Link to Utah USU Special Collection home page

FOLK COLLECTION 11: The Skaggs Foundation Cowboy Poetry Collection

Date of Items: 1890-present
Register Prepared by: Randy Williams and Susan Gross, April 2004
Register Updated by: Randy Williams, 23 December 2009
Excel database transfered to MYSQL and uploaded (replacing PHP data): Colin Jackson, Fall 2010
MYSQL database updated: Randy Williams, January 2012
Linear Feet:20

Historical Note & Provenance

Folk Coll 11 is Utah State University's cowboy poetry collection. The collection, originally created by a generation donation by the L. J. and Mary Skaggs Foundation, includes books gathered during a fieldwork project in the early 1980s to document cowboy poetry in the U.S. west (see Folk Coll 11f). From this important fieldwork project came the impetus for the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in January 1985 in Elko, Nevada. Since that time, each January, the Fife Folklore Archives staff take the collection and Access database (that details each book, poem, author, first line and key words), to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for offsite use. Through University purchases and generation donations from poets and collectors, this collection continues to grow.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 20 linear feet of books on cowboy poetry, including press and self published works. The collection can be accessed through USU Libraries online catalog.

As well, poem titles and keywords found in each book in the collection are included in the database below. To use, type in the search term. Tip: Try and use an uncommon word from the poem to ensure less "hits." For instance, if you enter "boots" you will get many hits; but if you enter "bones" you will most liley get fewer "hits" or poems and find the item you seek faster. To return to the search page, click "home" at the bottom of the page.


Poetry table.

First Previous Next Last
IDBook TitleComposerIndexPagesAuthorPoem TitleFirst LinesKeywords
26117 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 16 Linda Hussa Broken Promise The wild red heifer with ears that flapped around her head calved standing up threw it off calf, bloody streamers of afterbirth dumped on the snow. The flag of every nation. calf, fences, blood
26118 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 17 Linda Hussa Dried Up He doesn't love his land. He doesn't feel it's welcome as he steps outside each dawn. For him there is no air frail or biting no willow's yellow tips swelled with March cottonwood, barn, dog, woodshed
26119 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 18 Linda Hussa The Cure I prescribe you this go to the desert high or low cold or hammers of Hell shed the clothes of care strip down to the bones step out brave let the desert see you're unarmed laugh, sing, rest, sleep, time
26120 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 19 Linda Hussa Missing A Person A yellow warbler stands on a slender limp in my aspen tree. Don't tell the mountain. I don't want it to come looking for its tree. When the sap pulled to its core for winter Katie, buffaloberry, soil, roots, safe, necklace
26121 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 20 Linda Hussa The Midnight Check Even when it's not cold the night air meets your face with freshness and it's yours for shedding warmth of kit and cover and dreamy sleep. You slip in slender walking habit, step, dark, crest
26122 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 21 Linda Hussa Angels Of The Soft Breeze Of Purification In her tree they set to sleep not as omen not as blight and when morning lights her window she sees dark silk fans stand on limbs -a tree of sunning moths. Sophie, Turkey Vulture, Cathartes Aura, love, young, flight
26123 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 22 Linda Hussa First-Calf Heifer Laying flat resting between heaves of labor's force glaring over her shoulder suspicious of me crouching in the grass. Magpie on the ribs of a cow that winterkilled bone, violence, labor, rich, knife
26124 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 23 Linda Hussa Still Life Beyond death waits not as malice but as light that turns away from all others toward the one. death, light, malice, toward
26125 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 24 Linda Hussa Give Us Rain! Don't we wait for rain in this dry country licking down sweet wild kisses, pretending it's not our heart's desire? If rain was a person we'd have given it up long ago as shiftless, smile, perfume, clouds, buck, weed
26126 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 26 Linda Hussa The Hunter's Dog The goose flared up from the rose briar and weeds along the lane, flared and flopped her wing bitten off by 20 gauge shot. She is trapped by woven wire fencing blood, death, worthwhile, strength
26127 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 27 Linda Hussa The Closest Point From anywhere on the long arc of the basin Mail Box Hill can be seen. A woman liftrs her arm to shade away the sun. A wink of hot light would be the mail stage turning. Homesteaders, hope, windmill, ravens
26128 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 28 Linda Hussa Surprise Valley And Sister Serengeti In the photograph they smiled not knowing the cheetah single out the males. He had the brains. She a foot taller with the bones of Norsemen bore five children graceful gazelles. lion, leopard, bikes, burn
26129 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 29 Linda Hussa Christmas Night Outside it is quiet. Inside Christmas is in full swing. You know what I mean. But here in the barn my mare chews her grain and that is all that occupies her. oats, cat, star, moon
26130 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 30 Linda Hussa Shadows The winter solstice is passed. The new year will find its way on dreams we have not yet dreamed. In spring's papery dawns the living sky will return with Sandhill cranes passing northward. stagger, love, lie
26131 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 31 Linda Hussa Corn Moon Rising Clear of dark possession. Hoot, you owl, for you have done well to call her back this night. Hoot, in celebration, for she has risen up again round as we are. ancient, drain, harm, plain
26132 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 32 Linda Hussa Crane A thing of flight standing in the reeds touches my heart. The lame leg hangs. I know him each year. Bob Dunnington, reed, leg, flight
26133 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 33 Linda Hussa Pioneer Cemetary My ride ended in a small square white fence worn to gray posts drawn in a drunken weave enclosing marble spires carved with cross and names and years. Jean Dunnington, grace, soil, hill, windrowed
26134 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 34 Linda Hussa The Sixth Sense Seeming patient he thinks of Spring says only 54 days 'til feed watches the weight of snow push his fence posts deeper into the black peat squints at the curtain of icy clouds listen, smell, taste, livestock
26135 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 35 Linda Hussa Between Morning And The Desert It comes forward as desire unnamed. The aspen angles toward its light. Camp stirs in ashes to ember ember to flicker of fire. Music of the pot swings with coffee paws, horses, sun, gold
26136 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 37 Linda Hussa In The Yellow Hills Horned toad hiding beneath a swag of dusty sage Your eyes of mirror say they're not there at all armor plated softly, the prickles on your skin will bend against the softest sigh of wind. rock, shell, sand, frosty
26137 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 41 Linda Hussa Dark Night In a night of no moon a voice shrieks wildly Never have I heard such a sound. It is startling in its quantity of pain The echo is as grave. The horses run, then whirl. helpless, empty, tremble, reply, heart
26138 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 42 Linda Hussa There Is A Bend In The River - a cove against rocks that once flowed hot and free as water. The old house burned but the windmill stands by the willow. A dozen voices used to turn the windmill. children, laughter, dream, stones
26139 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 43 Linda Hussa Dat So La Lee Stepping through a willow patch long stems comb the sky slender brown fingers touch slender red stems. The air in a simple phrase holds her upon the earth where her people gather. antelope, reed, power, harvest, Washoe mater basket maker
26140 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 44 Linda Hussa Bone Hunter I walk the desert salt brush, rabbit brush, sage, bitterroot, greasewood, rye upland into hunched hills, easy walking over chipping ground of recent wandering people, desert, lonely, guts, blood, broken
26141 Ride The Silence FC 11 H-58 45 Linda Hussa How Tom Became A cowboy He looked at me decided to tell the truth not that old story he pretended was true. My folks died when I was four. I was sent to live with an uncle and aunt in Canada. train, saddle, dog, toilet