poet Charles Badger Clark

Charles Badger Clark

A Cowboy's Prayer

(Written for Mother)

Oh Lord, I've 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
That's 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 com-
plete;
That I'm no slave of whistle, clock or bell,
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.
Just let me live my life as I've begun
And give me work that's open to the sky;
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun,
And I won't ask a life that's soft or high.

Let me be easy on the man that's down;
Let me be square and generous with all.
I'm careless sometimes, Lord, when I'm in
town,
But never let 'em say I'm 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 that's 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.

Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 12, 2016

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Comments about A Cowboy's Prayer by Charles Badger Clark

  • Mark Baxter (7/9/2020 5:03:00 PM)

    Probably the single most recited piece of cowboy poetry in existence. I've often found a printed copy on the wall of elderly westerners and rarely does a year go by that I don't hear this given at the funeral of an old cowboy by one of his friends. Well worth memorizing.

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