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The Plainsmen Men of the older, gentler soil The Rains You've watched the ground-hog's shadow and the shiftin' weather signs Ridin' There is some that like the city. Roundup Lullaby Desert blue and silver in the still moonshine, coyote yappin' lazy on the hill Saturday Night Out from the ranch on a Saturday night The Song of the Leather When my trail stretches out to the edge of the sky Thanksgiving separate page Accept my thanks today, O Lord, but not so much for bed and board Thanksgiving Hymn, separate page Another year grows calmly old and frost is on the morning grass To Her Cut loose a hundred rivers The Westerner My fathers sleep on the sunrise plains.
The Wind is Blowin' My tired horse nickers for his own home bars A Cowboy's Pray er Written for Mother. Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget. You know about the reasons that are hid. I've heard any number of cowboys recite it, but have never heard one sing it.
The language is true to his free-roving spirit and gives insight to the code he lived by -- the things he expected of himself. John I. White, in Git Along Little Dogies , notes that Tex Ritter used to recite the poem against the music of "The Cowboy's Dream," and that Clark had it stolen from him and put on postcards as "Anonymous" so many times that he made a collection of more than sixty thievings from his original.
Badger Clark's poems were often printed, put to music, and otherwise adopted and adapted without acknowledgement of his authorship, passing into the oral tradition. In the Preface to Sun and Saddle Leather , Clark's book where "The Glory Trail" was first published, he writes that the "folk version" perhaps was better than the original, and that the changes reflected " such rubbings down and chippings off as might happen to it in passing from mouth to mouth.
One night when I was washing my pots and kettles I heard the boys around the fire discussing a cow-puncher over in the mountains, who, the week before, had roped a bobcat and 'drug' it to death. The boys spent some time swapping expert opinions on the incident, so it stuck in my mind, incubated, and eventually hatched out The Glory Trail. Nobody said anything about the poem, good or bad, as I remember, and I reckoned it had fallen rather flat until, some years later, about three years ago, I think, a distant friend sent me a copy of Poetry which featured High Chin Bob.
I found a real native folksong which the cowboys were accustomed to carol in their long riders over the romantic wildernesses of the Southwest, a song like Melchizedek, without father or mother, which probably had naturally "just growed" in the rocky soil where it now flourished.
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What was my amazement, in examining this literary curiosity, to find that it was my Glory Trail , with slight alterations, such as the omission of one line in the refrain, such rubbings down and chippings off as might happen to it in passing from mouth to mouth. I own that the "folksong" version is in some points more striking, and easy than my more labored original, and I believe it is better known. Gillis in the journal Western Folklore adds a bit more about the various versions of "The Glory Trail":.
The folk version of Clark's poem seems to have fairly wide circulation. In his headnote to the version in Songs of the Cowboys [ Couldn't sleep now if I tried. How my Annie used to sing it! And it sounded good and gay. Good old times, and all apast me! I'll come a runnin'. This poem is included in our Cowboy Love Poetry collection. Find a video here on YouTube. Today, some way, their laughin' hurts me so.
I hate the steady sun that glares, and glares! The bird songs make me sore. What is there out beyond the last divide? Seems like that country must be cold and dim. Some call it "gone before. I don't know, but God! The Christ mas Trail. Skimp my plate 'cause I'm late.
They never cry or scold. The Passing of the Trail. Could that land be the land we know? Those roving riders we? When my feet is in the stirrups And my hawse is on the bust, With his hoofs a-flashin' lightnin' From a cloud of golden dust, And the bawlin' of the cattle Is a-comin' down the wind Then a finer life than ridin' Would be mighty hard to find. My tired horse nickers for his own home bars; A hoof clicks out a spark.
The dim creek flickers to the lonesome starts; The trail twists down the dark. The ridge pines whimper to the pines below. The wind is blowin' and I want you so. The birch has yellowed since I saw you last, The Fall haze blued as the creeks, The big pine bellowed as the snow swished past, But still, above the peaks, The same stars twinkle that we used to know. The stars up yonder wait at the end of time But earth fires soon go black.
I trip and wander on the trail I climb-- A fool who will look back To glimpse a fire dead a year ago. Who says the lover kills the man in me? Beneath the day's hot blue This thing hunts cover and my heart fights free To laugh an hour or two. But now it wavers like a wounded doe. Wrangle up your mouth-harps, drag your banjo out, Tune your old guitarra till she twangs right stout, For the snow is on the mountains and the wind is on the plain, But we'll cut the chimney's moanin' with a livelier refrain.
Shinin' 'dobe fireplace, shadows on the wall-- See old Shorty's friv'lous toes a-twitchin' at the call: It's the best grand high that there is within the law When seven jolly punchers tackle "Turkey in the Straw. Freezy was the day's ride, lengthy was the trail, Ev'ry steer was haughty with a high arched tail, But we held 'em and we shoved 'em for our longin' hearts were tried, By a yearlin' for tobacker and our dear fireside. Swing 'er into stop-time, don't you let'er droop!
You're about as tuneful as a coyote with the croup! Ay, the cold wind bit when we drifted down the draw, But we drifted on to comfort and to "Turkey in the Straw.
Snarlin' when the rain whipped, cussin' at the ford-- Ev'ry mile of twenty was a long discord, But the night is brimmin' music and its glory is complete When the eye is razzle-dazzled by the flip o' Shorty's feet! Snappy for the dance, now, till she up and shoots! Don't he beat the devil's wife for jiggin' in 'is boots? Shorty got throwed high and we laughed till he was raw But tonight he's done forgot it prancin' "Turkey in the Straw.
Rainy dark or firelight, bacon rind or pie, Livin' is a luxury that don't come high: Oh, be happy and onruly while our years and luck allow, For we all must die or marry less than forty years from now! Lively on the last turn! Ay, the storm wind sings and old trouble sucks his paw When we have an hour of firelight set to "Turkey in the Straw. The April days are sun and sun; the last thin cloud is fled. Did you ever see the comin' of the Rains? Sometimes a nearly-identical poem called "Way Out West" is attributed to cowboy, writer, and detective Charles A.
Siringo read more about him in the Handbook of Texas Online. That attribution appears in John A.
In Siringo's book, he gives the proper credit to Badger Clark and writes:. When the time comes for putting me under the sod, I hope the little verse by Badger Clarke sic , Jr. The verse was dug up from the William E. Hawks collection of cowboy songs as appropriate for the wind-up of a fool cowboy's life history. William E.click
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Hawks, of Bennington, Vermont, a cowboy of the old school, has been fifteen years gathering cowboy songs and data, with a view of publishing a true history of the early day cattle business, so that posterity will know the class of dare-devils who paved the way for the man with a hoe. The hoe-man will need no history for the benefit of posterity, as he is here to stay. When once he plants his feet on the soil, time or cyclones cannot jar him loose.
With skyline bounds from east to west And room to go and come, I liked my fellow man the best When he was scattered some. When my old soul hunts range and rest Beyond the last divide, Just plant me on some strip of west That's sunny, lone and wide. Let cattle rub my tombstone round, And coyotes wail their kin, Let hosses come and paw and the mound But don't you fence it in!
Lomax did give the poem the proper attribution in his Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp , first printed in You can read and download the entire text of that book at the Internet Archive. Don Edwards ' "The Old Cow Man" is inspired by the poem, and you can see a video of a performance of that here. The Coyote.
Out of blue silences eerily. The Legend of Boastful Bill.
Someone hand me up the makin's of a smoke! If this blue-eyed darlin' kicks at you, you die! Now I'm last of all rough riders, and the best. He writes, ".. Bill goes on one hell of a ride, but as a challenge this raging bronc is for Boastful Bill about like hairpinning Aunt Maude's milk cow Clark wrote the poem in and our version is from Clark's Sun and Saddle Leather , first published in John Lomax included the poem in his book, Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp , transcribed from a recitation.
Watch Dave Stamey's outstanding performance of this song here. View the entire show here. Are you the same as the God of the streets? What are words when my heart talks with you? Help me see you in the God of the street. But with a touch of your own old pride Grant me to travel the way I ride. For a man is a man, but he's partly a beast.