Monday, September 01, 2008

Another moment, another poem

Although I’m not intending to get political here, I did want to post another poem for another historic moment, to be fair. When John McCain announced his vice presidential running mate, Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, I was pleased to see a woman on the ballot. Whatever your views, it is exciting to see this diversity in the candidates running for highest office. So, here’s a poem to mark that occasion, with a nod to her Alaskan "cowgirl" roots.

The Last Cowgirl of the Western World
by Judith Viorst

The last cowgirl of the Western world
Buckles her belt,
Pulls up her boots,
Slaps her broad-brimmed Stetson on her head,
Then saddles her swift white stallion
With the black star over each eye
(She calls him Star Eyes),
And gallops into the setting sun,
Across the wide prairies,
Across the deserts and badlands,
Past mesas and buttes,
Through roaring mountain streams,
Singing tie-yippie-yie-yo yie-yay
While the tumbleweed twirls,
While the wild wind whips her hair,
Singing tie-yippie-yie-yo yie-yay
To the skydiving hawks,
To the wolves howling high on the hills,
Singing tie-yippie-yie-yo yie-yay
As she saves the cattle from rustlers,
The settlers from raiders,
The babies from rattlers,
The covered wagons from plunging over cliffs,
Singing tie-yippie-yie-yo yie-yay,
Yippie-yie-yo yie-yay,
As she rides the range
Till it’s time to ride the school bus.

Viorst, Judith. 1995. Sad Underwear and Other Complications. New York: Atheneum Books.

Picture credit:


Anonymous said...

Regardless of party affiliation, how does this mark the moment for women? Reconsider Palin's profile; it's not enough that she is female - never would be.

Sylvia Vardell said...

I respect your opinion, of course. Palin does not have my vote, but I thought I ought to honor her place in history.

Indigo Children said...

Dr. Vardell,

I love this poem.

I think it is fitting to honor Sarah's place in history as well. She does not have my vote either, but she does have a place in history.

While I disagree with her on just about every issue, I respect her as a person, a political figure, a woman, a mother...

No one woman speaks for all women. Hilary did not speak for everyone (she spoke for me) and Sarah will not either, but the fact that she is on the republican ticket is historical.

Both parties seem to be leaning toward change (in some format), and this is energizing.

I wish people in general felt less protective of their party and more willing to take a broad view of the whole process.

I have gotten blasted just for mentioning that I was touched by the last part of McCain's speech. I am not voting for him--but I do like the guy (he is likable).

This is an exciting time; I can hardly wait to see what these next four years will bring. Whatever happens, many people have been called to service through this election, and that alone brings me hope.

Anonymous said...

Love this poem! No political comments from me...just, I adore this poem. Thanks for sharing!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for the additional comments, folks. I am not trying to be political, just want to tie poetry to the "moment"-- always trying to show how poetry is relevant for kids today.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved the poem, and I wanted desperately to ride with the Lone Ranger as a girl. I can still see my tiny cotton cowgirl vest with the fringe and the red fabric inserts. I don't recall that I had boots, but there must have been a hat. I now have three grown-up cowgirl hats hanging in my guest room, and I don't mind saying here in massachusetts I'm not brave enough to wear them, but everytime we travel west I have the urge to buy - and wear- a bright red stetson! As far as the connection to sarah P. I think it was a REALLLLLLLLLY big stretch on your part and, personally, I think the title Sad Underwear says more about her, at least for me!
This is my first visit to your site, though, and I applaud your dedication to promoting poetry.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for stopping by, y'all. Glad to hear from a fellow cowgirl! :-)