Now this is a story of old Hell Bent,
the things he's done, the places he went.
HellBent was a wrangler in Idaho,
but he grew tired of the cold and snow.
One night in the bunkhouse, talkin with hands,
HellBent said,"Fellers, there's other lands."
The cowboys all stopped their chatter right then,
'til one of them spoke with a mean little grin.
"HellBent, you're old, you're tired and broke.
Hell, all you've got is your pony and poke."
HellBent just sat there, his face made of stone.
He was old, he was tired, he was cold to the bone.
Next day on his cayuse, as he checked on the herd,
his fingers were frozen, his eyesight was blurred.
The cold wind was blowin' from up in the hills,
the snow down his neck was givin' him chills.
Now there ain't no place colder than sittin' a horse,
waitin' for winter to run its last course.
So he rode and he shivered and he cussed at the sky,
"It ain't in a blizzard this cowboy will die!"
Now he rode for the brand, this much is true,
but, there's things in this life that a cowboy must do.
So he spoke to the bossman, turned in his time.
He counted his pay, right down to the dime.
Next mornin' at daylight he saddled his mare,
climbed into his chaps and tied back his hair.
He mounted his pony then turned, with a grin.
He said to the cowboys, "Let the journey begin".
With only a bedroll and a green broke young mare,
our hero rode southward with nary a care.
He was headed for Texas, at least so he said,
by God, he would make it, alive or stone dead.
The days ran together, through the mountains he rode.
The northers kept blowing, each night it snowed.
He was froze in the saddle, like a tongue to cold steel,
his ears, toes and fingers, he could not even feel.
Then just when he wondered if he would cash in
HellBent committed his greatest sin.
He called to the Devil, yeah, they made a deal,
He was froze, he was hungry, so his fate he did seal.
He slept in the saddle that cold winter night.
Without even knowing , he gave up the fight.
But, then he awakened to a blazing hot sun.
He shaded his eyes, muttered, "What have I done?"
He mounted his pony, and stared all about,
That this here was Texas, there weren't any doubt.
Thornbrush and cactus, that's all there was there,
the ground was all rocky, barren and bare.
He rode with that sun broilin' his hide.
HellBent grew angry, a madness inside.
He'd lasso that demon, oh the bastard would pay,
for stealin' the soul of a cowboy that way.
Hell bent for election that pony did run,
straight across Texas, defyin' the sun.
Then he came to a river , the one known as Styx
guarded by demons, all full of tricks.
Now the pony she crossed that river just fine,
of them little demons, there weren't any sign.
Old HellBent was crazy, pissed off and wild,
he was after the devil, God's bastard child.
Straight for the fires of Hades they rode,
Old Satan, the fool, how could he have knowed
that HellBent, the cowboy, the stubborn old cuss,
would ride straight to Hell to kick up a fuss.
HellBent saw the devil, there by his throne,
the hooves of the mare clattered on stone.
Straight for old Satan that pony did fly,
Lasso Old Scratch? Don't even try.
Kickin' loose of the stirrups, Bent leans to the right.
There's a cowboy in Hades, my god what a sight!!
Now Satan decides that he better run
'cause this crazy old cowboy ain't here for fun!!
HellBent grabs hold of the devil's two horns,
the power of Satan, a cowboy just scorns.
He bulldogs that demon, quick as you please,
ties up his arms, his feet and his knees.
Lucifer lays there, trussed up like a calf,
HellBent ain't finished, not even half.
He pulls from a scabbard a blade of fine steel,
He neuters Old Scratch, before he can squeal.
Then he brands that old devil with a great big "HB"
right on the hip, so people can see.
Pops them two horns right out of their socket
Notches the ears with the knife from his pocket.
Then he takes a step back and grins ear to ear,
says, "Lucifer, you're only a steer!!
Now I ride out of here, and I'm takin' my soul
and I tell ya right now, you keep this hell hole."
So HellBent rode out of Hades that night
battered and bruised, a pitiful sight.
He never slowed down 'til he reached Idaho,
then he let out a laugh, said, "God, I love snow!!!"
(those wishing to comment on this, poem, please refer
to Open Submissions, Jan. 14th, 2000)