Saturday, February 16, 2013

Badger Clark, Jr: The Cowboy Poet

Charles Badger Clark, Jr., was the youngest son of a popular Methodist minister who inherited the rich speaking voice of his father but not the piety. During his lifetime he achieved a degree of recognition as a western poet and earned the title of South Dakota's first poet laureate in 1937 by then governor, Leslie Jensen. Because he never flaunted his fame, he was largely unknown outside of his home state. The fact that his best-known poem, 'A Cowboy's Prayer' was widely reprinted under the 'Author Unknown' surname, contributed greatly to his anonymity. So in honor of South Dakotan's Poet Laureate, here is one of his poems set to photographs.

The Coyote

Trailing the last gleam after,
 In the valleys emptied of light,
 Ripples a whimsical laughter
 Under the wings of the night.
 Mocking the faded west airily,
 Meeting the little bats merrily,
 Over the mesas it shrills
 To the red moon on the hills.
Badger Clark Jr The Coyote accompanied with photographs by Dakota Visions Photography LLC
Mournfully rising and waning,
 Far through the moon-silvered land
 Wails a weird voice of complaining
 Over the thorns and the sand.
 Out of blue silences eerily.
 On to the black mountains wearily,
 Till the dim desert is crossed,
 Wanders the cry, and is lost.
Badger Clark Jr The Coyote accompanied with photographs by Dakota Visions Photography LLC
Here by the fire's ruddy streamers,
 Tired with our hopes and our fears,
 We inarticulate dreamers
 Hark to the song of our years.
 Up to the brooding divinity
 Far in that sparkling infinity
 Cry our despair and delight,
 Voice of the Western night!
By Charles Badger Clark, Jr

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