A state representative-turned-poet and his literary former district director penned a gushing poem about outgoing Gov. Rick Perry and gave him a framed copy of the work Thursday when the governor spoke in the Texas House chamber for the last time.
The poem, Paint Creek’s Patriot, says of the governor: “He was no ordinary man, though from humble West Texas roots / This was a man of destiny wearing cowboy boots.”
The poets — Rep Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and his former staffer Kay Clinton — borrowed the AA BB CC DD rhyme scheme found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for their couplet that takes the modern-day readers on journey that begins in Perry’s hometown of Paint Creek, and goes via College Station, to his period of flying C-130s in the Air Force, and down a path of public service — which included stints as a state rep., an agriculture commissioner, a lieutenant governor and ultimately governor.
Like Perry himself, the 27-verse poem makes no mention of another run for the presidency (or the failed attempt in 2012), but Bohac and his co-writer did say that their “10th Amendment guy” who thinks “Stomping on State’s rights is like pokin’ a stick in his eye” has bright future.
“We love you Rick, your kind will never come again / But we know you’re on your way, God always has a plan,” the poem reads.
Several past Texas poet laureates were sent the poem along with a request for a critique. Most laureates ignored the invitation. One responded to politely decline to give her thoughts.
But David Parsons, the 2011 Texas poet laureate, was kind enough to chime in. He prefaced his critique with a bless-your-heart-type sentiment when he said that he would never want to discourage an aspiring poet or offend or discourage a lawmaker.
“I am certain we need more poems and less laws,” Parsons said in an email to the Statesman. “I don’t know anything about Rep. Bohac, however, his being a legislator, I would think he is much better at writing laws.”
Parsons went on to suggest that someone like Bohac might want to draft “his heart-felt hero worshiping of the Governor” in a letter.
“If he wants to pen a ‘public’ poem, I would suggest he take at least one Creative Writing workshop from one of the fine poet/teachers that I know in the Austin area,” he added. “But in the spirit of the archaic and jovial tone, it does, as you suggest, have the earmarks some of the doggerel of the Canterbury Tale era.”
Please read the piece in its entirety below.
Paint Creek’s Patriot
He strolled out of Paint Creek with a twinkle in his eye
His future was uncertain but his expectations high
He was no ordinary man, though from humble West Texas roots
This was a man of destiny wearing cowboy boots
He’d been an Eagle Scout, distinguished from the pack
He later penned On My Honor, as a way of giving back
Standing out in College Station, this boy was on his way
How far this Aggie from the Corps would go – no one would dare to say
His anchor since elementary school, she keeps him grounded indeed
With Anita, along with Griffin and Sydney, they’re all he’ll ever need
Quite the natural leader with downright Texas appeal
He soon stood out from all the rest, yes he was the “real deal”
Committing early to his country it was the C-130 he flew
The Air Force couldn’t hold him, he had great things to do
To the Texas House he made a bee line, yes he waltzed right in
Everyone knew he had a future, a success story about to begin
The next step on the master plan was becoming Ag Commish
His star was on the rise and on that star Texas made a wish
Knee deep in cotton, a country boy, for Ag a perfect fit
But by now his worth was known – the political fire lit
Lt. Governor became his goal and Texas chose her man
In a few short years when “W” left, at the top of the heap he’d stand
To the Mansion he made his way, “He’s The Best” we say it loud
A man of honor & character, yes he has done us proud
The longest serving Governor in our proud state’s history
What he accomplished was through hard work, there is no mystery
He gave Texas her reputation as ‘conservative to the core’
If you don’t like the way he thinks, we’ll show you to the door
A tax cutter from the git-go, Perry fiercely holds the line
A man with more restraint in spending you will never find
Our economy and jobs they are the envy of the nation
Californians are moving here for a permanent vacation
Through low taxes and housing costs our robust State has spoken
Businesses are flocking here the floodgate has been opened
Of frivolous lawsuits he is no fan, “throw ‘em out” we hear him say
Only suits that are legit should see the light of day
The Feds are out of control, stealing our rights without debate
Walking on the Constitution, our Governor won’t tolerate
In our midst hides Liberty’s enemy – a wildfire we must quell
But the warrior who lives among us, for justice would walk through hell
You know him by now, he’s a 10th Amendment guy
Stomping on State’s rights is like pokin’ a stick in his eye
He has a higher calling, leaving Austin is a must
He’ll be remembered far and wide for his support of the least of us
Making all of Texas proud he stood Austin on its head
They say “We wish he’d stay forever” – I say “Amen well said”
We love you Rick, your kind will never come again
But we know you’re on your way, God always has a plan
Stand tall O man of Texas, never waiver on your way
We’ll be with as you take your place to fight another day
We’ll miss you when from Austin your new ship must set sail
Your legacy will live forever and history your story tell
With strong & grateful hearts we salute you one & all
You are the Pride of the Lone Star State, making Texans stand tall