CowboyPoetry.com    Cowboy Poetry and Music and More at the BAR-D Ranch 

JOHN TEMVIK McCLUSKY
 

 

 

Last Call

I do not wish to be kept,
in a coffin or a can.
I do not wish to be separated,
  from the touch of the earth's sweet hand.

So cut the sod and sow me in,
by two drawn sorrel steeds.
Then let them trample loose afoot,
their hooves upon my seed.

Nary a sound the wind will catch,
but the snorting beasts of burden.
Nary a tear the beast will shed,
for it feels no friendly burden.

But trample on oh faithful beast,
your hooves cutting true and deep.
Pack me in and pack me down,
till none can reveal my sleep.

Yes, true and deep your hooves did cut,
but the marks upon the earth soon vanish.
The winds blown clear like the life so near,
the dust of the man soon vanished.

The soul moves on in a speedy haste,
like the wind off a soaring eagles wings.
Its confines now gone the body now waste,
Its freedom is now... and it sings.

2004, John Temvik McClusky
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


John told us how he came to write this poem:  I lost a good friend (1990) and a couple of days later, it just came to me in the middle of the night...I got up and never stopped writing... it all came so fast my pen couldn't keep up. That kind of inspiration has eluded me since.

I'm originally from Bismarck, North Dakota.  I was coming home from Wibaux, Montana and I was in a car accident (1981). I went to Minneapolis for rehab at Courage Center where I met Russell Clark of Saint Paul (we're both wheelchair bound). We were like Butch and Sundance...Urban mind ya, but, that's how people saw us and called us (sometimes frik n frak). I went home for Christmas in 1990 and when I returned to Minneapolis, I was told he was missing. We looked the whole weekend for him, all our old stomps (except
one) and no luck. We all figured he'd taken off to Stillwater for the weekend like we sometimes did, but, Monday morning his Father, on his way to work, saw his van parked in front of the Cattle Company Bar n Grill. He had fallen while transferring from his wheelchair to the drivers seat and couldn't get back up. It was bitterly cold that January and he was gone in no time.

I spent time in the service and you meet and make friends like Russell...close friends, lifetime friends, and that's where my inspiration came from for the poem.

 

 

Bankers Pay

      The rain it soaks ya to the bone,
      the wind never seems to quit.
      The pain I feel on my backside,
      has got me chompin' at the bit.
      My belly's talkin' back at me,
      Its bellerin' falls on deaf ears.
      As I try and reach inside myself,
      and calm all my worried fears.
      But my flint's too wet to spark,
      a cold and hungry night I see.
      I pray to see another morn',
      and the sun to ease my plea.
      I wondered how I got this way,
      got myself in such a fix.
      It's not for pay or comfort,
      that makes me take my licks.
      The sun did come for another day,
      with the sage grouse at his stage.
      The prairie still rolls forever,
      as the mountains turn the page.
      A steady buck and open prairie,
      big skies to light my way.
      I wouldn't trade it for town hall,
      nor even bankers pay.

      2004, John Temvik McClusky
       This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

      

John told us how he came to write this poem:
 I'm from the upper plains, six generations now and I've heard, seen, and read of many a tough tales in time. Many during my own time and many before my time. Farming and Ranching is a trying and brutal struggle for most, but, I can't help thinking how easy we have it today compared to those days gone by. They pale in comparison to the times of my Grandfathers long ago. There's a story that Great, Great, Granddad told to a youngster from a local school, it was part of her assignment to talk to the older generation from long ago. She was to get a tale or two. GGGranddad was born in 1860 and It was 1937.

In 1884, after working for his Uncle for ten years, a group of them decided to locate farther north from Yankton, South Dakota. He borrowed $100 from his Uncle and shipped his live stock and farm equipment to the end of the line (Frederick). Then the men started westward by horse in search of land. They went as far as the Missouri River, where some located, others turned back. 

GGGranddad filed 15 miles northeast of Eureka, South Dakota, where he erected sod buildings and began breaking up the soil (he marked off his land with a rope, since it had not been surveyed). His live stock and equipment consisted of two horses, a pair of oxen, two cows, some pigs, a plow, wagon and harrow. Part bought on credit. 

The summer of 1884 he planted potatoes and sowed about seven acres of flaxseed. The crops failed to mature, due to late planting and lack of rain. He eked out a living by collecting Bison bones and sold them for ten to twelve dollars a ton in Frederick.

The next year rain was plentiful. The flax yield was 184 bushels and the wheat 200. Threshing machines were conspicuous by their absence and the grain had to be trampled out by the horses hoofs. He recalled, in 1888, the winter was more severe, blizzards lasted 3-4 days. The snowdrifts so high they covered the buildings, hiding them so people drove over them with their ox teams without being conscious of it. They must of seen the light at times, because he maintained his sense of humor. 

He recalled in 1885, while his neighbor's wife was baking bread in the outdoor oven, which was built into the ground. A pair of runaway oxen hitched to a stoneboat, broke through the oven and trampled around on the bread. A new oven and batch of bread had to be made, as well as a round up of stock. They raised nine children.

It's because of this land, and people like GGGranddad and GGGrandmom that loved it enough to stay through hard times, that I wrote this poem.




 

 

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