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Whar' the hand o' God is seen and other poems online

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In clouds or sunshine,


And Other Poems



(Late Chief of Scouts, U. S. Army)

Roped for relief of the author, the divertisement of

tenderfeet, and the joy of all those who love

God's Great Out-of -Doors



All rights reserved
Copyrighted by Capt. John Wallace Crawford, 1910



Best all 'round friend I ever knew,
Unselfish, unafraid to do,
Clean cut and unassuming, too,

All manly traits possessing
To you, my friend of Auld Lang Syne,
I dedicate this book d 1 mine,
And may you find in ev'ry line

A broncho's love and blessing.

Yours in clouds or sunshine,


It is as natural for Captain Jack Crawford to weave his
inspired thoughts into a fabric of song as it is for the birds
of the Western wilds to warble their glad greetings to the
golden dawn of a summer day. I was his companion his
"pard," as we Westerners describe close friendship for many
years, and it may not be a very great exaggeration to declare
that I never knew a day to pass in which he did not, with
rapidly moving pencil, give outflow to his poetic imaginings
in running rhyme. In the rude cabin in the wilds of the San
Andreas mountains in New Mexico which sheltered us for
many months, in the saddle while on the trail, by the light
of the campfire after a day's hard ride, and sometimes when
apprehended dangers cautioned against the use of a fire which
might attract undesirable attention from native Americans
in gaudy headdress and hideous war paint, with saddle for seat
and buckskin-covered knee for table he would sit in the
bright light of the Southwestern moon and write, and write,
and write until I sometimes thought that versification was in
his case an uncontrollable mania. The pad of paper and the
pencil were regarded by him as being as necessary in the saddle
pocket as the hardtack and jerked meat which usually con-
stituted the scouting menu when on the trail.

While in the West, his songs were all of the West. He
saw poetry in everything from the awe-inspiring grandeur of
the mountains to the sneaking coyotes which sang us to
sleep at night from their perch on a distant sandhill, but since
he drifted Eastward and came into touch with civilization


he has tuned his poetic lyre in a different key and writes of
more commonplace things.

His first book of verse was printed many years ago and was
wholly made up of Western song. Such copies as are yet
in existence are preserved as valued mementoes by many of
his friends and companions who knew him in border life.
The present volume embodies a few of his earlier wildland
efforts interspersed among poems of varied character.

The literary polish which characterizes the work of the
great poets will not be found in the productions of this pictur-
esque son of the Borderland, but tender, soulful touches of
human nature crop out in every verse. He never sat as a boy
beneath the watchful eye of the old-time schoolmaster in
vogue in the days of his boyhood who stood as a tyrant be-
fore his tousle-headed flock with a dog-eared book in one
hand and a corrective hickory rod in the other. What edu-
cation he possesses was picked up in the wild school of
Nature and through association with army officers and their
wives at the several frontier military posts at which he was
stationed while in the government scouting service. Before
learning to read after returning from active service at the
front in the great Civil War, the page of a printed book was
to him but a jumble of unmeaning black characters massed upon
white paper. To use a homely colloquialism, he did not
"know B from a bull's foot" until taught the alphabet by a
Sister of Charity when, near the close of the War, he lay
upon a hospital cot suffering from a gunshot wound received in
battle. Considering all of this, the work between the covers
of this volume must appeal to the educated reader as being
truly remarkable.

With these simple words of introduction the drippings from
his poetic pen are passed up to the" reader.

Denver, Colorado. JAMES BARTON ADAMS.



. . PAGE

A Bit of Doggerel 15

A Broncho's Philosophy .

A Comrade's Foreword 3

A Cure for Insomnia 90

A Happy Hit .... .... 142

A Memory 36

A Message from the Dead . . . 32

An Old Trapper's Religion . 122

A Plea to the Boys 22

A Tribute to Old Glory 15

A Tribute to My Old Pard, "Tom" Walsh 52

A Tribute to Father Judge 48

At the Mission Door 28

A Sunshine Boomerang 29

A Sermon to Myself 38

A Scout's Greeting . 62

A Yuletide Bouquet 42

Bet Your Last Dollar on It 44

Broncho vs. Bicycle 104

Burns' Anniversary 73

Camp Fire Sparks 64

Come Back, Papa 89

Dedication 2

Decoration Day 146

Does it Pay? 39

Dot Little Crippled Boy Vot Died 98

Emblematic 72

Faith 82

God's Anteroom 18

Greeting 31

Heard in the Cane Brake 93

Howdy, Teddy? Howdy Do? 60

Hymn of Nature's Creed 13

If I But Could 57

If You Should Die Tonight 30

In Donegal 92

Inspiration 11

It Doesn't Pay 14

I've Got the Brand 49

Jim's Letter 136

Kit Carson 27

Lines to L. L 33

Memorial Day 144

Mother's Prayers 26

Mother's Way 16

My Little New Log Cabin in the Hills 86

Nora Lee 80

Not a Sin to Lie That Way . 134

" Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep " 79


Ol' Bill Reynolds's 'Dopted Boy . 112

Our Roosevelt 66

Our Martyred Dead 145

Rattlin' Toe's Prayer 118

Resigned 83

Sanctimon'yus Ike 116

Saviour of My Soul 75

Serenade in the Hills .78

Sleep, Soldier, Sleep 139

Some Bronco Philosophy 25

Sunshine 34

Thanksgiving 17

Thar' Was Jim 108

The Broncho 10

The Elk and His Mission 43

The Gallant Seventy-Ninth 140

The Gray and the Blue in Domestic Life 149

The Harvest 24

The Heavenly Telephone .'.... 88

The Irish Lover 87

The Keystone of the Union 84

The Last Roll Call 117

The Man with the Pick and the Drill 68

The Mountain Boy's Letter 56

The Music of Life 76

The Old Kentucky Rifle 100

The Optimistic Warbler 91

The Reporter 40

The Scout's Retreat 30

The Shadow of a Curse 20

The Songs Unsung 12

The Sunshine Trail 47

The True Story of Marching Through Georgia . . . .125

The Veteran and His Grandson 126

The Womanhood of Man 1 10

Thirty Years Ago 94

This Ain't Poetry It's God's Truth 46

To Andrew Carnegie 61

To Mark Twain 67

To Miriam 67

To Mrs. Kate Brownlee Sherwood 70

To My Book 41

To My Winchester 54

To One of God's Queens 59

To the Daughter of General John B. Gorden .... 50

What Do I Know? 9

Whar' the Hand o' God Is Seen 7

When Bill Come Home 131

Who the Heroes Were 103

Woman's Influence 65


Do I like the city, stranger? Tisn't likely that I would ;
Tisn't likely that a ranger from the border ever could
Git accustomed to the flurry an' the loud unearthly


Everybody in a hurry, men an' wimmin, gals an' boys,
All a rushin' like the nation 'mid the rumble an' the jar,
Jes' as if their souls' salvation hung upon their gittin'


Like it? No. I love to wander
'Mid the vales an' mountains green,

In the border land out yonder,
Whar' the hand o' God is seen.

Nothin' here but bricks an* mortar, towerin' overhead

so high

That you never see a quarter o' the overhangin' sky,
Not a tree or grassy medder, not a runnin' brook in

Nothin' but the buildins' shadder makin' gloom of

Heaven's light.
E'en the birds are all imported from away acrost the

Faces meet me all distorted with the hand of misery.

Like it? No. I love to wander
'Mid the vales an' mountains green,

In the border land out yonder,
Whar' the hand o' God is seen.


.ii 1 railroad trains above you, streets by workmen

all' defaced,
Everybody tryin' to shove you in the gutter in their

Cars an' carts an' wagons rumblin' through the streets

with deafen'n' roar,
Drivers yellin', swearin', grumblin', jes' like imps from

Sheol's shore;
Factories jinin' in the chorus, helpin' 'long the din to


Auctioneers in tones sonorous, lying 'bout the goods
they sell.
Like it? No. I love to wander

'Mid the vales an' mountains green,
In the border land out yonder,

Whar' the hand o' God is seen.
Yes, I love the Western border ; pine trees wavin* in the


Rocks piled up in rough disorder, birds a-singin' every-
where ;
Deer a playin' in their gladness, elks a feedin' in the

Not a trace o' pain or sadness campin' on the trail o'

Brooks o' crystal clearness flowin' o'er the rocks, an'

lovely flowers

In their tinted beauty growin' in the mountain dells an'
Fairer picture the Creator

Never threw on earthly screen,
Than this lovely home o' Natur'
Whar the hand o' God is seen.



("What do you know, Captain Jack?" asked an editor. In
ten minutes Captain Crawfofd handed him the following
poem) :

What do I know? Poor little me,
I need a microscope to see
What I do know ;

The overflow

Of nature's riches, all aglow
And sparkling with the stars and dew;
I only know beyond the blue
I cannot see.

Poor little me.

What do I know ? I know but this :
I know my ignorance is bliss
Most wisely planned.

I understand

That tow'ring pines and mountains grand
Are dear and beautiful to me;
Beyond their peaks I cannot see,
But God is there,

And everywhere,
And this is good enough for me.



I am saddest when I'm gladdest

And I'm gladdest when I'm sad;
I am maddest when I'm baddest,

And I'm baddest when I'm mad.
But my sadness and my badness

With my madness all combine,
Just to fertilize the gladness

In this broncho soul of mine.

I would rather be a broncho

With a lightnin' disposition,
Than a goody goody smooth one,

Who for suckers goes a-fishin'.
For the broncho shows his colors

An' he reaches out behind him,
An' you know just what's a comin'

When you undertake to bind him.

He is not a goin' to stand for

To be roped an' throw'd an' bottled,
To be bridled, cinched an' saddled,

An* unmercifully throttled;
An' he'll buck and kick like blazes

Just for all that there is to him,
You may break his heart and kill him,

But you never can subdue him.

What's the reason, do you ask me?

Ask the chump as does the ropin'.
He'll admit a pound of sugar's

.Worth a hundred pounds of dopin'.


An' it's well the broncho knows it,
An' resents it when you bleed him ;

But with smiles an' lumps of sugar
Why, a little child can lead him.


I scale imagination's dreamy heights
And soar away beyond all earthly sights
And seek at Nature's best such nourishment
As only comes with harmonies so blent
With vision, that in childhood's fairyland
Were touched by magic of an unseen hand.

Thus seeing the unseen, imbibing more
Than ever was contained in richest store
Of literature, of poetry, or art,
\Vhere mechanism forms the greater part
While Mother Nature hides within her breast
The flaming torch of truth and with it best
Of inspirations, pure and undented;
I felt her touch when I was yet a child.

I dreamed the same sweet dream I'm dreaming now
And sometimes plucked a pansy from her brow,
'Tansies for thoughts," as sweet Ophelia said,
And through sweet phantom thoughts my dreams were


I wove it in a wreath of simple rhyme
And placed it on the brow of Father Time,



Oh, I wish I could sing

The real songs that oft spring

From the musical depths of my soul ;

There's a symphony there,

With a melody rare,

Sweetest harmony blending the whole.

Like a psean it seems

As it thrills through my dreams,

When the harp of my soul starts to play,

But the instant I sing,

Like a bird on the wing,

It trembles and flutters away.

Oh, I wish I could sing,

When the bells start to ring

The chimes that come soft through the air ;

When the birds and the bees

Hum and sing in the breeze

And sweet life surges through, everywhere.

In the breeze as it floats,
I can hear the true notes,
To catch them I eagerly try;
Then I hum it again
Till the sweet minor strain
Is turned to a tear or a sigh.



There's a glint of glory gleaming,

There's a flag of love outstreaming

O'er the stronghold of the ramparts of your soul;

There's a flag of truce uplifting,

Clouds of care are passing drifting,

There's a haven where the troubled waters roll

Cheer up and be glad,

Let the dead past be sad,

All hail the bright sunbeams today;

In your soul there's a light

That will burn through the night,

And drive all the dark clouds away.

There's a wondrous depth of feeling

We are wrongfully concealing;

Can't you feel it in the thrilling of your soul?

What you need is reconstruction

And a roborant eruption

Of the glory you are striving to control.

Mother Nature's hand is reaching
You can hear her voice beseeching
That you, her child, will but her laws obey.
If you're man enough to face her,
Don't abuse her but embrace her,

She will heal your wounds and make your heartstrings



"What's gone and what's past help, should be past grief."

Shak esp eare.

We should thank the bard of Avon for this truthful

sentiment ;

His wisdom, his philosophy, with sunny humor blent
Have conquered many a sorrow made light of many

a care,
And turned the gloom of worriment to sunlight clear

and fair.

I love to steal his thunder, when it rumbles in my soul ;
The flashes of his lightning oft light me to my goal.
And thus, while I reflect him, in my simple, rustic ways,
Some rustic folks may read him, who could never read
his plays.

Because their understanding, undeveloped, cannot grasp
What their souls may drink with pleasure, if I open up

the clasp

In a simple transformation or a rustic bas-relief.
"What's past and can't be mended should, indeed, be

past all grief."

So I ask of you, my brother, or my comrade, does it pay
To cloud your splendid intellect with what has passed


To dwarf the possibility of reaching yonder goal
To handicap your genius with wet blankets on your



Get wise, my friend, let wisdom take the place of false

pretense ;
There's only one thing needful, that's a bit of common


If you'll only make an effort you'll get it right away,
And your answer to my question will be, "No, it doesn't



O beautiful emblem on Liberty's tree!

Star-Spangled Gem of the Land of the Free!

1 love thee, Old Glory, with love that is true
And as pure as the stars in thy heavenly blue.
There's no flag like my flag; there's no flag like thine,
O patriots, countrymen, comrades of mine!

'Tis kissed by God's breezes, by angels caressed,
Beloved by the North, by the South, East and West ;
'Tis striped like the rainbow, like rays of the sun,
When twilight is fading, and moon has begun,
And each brilliant star shooting out when unfurled
Sends flashes of hope to the oppressed of the world.


The most faithful dog that I ever knew,
Most lovable and kind and true,
Was a yellow cur, tender and brave,
Whose great heart broke on his master's grave.


Whatever my soul may long for,

Whatever my eyes may see,
The simple faith of mother

Is broad enough for me.

For years and years, for months, from day to day,

In camp or field where rainbow-tinted spray

Rises in misty monuments on high,

To mingle with the dewdrops in the sky,

I've heard a voice, sometimes in whispers low,

I've felt the feathery touch like flakes of snow

Descending when the stars were hid from view

And not a silvery spray in heaven's blue ;

And yet beyond it all I saw a light

That pierced the Stygian darkness of the night,

And, though my tired eyes were closed the while,

I saw the jeweled eyes the tender smile

That midnight gloom nor snowy clouds could

smother ;
I heard I felt I saw the face of Mother.

Oh, peaceful sleep that comes with thoughts like


That whispers peace, and bids me rise to kiss
The rod administered by unseen hand !
Nor do I try to think I understand.
I only know, that as I sit me here
And note the soft, low whisperings in my ear,
That somewhere there's a Master of my mind
That I can see and worship, though I'm blind,

And while He thus dictates I'll have none other,
But God of Faith, and Hope, Sunshine and Mother.

God is good and good is God,
And God and good together
Will keep us clean unsight unseen
Throughout life's changing weather.


We thank Thee, God, the Giver of all good,

For Peace and Justice, strenuous truths uniting
For giving us that glorious Man who stood

Between the lines and stopped inhuman fighting:
For bounteous harvests, strong heroic souls,

Who dare to follow him we call our Teddy
For truth and honor where Old Glory rules ;

For statesmen unafraid, true, strong and steady.

God speed the truth, let Justice reign supreme

Let Labor, Law and Loyalty combine
To make it real, our brightest, happiest dream

Of Liberty and Love and God's Sunshine;
And when Thanksgiving Day returns once more

May Peace and Plenty, strolling hand in hand,
Go on and on toward a richer shore,

While Song and Laughter echoes through the land.

And echoing from every hill and glen

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,





canyon, grand and wild and free!
You've got a lariat on me.

My soul is broncho-busted, too,
My hat is off. I bow to you,
Almighty Hand, who cut this brand
That broncho souls can understand.

1 gaze in awe and silence here ;
I want to laugh, I find a tear
That irrigates the soul I feel.

O Mother Nature, I would kneel
And clasp and kiss thy mighty hand
And worship in this temple grand.

What's that you say, you silly dude?
Such sentiments are weak and crude?
God! Yes, to brainless things like you,
Whose soul no greatness could imbue,
To see, or feel, or understand
God's mighty hand.

You go to Europe, do you not?
Because you worship God, I wot-
Yes, fashion's god, a foolish dame,
And yet you love her just the same,
And bow and worship at her shrine
How different this God of mine!

Almighty scar on mountain crest!
My soul seems waking from the tomb,

And I, a mite on Nature's breast,
I never knew, I never guessed,
But now I know what is, is best,
And this is God's own anteroom.

Mother Nature, hold my hand
And steady me a little while,
That I may feel and understand
This awe-inspiring sight so grand,
God's greatest, most impressive brand
Clean-cut, and deeper than a mile.

And now I see the lightning flash,

1 hear the thunder roll and crash,
While echoes through the canyon dash

'Mid heaven's tears.
O Mother Nature, hold me tight
While fall the shadows of the night;
My trembling soul is all afright
With holy fears.

Almighty scar! Almighty Hand

That smote thee, who can understand

And who describe this wondrous land

Beyond compare?

Can mortal paint the flower's perfume,
Or see beyond the mystic tomb,
Or e'en describe God's anteroom,

So wondrous fair?



I saw it first when roses bloomed

Upon the cheek pressed close to mine;
When in her arms I laughed and crooned,

And I, a bit of God's sunshine,
Was sent to seal her woman's love

To bind her closer to her fate.
No trusting, cooing turtle dove

Was ever truer to her mate.

I saw it as a toddling child,

Nor knew the cause of mother's tears,
Till later reckless, though, and wild,

I shared in all her hopes and fears.
I saw it snatch the crust of bread

From lips of starving child, and then
I saw it lay its victims dead,

In home and church and prison pen.

I saw it in the humble cot

Amid the towering pines afar;
I saw it in degraded sot,

A libel foul of what we are.
And stalking through the busy marts

Of towns and cities every day,
You'll find it breaking tender hearts

And dooming manhood to decay.

You'll see it drive away the blush
That steals a halo to the cheek,

And in its stead a burning flush

Will change with shame the pure and meek.

It comes in spite of woman's tears,
In spite of mother's strong appeals,

And hearts, deep sorrowing for years,
Are crushed 'neath its relentless wheels.

It comes to murder innocence

To torture ere the final blow
To hold its victims in suspense,

While knowing death is sure, though slow.
And while misleading mother's boys,

With painted sirens for a bait
Poor fool! he plays with the decoys,

And pays the cost, alas ! too late.

It comes to dig a million graves

Of noblest men God ever made.
Great hearts and brains are quickest slaves,

And easiest started down the grade.
Of all the plagues that ever spread,

And all the instruments to slay,
None ever claimed so many dead

As Demon Drink can claim to-day.

And yet, if people would but think

Of all the bitterness and woe
That come from the foul fountain's brink

With aching hearts and heads bowed low,
They would suppress this crying curse,

And make our country grandly free,
Increasing wealth and brain and purse,

And truly give us liberty.



My most sincere and earnest prayer

Is not for wealth or fame
And yet my castles in the air

Keep growing, just the same.
And if at times I sigh for wealth

I say it frank and true
I want not riches for myself,

But for the good 'twill do !

And what I want to do and do

When fortune favors me,
Is just to find a boy or two

And tell them earnestly,
Impressed with all sincerity,

Which boys can understand
Recount with all austerity

The truth at my command.

I like to talk to reckless boys

The black sheep and the rest,
About the sorrows and the joys

Of roughing it out West.
And how a thousand boys or more

On false dime-novel trails,
Who ran away in days of yore,

Are now in Western jails.

Oh, if the boys will only heed
The truth, that I know best,

I'm sure they never more would read
Those nightmares of the West.

And all the long-haired scouts who claim
They took scalps by the score

Have lied they only gained their fame
As showmen, nothing more.

Suppose you found a rattlesnake

Coiled up beside his nest;
You wouldn't pick him up and take

His snakeship to your breast?
Well, boys, the man who signs his name

To stories such as these
Will strike and sting you just the same.

Don't read such nonsense, please.

And so, dear boys, my daily prayer

Is not for wealth or fame;
But I must do and I must dare

A lot, in honor's name.
And all I ask is for a chance

To prove this lesson true;
My broncho soul with joy will dance

When I can talk to you.

Some day I mean to organize

A juvenile crusade,
With honest hearts, and sunlit eyes,

"Determined, unafraid,"
To march to Washington en masse,

And there unmask the fakes
To pray our lawmakers to pass

An act to kill the snakes.



When your head is bowed in sorrow

And your soul is out of tune,
When the prospects of to-morrow

Are behind a veil of gloom,
Can't you see the light beyond it

Just a glimmer of the prize?
Keep a groping and you'll find it

Just a blessing in disguise.

Did you ever climb the mountain,

Weary, sore-foot and afraid
You would never reach the fountain

On the summit in the shade?
Then a sudden glint of glory

Seemed to flash before your eyes,
And the sequel to the story

'Twas a blessing in disguise.

Courage is the only asset

That will conquer in the fight
If you have the will to mass it

On the lines of truth and right.
And when at last victorious,

From the conflict you arise,
You'll reap a harvest glorious

From your blessings in disguise.



I wonder is it perfume of the flowers I'm smelling now,

Or the laurel being woven will it fit my sun-tanned
brow ?

And I wonder will they bring it while life's vistas on-
ward spread,

Or wait, before they fling it, till the heart is cold and

It is not so much the roses or the laurel that I crave,

But the sunshine of the friendship and approval of the

Who are not afraid to speak it and to grasp a fellow's

When he's slipping cogs and sinking in the world's un-
certain sands.

That's the time to fling the lasso, with a wreath upon the

Let its coils of strength encircle some poor struggler's

ray of hope;
For the moment that you yank him where his feet will

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Online LibraryJack CrawfordWhar' the hand o' God is seen and other poems → online text (page 1 of 7)