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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
27492 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 80 DW Groethe Yearlin' Heifers~Part I How they love to go a neighborin', an' seek more scenic bits of range, I think, perhaps, they've joined some kind of herbivore exchange. (no matter)...Every clip had better be in place and hangin' tight and true. Best tap them staples extra good so the girls ain't slippin' through. Their whole reason for existence, til you get that hearlin' bull,
27493 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 81 DW Groethe He Rides a Mellow Gelding Anymore He rides a mellow gelding anymore. A good horse but not as spirited as before. An' that's just fine. 'Cause there comes a time when a fella grows tired of dirt. A taste~full here a face~full there. a back plumb full a'hurt. He figgers heck, he's paid his dues an' one more wreck, well, he'd hate to lose it all the way.
27494 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 85 DW Groethe My Father's Horse It must've been a day for peace an' reverie when my father took his pencil in his hand an' scribed upon his notebook all the horses that he'd had when growin' up in west Dakota land. I can see him sittin', thoughtful, soft smile in his eyes, as the ponies pranced before him, once again. Then he jotted each one down with a slow an' care full hand, sometimes, horses can count right up with kin.
27495 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 87 DW Groethe This Old Post This old post was cut an' cleaned an'carted up the river road when my great granddaddy was barely a shadow of the man my granddad knowed. He was young an' life was free for the takin'. Not free like it is today. No sir.. He drug this cedar, an' most of that line, from many a mile away.
27496 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 89 DW Groethe Tripod Tripod was a coyote, used to hang around the place, we'd run across him ever' now an' then, huntin' though the meadows or just lazin' on the hill that overlooked his buggy coyote den. His near hind leg was crippled, prob'ly shot while on the run, got lucky , dodgin' death by just a hiar.
27497 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 90 DW Groethe One Morning at the gates of Eternity Caw.. I turn my head up. One lonesome crow atop an old ash, still winter shorn in early spring. Caw.. Nice (I'm thinking) to be acknowledged by another species. Caw... Insistent. In cadence (crow cadence). Every few seconds or so a
27498 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 92 DW Groethe My Heart's in Montana This ol' earth's a big piece stretchin' far beyond yonder, filled with cities of millions of folks all around'er. Their lives wallowed deep inside pillars of steel and concrete and land smothered dead with a seal of asphalt and chiprock till it's no longer real..mayhaps real for them but for someone like hear't in Montana where the big rivers meet.
27499 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 94 DW Groethe I Was Here "I was here," said the bones, randomly scattered through the bunchgrass as I crossed to close the far gate. "Remember?...I was a~comin' four. Gave you two good calves. Heifer calves..Remember? It was something I ate, you said, Nails or wire or something. and when you found me it was too late, you said. And you left me here..Remember? I remember.. I was here." said the bones.
27500 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 95 DW Groethe Roughstock Thunder wrapped in hoof hide and hair, a~waitin' the storm rider. A nod, an opening, and like a July squall out of nowhere blows into being a sleek eight seconds. Heart poundin' hell tipping Eternity's edge gone int he breathless blink of a mind's eye gettin' set on the next go.
27501 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 99 DW Groethe Two Cowpokes and a Tamper They came upon a fencepost, a tamper leanin' on it, an' pondered on the world of fencin' arts. "Ev'r worked them things?," the other quipped, "the darn thing's got too many workin' parts."
27502 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 100 DW Groethe Star Cavvy Somewheres along the line, after years of sleepin' out, a~layin, 'lookin' from his soogan bed, he got to seein' patterns, in the way the stars were set, a~studyin' the Heavens l'er head. One outfit to the north, was a big ol' letter M. His first pony'd wore that brand up 'till it died. An' a square, not too far off, was that blockhead roan he'd rode up from Texas..fin'lly swapped its on'ry hide.
27503 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 101 DW Groethe The Night Ol' Flukie Foundered We'd been quaffin' quarts of beers an' exchangin' Christmas cheers, yeehawin 'hoots an' shriekin 'filled the hall. 'Cause in honor of the season, an' fer one another reason, it was time fer Smokey's annual oyster ball. When thru the ol' front door stepped a stranger, limpin' sore.
27504 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 104 DW Groethe The Homesteader From day one, he knew that she, a great, gray granite thrust of a rock, was here to stay. He spent the summer taking team and stoneboat, plucking her brood, delving every inch of the field till it lay clean as wash..excepting that rock. A homesteader, three times the size of his stoneboat. He figured,
27505 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 105 DW Groethe Bittersweet and Ervin Santa seen a lineshack in Montana, far below. Tugged a line 'n turned the team, lightin' softly on the snow. He slipped up to the window an' gandered some inside, seen a cowboy playin' cribbage with his young an' purty bride. Claus checked his list, say, once'er twice, an' found their names, a right, sauntered on back to his sleigh in moonlight shinin' bright.
27506 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 108 DW Groethe When There's Frost Upon the Ponies When there's frost upon the ponies an' snow drift ont he ground, an' that yeller sun comes creepin' through the cedars all around, a feller gets to thinkin' maybe winter ain't so bad, starts shuckin' off the mem'ries
27507 Prairie Song A Meander Of Memory FC 11 G-44 109 DW Groethe Over Yonder They're a diff'ernt sorta breed, them that take to horse an' saddle, restless souls that're mighty prone to wander. Tho' they're grateful to be reachin' trail's end when day is done, they're always itchin' for what's over yonder. Might be it's just a hilltop that they've never seen before, get's 'em wond'rin 'bout what's on the other side.
27508 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 6 Peggy Godfrey Resilience No promises the wind will make unto the tender grasses nor leave a trace or memory nor count the times it passes. In gentle breeze or howling storm passion ebbs and flows resisting not, the grasses bend tremble, sing, and moan.
27509 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 8 Peggy Godfrey Time Honored Ways Folks who ranch on larger scale find my ways antique muscle and time don't have the shine of technologic mystique. My tarctors aren't horsepower heavy they haybine is in its teens my rake wakes the dead as it clatters an' the baler's as worn as my jeans.
27510 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 12 Peggy Godfrey Ditch Fever Water crawls down dry ditches then it seems to explode I learn on my shovel and stand in awe in sensory overload.
27511 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 14 Peggy Godfrey The Vigil of 559 One solitary black baldy stands among the thorny chicos, mooing softly to her white-faced calf whose eye sockets are dark and sightless. No response to the cow's lowing, It lies sprawled and lifeless beneath the chico, mouth agape. Large pressed patches of soft earth show where mama spends the nights. Tracks toward the water hole and back out to the feed grounds and back out the back day after day.
27512 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 16 Peggy Godfrey Country Graft A babe who needs a mama or someone who wants a child you find 'em here in Moffat in happens in the wild. Animal adoption on a ranch is called a graft. There's not a baby shower for the little lamb or calf. For the best in bovine chemistry take a cow whose calf has died, if she hangs around and moos you skin the little hide.
27513 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 19 Peggy Godfrey Roland Everyone was sure Roland was my pa. It never seemed the bond we shared was daughter and father-in-law. Adaptable, inventive his mechanic expertise with Roland for a teacher new skills came with ease. I learn to drive a pick-up truck in mud and snow and slush,
27514 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 24 Peggy Godfrey For Pete I am an eagle with feet trapped in clay I wonder right now if I'll ever fly away. My wings are still strong, I still want to fly my heart has grown weary, frightened to try. I long for the heights where the air is cold I weep for the canyons, their shadows bold. I soared ont he winds my freedom was sweet-
27515 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 26 Peggy Godfrey Real Wealth My neighbors don't live close to me but we've each got our niche government says this area's poor our secret is: we're rich. My wealth won't buy insurance it won't trade in for much but "rich", to me, is measured by things no one can touch. The hint of mint in native hay fresh, sweet mountain air
27516 Write 'Em Cowboy FC 11 G-43 31 Peggy Godfrey Hey Cowboy I may not have your anatomy nor weight the pounds you do but, fella, let me tell ya I'm not in awe of you. Winters are cold to both of us and both our backs get sore old age don't care which sex we are and heifers in labor don't score. The hand that feeds isn't woman or man it's just the hand that's there