With a deep drawl that rivals actor Sam Elliott, J. B. Allen is the quintessential cowpuncher. The Cochran County commissioner has cowboyed all of his life, and that’s what he knows. He doesn’t call himself a writer; he’s just a cowman who writes poetry. His poems just come to him, and he writes them down one line at a time. His simple approach reaps praise from all circles of cowboy poets. “J.B. just writes poetry because it’s something that moves in him,” Lubbock writer Andy Wilkinson says. If only all county commissioners were this artistically gifted.
A YOUNG MAN’S STRENGTH, TO HIS SURPRISE,
IS ONE DAY JUST NOT THERE,
AND, LOOKIN IN THE MIRROR,
SEES THE GREY THAT’S IN HIS HAIR.
THE DAILY CARES AND TRIALS
MAKE THE PASSIN YEARS SEEM LONG,
BUT HINDSIGHT ALWAYS CONTRADICTS
AND PROVES THAT THINKIN WRONG.
OL “TIME” IS STILL THE MASTER,
AND IT WON’T ADMIT DEFEAT.
IT JUST KEEPS ON A COMIN
AND WON’T EVER SOUND RETREAT.
BELIEFS WE HOLD ARE WHAT LIVES ON
BEYOND THAT SIX FOOT GRAVE,
FOR OTHERS WATCH OUR EVER MOVE
TO SEE HOW WE BEHAVE.
WE’LL NOT GIT BY FOR VERY LONG
WITH WORDS THAT JUST DON’T FIT,
FOR HOW WE REALLY LIVE OUR LIVES
WON’T KEEP THAT LANTERN LIT.
THE BEACON OF OUR ACTIONS
WILL LIGHT THE PATH WE WALK,
OBSCURIN THAT SMALL LANTERN
THAT’S FED BY FANCY TALK.
WHILE CUSSIN OUT THE REFEREE,
OR YOUNGUNS IN THE FIELD,
JUST STOP AND THINK A MINUTE
ON THE CROPS THAT IT WILL YIELD.
YOU PROBLY WOULDN’T ROB A BANK
OR SOME BIG LIQUOR STORE,
BUT WAYS THAT PASS FOR BIZNESS
SOMETIMES CHEATS A FELLER MORE.
THIS WORLD WON’T GIT NO BETTER
‘LESS WE CHANGE OUR WAY OF DOIN,
AND SET OUR STANDARDS HIGHER
THAN THE COURSE WE’VE BEEN PURSUIN.
THE GENERATIONS DOWN THE ROAD
MUST REAP WHAT WE HAVE SOWN,
AND “TIME” WILL JUDGE OUR PLANTIN JOB
BY WHAT WE NOW CONDONE.
Copyright © by J. B. Allen. Reprinted with permission from the author.