Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Pert Near!"

They called him “Purt Near Perkins,”
  for unless the booger lied,
He'd purt near done most everything
  that he had ever tried.
He'd purt near been a preacher
   and he'd purt near roped a bear;
He'd met up with Comanches once
   and purt near lost his hair.
He'd purt near we an heiress
   who had money by the keg,
He's purt near had the measles,
   and he'd purt near broke his leg.

He'd purt near been a trail boss,
   and accordin' to his claim,
He'd purt near shot Bill Hickock –
   which had purt near won him fame!
He'd purt near rode some broncs    upon which no one else had stuck
In fact he was the feller
   Who had purt near drowned the duck!

Now mostly all the cowboys
   On the Lazy SB spread,
They took his talkin' with a grin
   And let him fight his head.
But one named Tom Maginnis
   Sorter told it to him rough:
“You're ridin' with an outfit now
   Where 'purt near' ain't enough!
We tie our lasso ropes to the horn,
   An' what we ketch we hold,
And 'purt near' is one alibi
   We never do unfold!
In fact, right now
   I'll tell you that no word I ever hear
Sounds quite so plain damn useless
   As that little pair: 'purt near'!”

That's how ol' Tom Maginnis
   Laid it out upon the line,
And like a heap of preachin' talk,
   It sounded mighty fine.
But one day Tom Maginnis
   While a-ridin; off alone,
He lamed his horse
   And had to ketch some neighbor nester's roan
To ride back to the ranch on.
   But somewhere along the way
A bunch of nesters held him up,
   And there was hell to pay!

Tom claimed he hadn't stole the horse –
   Just borrowed it to ride.
Them nesters hated cowboys,
   And they'd told him that he lied.
They cussed him for a horsethief
   And they'd caught him with the goods.
They set right out to hang him
   In a nearby patch of woods.
They had pore Tom surrounded,
   With their guns all fixed to shoot.
It looked like this pore cowboy
   Sure had heard his lost owl hoot!

They tied a rope around his neck
   And throwed it o'er a limb
And Tom Maginnis purt near knowed
   This was the last of him.
The suddenly a shot rang out
   From somewhere up the hill!
Them nesters dropped the rope and' ran,
   Like nesters sometimes will
When bullets start to whizzin'.
   Tom's heart leapt up with hope
To see ol' Purt Near Perkins
   Riding' towards him at a lope.

“Looks like I purt near
   Got here just in time,” ol' Perkins said,
“To see them nesters hang you!”
   Tom's face got kinder red.
“You purt near did! He purt near grinned.
   “they purt near had me strung!
You're lookin' at a cowboy
   That has pert near just been hung!
And also one that's changed his mind –
   For no word ever said,
Can sound as sweet as 'purt near',
   When a man's been purt near dead!”
             – S. Omar Baker

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