Custer State Park – South Dakota
At cowboy poetry gatherings performers frequently recite the works of Badger Clark, South Dakota’s first poet laureate. His writings reflected the American West and were widely published during his lifetime: many have become legendary. Bob Dylan set Clark’s poem “A Border Affair” to music; the resulting “Spanish is The Loving Tongue” has been recorded by numerous artists through the decades.
The cabin Clark built in his beloved South Dakota Black Hills is located within Custer State Park. Visitors find the secluded home, named Badger Hole, where Clark spent the last 30 years of his life a short drive down Badger Lane off US16A. During the summer season volunteers give informal tours of the four room cabin much as Clark left it, complete with many of his furnishings, library and prized processions.
The day we visited the volunteer was very knowledgable about Clark’s history and writings. She played recordings of Clark reciting some of his works just as he did throughout the United States when he spoke on “the circuit”.
The next time I hear a Badger Clark poem recited I’ll picture Badger Hole in my mind, the natural beauty surrounding the cabin in the woods and the quiet solitude.
When You Go: Custer State Park, Custer, SD, 605-255-4464, http://gfp.sd.gov/Custer