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Monday, January 12, 2004

Ballad of the Canadian Gunfighter

Today's Experiment

Just for a lark, I thought I'd try to compose a country ballad, one like Marty Robbins used to sing, or Jim Reeves, or one of those other old guys I discovered via my parents' 8-tracks. Here it is...

Ballad of the Canadian Gunfighter
Long ago in this great nation
Came a girl with hair of red
She had no true relations
All her brethren were long dead

She was raised by Yukon Mounties
She was raised by loving nuns
But she was truly sired by
Her dead father’s six-guns

They say her blood ran red
Not with iron but with lead
They say she grew up cold
They say she was born old

At the tender age of twelve
She brought her first man down
She shot him through his black heart
And so doing, saved the town

By the time she reached sixteen
Her legend had grown tall
She was known from Nome Alaska
To the outskirts of The Pas

Then at the age of twenty
She med a lad named Jim
But he was a man of peace
So she left her guns for him

But a blackguard named Dakota
Came up from Tennessee
And he drilled a hole through Jim
Laid him low with a cruel grin

That villain named Dakota
Knew not to stick around
So he leapt onto his horse
Left Jim bleeding on the ground

When the girl saw her man
Lying dying in the street
Her wrath was something beautiful
Something deadly, something sweet

She came down from Dawson City
Rode the trail through Yellowknife
And she shot her way through Flin Flon
With rage sharper than a knife

She rode south through Winnipeg
She rode south through Yellowstone
She rode south until she reached the place
That Dakota called home

She cornered him in Tombstone
And gave him one chance to explain
She asked him why he’d killed poor Jim
And this was his refrain:

“I killed him for a lark
I killed him just for fun
But most of all I killed him
Because I longed to meet your guns.”

And so the redhead nodded
And they walked into the street
A girl with red hair blazing
In the deadly desert heat

Dakota drew his six-guns
Or imagined he did so;
But before his hands touched leather
Her bullets laid him low

She knelt before the bloody form
Of the man who killed her man
She laid her guns down on his chest
And then she walked into the West

She never crossed the border
To come back North and home
And legend tells that she still walks
Through the borderlands alone

She’s long forgotten Jim
But she can still remember
How her life was briefly touched
By a love both sweet and tender

They say that up in Canada there are no legends worth the tale
But that’s because we keep them close to home, behind the veil
There are stories to be told, but our Canuck blood runs cold
Runs cold and deep and sharp and sweet
Like the blood of heroines bold…

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