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Bethell, Washington
About Clark Crouch
Clark Crouch's web site
Clark Crouch's blog



The Last Cowboy

Inspired a bit by Badger Clark who I met and became somewhat acquainted with in 1941. He was a quiet, friendly man who read his poetry beautifully and I shall never forget his personal reading of "The Glory Trail."

The Last Cowboy

Old Cliff, the last true cowboy,
snorted in disgust
and turned his head away
as a chopper stirred the dust.

The herd was getting restless
and suddenly broke away
heading toward the distant hills
outdistancing Cliff's old bay.

So Cliff, his lasso in hand,
gave a dying cowboy's whoop
and racing toward the chopper
he shook out a giant loop.

Whirling it over his head,
he prayed that he would not fail
as he cast it through the air
to catch the chopper by the tail.

He took off then a'riding,
pulling the chopper close behind
galloping into the hills
to a place no one would find.

He still races through those hills...
Old Cliff, a lonely cowboy;
he's dragging that old chopper
that he's trying to destroy

You can still hear him whooping
as he wanders to and fro...
Old Cliff, that lonely cowboy,
he is the last you know.

© 2003, Clark Crouch
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


New York

Never saw so many lights
as gleam in New York City.
So light you can't see the stars
and I think that's a pity.

Folks there live in concrete hills
that hide away the sky
and there are no live critters
at least none that I could spy.

There's hookers on the corners
and bars along the way
and I think it'd be better
if we cowboys had a say.

There'd be room to park a horse.
There'd be cattle in the park.
Lights'd be turned out at night
to let stars light up the dark.

Folks would pause to say "howdy"
and stop their needless rush.
They'd take time to set a while
and ignore the traffic's crush.

There'd be some new songs sung
with words fit to repeat
and you could hear those words
above the music's beat.

There'd be a big barbeque
once a week or so
to feed the homeless people
who have no where to go.

We'd put up bunkhouses
where girly shows exist
so folks could live in peace
and be able to subsist.

Oh, it'd be a better city
if cowboys had their say.
Folks would be much happier
and much less apt to stray.

But cowboys don't have a say
and I reckon things won't change
so I came back to the west
where things are not so strange.

© 2003, Clark Crouch
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Clark says: "I visited New York a time or two and I just plum got lost among those high rises. I was blinded by the lights on Broadway and Times Square, intrigued by the folks hanging around on street corners in the evening, and appalled by the conditions of the homeless around Union Station. A daily visit to a hansom cab stand offered a bit of sanctuary and a glimpse of horseflesh for this westerner who was really out of his realm. Thinking on such things as
these resulted in this poem on how to cure the ills of a big city. No offense intended for easterners...they probably have some equally strange ideas about civilizing the West.

Duck Tape

Everywhere now days
I hear about duck tape
and fancy things you can do
to keep everything in shape.

Now I ain't seen duck tape
but I'm willing to learn
so I talked to my friends
about my concern.

I was rightly interested
and I set about to see
about this duck tape stuff
and what it could do fer me.

Well, we herded up some ducks
fer our inspections
and we looked 'em over
to make duck tape selections.

Them ducks quacked like crazy
as we checked 'em fer duck tape
and feathers was a flying
as they waddled to escape.

We never found a trace
as we searched among that flock
and we was tired punchers
when it came six'o'clock.

We looked tarred and feathered,
covered with duck dung and down,
and we could hardly wait
to clean up and get to town.

We concluded then and there
that duck tape does not exist
and it was an eastern myth
of the sort we should resist.

Bailing wire will work just fine,
'cause of duck tape there's no trace,
and we'll keep using wire
to fix stuff around our place.

© 2004, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark says: The poem was written because I got intrigued about how duct tape is intruding on our society. The stuff, originally in a metallic silver color,
now comes in white and we can surely expect decorator colors at some point
in the future. Being the rebels that we are, we are resisting the intrusion
and plan to stick to bailing wire for most repair jobs.


Calving Season

March is an unwelcome month...
it ain't harbingering Spring
and Winter's still a lingering
ready for one last fling.

The cattle still need feeding
and the hay supply is low
while the month of March gears up
and the winds begin to blow.

Calving season has begun
and there is need for tending
the new little critters
before the Winter's ending.

It's an every year happening
as calving season starts
and it's a mighty cold task
just afore winter departs.

But I reckon it's worth it,
being part of creation
helping new lives to emerge
after months of gestation.

So we'll hunker down
and wait for April's rain
just anticipating May
when the flowers bloom again.

© 2004, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



It's said that St. Helena,
in the Fourth Century A.D.,
found remnants of the cross
and Crouchmas came to be.

For fifteen centuries
on every May the third
Crouchmas was celebrated
and the Mass was heard.

But in nineteen-sixty-nine
the holiday was dropped,
no longer celebrated,
and the Mass was stopped.

But in Scandinavia
Crouchmas is still observed,
although as a holiday,
it has not been preserved.

It's when they let the bull in
to entertain the cow...
it's an age-old custom,
still observed and practiced now.

It's a way of controlling
that calving will occur
in the very early Spring
which cattlemen prefer.

The logic makes good sense
and the holiday's worth having
so we celebrate Crouchmas
to manage our herd's calving.

© 2004, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark says: Crouchmas really was a Church Holy Day which was celebrated on May 3rd from 400 A.D. until it was removed from the Church Calendar in 1969. The name "Crouch" is Old English for "Cross"...thus, it was a celebration of the Cross. The event is still observed in some Scandinavian Countries.

When we became aware of it, my family adopted it as a secular holiday and sent greetings to our friends. One friend thought it was a great idea and said, "Wow, I'm going to start a Smithmas holiday!"


Roscoe's Problem

Roscoe was our neighbor.
He didn't seem none too bright...
he'd struggle with a concept
all day and through the night.

One day he had a question,
which maybe weren't too smart.
The problem was exactly
how to tell two calves apart.

Roscoe puzzled over that
and scratched his head all day.
There had to be an answer...
there had to be a way.

Finally, he measured them calves
and concluded then and there
that one calf was taller,
not much, but just a hair.

So Roscoe tagged their ears
and, when that task was done,
he could tell at a glance
the black calf from the red one.

© 2004, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark says:  In the late 1920's and early 1930's, we didn't have much out in rural Nebraska but we did have a phonograph and a few records. I recall some of those recordings, particularly a few by George Moran and Charles Mack whose humor and story-telling abilities inspired this poem.


The Guardian

It was a lonely hilltop
where the prairie grasses played,
tossed by the winds of summer
and barren of any shade.

From that grand promontory
one could see a distant home
rising from the prairie sod
and the land where cattle roam.

To the west the land stretched on...
waves of grass, a moving sea,
splashing on a sandy shore
too distant for man to see.

The river, off to the south,
shrunken from the springtime flood
with waters now running blue,
and no longer filled with mud.

But that view was overcome
by a mound of new-turned soil
and a wee fist of daisies
that marked a poor digger's toil.

Guarding that lonely hilltop
a small home-made cross now stands,
marking one more sacrifice
to hardship on prairie lands.

The sod home seemed empty then
but the rancher toiled on,
glancing very frequently
t'ward the place his love'd gone.

© 2005, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark says about this poem: It was inspired by a tiny, lonely cross on a hill  overlooking a deserted, crumbling old sod house in the Sandhills of Nebraska in the early 1930's. It was, in my view, a tribute to the strong will and tenacity of those who moved west and settled there despite the hardships that faced them. My family was among  them, having moved to that area in the 1880's.


Out 'n Back

You ride out on a crisp morning
toward sunrise in the east
then back t'ward sunset that evening...
both do give your eyes a feast.

For the life of me I don't know
which view is truly the best...
is it t'ward the prairie sunrise
or t'ward sunset in the west?

Each day when that old sun comes up
and lights up the sky so well
ain't like nowhere else in the world
'least as far as I can tell.

But, as you turn to go back home
at the ending of the day
and face that grand western sunset,
it is difficult to say.

I reckon I'll procrastinate,
and refuse to choose between,
'cause both of these western vistas
are the best I've ever seen.

© 2005, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

This poem was inspired by Kent Rollins' photo "Ridin' Out," which was our 2005 Cowboy Poetry Week poster and a previous Art Spur subject.


Cowboy Poet

A cowboy in jodhpurs and English riding boots!
What's the west coming to? This cowboy's lost his roots!

But we soon forgot the cowboy's indiscretions
as he read to us, sharing western obsessions.

We sat there entranced as we rode "The Glory Trail,"
way high up the Mogollons, as he told the tale.

We smelled the "Bacon," greasy and smokey as sin,
as he rendered it, just sharing where he had been.

To "God of the Open," bowed our heads a moment
in simple understanding of just what he meant.

A quiet man, he seemed much taller than he was
and he would smile shyly to well-deserved applause.

Badger Clark, the poet, defying convention;
he was a cowboy, a man without pretension.

© 2005, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark told us he first met Badger Clark when he was a boy. "Hearing him recite caused me to know and love western and cowboy poetry and I wrote my first poem in 1941 shortly after first meeting him. Then, years later when I was 73, it was the memory of that meeting which inspired me to capture my own cowboy experiences in poetic form. 

You can read more and see a photo of Badger Clark on Clark Crouch's weblog, along with the poem Clark Crouch wrote in 1941, Cowboys (and a photo of that poem), at the age of 12 for the Blaine County Nebraska Fair. 


Cowboy Church

I reckon there's a touch of faith
within the heart of each of us
just waiting to be called upon
without great religous fuss.

Cowboy church is like no other
'cause nobody preaches at you
and it doesn't require walls.
In fact, it's needs are very few,

I don't need no stained glass windows
or any cushion-padded pew
to appreciate what life brings
and the wond'rous things God can do.

It don't matter if it's inside
or just atop some prairie hill,
I have enjoyed attending there
and I reckon I always will.

'Cause I truly leave cowboy church
feeling free and better inside
for having had that experience
and I feel some personal pride.

My spirit has been uplifted
by all the songs and poetry...
I've a kinship with those present
and my inner self is set free.

It's truly a great tradition
to gather this way with my friends,
my mind reaching outside myself
for answers to what life portends.

© 2005, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Clark told us: My own experience with Cowboy Church (although we didn't call it that at the time) was in "isolation" way back in the 1930's and '40's in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Very often folks couldn't drive forty or fifty miles to attend a regular church so a few neighbors would get together now and then for some music and sometimes testimonials. We even had a very articulate neighbor, Billy Lovelace, who shared his prose and poetry from time to time before he headed off to Hawaii to help rebuild Pearl Harbor.


Ridin' Home

The cowboy paused for a while
right at the crest of the hill
enjoyin' the sights below,
quiet in the morning chill.

His mem'ries came floodin' back
of his adventures in life,
people and places he'd known...
wonderful, despite some strife.

Now, he saw the flush of green
brought by spring, coverin' the land,
and the flowers growin' there,
colored blooms on every hand.

In the early mornin' silence,
he heard a cock pheasant crow,
the twitter of unseen birds,
then smilin', he turned to go.

T'ward the west a thin trail led
and he rode along that way,
still enjoyin' all the sights
of the early prairie day.

Then he saw in the distance
the place he was headed for
and he speeded up the pace
as he saw the cabin door.

He had left a lot of friends
to ride on this lonely trail
and now he was nearly there
to that cabin in the vale.

It'd been a long long ride
since he'd started out to roam...
his journey nearly ended,
this cowboy was ridin' home.

© 2006, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Clark told us about the inspiration for this poem: It was written and recited in response to a request to provide a poem for a Springtime memorial service honoring nearly 300 retired federal employees who died during 2005 in the State of Washington. Interestingly, I hadn't noticed that I never mentioned the cowboy was riding a horse on his journey home. That came to my attention when a Harley-Davidson Owner's Group in Connecticut later asked permission to use the poem...their vision was a modern cowboy riding a Harley. I liked that...a bit of the past made relevant to the realities of today!


Images of Evening

In the swirling shadows of dusk
I see our lodges once more...
misty images of evening
along the Missouri shore.

Our voices, whispers in the wind,
lost in the stillness of night,
are heard no more in the village...
our braves no longer recite.

Their plaintive chants just disappear,
silenced by the river's rush,
and the laughter of our children
is lost in the evening's hush.

I once hoed our fields of corn
and sang songs to help it grow.
the golden maize to store away
to eat in the time of snow.

Someone else now raises the maize
and no one sings to the corn...
like our lodge, the songs are long gone
and our people do still mourn.

Now, all the visions of evening
slip away into the dusk
leaving our lives much like the corn...
we are left with just the husk.

I know that I've seen but shadows
and heard just the river's roar
remembering my ancestors...
our way of life is no more.

© 2006, Clark Crouch 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark told us that this poem "was inspired by the words of  Waheenee-wea (Buffalo Bird Woman), a Hidatsa woman of the upper Missouri River, who was born in 1839 and died in 1932. Her story is on the web here. The poem was also influenced somewhat by the stories told to me by a chief of the Lakota Sioux at an Indian encampment at the Custer County Nebraska fair in 1931."




Russell’s West

Charles Russell was much admired
for all his artistic works
and what he did best
was depict the west
showing life and all it’s quirks.

It was to this he aspired,
and did it to perfection;
he brought it to life...
the peace and the strife...
with obvious affection.

Truly his work was inspired
from bronzes to oils galore,
capturing life here
in works without peer
in art that all could adore.

Charlie’s gone now, he’s retired,
to a spot we’ll go some day,
but his heart’s still here
where skies are so clear...
it seems he’s not gone away.

© 2007, Clark Crouch, from Western Images 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Clark comments, "I reckon all of us have a great respect for Charles M. Russell (1864 - 1926)...a poet, painter, sculptor, and enthusiast...whose works are still as real and vibrant as when he created them to reveal his beloved west. Beyond my appreciation of the artist himself, I've a great interest in the complexities of rhyme and rhythm; hence, this poem celebrating the life of the artist while exploring the poetic form."


Read Clark Crouch's

Lost Love in our Art Spur project


On the Other Side in our Art Spur project


Five Senses in our Art Spur project


Alice in our Art Spur project


Journey's End in our 2007 Christmas Art Spur


Christmas Blew In in our Art Spur project


Christmas Wish with other 2006 Christmas poems


Headin' Home in our Art Spur project


Christmas of '05 with other 2005 Christmas poems

A Christmas Tale in our Art Spur Project


Guitar Player in our Art Spur Project


Lyrical Ponderings in our Art Spur Project


Santa's Brand in our Art Spur project


A Prairie Christmas posted with Holiday 2004 poems


Christmas on the Prairie posted with Holiday 2003 poems.


About Clark Crouch:

Clark Crouch was born in a farm house in rural Nebraska in 1928 and his life and attitudes were shaped by drought and The Great Depression. His interest in western poetry is the result of a 1941 acquaintance with Badger Clark, then Poet Laureate of South Dakota, and hearing the poet personally read his poems.

That poetic interest has culminated in the publication of two books of poetry, both of which contain some freeform pioneer/western verse:

Voices of the Wind: a poetic journal of life, attitude and remembrance, Writer's Club Press, 2002; and Reflections: a second poetic journal of life, attitude and remembrance, iUniverse, 2003

Most of his youth was spent in the ranch country in the Sandhills of Nebraska. He and his parents lived for a time on a ranch occupying a one room sod house which was about twenty feet square with an earthen floor and a sod roof. Cheesecloth strung beneath the roof caught falling dirt and insects and sheets strung on wires provided partitions for two rudimentary bedrooms. The amenities were strictly mid-19th Century.

He attended a succession of rural, one-room schools walking or riding his pony as much as five miles morning and evening. Employed as a ranch hand during the summers from the time he was twelve until he was nearly eighteen, he worked his way through high school, supplementing his summer income by working at various times as a retail clerk, telephone operator, janitor, and truck driver.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps toward the end of World War II and in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict. He was employed by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and it's successor organizations for 32 years before retiring to become a strategic planning consultant in 1978. His planning resources are in use around the world.

He is married and has two adult children and three grandchildren.

From a January, 2007 media release from the Washington Poets Association:  

Cowboy Poet to be Featured

Clark Crouch, a western and cowboy poet of Richland, Washington and former Richland City Councilmember, has been selected to be one of three featured poets for the "Cascade Stage" at the Burning Word Festival sponsored by the Washington Poets Association on Whidbey Island on April 28. He is the first cowboy poet to be selected for that honor. For more information on this exciting poetry festival go to

Crouch worked his way through school in Nebraska as a cowboy from the age of twelve until he was nearly eighteen and became interested in cowboy poetry through a 1940's acquaintance with Badger Clark, then Poet Laureate of South Dakota. He wrote his first poem in 1941 and five years ago, after a hiatus of sixty-five years, began writing again as a result of meeting Sherman Alexie, a Native American poet and novelist of Seattle.

He has produced four books, a CD, and lyrics for two western songs. Selected poems are syndicated to some fifty regional editions of /The Country Register/, an antiques and crafts tabloid. His work also appears on numerous web sites, including, the premier cowboy poetry site on the internet, and his own site at

He has performed at cowboy gatherings, county fairs, retirement homes, and community events throughout the Northwest. These included: Legends of Country Tours in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; Kamloops Cowboy Festival, British Columbia; Tumbleweed Festival, Richland,, WA; Senior Association, Torrington, WY; Columbia River Cowboy Gathering, Kennewick, WA; Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering, Ellensburg, WA; Gapsody, Union Gap, WA; Jefferson County Fair, Port Townsend, WA; Clatsop County Fair, Astoria, OR; and Benton Franklin County Fair, Kennewick, WA.



From the publisher, October 2010:

Western Poetry Publications (an imprint of The Resource Network) of Bothell, Washington, has released a new book, Harkin’ Home (ISBN 978-0-9624438-8-6), by Clark Crouch, the author of eight books of poetry and a two-time winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for his cowboy poetry books: Western Images (2008) and Views from the Saddle (2010). The new book, which is distributed by Ingram Book Company, contains fifty poems and six short stories and is available on order through any bookseller.

The book's foreword is by Brian Crane, creator of the Pickles comic strip. Pickles occasionally portrays a character, Earl, an aspiring cowboy poet. Find the widely syndicated strip here.



From the publisher, April 28, 2009:

Western Poetry Publications has just released a new book, Views from the Saddle, by Clark Crouch, a cowboy poet and performing artist of Bothell, Washington. The book, the prize-winning author’s fourth, contains 65 original poems. It captures moments from both the past and present from the perspective of one whose viewpoints, biases, and philosophies were shaped by the Great Depression and years of drought in the Sandhills of Nebraska plus his experience as youthful cowboy in the 1930s and 1940s.

Crouch’s last book, Western Images, won the 2008 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Cowboy poetry and was listed as one of 2008’s top five cowboy poetry books by the Western Music Association. His poetry has also appeared in Thirteenth (an awards chapbook published by Allied Arts of the Yakima Valley), Open Range Magazine, and The Country Register as well as on numerous literary and western websites. He has performed throughout the Northwest at county fairs, community events, cowboy gatherings, retirement homes, and in a variety of other venues.

The new book’s foreword was authored by Richard Slatta, a professor of history at North Carolina State University. His publications include: Cowboy: The Illustrated History, The Mythical West, and The Cowboy Encyclopedia. His work has won awards from the American Library Association, Library Journal, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration. A westerner by heart, he attended high school in Hillsboro, OR; received a BA in history from Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, WA; and a MA in history from Portland State before moving on.

Views from the Saddle is currently available through local and internet booksellers as are his earlier cowboy poetry books: Where Horses Reign (2004); Sun, Sand & Soapweed (2005); and Western Images (2007).

ISBN: 978-0-9624438-6-2


Recipient of the 2008 Will Rogers Medallion Award

Western Images (ISBN 0-9624438-5-9), a book of western and cowboy poetry by Clark Crouch, was published in June, 2007 by Western Poetry Publications (an imprint of The Resource Network). The 120-page paperback has a suggested list price of $11.95. The book is available through any bookseller, including Amazon.

From the publisher:

As in his other two books, Where Horses Reign and Sun, Sand & Soapweed, his poems are reality-based but he has not hesitated to exercise the cowboy’s propensity to embellish the truth as he captures glimpses of both the humorous and serious aspects of life in the west.

He was featured at the 2007 Burning Word Festival sponsored by the Washington Poets Association and one of his poems, "Goose Creek," which is in the new book, recently won an honorable mention in a juried  contest sponsored by the Allied Arts of Yakima Valley in Washington.

Clark, who lives in Richland, Washington was born on a farm in rural Nebraska and his viewpoints, biases, and philosophies were shaped by drought, the Great Depression, and his experience as a cowboy in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Selected poetry is also published on and syndicated to some fifty regional editions of The Country Register, an antiques and crafts tabloid published in Canada and the U.S. Two earlier books, both free form poetry, are Voices of the Wind and Reflections published by iUniverse.

His three cowboy poetry books are available at a list price of $11.95 each from local and internet booksellers through their standard distribution sources (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Bertrams, Gardners, etc.).




Sun, Sand & Soapweed (ISBN: 0-9624438-3-2), a book of western and cowboy poetry, was published in August, 2005 on Clark's 77th birthday by Western Poetry Publications (an imprint of The Resource Network). The 128-page paperback contains 63 poems and has a suggested list price of $11.95. It is available to booksellers through Ingram Book Company, a wholesale distributor. The book, Clark's fourth since he started writing western and cowboy poetry in 2002, includes seven poems published here at CowboyPoetry.Com: "Calving Season," "Crouchmas," "Lyrical Ponderings," "Out 'n Back," "A Prairie Christmas,"  "Roscoe's Problem," and "Santa's Brand."

Where Horses Reign contains Clark Crouch's Western and Cowboy poems. You can learn more about it at his web site.  It's available from Western Poetry Publications, 23708 Locust Way Unit 19A, Bothell, WA 98021-9269 for $11.95 USD plus $2.50 postage anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. 


Where Horses Reign and other original poems features Clark Crouch's recitation of 35 original western and cowboy poems. 


1. Where Horses Reign
  2. The Guardian
  3. Biological Questions
  4. Brahma Bull
  5. Catalogs
  6. Cowboy's Color Box
  7. Cowboy's Teddy Bear
  8. Duck Tape
  9. Gender Problem
  10. Getting in a Stew
  11. Honorarium
  12. Last Cowboy
  13. Ma's New Car
  14. Ma's Suggestion
  15. Magic Show
  16. New York City
  17. No Real Cowboys
  18. Old Timer's Prayer
  19. One Man's Junk
  20. Our Flag
  21. Our Weatherman
  22. Poker Player's Game
  23. Retired Cowboy's Herd
  24. Roscoe's Problem
  25. Sing It True
  26. 'Taters
  27. Tom and the Devil
  28. Tom's Long Johns
  29. Trek from Texas
  30. Walls
  31. Willie Stole My Gal
  32. Antique Boots
  33. Patching Tires
  34. Stormed In
  35. Time to be Thankful

Others involved in the production are: Zac Grooms, Guitar; Ed Dailey, Sound; and Ediger Media, Production. Hear a sample poem, "Catalogs," from a link on Clark Crouch's weblog at  

Where Horses Reign and other original poems is available for $8.50 postpaid to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada  from Western Poetry Publications, 23708 Locust Way Unit 19A, Bothell, WA 98021-9269 or through PayPal []



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