The Ranchin’ Rat Race Revolt


Poetry10-05There’s a kind of revolt around our place,
More than the usual Ranchin’ Rat Race.
Our hired man up and quit yesterday,
Too many hours and too little pay,
And Animal Rights has got out of hand;
Our milk cow’s refusin’ to wear the brand
And our Hereford cows say they’ve been deceived;
They’re askin’ for six months maternity leave.

As for culls and canners, they’ve outlawed those names;
They’ve got a Senate and a Cow Hall of Fame
And our bulls are making it awfully clear,
Since they only work a part of the year-
(three months they put out beyond endurance)
so where’s their unemployment insurance?

Our steers are in court, the issue’s castration,
Their demands are clear; no more alterations.
And the pigs out back have been belly achin’;
Told Jake to bring home his own darn bacon,
And there’s something else that ain’t no bull;
The sheep are hangin’ onto their wool.

The cats are on welfare all the year round
And then there’s Towser, that hairball hound
Eats bags of Purina and sleeps all day,
Doesn’t even chase the mule deer away.
Last week we put Ginger out to pasture,
Even with oats we could never catch her.

Now yesterday she happened to mention
She wants O.A.S.* and Canada Pension
And the hens want the G.I.S.* as well;
They’re sick and tired of oyster shell.
So things really are in an awful mess
And it breaks my heart to have to confess
Jake says we may have to shut everything down.
But be damned, he says, if I’m movin’ to town!

*OAS (Old Age Security), a pension Canadian
seniors receive at age 65.
*GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement), for low
income seniors.

Doris Bircham’s writing has appeared in several magazines, anthologies and textbooks. Her work has also been aired on CBC radio and featured in Cowboy Poetry: Words to Live By – a video by Mediatalk Productions. Additionally, Doris has been an organizer and performer at the Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Art Show for several years.