A COWBOYS PRAYER

Oh Lord, Iíve never lived where churches grow.
I love creation better as it stood
That day You finished it so long ago
And looked upon Your work and called it good.

I know that others find You in the light
Thatís sifted down through tinted window panes,
And yet I seem to feel You near tonight
In this dim, quiet starlight on the plains.

I thank You, Lord, that I am placed so well,
That You have made my freedom so complete;
That Iím no slave of whistle, clock or bell,
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.

Just let me live my life as Iíve begun
And give me work thatís open to the sky;
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun,
And I wonít ask a life thatís soft or high.

Let me be easy on the man thatís down;
Let me be square and generous with all.
Iím careless sometimes, Lord, when Iím in town,
But never let 'em say Iím mean or small!

Make me as big and open as the plains,
As honest as the hawse between my knees,
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains,
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze!

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.
You know about the reasons that are hid.
You understand the things that gall and fret;
You know me better than my mother did.

Just keep an eye on all thatís done and said
And right me, sometimes, when I turn aside,
And guide me on the long, dim, trail ahead
That stretches upward toward the Great Divide.


                    by Charles Badger Clark

 

 

          Charles Badger Clark

 

 Photo of Badger Clark typing.

Photos courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.
 

 

    

         CHARLES BADGER CLARK

     He has been compared to  Charlie Russell,in   that he painted pictures of cowboy life in his western poetry. He often featured cowboys at work; and he praised their western ethics and values. He was a native of South Dakota. His family moved there when he was only 3 months old. Many of his poems laud the beauty of the South Dakota Black Hills. He lived in Deadwood among other towns; so he was well schooled in the western history of that area.

       He got tuberculosis shortly after he graduated from high school; and thereafter his life changed. A dry climate was recommended to  cure his disease. Clark then spent the next four years as a ranch hand near another famous western town, Tombstone, Arizona. He wrote many poems about working on the ranch.

         His stepmother sent in one of his poems to the Pacific Monthly.  It was published; and after that, Clark became a regular contributor. He moved back to South Dakota in 1910; where he wrote several volume of cowboy western poetry.

        One book was called Sun and Saddle Leather. His book Spike was full of short stories. Clarkís poem "A Cowboy's Prayer"  (featured above) became a favorite all over the United States. Clark toured around the USA telling stories and reciting his cowboy western poems. In 1939, the governor named him poet laureate of South Dakota. He died in 1957. 
 
              Want more poems by Badger Clark?  Here's a good one.....

Cowboy Poetry, Classic Poems & Prose
by Badger Clark; Edited by Greg Scott
Front cover of "Classic Poems Of Badger Clark"
 
 

This new book contains 20 of his most popular poems, 25 first-rate poems that have been hidden away for 85 years and a collection of his cowboy stories featuring "Siike's" adventures in the west, as well as 10 pages of pictures from his albums and two of his essays as relevant today as when they were written.

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Phoenix, AZ 85022
PHONE: 602 569-6063
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