Featured Cowboy Poet, Michael Sorbonne Robinson

Featured Cowboy Poet

Michael Sorbonne Robinson

A Cowboy Doesn't Cry

Copyrightę 1998 by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, All Rights Reserved

Granddaddy died when I was eight, down by the old corral. The sky turned grey and, late that night, I heard the coyotes howl. I wondered why the sky and dogs could mourn that sweet ol' guy, while I endured in silence, 'cause a cowboy doesn't cry.

My future was assured because I had my daddy's genes. He started me on rodeo while in my early teens. I broke six bones, unseated by a bronc Dad made me try, and didn't even whimper, 'cause a cowboy doesn't cry.

But then my brother Melvin turned up missin' one spring day. He'd drowned and I was all torn up at seein' him that way. I'd loved him and I'd played with him; I felt as if I'd die, but didn't shed a tear because a cowboy doesn't cry.

And life went on that way until I got up in my years; And, through it all, I toughed it out---just holdin' back my tears. My mama died; My dad passed on; I lost my second son; And still I stored those tears inside, the way my Dad had done.

But when my Mary Ellen's smile was taken from my days, the world collapsed from sunny-blue to dark, depressin' greys. A pourin' rain, inside me, caused my heart to spring a leak, and, though I tried my best, I felt a tear run down my cheek.

Now here I am, a-sobbin', like the world's come to an end; And, though my dad once lectured me on rules I shouldn't bend, I'm mournin' all my losses, and I think I've figured why: I must not be a cowboy, 'cause a cowboy doesn't cry.

Note: This poem is available as a song, with both sheet music and cassette recordings available.
Contact Michael Sorbonne Robinson by E-Mail at: mrobinson@ypc.ne and visit the ranch at:

Hymn of the Cowboys

Copyrightę by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, All Rights Reserved

(This poem is dedicated to Lane Frost--perhaps the greatest bull rider of all time. He was killed by a bull named "Taking Care of Business" at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.)

Oh, the earth's a fickle mama--like two-thousand pounds of brahma, that y' ride eight seconds 'fore she thows y' down-- when the one who bore and nursed ya turns her back and starts t' curse ya, and she tramples you six feet beneath the ground.

As his lifeblood pools inside him, there is no one to confide in-- that he wished he'd never done that wild ride-- but the bull that fin'lly got 'im and t' death's dark door has brought 'im helped him scored another solid eighty-five.

Well, a cowboy's merely mortal, and'll someday reach that portal, when the summer's done and autumn's fin'lly gone-- when those cheeks of sunburned leather lie so still upon the heather, and a darkened world awaits a distant dawn.

When that giant yolk sinks middle of the west horizon's griddle, and a crimson blaze ignites the prairie sod; when the sky of blue and azure falls as ketchup on the pasture, our world darkens, but it's breakfast time with God.

Though the his body's linen-shrouded and the sky is black and clouded, when the undertaker gives his crew the nod, that dear cowboy's horse is revvin' as it launches him to heaven, where he's welcomed as a breakfast guest with God.

Yup, he'll sit down at God's table with John Wayne and Betty Grabel, and then God will raise his glass and He will say: "I could tell, right from the start, My Name was branded on your heart. Welcome home, my son; You're fin'lly here to stay."

All the clocks, upon our planet, were designed by those who man it; and they stop dead in a hundred years or so; But that moment's time in Heaven was in Lane's years, twenty-seven, and that hand's not dead--He's simply on the go.

When that giant yolk sinks middle of the west horizon's griddle, and a crimson blaze ignites the prairie sod; when the sky of blue and azure falls as ketchup on the pasture, our world darkens, but it's breakfast time with God.

The Old Hand

Copyrightę by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, All Rights Reserved

I watched the ol' hand workin' and I marvelled at his spunk-- He was tough and fast and agile for his age. His mind was still a-perkin', his physique, a handsome hunk, and the younger folk considered him a sage.

So I asked him, all politely, what he'd done to stay so young-- how a 'poke his age could keep up with the best. He said, most ev'ry nightly, that he'd partied, danced, and sung, and he rarely ever got a whole night's rest.

Unlike most rank ol' fogies, he'd been chasin' wild skirts and consumed at least a quart of booze a day. He endlessly smoked stogies, stuffed his face until it hurt, and he gambled ev'ry penny of his pay.

So curious, I couldn't stand it, I inquired "What's yer age?" and he spoke through ragged teeth, stained by the brew: "An estimate on age, at best, is really hard to guage, for you see," he grinned, "I'm only thirty-two!"

About Michael Sorbonne Robinson

Though the realities of feeding a family steered Michael away from his horseshoeing and training, he still loves to ride through the sagebrush and howl at a pale moon. In addition to his 300 plus poems--100 of which he can recite from memory, he's created four songs this year, including "A Cowboy Doesn't Cry", "When the Coyote's are a-Howlin' at the Moon", "The Cowboy Cell-Phone Blues", and "I Hate Them Happy Songs." His songwriting won him a first place in the League of Utah Writers annual contest. For a 'poke who's only been writing cowboy poetry for two years, he has garnered a considerable number of first place awards in various contests, and has become recognized performer. Fifty-one years old, Michael has performed in the Festival of the American West, the Utah State Fair, the 12th annual Idaho Cowboy Poetry Gathering, private and corporate parties, and many other quality events.

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