Cowboy Poetry

A Bad Half Hour


Wonder why I feel so restless; Moon is shinin’ still and bright, Cattle all is restin’ easy, But I just kaint sleep tonight. Ain’t no cactus in my blankets, Don’t know why they feel so hard ‘Less it’s Warblin’ Jim a-singin’ “Annie Laurie” out on guard. “Annie Laurie” wish he’d quit it! Couldn’t sleep now if I tried. Makes the night seem big and lonesome, And my throat feels sore inside. How my Annie used to sing it! And it sounded good and gay Nights I drove her home from dances When the east was turnin’ gray. Yes, “her brow was like the snowdrift” And her eyes like quiet streams, “And her face” I still kin see it Much too frequent in my dreams; And her hand was soft and trembly That night underneath the tree, When I couldn’t help but tell her She was “all the world to me.” But her folks said I was “shif’less,” “Wild,” “unsettled,” they was right, For I leaned to punchin’ cattle And I’m at it still tonight. And she married young Doc Wilkins Oh my Lord! but that was hard! Wish that fool would quit his singin’ “Annie Laurie” out on guard! Oh, I just kaint stand it thinkin’ Of the things that happened then. Good old times, and all apast me! Never seem to come again My turn? Sure. I’ll come a-runnin’. Warm me up some coffee, pard But I’ll stop that Jim from singin’ “Annie Laurie” out on guard.

Fire Side by Fred Lawrence Miller (May 24, 1955–Nov 3, 2012) was excerpted from his only book of poetry, Leftovers, Latigoes & Lies. Fred was a popular outfitter, noted mule man and highly-regarded cowboy poet from Alberta