Writing Cowboy Poetry

Writing a cowboy poem is a greater challenge than writing a free verse poem. Rather than expressing feelings or dwelling on the esoteric, a western or cowboy poem usually tells a story. Beyond that, tradition says that the cowboy poem has four essential qualities:

a western or cowboy theme in a modern or historic setting,

consistent meter throughout (such as 8-6-8-6 syllables in a four line ballad stanza),

a consistent rhyming plan (such as AAAA, ABAB, ABCB, or AABB and which is the same for all stanzas), and

true rhymes (such as love/dove but not love/clove or Sam/rams).

Here’s an example of a three stanza poem which respects that tradition:

One Regret

To be a cowboy for the brand,
he lived a lonely life.
The only true regret he has…
he never had a wife.

Oh, he had a bunch of chances
but he just passed ’em by
’cause he was havin’ too much fun
to give that life a try.

So today he’s old and lonely
just waitin’ for the end.
This cowboy has no wife or kin
on which he can depend.