin to dance
And the danger hanging in the air holds the barkeep in a trance.

There’s a sound of heavy galloping comin’ down the street
And ahead of it an odor like week old vulture meat.

Crashing through the swinging doors and tearing out the wall
Comes a grizzly being ridden by a man near eight feet tall.

He’s got a rattler for a bullwhip and he cracks it overhead.
And the grizzly’s got a logging chain between his teeth instead

Of a snaffle bit and rein, and the rider draws ’em tight
As he screeches to a halt and slides off to the… right.

Two strides he’s to the railin’, and he growls to make his point,
” Barkeep give me whiskey, the best that’s in the joint.

Now the Darbyman’s been hidin’ behind the tavern sink,
But he hastens with a shotglass and pours the man a drink.

With a look of raw impatience the stranger knocks it to the floor,
Bites the neck off of the bottle and spits it out the door.

He tosses back the contents and downs it with a swallow
And the look he gives the Irishman is cold and grim and hollow.

The barkeep says his rosary, he’s thinkin’ of his mother
But trembling courage prompts his lips “Would you care to have another?”

The stranger turns away in silence, he offers not a word,
Then says “There ain’t no time, son, I’m surprised you haven’t heard.

If I was you I’d close this joint and set my mount a’runnin’,
I’m just a step ahead of death… Ain’t you heard?…Big Ed’s a comin’!”