pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

South Coast -- Lillian Bos Ross (Original Poem)

Ballad of the South Coast
My name is Lonjano de Castro
My father was a Spanish grandee;
But I won my wife in a card game
To hell with the lords o'er the sea.

In my youth I had a Monterey homestead,
Creeks, valley, and mountains all mine;
I built me a snug little shanty
And roofed it and floored it with pine.

I had a bronco, a buckskin
Like a bird he flew over the trail,
When I rode him out forty miles every Friday
To get me some grub and the mail.

But the south Coast is a wild coast and lonely
You might win in a game at Jolon,
But the lion still rules the barranca
And a man there is always alone.

I sat in a card game at Jolon;
I played with a man there named Juan.
And after I'd won all his money
He said, "Your homestead 'gainst my daughter, Dawn."

I turned up the ace, I had won her!
My heart which was down at my feet
Jumped up to my throat in a hurry;
Like a young summer field she was sweet.

He opened the door to the kitchen;
He called the girl with a curse;
"Take her, God damn her, you won her!
She's yours now for better or worse."

Her arms had to tighten around me
As we rode up the hills from the south.
But no word did I get from her that day
Nor a kiss from her pretty red mouth.

We got to my cabin at twilight
The stars twinkled over the coast.
She soon loved the orchard, the valley
But I knew she loved me the most.

That was a glad happy winter;
I carved on a cradle of pine.
By a fire in that snug little shanty
I sang with that gay wife of mine.

But then I got hurt in a landslide
Crushed hip and twice-broken bone;
She saddled up Buck just like lightning
And rode out through the night to Jolon.

A lion screamed in the barranca;
Buck bolted and fell on a slide.
My young wife lay dead in the moonlight;
My heart died that night with my bride.

They buried her out in the orchard.
They carried me out to Jolon.
I lost my Chiquita, my nino;
I'm an old broken man, all alone.

The cabin still stands on the hillside,
Its doors open wide to the rain;
But the cradle and my heart are empty,
And I never can go there again.

Oh, the south Coast is a wild coast and lonely.
You might win in a game at Jolon.
But the lion still rules the barranca
And a man there is always alone.

--Lillian Bos Ross

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