Poems of the Cartwrights (by BettyHT)

Summary:  A collection of Ben poems, Adam poems, and some about the family.
Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rating:  PG
Word Count:  4534

Chapter 1 = Ben


Ben’s Hallelujah

(Using the general pattern of Cohen’s Hallelujah song but more free verse than that.)

On a warm spring day, a baby boy

Came to me and brought such joy

Boundless treasure that sweet gift was

But I lost my wife though she left that son

He’s got her eyes

And her bright smile

I held him close and had to sing

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

To the far off west, we had to go

A dream of mine from years ago

My second love was waiting there

She healed my heart and gave us care

But none could see

Where it would lead

Another son, but tragedy

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

For years, I left my sons by night

And knelt to pray in bright moonlight

How could I go on with so much loss

Trees and mountains

The lake, a jewel

We found our new home

My lost dream had come true

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

My third love appeared and rescued me

And a baby boy she had with me

Three sons were there, my life was full

Until that day she fell

Once more I grieved

I felt my heart forever lost

But healing came from six warm hands

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

God’s gift of love that gave me hope

Came each time that I needed faith

To know Your love by what I lost

Came again each time despite great cost

I’m a rich man now

My sons give me love, and

No fear for You give life eternal

Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Ben’s Green

Once there was a man who dreamed of tall green trees

that reached toward the sky and mountains, the clouds they did kiss.

He was famous for what he did in threes.

There were the wives he loved, lost, and most dearly did miss,

Yet the man who dreamed of green found more in hazel, blue, and brown.

His first-born son made him proud with ideas and leadership skills.

Number two son had a heart made of gold and strength of great renown.

The third, a scamp with a winning smile, was known for spills and thrills.

With timber, cattle, and mining, his green empire he did build,

By the name Ponderosa, all knew the vast expanse of his great ranch.

No woman called it home for the Cartwright curse made that wish unfulfilled.

On the ranch, these men had rousing but honorable carte blanche.


Not Another

I lost three wives, but they gave me three sons.

The next to leave was my eldest, Adam, who was driven to pursue a dream.

My heart was weeping, but I had to let him go.

I took in strays like Candy, Griff, and Jamie for I had so much love to give.

Then Candy left to seek his own way, and I wished him well,

But when Hoss was lost, my heart was broken.

I still had two sons, and they did their best to help me heal.

Now they’re out there in this terrible storm. I cannot lose another.


Ben’s POV:

Looking across the Ponderosa so dear to my sons and to me,

To make something to leave to their sons and their sons was my dream.

And each year there was more as water flows in a stream,

We prospered among many like to the top of the milk rises the cream.

But now I know that it came at great cost for nothing is free.

The native people who lived here have lost all that they had.

Disease, war, and hunger took a great toll causing me to be sad

For I never intended to be part of something so bad.

To be stewards of this land, for each pine that we cut, we planted a tree.

But for the people who gave all, I cannot replace what was lost.

Now the move to a reservation means they have paid the greatest cost.

My burden that the line between pride and guilt has already been crossed.


Chapter 2 = Adam



How many men could say moo

And command respect from the crew

And oh the smirks he could do

When they were deservedly due

Dressed all in black,

Real fear he did lack.

With a steely look, he had a knack

To put great fear in a man’s back

That full lower lip

Made a female heart flip.

Always ready with a clever quip

His heart was still on his hip

His skin swarthy and tan

His broad shoulder span

Made many a woman

Want him as her man

The shoulders were strong

And the legs they were long

His voice gifted us with a beautiful song

But alas it was not to be for very long

To his family he gave all

Amidst the pines standing tall

In his heart though was the wanderlust call

It held him in its steely thrall

The man was a peach

The world was in his reach

He had to go out into the breach

He said goodbye, he gave his speech

But the treasure he most sought

Woman’s love in full measure caught

When he found that, then, he thought,

He could come home, but if no, then not.


He Had To Go

How could he go

Yet how could he stay

He had a yearning to know

With a need to ride away

His father, Ben, did know

And felt in his heart

For a dream that must grow

A young man may depart

Hoss was most sad

For losing his best friend

But he knew it would be bad

If he couldn’t bend

The youngest of all

Joe had anger to burn

His temper cast a pall

On Adam’s thirst to learn

But in the end they all knew

Even a family apart

Is still held by the glue

Of great love in the heart


The Paiute War

They once thought they were the only people on earth as their gods had willed

Then whites trickled into the mountains in search of furs and worse

Some were welcomed and some were killed

But the trade they brought hid a foul curse

Diseases with pox and fever took many away and tribes grew so weak

Their numbers dwindled and fear stalked their lands

Settlers and soldiers soon showed that the world was not for the meek

As all that these people owned was taken from their hands

As I sit here in a wickiup awaiting my fate

There is no rancor I can feel against my captors

My former friend and the chief of his people now driven by hate

They feel like the rabbits running away from the raptors

They no longer can feel great pride in what they have done

So I’ll die when the soldiers come for the battle these people do not deserve

But I know in my heart that I cannot hate even a single one

And I wish only that my life would a greater purpose serve

I cannot sleep this night as I pray for my rescue

But I know that my father and brother are seeking an impossible quest

When I die at the hands of these people I’ll know it’s true

My father will cry for me and for the deaths and losses of all the rest.



Sun lit pines and grass

Rays tickling grass, cows, and leaves

The man misses all.

Rain falling lightly

On the buildings and the trains

Sadly it’s not home.

Lonely and alone

Dreams of grass, horses, and pines

Holiday of one.

Tickets to buy and

Goodbyes and then travel

Over plains and hills.

Sun over pines and grass

Rays reflecting on bright snow

A Christmas at home.


I Can’t Remember Her Voice

I can’t remember her voice

For Laura made another her choice

The pain she made me feel

Is altogether still much too real

But her wicked heart is no longer here

So no more treachery do I fear

I had thought to make her my wife

We would share hearth, health, and life

But she never loved as I did hope

Now with loss I must cope

For in my heart, Peggy was my daughter

Now she’s gone like the sun takes away the water

I needed her and she needed me

But being family is not to be

In my mind, I can see her run, laugh, and play

But the sound of her voice has gone away.


Adam’s Lament

“I’ve wandered through the hearts of women all the years of my life,

And walked away from each one tired of the battles and the strife.

I’ve taken loving from dear ones giving of my time,

And been so gentle, kind, and warm but proud to be sublime.

I thought to find peace of mind, and everlasting love,

But could not keep and love any enchanting dove.

Now all I want is to find my soul and a woman who will share

My life and bed, and how I hope that someone soon will care.

If I cannot win the love of some warm and sweet lady quite soon

No one will know me as I die alone under a darkened moon.

The stone at my head will show I am dead but none may know,

That with a sweet lass, I never shared love’s quiet glow.”

“Now I know what I should do,

My father would know too,

If I am true love for to find,

I must be more than kind.

I need to chase after her with all that I possess,

And tell her all and let my heart confess.

I have heard that there is one quite ready to jump into my bed,

But then, my Tracy, dear, is there another who’d put a bullet in my head.

No, I shall find one whose heart is waiting but who is free

And then into marriage and the marriage bed we soon shall be.”



It is spring when I see the roses and remember that my mother went away

I love her still and know she’s beside me every day

As being pricked by the rose’s thorns, with temptations near, from the righteous path, I may stray

But every time my mother’s voice inside brings me back the right way.

As summer brings forth beauty, I recall Inger, my second mother lost

My Pa and Hoss also bore that cost

Our hearts and souls were like summer thunderstorms tossed

But the memory of her sweet smile always melts our hearts sad early frost.

Marie was like a gust of tempestuous fall winds blowing through the campfire

As autumn leaves fell, she blew into our lives and often raised my ire

But like the cool colors of autumn, of her singing and lullabies, I never did tire

Until with the others, she too joined the heavenly choir.

Now through the long cold winter, we four men in solitude must live here

Though Pa keeps pictures of his desk of those we hold most dear

To warm us despite that none of us will marry is my father’s great fear

But like snowflakes unique from each other, we wait until the right choice for us is made clear.



Pa, you gave me life and brought me west.

As a father and a mother too, you were the best.

If I leave, it’s not your fault, there’s no one to blame.

It’s just that I can’t live my life with every day, week, and month the same.

I may not stay; I may have to go; but my heart will never leave you,

For wherever I go and whatever I do, forever I will remember and cherish you.

Hoss, you are the rock, my head on your shoulder I often did rest.

You’ve given me solace when life has been a test.

I still remember the day that into my life you came.

Life without you is a night without day, a candle without flame.

I may not stay; I may have to go; but my heart will never leave you,

For wherever I go and whatever I do, forever I will remember and cherish you.

Joe, you’ve given Pa every one of those white hairs I can attest.

When you were growing up, for us there was no rest.

I taught you to shoot, to ride, and wild horses to tame,

You’re ready now to shoulder the load and be the boss, I do claim.

I may not stay; I may have to go; but my heart will never leave you,

For wherever I go and whatever I do, forever I will remember and cherish you.


Pa, Protect Me From Her

Pa, when Little Joe gets hurt

You always have a tear in your eye

For your little boy who really can flirt

When Hoss gets hurt

You ask to get well and try

To get up out of that dirt

Pa I need you to let me be hurt

Or from here I must fly

I’ve opened my shirt

And I’m laying her inert

Because Hank isn’t at all shy

He’ll cause me real hurt

Now Pa please act like I’m hurt

If he thinks I did try

But Abigail was the flirt

Sadly I was not alert

To get that kiss I did not ply

I only tried to avert

Pa, you’re the expert on comfort

Act as if I need it here where I lie

I shall truly be inert

Please do not in my need desert

Tell me when they say goodbye

Only then will I safely my good health assert


Please Wait For Me While I Roam

But I yearn for more than this

Even knowing what I would miss

I could never leave you forever

Any more than my ties to my family to sever

But for me to grow, I need more than this endeavor

I know my father will be sad

And my youngest brother must by nature be mad

But it’s my middle brother I fear

Who will miss me most when I am no longer near

And I hold that big man most dear

So keep them safe while I am gone away

As powerful as the pine trees that sway

I know you can protect and treasure

Those that I value beyond measure

But I know to nurture them will be your pleasure

So I bid thee a fond farewell

When I return I cannot tell

But it will happen because you are my home

As dear as any rare tome

Please wait for me while I roam.


Hold Your Temper

Ah, don’t lose your temper so early in the morning; you won’t have any left for the rest of the day.

And how I wish I’d told myself that on more than one occasion.

I chased after windmills so many times and never won the fight.

My dream is hovering out there as clouds float through the sky.

I had to hold my temper

When the sheriff coveted the press.

I had to hold my temper

When the senorita turned my guitar into a mess.

I had to hold my temper

When my brothers bet against me.

I had to hold my temper

When a convict took my possessions to flee.

I had to hold my temper

When my cousin stole Laura from me.

I had to hold my temper

When Joe’s scheme almost got me married.

I had to hold my temper

When Hoss wanted me buried.

I had to hold my temper

When I was asked the question

“How can anyone be so stupid?”

“It’s not easy.” It was the only answer I could give.

It’s good advice. I should listen to myself sometime.

Don’t lose your temper so early in the morning; you won’t have any left for the rest of the day.


the time would come when”

Adam knew the time would come when

That for him the rose would bloom once more

The lilacs were drenching the air with fragrance then

And daffodils bloomed like the rainbow’s gold ore

Many men liked the women with lavender scent

Others liked those topped with golden daisy hair

Some were happy with the short-lived lotus ancient

And others praised the violet in its woodland lair

But Adam wanted the flower unique

With a majestic bloom in red opening petals to the sky

And a mien so sweet his interest it would pique

The one whom he wanted would make his heart soar and fly



At their births, he put his hand over his heart and promised to protect,

To love them, watch over them, and their needs never to neglect.

Like the quilt upon his bed where the rose was protected by the thorn,

His two brothers were the beauty of his world.

The treasure of the bud as they grew older unfurled.

Like the quilt so lovingly stitched, his family fabric could not be torn.


Ode to Adam

The Great Artist was truly inspired that day you were born

To sculpt the man you are with heart and soul that care:

Pleasing to the eye with grace and classic form

And character within that impresses without compare.

How lost in envy each woman is who sees you kiss

A rival for your affection and wishes she was there,

But is forced to live with you only in her dreams day and night;

Each day we still miss

Dimples, broad chest, long legs, and luscious dark hair

Cherishing photo images of our dark-clad shining knight.


Chapter 3 = mixed family


Our Pa’s Dream

Dear Ponderosa, my love and my life

As dear as any wife

Our blood is in your land

Our tears have watered your growth and

Our sweat has made Pa’s dream grand


The Cabin

Little Joe

Where were you?

I searched and searched.

I found this old cabin.

It’s still in great shape, Pa.

I didn’t know a cabin was there.

The trees are big. The windows are dirty.

But the lady inside was real nice to me.

Adam, she sang beautiful songs in French.

Joe, we don’t live in that house

For a very good reason so we don’t

Have to live with

Your mother’s

Restless ghost!

“Je’taime, mon cheri,

I cannot let you go.

I am so lonely here by myself.

I will keep you here with me.”

“Mama, I can’t leave Papa all alone.”

“Then I will keep you as I love you, and

your other can go back to your Papa.”

Eerily, the boy’s essence of sweet goodness and calm

Then slipped like a shadow away from him

And nestled in his mother’s ethereal arms.

The mischief maker, scamp, and mercurial essence remained

And walked away as if in a dream

From the old cabin in the woods

Where the family had lived

Until Marie had died.

And the family wondered if the defiant five year old

Could ever be managed

For despite patience and perseverance,

The adventurous boy defied any attempt to fence him in.


What Would Adam Do?

Adam’s been gone for many a year

We miss him dearly and must still our fear

Between letters that arrive rarely you hear

Hoss and I decided that on his birthday this year

We would celebrate with a play and a cold beer

Our clothing choices were mine I fear

For with Adam gone it gets hard to remember what he liked most

We’ve accomplished a lot on the Ponderosa we boast

But missing our brother we certainly must toast

For a time we did wonder how to celebrate this year

And our choice was to do what Adam would like most

Dressed all in black we went to a play and now we need beer


Heavens to Hannah!

Heavens to Hannah! Pa’s already home

Here I am reading, I better put away this tome

He already says I have too much in my dome

And it interferes with my thinking.

Heavens to Hannah! Pa is already back

Of knowing when Pa was near, I thought Adam had the knack

But this time he didn’t know jack,

And little brother is still in jail, I’m thinking.

Heavens to Hannah, where are those brothers of mine?

If they don’t get in here to help me pay this fine,

Pa’s gonna kick me where the sun don’t shine.

What could they be thinking?

Heavens to Hannah! It’s good to be here

It so quiet and full of peace with no fear

Because my boys would never stray and are so dear

They should each get their due, I’ve been thinking.


letter to Santa

Santa, please there’s one big thing I want you to do

It’s cause I know my Pa and Hoss would be real happy to get it

You see my oldest brother Adam is far away at school, it’s true

I was wondering if you could see that he would get bad grades for a bit

Cause my teacher told me that if I did really bad

They would have to kick me out of school and that’s not at all sad

I’d get to be home and have lots of fun

So if they kicked Adam out he’d have to come back

We could ride all the day long and run in the sun

My brother could teach me stuff cause he’s got the knack

Or so Pa always tells me when he gets kinda sad

Don’t tell Adam though cause he might get real mad


Resolutions Not

I’m not gonna say I’m sorry no more

Adam won’t have to listen to insults that make him sore

Pa won’t have to lecture me for my unfortunate play

and Hoss won’t have to fall for my schemes and pay

But it really isn’t my fault that Hoss is so easy to fool

Or that Pa thinks I’m still like a boy at school


Four Cs talk

Now, Adam, I was in that church the same as you

I swear to you this that I heard is true

But why I say did the wise men bring

Gold, common sense, and fur to the newborn king?

Oh, how foolish you are, Little Joe,

That’s not what they brought, no, no, no

They brought gold, frankincense, and myrhh for the child

You heard what was familiar to you here in the wild.

I am not foolish, older brother, you are to blame

For who would want those things that you can name

And anyone who thinks that is the true story

Is foolish beyond measure, and I’m sorry.

Oh no, my son, on that day a baby boy

Came to earth to bring us joy

A host of angels proclaimed the deed

But none could see where it would lead.

Brothers they said the baby boy came to rescue we

The savior someday the baby boy to be

The birth we celebrate with glee was to spare us tears

So that we had hope instead of fears.

Nor should anyone blame me if Adam is so sensitive

Because they all make me feel so apprehensive

Who am I kidding? Not me I say

Adam needs to learn how to play

Hoss loves to play along with my plans so smart

and Pa needs me to keep him young at heart

Resolutions are for those too old to know

That fun is what gives life its glow

If they can’t see the whole darn story

Well then I guess they’ll get my ‘I’m sorry!’


empty, ache, fear

Fear strides in

Holding my heart in its hands.

My brother needs help and

My mind is empty of thought

As drought is of rain.

How can fear take away what we are?

I ache with the need

To do what I must.

Fear holds me back

My conviction lacks trust.

Finally I just run

He needs me so much.

I grab hold of Adam

Saving two not just one.


Daffodils on the Ponderosa

Daffodils blooming like a sea of gold in my valley

To plant flowers on a working ranch, Marie, my dear

When you did, I laughed at such frivolity

But now it lets my heart warm at memories so clear

Whenever Pa rides by here I’ve seen him stop to admire

These gorgeous yellow flowers with their hint of whimsy

I’ll draw a picture so he can gaze at each stately spire

Whenever he chooses to remember this golden sea

These purty yeller flowers make for a right fine walk

I can hear birds singing and bugs a buzzing away

Little rabbits hop about as long as we don’t talk

Sure happy Pa let Marie plant ’em that long ago May

All these pretty yellow flowers here where no one can see

It’s a shame to waste them when they could do so much better

There’s enough for a big bouquet for Sue and one for RoseMary

Another for Beth and for Mary and a last one for Ginger.


Sam Writes the Story of the Cartwrights

So, Sam, ifn ya was writing a story of my family,

What would ya be saying ’bout my father

‘Cause he lost three wives but got himself three sons?


In his heart, I’d write there must be three books.

In the first are black ribbons and in the other red ones.


Are the black for our mothers and the red for us sons?


No, just the opposite:  he’s still in love with his wives, but

His sons haven’t gifted him with grandsons so that is a loss.

In his heart, there is a hole calling out a sad refrain:

Leaving a legacy been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born.


Now your younger brother is another matter entirely.

He seeks to be smarter and faster than his eldest brother by far;

He wants what you have and is so much younger and smaller.

He seeks to stand tall in his father’s eyes so his goal is to rise and his cry is thus:

Fear of losing been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born.


What about me?  I ain’t worried none ’bout a legacy,

and I don’t have to win cause just being me has always been fine.


Yes, you are happy with the life you lead here,

But you must protect them from threats within and without

Settling disputes between those you do love and among your good friends,

And that’s a pressure that can cost you pain and headaches until you exclaim

Trying to smile through trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born.


True ‘nough said there with them fancy words ya got.

But what of older brother and what his soul has to say?


His is the saddest tale starting in tragedy with his mother dying at his birth.

Then your mother died before his eyes as he held you in his arms.

He watched over you and Joe when Marie passed away.

Every lost love and friend turned the wrong way reminds him to say:

Trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born.


***The End***

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