Murder Ballad

This poem was published at for a prompt called “finery”

The Ballad of Anna Leigh

By Ray Sharp


I drove the wagon into town
A hot and dusty ride
Then whoa’d the horses and jumped down
I’d come to meet my bride
She stepped off of the westbound train
Dressed in her finery
Unto this godforsaken plain
The widow Anna Leigh
She ventured to the wild West
With steamer trunk in tow
I met her in my Sunday best
And was to be her beau
She’d married to a wealthy man
But rich she was no more
She found no favor with his clan
And lost him to the war
And so she came to start anew
A farmer’s wife to be
For every hand there’s much to do
And nothing comes for free
We drove up to the lean-to shed
Behind the sod house small
As I made sure the horses fed
She swooned as if to fall
What’s wrong, my woman, are you ill?
You are so pale of face
I cannot fathom how I will
She said, endure this place
For I am Boston born and bred
A lady through and through
I don’t know what got to my head
To come to live with you.
Now come with me, I gently spoke
Sit down and have a drink
I sat down too to have a smoke
And took some time to think
Come in the house, unpack your things
Take off those lacy gloves
Her fingers shined with golden rings
The gifts of former loves
It’s time you cut the wood, my dear
In every life there’s toil
Then go and fetch the water clear
And set the pot to boil.
I’ll cook, she said, as well I should
And bake and darn and sew
But I’ll not chop and stack the wood
I will not stoop that low
I am a plain and simple man
I work the whole day long
I tame this land the best I can
And sing my mournful song
She said, you’ll make a husband fine
For you are kind and true
But you could never satisfy
As I’m accustomed to
Then all her fancy combs she laid
All carved of whale bone
And I took out my hunting blade
And whetstone for to hone
She said I’ll take my leave of you
This is no place to stay
I’ll board the eastbound train at two
You’ll not stand in my way
So in the grip of anger strong
I stabbed her with my knife
Before I thought of right and wrong
I stole her of her life
The blood soaked red her white silk shirt
And all her finery
I buried her in rocky dirt
The widow Anna Leigh
Come spring on the hill where I laid her down
When she wouldn’t be my lover
Grows Queen Anne’s lace, her wedding gown
And her eternal cover.

About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Murder Ballad

  1. Erica Herd says:

    Oh my. I thought this was going to end on a happier note. Went more the way of Gothic horror. Well done.

  2. Brian Carlin says:

    I can hear Nick Cave singing the tale as i read! Muchly enjoyable.

  3. thefeatheredsleep says:

    Quite possibly I am addicted to your work Ray

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s