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Passions in Poetry

The Legend of Jenny Lee

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Balladeer
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0 posted 12-09-2001 10:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


There have been many legends penned about the early West
Lawmen and desperados, boom towns, ghost towns and the rest
But one stands out above the rest within my memory...
The hooker with the golden smile by name of Jenny Lee.

The wild west was a very special era of our past
There weren't too many luxuries and life was hard and fast.
In Glitter Gulch, when days were long and over-filled with stress
The wranglers could unwind at Mary's House of Happiness.

Mary was a lady with a million-dollar smile
Who ran her House of Happiness with dignity and style.
A dozen ladies met the needs of all who had the fee
And, best above the rest, the sweetheart known as Jenny Lee.

Young Jenny was a pretty girl who had a certain flair
Of making cowboys feel special when they entered there.
She treated all with kindness and a sense of dignity
And everyone for miles around all worshipped Jenny Lee.

Piano music filled the house with joy on Friday nights
As cowboys came to sample House of Happiness delights.
A warm bath washed off trail dust and whiskey quenched the thirst
As voices sang in unison old tunes of naughty verse.

He came in on a Tuesday, late in June, as I recall
That stranger out of nowhere that nobody knew at all.
Five decades had carved wrinkles on a face made out of stone
Belonging to the kind of man who always rides alone.

He tied his horse at Mary’s, knocked politely on the door
And Mary smiled they way she had a million times before.
She offered him a drink and asked what might his pleasure be…
He said he came to see the girl the boys called Jenny Lee.

She sent a boy to fetch sweet Jenny, then walked to the door
And led him upstairs to a bedroom on the second floor.
He sat down on the bed and waited, quiet as could be
And, in no time at all appeared the face of Jenny Lee.

She said, “I’m honored, sir, that you would choose to seek me out.
I’m sure you will be satisfied. Of that I have no doubt.”
He rose and tossed a hundred dollar bill upon the shelf
And said, “ There’s just one thing I want –to know about yourself.”

This took her by surprise a bit but one thing she had learned
One never knew the crazy pathways that a man’s mind turned
And if he chose to pay for conversation, that’s ok
She’d humor him and hour or so and then send him away.

“My name is Jenny…I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee.
As near as I can recollect, my age is twenty-three.
I never knew my pa….ma said he was a travelin’ man.
She did her best to raise me up according to God’s plan.”

“Though we were poor, my momma always kept a happy mood.
She hunted game and raised some corn and cabbages for food.
She taught me how to read and write and do arithmetic
And then when I was seventeen, poor mama came down sick.

I wandered after momma died, just traveling around
Until one day I wound up in this little, one-horse town.
That’s when Mary saw me and gave me a place to stay
And that’s the story of my life and why I’m here today”

“Oh, I am not complaining, mister. Men like me a lot
And give me temporarily the love I never got.
I’m grateful for the life I have and I thank God above
For finding me a special place that’s filled with so much love.”

The old man got up slowly and, to Jenny Lee’s surprise,
She saw a trail of lonely teardrops falling from his eyes.
His face took on a saddened look – his shoulders slumped and fell
And she could tell his soul was falling through the depths of hell.

He said, “I’m just a drifter….been a drifter all my life.
I’ve had no time for family or time to take a wife.
I’ve done things I ain’t proud of but I never broke the law
And, Jenny Lee, I had to see you once ‘cause I’m your pa.”

“There was no way that I could know the day I rode away.
Your mama never told me she was in a family way.
She sent a letter ‘fore she died that I got just last year.
I’ve spent this whole time tracking you. That’s why I showed up here.”

“You needn’t say a thing, sweet girl.  I’m glad your life is good.
I’d gladly change the past and make things different, if I could
But fate gave us this hand to play and play the hand we do.
I’m glad I finally had the chance to tell you I love you.”

“Tomorrow I’ll be riding out to find a little spread
Where I can build a house and have a place to rest my head.
It’s going to be quite difficult….I just know how to lose
But it is time I plop down and take off these traveling shoes.”

Jenny hadn’t moved a muscle all the time he spoke.
If she had tried to talk, she had no doubt that she would choke.
She saw him bend and kiss her cheek before he walked away
Then heard his footsteps echo out into the heat of day.

The legend has it Jenny Lee just up and disappeared.
Murdered by a jealous wife, some of the townfolk feared
She ran off with a millionaire, some other folk opined
Some others thought the fever got her and she lost her mind.

One young boy said he saw her in a buckboard with some guy
Her arm around his shoulder, smiling as they passed him by
But no one paid him any mind….a childish fantasy
Yet there was never found a single trace of Jenny Lee.

Mary’s House of Happiness still packs them in at night
As cowboys put their money down for fantasy’s delight
And, right above the fireplace, placed for everyone to see
There hangs a picture of  the sweetheart known as Jenny Lee.

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (05-30-2007 06:04 PM).]

© Copyright 2001 Michael Mack - All Rights Reserved
Startime
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since 10-03-2000
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Canada


1 posted 12-09-2001 10:55 PM       View Profile for Startime   Email Startime   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Startime's Home Page   View IP for Startime

No one can weave a story quite like you can, sweet Balladeer...you had my heart breaking and tears falling down my face for both Jenny and her dad. STANDING OVATION!!! I love it. **hugs**

Love I leave with you whether it is in your life now or yet the essense of your dreams.

SEA
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with you


2 posted 12-09-2001 10:57 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

I swear, you are the best story teller!!! You had me hooked from the begining!   Fantastic, always  
John Yaws
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since 10-09-1999
Posts 865
Texas


3 posted 12-09-2001 11:02 PM       View Profile for John Yaws   Email John Yaws   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit John Yaws's Home Page   View IP for John Yaws

'deer, I just hung up my quill. No one can match your talent. Bravo!!!
Balladeer
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4 posted 12-09-2001 11:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, dear ladies! Just one of those nights I felt like spinning a yarn. Glad you enjoyed  

John, don't you dare! That quill's got a lot of life in it. I thank you, sir, for the kind words.  

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (edited 12-09-2001).]

Kit McCallum
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since 04-30-2000
Posts 16920
Ontario, Canada


5 posted 12-09-2001 11:06 PM       View Profile for Kit McCallum   Email Kit McCallum   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kit McCallum

"He said, “I’m just a drifter….been a drifter all my life.
I’ve had no time for family or time to take a wife.
I’ve done things I ain’t proud of but I never broke the law
And, Jenny Lee, I had to see you once ‘cause I’m your pa.”

Michael, Michael, Michael ...  

Oh my, oh my, you are wonderful!  What an excellent tale, from start to finish, and such a twist in the centre. Your language fit the mood of the piece so perfectly, and you wove in so much nostalgia from the old west ... simply superb sweet poet. Yes, simply superb!  

Best wishes and hugs,
/Kit

[This message has been edited by Kit McCallum (edited 12-09-2001).]

timothysangel1973
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Never close enough


6 posted 12-09-2001 11:21 PM       View Profile for timothysangel1973   Email timothysangel1973   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit timothysangel1973's Home Page   View IP for timothysangel1973

Hey Balladeer...You see that heart above the message here?

That is what mine is doing right now.

That was absolutely,beautiful.

You and your writing are amazing, I feel honered to be a part of a group that includes someone as wonderful as yourself.

Till next time...
~Timothys Angel


*Whatever souls are made of...his and mine are of the same*  ~Emily Bronte'

[This message has been edited by timothysangel1973 (edited 12-09-2001).]

doreen peri
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since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


7 posted 12-09-2001 11:43 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

you are a fine writer, michael..... your words never cease to amaze me... your talent is awesome and heartfelt and i'd love to write with you again... i'll keep the red light on...

LOL!!! hehe  
SmartChick
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since 09-23-2001
Posts 7301
On A Journey To The Unknown


8 posted 12-09-2001 11:58 PM       View Profile for SmartChick   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit SmartChick's Home Page   View IP for SmartChick

Wow! Mr Balladeer, you sure are good at this. I love to read what you write.  
Joe Lamando
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since 11-20-2001
Posts 125
Massachusetts,USA


9 posted 12-09-2001 11:59 PM       View Profile for Joe Lamando   Email Joe Lamando   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Joe Lamando

A great ballad fro a great balladeer.
Thanks for the tale.
Joe
Larry C
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10 posted 12-10-2001 12:05 AM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

Michael,
See, now here's why you would be disqualified from Marge's competition! Awesome tale, friend.  

The past is history and the future is a mystery, but today is a gift and that is why it is the present!

icequeen
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since 12-09-2001
Posts 649
FL USA


11 posted 12-10-2001 01:12 AM       View Profile for icequeen   Email icequeen   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for icequeen

Simply awesome  

...and her crown was formed by the ice in her eyes

Siofra
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State of Suspended Passion


12 posted 12-10-2001 01:12 AM       View Profile for Siofra   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Siofra

MORE STORIES PLEASE ! Enjoyed, Sweet Sir!    

I am many.

Mysteria
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13 posted 12-10-2001 02:04 AM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Well shucks if that wasn't the best darn yarn I have read since your last long yarn.  Ditto Kit, and check out her bowing smilie will ya?  Now is that not the cutest thing made just for you or what?  Great one you dear ole "deer"!

~*~  May the spirit of this season live in your heart all year through ~*~

Sunshine
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Listening to every heart


14 posted 12-10-2001 08:55 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


Sweet Jenny Lee...her mystery remains in the hearts of all cowboys...

Well done, 'Deer!
Marsha
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since 07-10-2000
Posts 7542
Maidstone Kent England


15 posted 12-10-2001 09:12 AM       View Profile for Marsha   Email Marsha   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marsha's Home Page   View IP for Marsha

'Deer dear heart, again the tears flow, but they are tears of wonder and amazement. This had me hooked right from the beginning. Truly you are an outstanding writer.  
Utterly Fabulous


I'm totally awestruck, and dumb, mmmmm mmmmm mmmm how often does it happen that I can't speak Really excellent. Yes you know I love this don't you? good Because I surely do.
    
Love and warm stuff
As always
Mushy
    
I wish we had a smilie for a standing ovation because this is what this poem deserves. Utterly utterly brilliant.  

To give light to them that sit in darkness..... to guide our feet into the way of peace St John ch2 v1

Seymour Tabin
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since 07-07-99
Posts 32119
Tamarac Fla


16 posted 12-10-2001 10:18 AM       View Profile for Seymour Tabin   Email Seymour Tabin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seymour Tabin

Balladeer,
There are many Jenny Lees, I'm glad you got to tell her story but I'm wishing it was me.
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
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17 posted 12-10-2001 09:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Kit, Kit, Kit....thank you, sweet lady! The old West has always been one of my favorite times of history and I'm pleased you tasted the flavor  

Timothy's Angel...I thank you so much! We are also honored to have such an appreciative lady as yourself. I'm very glad you're here  

Doreen...but doesn't red light mean stop? OH! THAT red light! I'll keep an eye out..

SmartChick...thank you! I just love to tell stories...glad you enjoy them  

Joe...thanks for stopping by, pardner  

Larry C..too bad the contest wasn't "Across a field of buffalo chips spread"   Thank you, friend  

icequeen...THANK YOU!  

Siofra...Don't tell me...tell my fickle muse!   I'll try...thank you so much  

Mysteria..as long as my yarn don't make you yawn, I'm happy   Yes, I love Kit's smiley. Isn't she the greatest!  

Sunshine....so it does! Of such events history is remembered. Thanks for the thoughts  

mushy....you're making me feel like an onion! I'll try to make you smile one day  

Sy...you just keep writing your pearls of wisdom and leave the silly stories to me. Thanks, old pal  
Marge Tindal
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Florida's Foreverly Shores


18 posted 12-11-2001 01:24 AM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Oh,MySweetBalladeer~
I've been so busy with 'love' and 'challenges' ...
Hmmmm, sort of the same thing, aren't they ???  

I wouldn't have missed this lovely tale
for all the Coca~Cola in Atlanta~

This is so beautifully told from the pen
of the greatest writer I know~
There !  I've played my hand ... now deal with it !

You're wonderful, my sweet, sweet friend~
You've always 'challenged' me to do my best ...
and this may well be one of yours~
A keeper it is, my dear deer~
Love you~
*Hugs* ... and still your girl~, I am~
~*Marge*~

~*The pen of the poet never runs out of ink, as long as we breathe.*~
     noles1@totcon.com                

LngJhnAg
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since 07-23-99
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Boot+Kitty=Poetry in motion


19 posted 12-11-2001 07:22 AM       View Profile for LngJhnAg   Email LngJhnAg   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LngJhnAg

Another great story, Mike, told as only you can tell them.  I've learned a lot from you, and one of the things I thoroughly enjoy is writing in the style you've taught me.  I'll never be the story teller you are, but I do enjoy writing now more than ever before.  You're a fine poet, my good friend, and a great teacher.
Enchantress
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since 08-14-2001
Posts 37801
Somewhere in time~


20 posted 12-11-2001 11:02 AM       View Profile for Enchantress   Email Enchantress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Enchantress

Speechless!!  That's what you have done to me Balladeer!  Rendered me speechless!  You sure can weave a tale that grabs at my heartstrings.  What a talent you are sir!
Thank you for this keeper. ~Hugs, Nancy Lee~
*no relation to the Jenny Lee in said story above.*  

"A dream is a wish your heart makes..."

Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


21 posted 12-11-2001 11:55 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Marge...thank you, lady! Yep, you didn't know what you were getting into with that challenge, didya?   Thank you for reading and enjoying...and for still being my girl (regardless of what old whats-his-name may think!)  

LongJohn...your enjoyment shows in your writing, too. If I've been able to do anything to spur you on at all I am honored. It's still your rapier wit and flaky mind which makes you the poet you are   Don't ever change, my friend  

Nancy..you sweet thang!   Thank you, lady, for enjoying and such a wonderful comment  

(anytime I can render a woman speechless, I feel I've created a miracle   )
Sally S.
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since 06-07-99
Posts 887
Ohio


22 posted 12-11-2001 03:42 PM       View Profile for Sally S.   Email Sally S.   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sally S.

Hiya my Deeeer ol' friend.  I see that you are still up to your old tricks.  Wonderful as per usual.  I hope that all is well with you.  Just wanted you to know that I'm GREEEEAAAT!!!  I've even stepped up my artistic forte...so to speak..lol and am beginning a fine art...uh...gallery?...lol

Happy Holidays to you, Mike.  Know that I am wishing you all the best and holding onto fond memories.  
~Sally~
rosepetals25
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since 05-31-2000
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PA


23 posted 12-11-2001 04:54 PM       View Profile for rosepetals25   Email rosepetals25   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rosepetals25

Balladeer,

   There isn't much that I can say that hasn't already been said.  So I'll just say that you are simply incredable.  And I'm so happy that you choose to be here and share your brilliant art with all of us who are sooooooo lucky to read it. Thank you for being here, you always make me smile.  

Hugs,
Tara

"My heart is like an open book, for the whole world to read"
     - Motley Crue, Home Sweet Home

Lady In White
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24 posted 12-11-2001 05:25 PM       View Profile for Lady In White   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lady In White


From a talented man
A very special poem...

Thank you  
 
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