Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator

Never Was a Cowboy


I never was a cowboy but I’m sometimes a rambling man

Sleeping on the backroads and traveling through the mountains and the meadowlands.

The country is big and the country is good

But I haven’t seen as much of it as I probably should.

Still, I’ve learned to be a liar and I bet I could fake it as a ranch hand.


I never was a cowboy but I’m sometimes a singer of songs.

Sometimes it feels alright, and sometimes it feels all wrong.

When I am doubtful, will you be my relief?

I’ll live like a gambler or die like a thief

who bets on you all day, and steals from you all night long.



We do not want want,

We do not need need,

But we sure do love love,

We love love indeed.


I never was a cowboy but I walked through many a field

Waiting for the secrets of the wealthy to be magically revealed.

As I trespass in pastures worth millions of dollars

I come across mastiffs with brass plated collars

And for every wound they’ve caused, there’s another wound that they have healed.


I never was a cowboy but I also never worked a 9 to 5.

A man who wears a saddle, they say, is only halfway alive.

I won’t put on neckties and I can’t use spreadsheets

So I look like a beggar and I act like a deadbeat

But it’s noon on a Tuesday and I think I might go for a drive.


[to Chorus]


I never was a cowboy but I’m sometimes a folk balladeer.

That’s as close as anybody gets who lives around here.

I could hit the road again, I may in March or April

Because the house is always empty and the neighbors are so hateful

But springtime is coming and the green grass is starting to appear.

I never was a cowboy but love is running through my veins

Brighter than the sunshine and wider than the great western pains

Please don’t be a drought to me and choke the ground with turpentine

Can’t you be my patroness, will you be my valentine?

I’m looking at you the way that flowers look at long-awaited rains


[to Chorus]


I never was a cowboy but a part of me still loves the lord

It’s the part of my body where my hope of salvation is stored

With riding and roping I’m only a beginner,

And you’re such a beauty, I don’t feel like a sinner

But they’re going to string me up by the loop at the end of their cord.


I never was a cowboy but sometimes I live on the run.

They act like my sandals are pistols, and my hope is a shotgun

Through valleys and canyons, through alleys and avenues,

A man needs his lies like a horse needs his shoes,

And I never was a cowboy, but sometimes I feel like one.