"The Oklahoma Poet"
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|Below are articles I have of me and my work.
By BEVERLY BOSTICK
A tempestuous and troubled childhood left Ralph “Rowdy” Butler on a very predictable
Or so at least one expert said.
His mother left young Rowdy at a police station and he spent much of his young life going
from foster home to foster home to boys ranch.
“A psychiatrist told me that, because of my background, I should be in prison, a druggy-
alcholic or six feet under,” Rowdy said.
Instead, the rural Macomb resident is a family man, truck driver and poet.
“Being thrown out of a car at a police station was the best thing that ever happened to
me,” he declared.
“One thing I learned being in foster homes. I could tell myself that no matter how hard my
life is, somebody else has it harder.”
While he was at Whispering Pines Boy’s Ranch at Twain Heart, Calif., 11-year-old Rowdy
was put in a room as punishment and ordered to write about what he was feeling.
“I was a bit of a bad kid,” he admitted.
While he was in the room, he looked at a picture of a Native American and used that photo
as a basis to expressed his feelings in a free-form poem.
For a time, the poet in Rowdy provided him an acceptable way to express himself, he said.
Then, when he was 16, his mother tore up all his poems.
“I just quit writing,” Rowdy said. “I thought I was just worthless.”
As he approached adulthood, Rowdy joined the Air Force.
“The military became my family,” Rowdy said. “That’s all I had.”
After a term in the Air Force and then in the Army, Rowdy spent a lot of time at the bar.
Then he met Marie, who was to become his wife.
And he started writing again.
“She didn’t bring the poetry back,” Rowdy asserts. “She brought my heart back.”
A Man’s Heart Has a Story to Tell was his first creation after Marie came into his life. It was
followed quickly by Broken Dreams.
It’s also the title piece of the first CD he created to share his poetry with others.
His second CD Untold Path was completed for Memorial Day last year and features a
military and patriotic theme.
His mother may not have been impressed with his work, but he has since received a
standing ovation from troubled teens, seen a sea of lighters across a crowded bar as he
read his poetry in a karaoke set, seen tears in the eyes of tough soldiers and received a
letter of appreciation from Gov. Brad Henry.
Rowdy said many have told him that he is telling their story.
“I can put myself in somebody else’s shoes,” Rowdy said. “When you penetrate your own
wall, you’ve penetrated their wall.”
Rowdy said he has some difficulty reading, but never when reading his own poems.
“It’s written on my heart,” he said.
Wanette reading slated
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the
Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his
understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and
increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young
men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will
walk and not be faint.