The Ballad of Rosie O'Grady is one of my earlier poems, and was actually inspired by a coworker (no I do not work in an old west style saloon, but that would be pretty cool). The coworker story is one for another day, but it did motivate me to write Rosie O'Grady in about forty minutes. I hope you like it. - MRR
Was a dance hall lady.
She worked down at the Longbranch Saloon.
And every night
She would make quite a sight,
As she danced and she sang out a tune.
With long hair flowing
(And some ankle showing),
The cowboys would all give a holler.
She'd peddle her wares,
Then she'd take them upstairs.
And it only cost them a dollar!
Late one November,
As best I remember,
The night of the local election,
A cowboy came in
And got loaded on gin
And demanded Rosie's affection.
This cowboy was tough
And got a little rough
And was slapping poor Rosie around.
She thought, "This ain't fun."
Then she grabbed for a gun,
And she fired and the cowboy went down.
The sheriff in town
Hadn't long been around.
They’d just put him in office that day.
He was far too new,
And didn't know what to do.
So he went and locked Rosie away.
Though things had got tense,
It was clear self defense.
No one thought she would stay long in jail.
The town saw its' chance
Now to end Rosie's dance,
So judge Parker refused to set bail.
The day of the trial
Rosie sat with a smile.
The courtroom was standing room only.
And most of the men
Had, a time and again,
Come to Rosie to feel less lonely.
The jury came in
And to Rosie's chagrin,
She saw - and it caused her to worry,
The town had conspired
To have Rosie retired.
There wasn't a man on the jury!
Now Rosie could see,
It was plain as could be,
That her fate had already been sealed.
Without any hope
She would hang from a rope,
And the verdict could not be appealed.
The following day
They took Rosie away
To the gallows the townsmen had built.
And none of the guys
Could look her in the eyes,
Because every man there felt his guilt.
The hypocrites all
Stood and watched Rosie fall,
As the trap door below her was sprung.
And each in his way
Will remember the day
That poor Rosie O'Grady was hung.
The Longbranch was closed
When her sins were exposed,
And her doors were all boarded down tight.
Some folks will confide
They hear singing inside,
When they listen intently at night.
No more do they roam.
The men all now stay home
With their wives, all happy and cozy.
They learned their lesson
And all stopped their messin',
Because of the death of poor Rosie.
It never does pay
If you wander away,
To be with a woman who's shady.
You'll live with regret
If you ever forget
The Ballad of Rosie O'Grady