Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE OREGON TRAIL, by CHARLES BADGER CLARK JR.



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ON THE OREGON TRAIL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We're the prairie pilgrim crew
Last Line: Flag that leads the white man 'round the world.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clark, Badger
Subject(s): Buffaloes; Cowboys; Oregon; Pilgrimages & Pilgrims; Prairies; Plains


We're the prairie pilgrim crew,
Sailin' with the sun,
Lookin' West to meet a great reward,
Trailin' toward a land that's new
Like our fathers done,
Trustin' in our rifles and the Lord.

A-ll set! Go ahead!
Out the prairie trail.
Leave the woods and settlements behind.
Trail and settle, work and fight
Till the rollin' earth is white,—
That's the law and gospel of our kind.

Desert suns and throats o' dust,
But we never stop;
Wimmin-folks are knittin' as they ride.
We're a breed that, when we must,
Fight until we drop,
But our work and git-thar is our pride.

A-ll set! Go ahead!
Up the sandy Platte.
Leave the circle smokin' in the dawn,
So the comin' hosts will know,
'Mongst the trails of buffalo
Where their darin' brother whites have gone.

Night so black 'twould blind a fox,
Yells and feathered sleet,
Aim the best you kin and trust to luck.
Arrows whang the wagon box
But all hell kaint beat
Rifles from Missoury and Kentuck.

A-ll set! Go ahead!
Leave the dead to sleep
Till the desert sees the Judgment Day.
Mourn the good boys laid so low,
But we'll mourn them on the go—
Pawnee! Ogalalla! Cl'ar the way!

Far across the glarin' plain
See the mountain peaks
Glimmer 'long the edge like flecks o' foam.
Shove! you oxen, till your chain
Stretches out and squeaks;
Somewhere out beyond that range is Home!

A-ll set! Go ahead!
Trailin' toward the West
Till the sunset's shinin' flag is furled.
Ay, our flag's the Western skies,
Flag that drew our fathers' eyes,
Flag that leads the white man 'round the world.





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