Originally published in Points West magazine
Captain Jack, the Poet Scout
Tales of the West in Rhyme
John Wallace Crawford (1847–1917) was a prolific writer and poet, chronicling the American West in prose and iambic pentameter. He and Buffalo Bill were “pards,” and he even named his daughter after his friend William F. Cody: May Cody Crawford.
What do I know? (undated)
What do I know? Poor little me,
I need a microscope to see
What I do know;
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.
That tow’ring pines and mountains grand
Are dear and beautiful to me;
Beyond their peaks I cannot see
But God is there,
You bet I’ve got the grip, and hip
Hip, Hip, Hurrah, I’m mighty glad
I’ve got the grip, so let ‘er rip
B’gosh, I’ve got it mighty bad.
And when I take a fellow’s hand
And look into his eyes, I know
If he can feel and understand,
The grip that keeps my soul aglow.
And let me tell you, honest pard,
The greatest work I’ve ever done,
Was when I conquered this old bard
And found that life had just begun.
You’ve bet I’ve got another grip
It’s not on property or pelf,
Please God I’ll never let it slip
I’ve got a grip on me, myself.
And if I live a thousand years,
And mind you I don’t say I will,
But through the sunshine and the tears
I’m going to keep on gripping still.
And when I find I’m in the hole,
And needing sympathy and pelf
I’ll go to one who will console,
And that is Broncho me, myself.
Poetry and photos from MS 322 John Wallace Crawford Collection. Gift of Harriet Crawford Richardson.
- What do I know? MS 322.09.08.39
- The Grip MS 322.09.08.15