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The Cowboy Way
Hal Swift


There’s some things that’s wrong
An’ there’s some things that’s right
At least, that’s what I allus say
An’ when y’kin tell it
An’ choose what’s the right
Yer livin’ the Cowboy Way

Y’don’t cheat at cards
Y’don’t steal a man’s drink
It’s wrong t’make fun of a child
Y’don’t stay a settin’
When ladies come in
Y’don’t run around bein’ wild

It’s wrong t’shoot game
Jist t’see if y’kin
Y’don’t pass off a coin that’s a fake
It’s right t’give praise
When y’see somethin’ good
To admit when you’ve made a mistake

Y’don’t sleep in church
Er sing hymns in a bar
Y’don’t talk when another man is
Y’don’t mistreat horses
Er laugh at a death
A Cowboy won’t take what ain’t his

It’s right t’be truthful
T’say when yer wrong
Not put up yer gun lest y’clean it
It’s wrong t’git drunk
An’ t’fight with a friend
Er be bad an’ then say y’don’t mean it

Yes, some things is wrong
An’ some things is right
That’s what a real cowboy will say
An’ when y’kin tell it
An’ choose what’s the right
Yer livin’ the Cowboy Way


From Cowboy Poems and Outright Lies (Copyright 2001 by Hal Swift).
Used with the author’s permission.

Hal Swift (1928 - 2016) was born in Speedway City, Indiana, on the 25th anniversary of the Wright brothers' flight at Kitty Hawk. When he was eight years old, his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where, as a teenager, Hal learned to play a bass fiddle. He worked with local cowboy musicians such as Marty Robbins, and played with the Phoenix Concert Orchestra. He went on to become a popular radio host and was inducted into the Nevada Broadcast Association Hall of Fame after a 50-year career. That career took a different direction, briefly, while Hal served in the U.S. Navy as a Morse code radio operator. Hal's diverse interests included martial arts, building model ships and airplanes, cartooning, semantics and, of course, writing. Learn more about him here.

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