Badlands Stampede

Badlands Stampede

The crack of gunfire fills the hills,

The cattle stir in fright.

Quickly turning from the sound,

500 head take flight.


A thousand hoofbeats shake the earth,

A dust storm trails behind.

At the sound, I mount my horse,

Stampeding herd to find.


As gunfire signals rustlers,

Intent to steal my cattle.

My trusty dog runs close behind,

As we go off to battle.


With lasso on my saddle,

And Winchester at my side,

I urge my horse towards the dust

And frantic do I ride.


I circle the stampeding steers,

To cross their path is folly.

In case my horse should stumble,

And I widow my sweet Polly.


I reach the pass before the herd,

My dog Buck drives them through.

I drag some branches across the gap,

They all are trapped, bar two.


I send old Buck to round them up,

As I wait with rifle cocked.

Then watch two cowboys slow their steeds,

As they see the pass is blocked.


The canyon echoes with my shots,

As I fire a warning round.

The rustlers tug their horses’ reins

And turn them back around.

They can’t see where I’m shooting from,

I’m hidden in the rocks.

One fires his revolver back

But wayward are his shots.


A bullet hits the other’s arm,

He yells in angry pain.

This time my ambush foiled their plans

But they’ll be back again.


They turn tail at a frantic speed,

Between the canyon walls.

I pat my stock horse on the neck,

As a lone coyote calls.


As I herd the steers back to the ranch,

I decide to hire more hands.

Cattle rustlers make life hard,

Within these wild “Badlands”.

John Hansen © 2014

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John Hansen

Longtime poet but not in the traditional technical sense. I enjoy rhyme but like to experiment and dabble in many different forms and maybe even make up some of my own. There is always a message or lesson I want to promote through my writing, for that reason, my poetry generally shies away from the abstract and obscure. After a lot of procrastinating I have finally self-published my first eBooks of poetry "I Laughed a Smile" and "On the Wings of Eagles" at Now I find myself branching out and experimenting with short fiction. I have also been fortunate to have two poems chosen to be made into songs and recorded. The first "On the Road to Kingdom Come" by Al Wordlaw, and the second, "If I Could Write a Love Poem" by award-winning Israeli/British singer Tally Koren. I am also finding my services increasingly in demand as a freelance writer and I have ghost-written the text for a number of children's books and educational tutorials. It has taken me many years of searching and restlessness to realise that my life's passion is to write. It saddens me that I wasted so many years not devoting to that, but thinking positively, the experiences gained over those years is now wonderful material for my stories and poems. I want to try to bring a new focus on poetry and try to make it appealing to a new generation of young people and those who thought they never liked or understood it before.

8 thoughts on “Badlands Stampede

  • April 6, 2018 at 1:52 PM

    John kudos on this one. This is an amazing story in poetic verse you have presented. Well written and spot on with rhyming. Nice work.

  • April 6, 2018 at 5:29 PM

    Thanks Paul. I wrote this one some time ago (my poetic take on the traditional “western” story) but thought I would give it a re-airing. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the generous comment.

  • April 6, 2018 at 7:04 PM

    Thank you, Tony. It is always great to hear other poets say they enjoy what you write. Cheers.

  • April 6, 2018 at 7:12 PM

    Hi again, Phyllis. Thanks for reading and for the kind comment.

  • April 8, 2018 at 10:55 PM

    Kurt, I thought this poem may be up your alley so to speak. Thanks for reading.


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