Frank Bird Linderman.

Bunch-grass and blue-joint online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryFrank Bird LindermanBunch-grass and blue-joint → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook












Published August, 1921



f i> "**




" Git Down an' Come in " 1

CayuseBill 2

The Lonely Tepee 6

Luck 7

To the Coyote 9

Cayuse Bill's Sermon 11

Things Shore do Change ....... 14

To an Old Cow-horse 15

Pardo'Mine 16

An Incident at Shorty's . 18

Bible History 21

Cabins 26

The Cow-Puncher's Yarn 28

Preecher Price 34

The Pot and the Kettle 37

Progress 39

Sour Dough 40




To a Magpie 42

Philanthropy Loafin* 43

Confession 47

Scar-face on Nature 49

The Council of the Sun 52

Little Bear 64

Bluebird's Last Stand 65

I Stood Beside a Mound of Wishing-Stones . . 67

The Sun-Worshiper 73

Prophetic 75

The Pioneer 77

The Old Frontier 78

Optimistic-Pessimism 80

To a Mountain-Rat 81

OF Dad 82

The Packer's Ideal 84

The Pack Bell 87

Compensation Bill 89

Intercession ........... 92




The Old Canoe 95

The Trout Pool 97

The Deer Lick . . . . 98

Night in the Forest 100

The Perfume of the Pines 102

Night in Glacier Park 104

HonDeFall 106

Ma Frien' Pete Lebeau 108

Pete Lebeau's Lament Ill

Reverie 112

Old Trails 115





For the West an' its people was honest an 9 new,
And the range spread away with the sky for a lid

" Git Down an 1 Come In fl

GIT down an' come in!"
Could words open wider a heart or a

Than that greeting of plainsmen in days that

are o'er,
"Git down an' come in?"

" Git down an* come in ! "

The bid to the stranger, the welcome of friend,
When miles lay ahead, or when nearing an end;
The same in the sunshine, the same in the night:
May mem'ry preserve it, and time never blight
" Git down an' come in ! "

Cayuse Bill

OLD Cayuse Bill was tea'd up right
In Shorty's Place the other night,
An', backin' up agin the bar,

He hooked his spur on the foot-rail thar
An' moralized on gineral things,

From bosses down to queens an' kings.

I've heered it said, an' know it's true,
An' like as not you've heered it too,

That, dodgin' all the if's an' but's,
It's brains an' not a bunch of guts

That whisky wakes with idees strange
An' with 'em drifts across the range.

Cayuse Bill

"My dad," says Bill, "I never knowed;

But jest the same I lived an' growed,
An' I ain't found but what men see

An' recognize all good in me,
Without back-trailin' to the ground

My parents used to stomp around.

"A thoroughbred in humankind

Is easy any time to find,
But stake their sons an' what's the use ?

Nine times in ten they're jest cayuse
They're throwbacks to forgotten strains

That run to bone instid of brains.

"A throwback comes a-lopin' in,
An' like as not he's born a twin

To record-makin' breedin' stock;

But nothin' proves it, 'cept the clock.

He's shy all marks, but jest the same
He's branded with his daddy's name.

Cayuse Bill

"A strain of blood that's weak an' cold
May mix with one that's strong an' bold;

An' that cay use is standard-bred
That sets his mark a mite ahead,

No matter if his pedigree

Is known to jest his mother, see?

"Performance," says old Cayuse Bill,
"Is all that counts, or ever will,

In bosses or in humankind;

An' every time ye're sure to find

That them that boasts a family tree
Ain't more'n what they'd oughter be.

"Of course a family's got to start
Some place, somehow, an' that's the part

Men overlook, until some colt
Of cay use stock gives them a jolt

An' cleans 'em up, an' right there he
Is saved to start a family tree.

Cayuse Bill

"It ain't all breedin', let me state,
It's this here fast an' fancy gait;

So I have held, pure-bred or cross,
A man comes standard like a hoss,

By action shown in any game

To which he lends his strength an' name."

Note: By the law of the turf, a cold-blooded
horse may become standard-bred by its own

The Lonely Tepee

A^ONE on the sage-brush stretches
Where roamed the bison herds,
And ruled a race of warriors

Free as the flight of birds
This ghost of old-time greatness

In twilight of the past,
The remnant of a shadow
Now dim, and fading fast.

In homage bend the grasses

At a gentle wind's decree,
O'er the valley cries the curlew,

Like the mourning of Nahpee,
The red sun, sinking westward,

Seems fondly to invoke
A message to the war-like

From its silent, curling smoke.


OL' man Ogletree is smart
(Got a gizzard fer a heart),
Sez he don't believe in luck,
Calls it sentimental truck.

Or man Ogletree, ye see,

Owns the "S" an' "Circle-C."

Management, he sez, is what
Makes the bet an' wins the pot.

OF man Ogletree, an' me,
In the spring of eighty-three,

Rode the grub-line up the trail
To the range on Beaver-tail.


OF man Ogletree was wild,
An' a father's only child,

Couldn't ride a wagon-bed,
Never had a hand ner head;

Wasn't worth a badger's hide
Till his daddy up an' died,

Leavin' him, alone, ye see,
With the "S" an' "Circle-C."

To the Coyote

IUSTER hate ye once, but now
I've weakened some, an' wonder how
Ye live on airth that's ditched an' fenced,
An' lately, somehow, I've commenced
To like ye.

I uster think ye devil's spawn,
But dang it, all my hate is gone.
I watch ye prowl an' win yer bets
Agin the traps a nester sets
To ketch ye.

Once I practised ornery traits,
An' tempted ye with p'isoned baits;
But if ye'd trust me, an' forgit,
I'd make the play all even yit,
An' feed ye.

To the Coyote

It took a time for .me to see
What's gittin' you has landed me:
Yer tribe, like mine, is gittin' few,
So let's forgit; an' here's to you,
Ol' timer.

If I could, I'd turn the days
Back to wilder border ways;
Then we'd make our treaty strong,
An' try our best to git along,
Dog-gone ye !


Cayuse Bill's Sermon

I TELL you, pard, oP Cayuse Bill
Can talk an' preach, an' things he's said,
Throw in with men when they're a-bed,
An' loaf around a feller's brain,
An' git soaked up, jest like the rain
In coulees.

His words slip out an' you might think
'Twas all to entertain the boys,
Like shootin' blanks to make a noise,
Not knowin', it's an even toss,
That, like dogs you've spoke to cross,
They'll come back.


Cayuse Bill's Sermon

One day his Monte up an' died.
I knowed he'd bleed an' mourn his loss,
Fer ol' Bill shorely loved the hoss.
He dug a grave, rolled Monte in,
An' then (you'll say 'twas deadly sin)
Ol' Bill preached.

I see him yet a-standin' there
Bare-headed, with the hands all 'round,
An' him a-lookin' at the ground.
"Boys," he says, right soft an' low,
"All things that lives has got to go,
Like Monte.

"The little hoss has laid 'em down,
But bet 'em high an' always stayed
In every hand he ever played.
If good is saved in man or beast,
Then Monte's driftin' toward the East
To bed him down.


Cayuse Bill's Sermon

"There wa'n't no steer he couldn't bust,

No time he didn't do his part,

No quittin' in his pony-heart.

He wa'n't no town-boss, prancin' wide

But jest a cow-hand with a pride

In work.

"I ain't ashamed to ante here:

If I done dirt, he knowed it shore;

An' though sometimes I've been so pore

I didn't have no shell ner bed,

I stuck to him, an' went ahead

Without tobaccer.

"I wouldn't sell ner trade him off,
An' if a pony's spirit can
He'p a feller be a man,
Monte's hant is shore to be
Ridin' herd on sech as me."
Then he said "Our Father."

Things Shore do Change

THINGS shore do change," said Cay-
use Bill;
"No use to buck or fight yer head,

They'd git along if we was dead
But jest the same I liked the ways
Men follered in my younger days.

"I cain't git used to maverick style
That's claimin' range an' driftin' in

Like Satan herdin' mortal sin.
I like oP times I cain't abide

To see a white gal ride astride.

"An' men's a-driftin', too, a lot.

They cinch a watch to hairy wrists
An' wear their hats with ornery twists

But twenty-two's is shy of fame
Although they're on a forty's frame."

To an Old Cow-horse

YE Roman-nosed buzzard, yer eye has grown
Old Time has been rustlin' the lines that were

Yer joints are as kinked as a rope that's been

Since the sheepmen invaded a range they have


Still the blood that's within ye thrills in a heart
As strong as a thoroughbred's is at the start,
An' the swish of a rope, or the six-shooter's voice,
Or the yell of a puncher would make ye rejoice,
An' to you the smoke from the iron is as sweet
As the perfumes that hint of a lady's retreat.
Ye're useless to-day, but while ye're alive,
Ye'll ornament earth like an old forty-five.

Pard o' Mine

SOMETIMES, ol' pard of other days,
I git to ridin' after strays
That drift across ol' Mem'ry's range

To bed where shadders move an' change.
I saddle thought, an' ride the line,

An' sift to camp, ol' pard of mine,
An' while the sun's a-beddin' down,

An' weanin' shadders mope aroun',
I wait fer you till all the stars

Are peekin' at me through the bars
Of Time's corral, an' p'intin' ways

That lead to camps of other days.


Pard o' Mine

I hear the coyote's wail forlorn,

An' the curlew's call at morn,
Yit I wait fer you an' Joe,

An' the boys we uster know
'Fore the fence got in the game,

Or the lousey woolies came
To horn us out by blattin' 'round

Trompin' bunch-grass in the ground,
Pollutin' airth, an' s'ilin' sod

It shorely puts me on the prod
To see an' hear 'em an' the smell

Makes a puncher think of hell.

An Incident at Shorty's

TWAS blowin' hard, an' Cayuse Bill
An' ol' Scar-face an' Lafe McGill
Was playin' solo fer the drinks
Down to Shorty's; an' I thinks
I'll jest drift in an' bed me down,
Fer nothin's deader than a town
Where every saddle's been in soak
Fer sixty days, an' hands is broke,
An' waitin' fer the grass to start
With mighty nigh a prayer at heart.
"Have somethin', Dave," says Cayuse Bill.
I ain't forgot, ner never will.
He'd soaked his spurs inlaid they was
(If that don't hurt, then nothin' does).
I watches an' I takes a drink
When Cayuse loses, an' I think
He sloughed the games by playin' rank

An Incident at Shorty's

But when he paid, I'll say I drank.
Bimebye a whistle cuts the night
And then a head-light comes in sight.
It's Number One, an' slowin' down,
She stops an' drops a man in town.
He heads across the railroad track,
The gale a-proddin' at his back
Till, pantin' like a winded colt,
He lands in Shorty's for a jolt.
He drinked alone (I hope to die !
An' me an' Scar-face standin' by).
He warms his hands, an' then old Bill
He says a "Howdy" kinder still.
The feller nods, but makes no bet,
An' Bill he looks more friendly yet.
"Excuse me, pard," he says, "I see
Ye're wearin' clothes that's new to me.
Maybe ye'll tell me why ye wear
A good silk-robe with all the hair
Turned in agin yer other clothes."
An' then old Bill he rubs his nose.

An Incident at Shorty's

"It's warmer with the hair inside,"
The feller says, an' couldn't hide
Contempt fer ignorance of the brand
He see about on every hand.
"Oh-ho !" laughs Bill, "Oh-ho ! Oh-ho !
I'll bet that dam-fool buffalo
Was borned an' lived an' finally died
'Thout knowin' how to wear his hide I"


Bible History

TWAS a night to remember, an' Dirty an'

Was night-herdin' beef for the Seven-U-P.
The Painted Robe buttes on Big Alkali
Was blotches of black, an* the stars in the sky
Wiggled an' winked, keepin' out from the gray
Of the thin, smoky trail of the big milky-way;
An' now an' agin a star would cut loose
To stampede away like a loco'd cayuse,
An' with luck ridin' herd miss the rest by a hair,
To drop out of sight like it never was there.

The steers was all down when Dirty Dick spoke,
As he got out his papers to roll him a smoke:
"I've been readin',",he says, "'bout a hand on
the range


Bible History

In plum' early days; but there's shore been a


Since Samson, the fighter, the first to commence
To buck agin nester's a-stringin' a fence,
Ketched a bunch of red foxes an' set 'em afire
An' burned out the wheat-fields don't call me

a liar!"
(I'd reached for my gun. I was worried, you

It was miles to the camp of the Seven-U-P).

But he grins, an' he says: "If oF Baldy Nye
Was to tell me that yarn, I'd swear 'twas a lie;
But it's Biblical his'try I'm tellin' you, straight,
An' you've got to believe it, I'm here to relate.
This Samson," he says, "was an old fightin' fool,
An' what do you reckon he used for a tool
To kill off the Greasers a-takin' the grass?
Why, nothin' on earth but the jaw of an ass;
He'd sail in among 'em, an' clean out a camp
As slick as a train runs away from a tramp.


Bible History

He had 'em all bluffed, an' the game was his


He'd a-won in a walk, if he'd played it alone;
But he didn't, he went an' throwed in with a

Her name was Delilah, an' she shore done him

She was crooked, but cute as a young suckin'


An' he'd ride any outlaw to git her to laugh.
He was rated the strongest of men in the world;
He wore his beard long, an' his hair always


An' figurin' an' guessin' what made him so stout,
She kicked on his beard, an' the secret was out.

'Twas the first he'd refused her, but he bucked

high an' wide
When she wanted to shear him, an' finally she


But he stuck like a tick till the end of the week,

Bible History

When the miserable heifer led from a sneak.
She ketched him asleep an' cut off his hair,
Then called in her tribe, an' they had him for


The story don't tell what he said to his dear
When he wakened hog-tied it seems kinder


His hair was his hole-card, you see, an' its length
Had somethin' to do with his muscle an'


But for meanness that outfit would win any

They beat him up awful, an' put out his eyes,

They dragged him for trial to the high Muck-a-

But Samson was wise an' knowed he was stuck.

The tepee was packed, an' Delilah was there

With a sneer on her face that would wean a cub

His arms was around the big center pole

Bible History

That held up the canvas, an' he prayed for his


Then all of a sudden he surged, an' KEWHANG !
Down come the tepee an' all the shebang.

He got 'em ! Delilah was ketched with the


An' of all of his killin's I like that the best-
She was mashed to a pulp with the whole Greaser

An' that's the whole story. Now gimme a

The big rangey steers had got restless, an 5

'Twas enough to stampede 'em, I knowed, if

they'd heard,

So I sang to 'em soft; an' I settled it, me;
I'd stood my last guard for the Seven-U-P.

= 7-U-P or 7 up.


'HP* HEY was dirt-roofed, an' homely, an' ram-

-* blin', an' squat

Jest logs with mud-daubin'; but I loved 'em a

Their latch-strings was out, an' their doors

wouldn't lock:

Get down an' walk in ('twas politer to knock).
Mebby nobody home, but the grub was all there;
He'p yerse'f, leave a note, to show you was

Might be gone for a week; stay as long as you

You knowed you was welcome as a cool summer

Might be spring 'fore you'd see him, then he'd grin

an' declare

He'd a-give a good boss if he'd only been there.


But he's gone with his smile, an' the dear little

With his brand on its door won't never come


An' his latch-string is hid with the spirit an' ways
That gladdened our hearts in them good early


There wasn't a fence in the world that we knew,
For the West an' its people was honest an' new,
And the range spread away with the sky for a

I'm old, but I'm glad that I lived when I did.


The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

ONE night Vay back in eighty-six,
Me an* the Sawyer Kid,
An' Howlin'-Hank of the Circle-C,
I'll tell ye what we did.

A-wranglin' broncs gets tirin' some,

An' so we hit the trail
Fer a little spree to Porcupine,

'Way down on Beaver-tail.

We got to soakin' up the booze

As peaceable as hell,
But jest when things is goin' to change

Is mighty hard to tell;


The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

Fer some folks pack a brandin'-iron
In places mighty strange,

But only fools brand mavericks
Astray on trouble's range.

An' they fergit that ownership

Begins in this here land
When once the critter's ear-marked

An's wearin' of their brand.

Old Hank were always keerless,

An' with devilish intent
He went an' staked a trouble-claim

'Twere hard to represent:

A bunch of fellers up the bend
Blowed in an' mixed with us,

An' 'mong 'em were a lantern-jawed
An' 's ornery-lookin' cuss


The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

As ever forked a buzzard-head
Er burned a critter's hide,

An' devils plainly kept their spurs
Agin his temper's side.

He seemed a walkin' challenge
To creation's sneakin' deeds,

An' I knowed his soul were fertile
Fer a patch of trouble-seeds.

Now, Hank's got education

Hain't no denyin' that
Got Shakespare all by heart, I guess,

An' Scott, about as pat.

The booze had got to combin' him
Fer thoughts them poets had,

But when he got his rope on one,
His choice was mighty bad.

The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

I see him swellin' out o' shape,

An' pretty soon says he:
"It's time all honest men's abed,

An' it's a cinch they be."

Ye could of heered a hoss-fly think
'Twere that quiet fer a spell

But when she got digested good,
I guess she wasn't hell !

The snake-eyed cuss from up the bend,

He skins his hardware out,
An' lets her strip at Howlin'-Hank,

But shoots the lamp-light out.

In jest about a second,

Our guns begun to bark
At nasty streaks an' flashes

Of shots fired in the dark.

The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

They licked a hole in blackness
Like the tongues of rattlesnakes;

An' I knowed the game a-playin'
Had human lives fer stakes.

If I live to be a hundred

I want to tell ye, Pal,
I'll never drive from mem'ry

That night in Hell's Corral.

They killed the Kid; but wanderin'

An' stirrin' up a muss
In perdition's depths, I reckon

That ornery-lookin' cuss

Is a-findin' trouble plenty;

An' I hope he stakes his claims
Where they make the fire the hottest

With the bluest sulphur flames.

The Cow-Puncher's Yarn

Pard, I've noticed that a feller
Who goes a-browsin' 'round

Fer trouble, is fergitful
That it's waitin' to be found;

So I shy at hints of fusses
An' am peaceably inclined,

An' when I dig up misery
I cover up the find.

Fer consequence is saddled

An' a-waitin' fer a hike
To git inside the same corral

With him that makes the strike.


Preecher Price

Upon his leaving Montana

SEE that little ol' bald-faced brute
Cayuse, um-hu ain't no dispute.
I guess you don't quite understand
An' think it's jest his owner's brand,
That marks that hoss fer what he's worth-
Now don't you go an' ring in birth
That happened 'count of natural laws,
An' follered up specific cause.
Why, pard, one day, among us came
A preecher Price that was his name.
The boys all shied account of brand,
An* give the trail, while every hand
Jest thought he knowed him well enough
To git along, an' made the bluff

Preecher Price

They'd never miss the cuss at all
If, by some chance, he'd git a call
An' drift from off our usual range
To furrin parts that's wild an' strange.

The boys'd die git sick er shot
Er hung fer rustlin', like as not.
At plantin' time this Preecher Price
Was loaded up with somethin' nice
To say about some ornery hound
That over-s'iled Montana's ground.
He played the game straight up an' fair;
An' lyin' never turned a hair,
When once he started in to tell
How Bill er Jim were dodgin' hell
Because of good he knowed they'd done,
An' don't ye know that one by one
The boys got stuck on this here sport;
When one day Pete brings in report
Of how this Price was called away,
An' I ain't lyin' when I say

Preecher Price

We'd sooner have a Chinee cook

Than have this preecher-feller took.

An' so we barbecues a steer,

Gits Price an' all the fellers here;

An' when we're through an' says good-bye

He knowed that other folks could lie.

The Pot and the Kettle

THEY'VE stopped the Injin's dancin',
'Cause he don't wear many clothes.
It tends to lead him backward

(As the office-feller knows);
So a brave who dons a breech-clout

Like his daddy used to wear
Is an outlaw, since a Willie-boy

Got in the swivel-chair
Beside Potomac's waters

To deal out moral codes,
An' teach the pore ol' Injin

To know the proper modes.
But the Injin didn't shimmy,

An' he never knowed the rag;
He didn't go to dances

To accumulate a jag;
He never danced with women,

The Pot and the Kettle

But played the game alone.
His women wore real clothing,

An' some ornaments of bone.
While Willie-boy, the teacher,

With his ladies by his side,
Officiates at parties

That would make an Injin hide.
Miss Willie wears a necklace,

An' spider-webby hose,
An' high-heel shoes, an' little else,

But still she calls 'em clothes.
With her outfit altogether,

An Injin couldn't hope
To figure out a breech-clout,

Or flag an antelope.


THE rings we wear on fingers,
Men used to wear on toes
Later on, 'twas stylish

To hook 'em in the nose
It ain't no mighty distance
'Tween a rifle an' a bow:
'Bout the same, if measured careful,
'Tween a finger an' a toe.


Sour Dough

NECESSITY, er accident,
Er mebby both combined,
Is totally responsible

Fer what some fellers find;
But I'm settin' here bareheaded,

Due reverence to show
The brainy cuss that hobbled 'em,
An' gave to man Sour Dough.

Ye can harp on great discoveries

Of scientific search;
But the microbe-huntin' duffer

Is backed clean off the perch
By this unknown wonder-worker

Who left us here below
Indebted fer his resipee

Fer mixin' of Sour Dough.

Sour Dough

T I knowed where he was buried

I'd wander there alone,
An' on the grave where greatness sleeps,

I'd carve upon a stone:
"Oh, spirits of the other world,

Upon these bones bestow
All blessings known to art divine,

'Twas him that made Sour Dough."

To a Magpie

WISER'N a Medicine-man are you;
Pirate thief, an' pretty too;
Imp of the feathered tribe, an' pert

Sharper'n cuts from a puncher's quirt.
Yer deeds belie yer mournin' coat,

As do the notes from yer thievin' throat.
Yer family tree I know by heart,

Ye're mountain-rat an' coyote, part;
The rest is grave-clothes, black an' white,

Draped to hide yer appetite.


Philanthropy Loafin'

THEM gravestones ? " Philanthropy loafin V
Broken-nose Jack calls the lot.
Come sit in the shade of the hosses,
There's a breeze, an' it won't be so hot.

That ground that's tore up, like a cyclone

Had horned it about in a fit,
Is tailings from sluices of miners

Some say there's pay in it yit.

But I reckon it's lean as a coyote:

They cleaned up the cream an' lit out.

Long 'fore the trail-herds from Texas
Was drove to the range hereabout.


Philanthropy Loafin'

The name of the camp I've forgotten,

But its graveyard was there 'gainst the hill,

Picked keerless, I reckon, an' thoughtless,
Though there's graves that's tenanted still.

But freshets of springtime is ruthless:
They rush, an' they tear out a bed,

Respectin' no confines nor country;
Not even the rights of the dead;

An' once led agin the defenseless,
The crick kept a-gougin' 'em out,

Till their bones nigh whitened its bottom
Then 'long comes Andy Stout

A-ridin' on circle one mornin'

For the XT iron, an' the Y,
Their outfits was pooled for the roundup

This crick was mighty nigh dry,


Philanthropy Loafin'

An' the bones was scattered a-plenty,
An' the sun was bleachin' 'em white;

I reckon the skulls pestered Andy,
For he told it in camp that night.

An' the boys well, they gathered an' sorted,
Till they reckoned they had 'em nigh right,

A-namin' the piles, as they placed 'em;
An' then they selected a site.

An' they dug them graves on the hilltop,

Puttin' a pile in each hole,
As tender an' keerful an' decent

As though each was a human soul.

Then Andy, he mentioned gravestones,

An' the outfit made up a purse,
An' sent for a cat'log an' picked 'em

But their choosin' couldn't been worse:


Philanthropy Loafin'

They was big an' as heavy as beef-steers,
But was finally got to the hill,

Though not to the top where the bones is-
They're awaitin' their duty still.

1 3

Online LibraryFrank Bird LindermanBunch-grass and blue-joint → online text (page 1 of 3)