Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to publish a few poems from the talented horseman and hat maker, Sampson Moss. He’s an Albertan who was featured on this podcast episode here. Sampson writes:
The first time I started playing around with felt hats was in 2015 when I began reshaping them for myself and friends in my college dorm kitchen. This eventually developed into rebuilding hats for folks all around North America.
At the start of 2020, I drove down to Newcastle, Utah, to apprenticed under Chaz Mitchell, who runs Chaz Mitchell Custom Hatz. It took me about a year to get my ducks in a row with tools, suppliers, and materials. In January of 2021, I produced Number One of Prairie Wind Hat Works. Since then, each hat I make has an accompanying serial number and my client’s name stamped into a goatskin sweatband.
Aside from being a hatmaker, I’m also I’m also a dayworking cowboy, cowboy poet, a musician, and heavy duty mechanic. I majored in agribusiness in college. I was raised in southern Alberta and am currently situated near Pincher Creek.
For information on ordering a custom hat, head over to Prairie Wind Hat Works.
To hear Heirlooms read by Moss, click here for BHP podcast episode 19 (It is at about 20 minutes.)
It’s been said once or twice
“Respect ain’t given, but earned.”
Well, I find it eminently underpriced,
Of that, I’m fairly assurned
Provided to the right hand
Heritability, although sometimes a chore,
Is what’s protecting this land.
You can see it in the eager eyes
Of a restless kid learning to rope
And the way his daddy tries
To provide a hungry sense of hope.
Or in a young girl’s prized steer
She so lovingly raised
Turning her passion into a career;
From her folks, came no lack of praise.
Sure, it’s been overused
“Passed down through generations”
But respect ain’t something to abuse,
It’s the backbone of our nation.
Yet, turmoil and turbulence
Unfortunately take credit
For instilling diligence
In our youngsters, if we let it.
See? We can’t truly appreciate cheer
Without knowing first of pain.
Like tagging a healthy calves ear
After the markets rebounded again.
Now, set a high standard
In the eyes of the beginner
So we may continue to answer,
“Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.”
The Silver under the Rust
Tonight I shined some silver
While she sat and kept me company
I didn’t have much to give her
But the shape of her hat should be satisfactory
I found some people are just like
An old silver bit
They work hard hard through life
Seldom throwing a fit
Y’know I take pleasure from discovering that silver inlaid
Hidden beneath all that tarnish and rust
Similar to her oak brown braids
Tucked underneath her hat, covered in dust
You’ve heard the term
“Diamond in the rough”
Well I’m fairly assurn
that that ain’t no guff
It ain’t in the age,
But the miles they’ve rode
The country they’ve seen
And how many times they’ve been throwed
Be it a Mona Lisa,
half breed or spade
San Joaquin, Salinas
And by whom they’re made
If we take the time to appreciate
Each line carved shallow and deep
We may begin to concentrate
On the scars our bodies indefinitely keep
From bits to spurs to flesh
It’s our marks that tell our stories
We all have one we fancy the best,
One we relate to some kind of humble glory
I find it somewhat intriguing
How we buy sell and trade
We seem to be consistently hunting,
Til we find one that’s here to stay
Perhaps someday I’ll find mine
Who knows? Friends we may already be
And I’ll pop the question sometime
“Will you come ride with me”?
Well I was out fixin’ fence this afternoon
So I figured I’d write up a poem relative to what I’s doin…
If you were to compare
Your life to your fence
Would you look at it with pride?
Does it display confidence?
Are your braces secure?
Posts pounded straight?
Or so they zig zag
T’wards a down gate?
Are you missing staples?
Have your wires come loose?
Are your angles right?
Or slightly obtuse?
Do you use sharp barbed wire?
Number 9 or electric?
Are your pastures square?
Or shapes rather eccentric?
Will it keep in a herd of longhorns?
Does it hold up to a heavy ol bull?
Or has it been bent over
From a chinooks windy pull?
Would you trust it to deter trespassers?
Can it guide a big ol stubborn steer?
Or is it graciously mocked
By pesty mule deer?
Is it regularly checked?
Or does it only receive attention
When your cows get out again?
So when you go ‘bout checkin
Be it your life, or your fence,
Take the initiative
And avoid the consequence.