We’ll Go Down Singing

The Hollywood cowboys
maybe a few of the real ones
in their big hats and pistols
would go down shooting.
The rangers I know slog
through mud and loneliness,
blanketed by suffering.
Yo y mis amigos
ride the fence lines,
wander into the untamed,
watch shooting stars
and walk through deep snow
to climb the big trees.
You won’t see us in bright lights
nor on the front page.
If you look we won’t be there
unless you stretch your sails
or challenge the mountain.
Listen in the moonlit dark
and you’ll hear us in the distance
calling out like night owls,
determined to go down singing.



photograph by Peter Castonguay


14 Responses to “We’ll Go Down Singing”

  1. James says:

    I hear Johnny Cash singing his touching rendition of Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie. I think there is a song for everything.

  2. That’s an odd and interesting poem because it starts out with the Hollywood cowboys, shifts to real rangers, then shifts again to a second person collective “we” and “us” that seems to include the reader. These are sublte, dreamlike shifts that end on a line that won’t soon go out of my head.

  3. Athena Coleman says:

    “Determined to go down singing”, what a beautiful line. With those few words, you’ve managed to fill my heart to overflowing.

  4. Eilish says:

    This one dad!!!!!

  5. bill dare says:

    Don… such brilliant imagery recalling many hours of Life’s Journey for this man. With a grin in my Inner Child’s Heart, I’ll go on Singing until the next Journey begins.

  6. Susan Beckstrom says:

    Wonderful Don, “go down singing” feels like my theme song

  7. Jack says:

    Ahh… muy bueno mi hermano

  8. Rose Meeker says:

    I like this, for its change of theme/imagery as well as the wonderful last line. And great photo from Peter!

  9. James says:

    Hi Don,
    I thought I would just add that when I referenced the Cash song it was the version with A Cowboys Prayer sung as intro. It makes a difference.

  10. …singing going down or singing going up–whichever direction is called for. whoopee tie yea!

    Most cowboy country doesn’t have fog to bathe the trail for cowboys to ride in the luxury of such a landscape…especially East Texas. But, the Caribou certainly does.

  11. David Barnes says:

    Every week you share with us all something of your own Song, your Voice singing as the throbbing heartbeat sounds through you right now, and within it all is something of this Song of Life we know in common – it is beautiful and it is sacred. Thank you Don.

  12. Sweet…..I love the gentleness of this poem.

  13. This photograph has been my best seller and most profound statement I have made about “cowboy Culture”.I once teamed up with a piano player who used my photos on tube to to tell the “Desparado” Poem-Song.My favourite line and now current condition is DESPARADO”your prison is walking through this world all alone”

  14. Veronica Lim says:

    I am reminded of the string quartet playing on the deck of the Titanic as it was sinking, reportedly playing with courage and dignity right up to the end. Love this poem, Don.

Leave a Reply