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The Fiddler


© 2004, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

In the fall of 1997, I was asked to entertain at a Cowboy Poetry Gathering
at Devils Tower.  I took my dad, Harry Hanson of Gordon, Nebraska (a many
times Champion Old Time Fiddler) with me to help entertain the folks.  I
wrote this poem to introduce him.

There's been lots of stories 'bout days long ago,
of cowboys and roundups and such;
and one thing we've learned from those stories of old
is folks then were rugged and tough.
We know that the life on those big cattle drives
was hard on those men on the trail;
but they ended each day in their own special way
with good entertainment, they'd tell.
They claim they would gather 'round the campfire
as some cowboy strummed a guitar;
they'd sing songs of women and horses and wars
and fights they had won in a bar.
But the best entertainment them cowboys would get
was when one to the wagon would fetch
a fiddle and bow, and every boot toe
would start tapping, and 'twas a sure bet
that you'd hear lots of hoe-downs and waltzes and songs
that would take their minds back to their home;
some guys would get up and jig 'round the fire
while others would sit all alone
just remembering the time when a pretty young gal
was a-dancin' with him way back home,
while a fiddler played all those tunes of the day
as they danced to the Strawberry Roan.
So I brought this here fiddler for you folks to hear
some songs that came up on the trail.
It's a story that no one can write in a poem
and no writer of stories can tell.