United States, (1883-1957)
- You’re salty and greasy and smoky as sin
- But of all grub we love you the best.
- You stuck to us closer than the nighest of kin
- And helped us win out in the West.
- You froze with us up on the Laramie trail;
- You sweat with us down at Tucson;
- When Injun was painted and white man was pale
- You nerved us to grip our last chance by the tail
- And load up our Colts and hang on.
- You’ve sizzled by mountain and mesa and plain
- Over campfires of sagebrush and oak;
- The breezes that blow from the Platte to the main
- Have carried your savory smoke.
- You’re friendly to miner or puncher or priest;
- You’re as good in December as May;
- You always came in when the fresh meat had ceased
- And the rough course of empire to westward was greased
- By the bacon we fried on the way.
- We’ve said that you weren’t fit for white men to eat
- and your virtues we often forget.
- We’ve called you by names that I darsn’t repeat,
- But we love you and swear by you yet.
- Here’s to you, old bacon, fat, lean streak and rin’,
- All the westerners join in the toast,
- From mesquite and yucca to sagebrush and pine,
- From Canada down to the Mexican Line,
- From Omaha out to the coast!
Sun and Saddle Leather. Edited by Ruth Hill. Boston: Gorham Press, 1922 (sixth edition).
About the Poet
Charles “Badger” Clark, Jr., (1883-1957) wrote cowboy poetry. Badger parlayed four years of cowboy life on an Arizona ranch into a forty-year career as America’s most successful cowboy poet.
Clark also supplemented his writing income by touring the country as a public speaker, telling cowboy stories and reciting his poetry. His poem “A Cowboy’s Prayer,” probably one of the best known Western poems. His book of poetry, Sun and Saddle Leather, was first published in 1915 and still in print today.
A long time resident of South Dakota, mostly in the Black Hills, Badger Clark was named Poet Laureate of that state in 1936. His cabin in Custer State Park is called Badger Hole and remains today as a memorial. [DES-10/08]
The Badger Clark Memorial Society
CowboyPoetry.com and the BAR-D Ranch