BY JOSEPH MILLS HANSON (1876-1960)
Oh, we’re up in the morning ere breaking of the day,
The chuck-wagon’s busy, the flapjacks in play;
The herd is astir o’er hillside and vale,
With the night riders rounding them into the trail.
Oh, come take up your cinches, come shake out your reins;
Come wake your old bronco and break for the plains;
Come roust out your steers from the long chaparral,
For the outfit is off to the railroad corral.
The sun circles upward; the steers as they plod
Are pounding to powder the hot prairie sod;
And it seems, as the dust makes you dizzy and sick,
That we’ll never reach noon and the cool shady creek.
But tie up your kerchief and ply up your nag;
Come dry up your grumbles and try not to lag,
Come with your steers from the long chaparral
For we’re far on the road to the railroad corral.
The afternoon shadows are starting to lean,
When the chuckwagon sticks in the marshy ravine;
The herd scatters farther than vision can look,
For you can bet all true punchers will help out the cook.
Come shake out your rawhide and snake it up fair;
Come break your old bronco to take in his share;
Come from your steers in the long chaparral,
For ‘t is all in the drive to the railroad corral.
But the longest of days must reach evening at last,
The hills all climbed, the creeks all past;
The tired herd droops in the yellowing light;
Let them loaf if they will, for the railroad’s in sight.
So flap up your holster and snap up your belt,
And strap up your saddle whose lap you have felt;
Good-bye to the steers from long chaparral,
For there’s a town that’s a trunk by the railroad corral.
This poem, turned song, has been recorded by some of the great Western singers, from Michael Martin Murphey, to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and also our old friend, Don Edwards. You can hear Don’s version on Spotify — Canadian Cowboy Country 2023 Playlist