Jail House Lament
By Donna Penley
Guess ya know I don’t give a dangJest what happens t’ me –Sittin’ in this jail , lookin’ through th’ bars –
Seein’ what I must see.
I hate this jail in Rogers County, Oh yes, I truly do.
Ya say you’ll bring me m’ last meal
If I’ll tell m’ story ta you?
They’re buildin’ a scaffold out on th’ street,
An’ I guess that I must pay,
For makin’ a wrong thing right somehow;
That’s how it seemed t’ me that day --
Miss Maribelle was our schoolmarm;
Taught in Claremore several years;
She was a spinster when she came t’ town –
Then came a’courtin’ her, ol’ Clayton Speers.
Never thought much of ‘ ol ‘ Clayton;
He seemed kinda oily an’ slick;
When my secret sweetheart married ‘im –
It downright made me sick!
I guess she never knowed I loved her;
If she did, she didn’t let on. An’,
When she didn’t show up for school one day,
I knowed there was something wrong.
Then, th’ day when she come back t’ school,
She wore a long sleeved dress;
An’ a scarf tied tight around her neck –T’ cover the bruises, I guess.
Then, ol’ Clayton, he showed up at school,
An’she sent us kids out th’ door;
They never knowed that I stayed behind,
As he gave Miss Maribelle what-for!
Right then,I knowed jest what I had to do,
An’ I planned it in my head;
An’ they found that dirty, lowdown skunk,
In a corn field, stone cold dead!
Now,here comes that other reporter feller;
Wants t’ make hisself a name.
But, I’ll never besmirch dear Mirabelle,
Though it’d bring renown an’ fame.
Ya want t’ know what she is to me?
You can bet I’ll never tell –
Even if th’ devil hisself comes an’ takes me down t’ hell!
They’re comin’ down th’ hall t’ get me;
I know my time draws near;
It’s th’ loss of that sweet teacher’s love –
Is what my young heart fears!
We step out on th’’ boardwalk,
An’ much t’ my surprise,
There stands Miss Mirabelle, with
Shakin’ hands an’ tearfilled eyes --
She knows jest what I done for her, an’
she knows that I must die!We step up on th’ scaffold, an someone yells out loud;Cain’t pinpoint jest who it was, jest someon in th’ crwod, Yells “Boy, hey boy, tell us. What was Mirabelle to thee?I turn an’ give ‘em my bravest homegrowed smile, and answeredShe taught me m’ ABC’s!!!
Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.
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