Dale Mailand

Dale Mailand is the author of two books of cowboy poetry: “Dead Mouse and Other Misteaks” and “Barnyard Philosophy.”
A Montanan from about 1960, Mailand has worn many hats. A gunsmith since 1970 and a cowboy poet for many years, he has performed at Lewistown’s “Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Music Rendezvous” and other venues.

Dale W. Mailand
PO Box 472
Harlem MT 59526
(406) 353-2383


It was time once again for the plans to begin
For the neighborhood Sunday night feed.
Two young hens lost their life, and our chef told his wife,
“With the sweetcorn, that’s all we will need.”
From a week baling hay, he was set for a day
Of relaxing with friends and a beer.
It was his day to cook and his first chance to hook up
The brand-new rotisserie gear.
He’s a “barbecue king” ; he can do anything
From a bird to a fish to a steak,
And it’s his biggest treat to watch hungry folks eat
( And leave compliments right at the plate.)
So he skewered the meat and he turned up the heat ;
Then he went to do last-minute chores,
But all senses awoke when he saw clouds of smoke
From the grill, as he closed the barn doors.
Ten short minutes it took for those chickens to cook
At a scorching 700 degrees !
Sure, the breaker box blew … major grill meltdown, too,
And fowl “clinkers” as black as you please !
When the birds lost their glow, we all knew they would go
To the trash barrel, quick as a wink.
And the phrases we heard ! Not a single new word,
But unique combinations, I think.
It was shameful to tell, they booked passage to Hell
On that maiden rotisserie ride,
And our chef hung his head … thawed lasagna instead
And nursed serious hurt to his pride.
Years of dinners prepared, well-presented and shared,
Never mentioned in verse or in song,
But, commit one small gaffe, they point, snicker and laugh
And they headline “The Meal That Went Wrong” !
© D.W. Mailand

I’m a retired High School teacher. As I drive up and down
U.S. Highway 2, I am reminded of many of my former
students. Since 1952, the V.F.W. has erected nearly 3000
white crosses along Montana’s highways. In our area, you
can count almost one cross for every mile.


Whose cross is this, I think I know.
He was my student long ago.
He brought to class his wit and cheer,
His pranks and laughing, bright hello.
I must look foolish standing here,
My need and purpose both unclear.
Some drivers do a double-take
To see me wipe away a tear.
I missed his funeral and wake,
Felt sorrow for his parents’ sake
And for his friend, who fell asleep
And for the life he’ll never make.
I know these crosses, and I weep …
So many in my memory keep.
The slaughtered lambs forever sleep.
The pain of loss of friends runs deep.
© D.W. Mailand