Monday, January 28, 2013


Author Stephen Bly with cowboy hat
Stephen Bly

Stephen Bly

When a cowboy writer does research, the sight of a landmark can spark an idea for a full-fledged novel ... or just a poem.  

Southeast of Four Corners, New Mexico is Shiprock, an impressive example of a volcanic neck or a central feeder pipe formed by a long ago eruption.

Shiprock, New Mexico
Shiprock, New Mexico
In Monument Valley, west of this location, the pillars tower one after another. But Shiprock stands alone. With its spire in the shape of the rigging of an ocean bound vessel, the silhouette looks very much like a tall ship on the horizon.  

No wonder the old-timers trudging across the desert rubbed their eyes in disbelief at the view. If you ever get a chance to visit this site, we have found between March and May to be the best times. If you have already been there, what did the vision of it inspire in you? 

Here's my Shiprock cowboy poem ... someone ought to put music to it and make it a song. What do you think ... what sort of tune would best fit?

Cowboy & Cowgirl kissing silhouette

 Navajo Rose 

It was a straight up day in Shiprock,

in July of eighty-three

Canvassed with dust, but showin' no rust

that buckskin geldin' and me

I ain't sayin' the day was perfect,

It would have its problems, you bet

As likely as not, it would get way too hot

And we'd both be wallerin' in sweat

But potential hung in the desert air

like the gap in your teeth you can't hide

This was the very day, I'd been waitin' since May

when up to the schoolhouse I'd ride

She promised she would linger

until the spring gather was through

I could hardly wait, so I picked up the gait

when the picket fence came into view

Some might call her plain lookin'

but they don't say that to my face

She's my Navajo Rose and I'll break any nose

that tries to bring her disgrace

Her smile sets my heart a beatin'

her dark eyes shout forever to me

She surrenders her lips, with her hands on my hips

I'm luckier than I deserve to be

I reckon you know the feelin'

and can understand my worry and fear

when I spotted that hack, parked way out back

and a duet of laughter I hear

I spied a tall man in the foyer

sported out in dark suit and tie

She looked happy in white, eyes teared at the sight

I reckon I was jist goin' to die

She ran to my side when she saw me

I ain't sure what this is about

When I taste her kiss, it still feels like bliss

And it makes my toes want to shout

She tugged me up the stairs to the schoolhouse

No protest she would allow

"I would like you to meet the Reverend Montreat

he will perform our service right now"

The tin ceilin' swirled above me

Vision failed and I feared for my life

When I finally came to, I shouted "I do!"

He pronounced us now man and wife

It was a straight up day in Shiprock,

in July of eighty-three

the clock struck noon, it was our honeymoon

my Navajo Rose and me 

Cowboy & Cowgirl silhouette


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