Cowboy poet gleans gems from ranch life
Payton Harms didn’t like poetry when he was in high school, but he finds it coming to mind as he works with his father on Harms Plainview Ranch.
“I’ll be working and see something or think of a phrase and put it in my phone,” he said.
At the end of the day, he transcribes the poem to a journal.
Payton recently celebrated his 21st birthday. He graduated from Centre High School in 2018. While attending Kansas State University for three semesters, he worked at a feedlot and weekends on the ranch.
He found he really enjoyed working with cattle and decided to come back to the ranch full-time.
He gets up at 4 a.m. every day. His work involves feeding silage with a feed truck or hay with a tractor and moving cattle on foot or horseback. He helps wean calves and pregnancy check cows. He also fixes fence.
“Writing poetry helps me in my job,” he said. “It keeps my mind working and focused on my environment.”
Payton isn’t sure what the future holds for his poetry, but he will continue to express his thoughts as he works and record them for future generations.
Here’s a sample.
I’ve been living and dying by the caffeine coursing through my veins
I can’t hide the darkness around my eyes though I go to great strains
Making early morning rounds feeding music to my brain and coffee to my soul
This kind of life is addicting but it requires grit to play this role
It’ll bleed you of your last dollar or perch you on a mountain top
A pursuit of passion and purpose, one that is impossible to stop
See I’m not complaining in the slightest because Lord knows I love these bovine
The words scripted here are just a start at the life we lead blessed by the divine
So I will throw this saddle aboard my horse each morning and keep on this tradition
Running off dark coffee, old lonesome tunes and the Lord for my nutrition.
Last modified April 14, 2021