HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

The Poetry of David Carlton

I have wanted to write something about our Flag for the past several years. As each year has rolled by, and I have seen our flag and nation attacked, from without and within, I am even more compelled to say something. The American political system is trying to come apart at the seams, and many disillusioned citizens are trying to rewrite the constitution for their own purpose. In a time when our History is being erased and our law enforcement is under daily attack, I foresee many changes coming to our way of life that will be paid for in American blood. Without history, we have no way of seeing where we came from. Without knowing our past, we are apt to repeat mistakes that have been made.

I will leave my comments at that…. for now.

Old Glory

 Betsy Ross did the stitching

And our soldiers did the rest

They followed our flag in battle

It’s been protected by the best


If you should ask a soldier

Just what our flag really means

He’d tell you that it’s just a symbol

Of our Nation and our dreams


Our freedom was paid for in blood

By the fathers of our land

From the Revolutionary War

To Iwo Jima’s sand


From Korea’s frozen battlefields

To the jungles of VietNam

We’ve defended our Nation’s freedom

In the name of Uncle Sam


The battle still continues

In Iraq and Afghanistan

The face of war has changes my friend

I hope you understand


Our flag may be just a symbol

But even soldiers understand

Without “Old Glory” flying high

This would be a sorry land

© David Carlton 2020


Florida cowboys are forever facing the elements of a tropical climate. I have spent weeks without a dry pair of boots. I have seen days when pastures were filled with water stirrup deep. The only way to close a wire gap, was the step down in pocket deep water, and get wet to the waist. Usually it wasn’t too deep that the cow dogs couldn’t keep up. They were able to hold their head up, with their ears out of the water, and kind of lunge along to keep up. I have written about the weather and elements that effect Florida cowboys in the past, and by my getting struck by lightning. Mine is not an isolated incident, because all Florida cowboys are faced with these same elements, and most of us know someone who has been injured or killed by lightning. I was lucky, I was weak and confused for days afterwards, but I lived without permanent dane bambridge. 


Cowboys, Fences and Lighting

by David Carlton

The rain was blowing sideways
When the cattle hit the gap
The herd began to wadding up
When the lighting made a clap

I knew the end was getting close
I could smell sulfur in the air
I felt my heartbeat getting quicker
With a feeling of despair

They hit the gap a running
Getting crowded from the rear
A feeling of total helplessness
With my Maker standing near

The post and wires was groaning
And it sounded like a gun
Making room for the stragglers
As the leaders hit a run

When the gap was finally cleared
And the herd had made it through
I hit the ground a running
Because in my mind I knew

Cowboys, Fences and Lighting
Are a dangerous sort of mix
You have to trust your Lord and Savior
Cause there’s never any tricks

You do your best in all you do
When you’re riding for a brand
You trust and pray that what you do
Your Lord will understand

When in a flash your world turns blue
And you’re driven to the ground
When you wake with your mind a haze
You can barely hear a sound

You know your Lord was standing by
To hold you in his arms
To save a cowboy just doing his job
And protect him from the harm

© David Carlton 2014


During my last trip home, me, my wife and Dad spend a whole day riding around the country side visiting family cemeteries, with Dad sharing stories about the persons buried there. Before the day was over, we had covered many years and generations of knowledge about our family, with a few stories of Dad’s youth throw in for good measure. Though it was just a tiny drop of his overall knowledge, it was enough to make me realize just how little I really know, and to inspire me to learn more.

With this in mind, I was inspired to write the following poem.

 Last Ride

by David Carlton


I don’t have to see your face

To hear the words you speak

I don’t have to hold your hand

To feel my knees go weak


I miss the time we spent together

In the days before you passed

Even after all these years

Your memory will always last


I miss the rides we too together

Just listening to your tales

Listing to you with heart and soul

I remember each word so well


What I would give for, just a while

If we could do it one more time

I’d ask you more about your youth

And about things upon your mind


I would drive, so very slow

And make each moment last

Before I drove into the future

While you moved toward the past


I miss our talks Dad, on winding roads

In the days before you left

It’s the time that you opened up

And told me stories I love best


It’s the stories that touched my soul

The stories I never knew

I’d like to think that they changed me some

And made me more like you

© David Carlton 2019


“Family farms are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These small farms are forced to compete with big farming corporations who are able to more efficiently raise their products for an ever expanding world market. Family farms that are able to continue are getting fewer and farther between.  Lack of funds for capital investments to stay competitive with corporate farms is one of the reasons in the decline of the small farm. Another reason is not having family willing to do this type of work any longer, or not having descendants to carry on.  With this last one in mind I wrote the following poem.” 

Family Farm

by David Carlton


There is an old barn and an old clapboard house

 At the end of a long sandy road

A very old man and his very old wife

They almost can’t carry the load


Things used to be fresh, beautiful and bright

Back when they first said their vows

They started the farm with a couple of mules

A few chickens and an old Jersey cow


They did pretty well for the last sixty years

Though they never accumulated much cash

They never had kids but never stopped trying

It seems the years flew by way to fast


They lived their whole life one day at a time

Trying to make their house feel like home

Without little feet and dirty little hands

They seemed to always feel all alone


They were always working and living alone

There was a vacancy in each of their hearts

Things would have been different, or so it seems

If they could have kids from the very start


Their time is about over with the passage of years

There’s no hope for their life style to last

Without children to carry on their family name

The Family Farm is a thing of the past

 © David Carlton 2019


The connection between a Cowboy and his horse can sometimes become very strong. For some, that connection can almost be like family. For others, it not near so strong. The longer a cowboy rides a horse, the more they become familiar with each other’s needs. On large outfits, a cowboy may have a string of horses assigned to him, and on others just one or two. It all depends on the ranch’s needs. Out west, where the grass can become scarce during dry weather, it takes a little more land for each cow to make a living, and for that reason some of the ranches can be very large. In wetter climates, where there is abundant grass and water, it doesn’t take as much land to keep a cow fed. If a cowboy has a string, he will usually have horses assigned that are suited for different purposes. You can bet that in each string, the cowboy has a favorite. My Dad used to tell me “that if a person rides horses long enough, they might find one or two that seems to be able to read each other’s mind”. It’s to the cow horse on general that I wrote the following poem.

Cow Horse

by David Carlton

        An early morning whistle

        Brings the horses in to eat

        While two old dogs and a hungry cat

        Sit begging at his feet


        The air is dank and humid

        And there’s not a cloud around

        The chirp of nighttime crickets

        Is the only morning sound


        The morning fog is damp and heavy

        There’s a coolness in the air

        A cowboy waits in anticipation

        With feelings he’d like to share


        He can hear the horses moving fast

        They’re coming on the run

        Ready to eat their can of oats

        And be working before the sun


        Every morning starts this way

        The routine remains the same

        They come running to a cowboy’s whistle

        Both the sound ones, and the lame


        If they’re lucky as the day wears on

        And they’re not working in the pens

        They might steal a mouth full of grass

        Before their leisure time must end


        It’s a long time in a cow horse’s day

        From his first feeding until his last

        But it’s their nature to do their best

        To do the things a cowboy asks


        It not love that makes them work

        And they don’t work for cans of feed

        It’s much deeper than things like that

        It’s more like personal needs

© David Carlton 2019


When we were kids in central Florida during the 1950’s, we didn’t realize just how rich we were. This richness was not based on money, but the love and strong family environment that were raised in. We were also fortunate enough to have five generations of the family living at one time. That was a lot of influence, and it created a lasting impression on us kids. Nobody had to tell us about Love, Faith and Honor, We lived in an atmosphere where it was an everyday part of our lives.


Sometime about a week before Christmas, we would all pile into an old Jeep pickup truck, and head to the woods to cut our Christmas tree. Those trees were pretty sparse, in comparison with today’s farm raise beauties, but too us our little Virginia pine was just magnificent. There was always something under our little tree. The church Christmas programs always provided a small bag of fruit, nuts and ribbon candy, and Santa passed put toys. My Daddy was always in high spirits during this time of year, and his joy for life and love of family still stirs my heart, even after all these many years. 


May God Bless you all and Merry Christmas.

Christmas Past

by David Carlton


                    A little star upon our tree

                    With lights and tensile too

                    Red globe balls and popcorn strings

                    And ornaments of blue


                    When we were kids and growing up

                    We’d cut our Christmas tree

                    The smell of pine stirs memories

                    From deep inside of me


                    Many years have come and gone

                    Since days of Christmas past

                    But in my heart remains the cheer

                    Of memories meant to last


                    Our roots run deep, our family strong

                    We’ve raised children of our own

                    Though all the years we share the love

                    That is rooted in our home

© David L. Carlton 2007


Next Page