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The Pitchfork Grays
Darrell Arnold


Through the dust and heat and the high mesquite
We rode sorrels and browns and bays,
But we felt the best, as if we’d been blessed,
When we forked those Pitchfork grays.

It was not so strange, on the Pitchfork range
To find gray in a cowboy’s string.
You could always bet he was from the get
Of their stud, Joe Bailey’s King.

Now the gray I rode sure pulled his load,
Not a job he could not do.
I could rope and cut, really crack the nut,
On the gray horse I called Blue.

     In the golden haze of those Texas days,
     When the Pitchfork trails were new,
     We were young and proud, and we bragged out loud
     To be part of the Pitchfork crew.

Well you give your best till it’s time to rest,
You get stiff and your vision blurs,
And you’re past your prime, and you know it’s time
That you quit and hang your spurs.

I felt sad and old, when my bed I rolled
T’was the only life I knew,
But it made my day when I heard them say,
“You done good, just keep Ol’ Blue.”

     In the golden haze of those Texas days,
     When the Pitchfork trails were new,
     We were young and proud, and we bragged out loud
     To be part of the Pitchfork crew.

So I turned Blue loose, ‘cause that good cayuse
Sure deserved to work no more.
He was twenty-eight when he broke the gate
And came up to the big barn door.

He came home to die, how my heart did cry
On that cold and bitter day.
I’m a-tellin’ you that I sure was blue
When I lost my Pitchfork gray.

© by Darrell Arnold.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Darrell Arnold has been writing rhyming poetry for more than forty years. He was an associate editor at Western Horseman magazine for five years, then launched his own publication, Cowboy Magazine, which ran for nearly eighteen years. Poetry, primarily cowboy poetry, was an integral part of both publications. In the early ‘90s, Darrell started turning some of his poetry into songs and has now had more than 20 poems recorded by various western singers; three of them have earned "Song of the Year" awards from Western Writers of America and the International Western Music Association. In 2023, Darrell's book, A Bard in Boots, earned him the Gold Medal from the Will Rogers Medallion Awards for excellence in literature. He continues to write poetry and has extended an open invitation to cowboy singers everywhere to team up with him to make additional memorable songs. For details and special pricing on his books, contact Darrell at P. O. Box 3097, Colorado City, AZ 86021.


Post New Comment:
Mary Lou Taylor:
What fun! Reminds me of the song written up Wildrose Canyon in the Panamnts. The composer wrote over 50 songs, but only one made the big time."Ghost Riders in the Sky.." Congratulations.
Posted 06/22/2018 05:03 PM
Thanks for this delightful post. A good piece of work that brings me a smile.
Posted 06/22/2018 02:29 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love cowboy poetry. I could relate because I grew up near Billings, Montana and my father was a rodeo cowboy who led the parades on his white horse named Zephyr and my grandfather owned the rodeo grounds.
Posted 06/22/2018 10:57 AM
michael escoubas:
Wonderful rhyme scheme, best of all, heart of love obvious throughout. Thank you, Darrell
Posted 06/22/2018 10:52 AM
I love those internal rhymes!
Posted 06/22/2018 09:07 AM
Larry Schug:
Problems usually get solved, one way or another, in these cowboy ditties. These words plant a picture in my mind.
Posted 06/22/2018 08:38 AM

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