The Cowboy at the Gate

by Jake Hershey on August 12, 2012

This is one of my favorite cowboy poems of all time.  I hardly ever cry, not that there’s anything wrong with it.  The first time I heard this poem it was recited at a ranch rodeo and it brought tears to my eyes.  I hope you like it as well…..


The Cowboy at the Gate


A cowboy stood at heaven’s gate and slowly looked around.

He knew the life that he’d lived would never warrant him a crown.


In younger days, he’d heard it said, “All get their just reward.”

A thought that left him trembling standin’ there before the Lord.


Then Jesus said, “You be the judge, your life was filled with sin.

Should I condemn your soul to hell or bid you come on in?”


The cowboy slowly shook his head, he knew what he deserved.

His voice dropped to a whisper as he mustered up his nerve.


He said, “You’ve seen me do it all, with vain and foolish pride.

To look back on it now, Lord, leaves me sick and cold inside.


But I know you’ll remember when I walked off from life’s flight,

And gave you what was left of this ol’ cowboy’s heart one night.


I didn’t turn to perfect, with no halo, harp or wings.

But those folks closest to me knew I’d changed a lot of things.


And true enough, I spent more time a courtin’ satan’s ways,

Than any ten men should’ve…and for that I oughta pay.


I’ll gladly take what you hand out…you’ve always dealt me square.

You shed your blood to get me here…I trust you’ll treat me fair.


So I’ll leave you to tally up and rest my feeble case.

I’ll not be saved by my great deeds, no-only by your grace.”


With that he quietly bowed his head, as if to mediate,

Then tensed and listened closely as the latch turned in the gate.


He raised his eyes as Jesus smiled and stretched forth nail scarred hands.

All sins had been forgiven, the inspector’d cleared his brands.


And as his soul was filled with joy, his thoughts with peaceful things,

He gladly swapped hat, boots and spurs

For halo, harp and wings.


-Author unknown

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  • Lovely poem 🙂 Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather

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