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About Ellie Corrigan
Poems
Recordings
Contact Information

 

 

About Ellie Corrigan:

In 1935, in a log cabin, nestled in a quiet little valley, seven miles south of Challis, Idaho, a baby girl was born in a cabin that was in pioneer days, a stage coach stop and relay station for teams of horses.

Her father Charles Elmer Bishop, and her mother Laura Thelma Bishop, taught her, along with her sisters, Ethelella, Betty and her brother David, the value of a job well done and the exhilaration of accomplishment.

With love and appreciation for the soil and life-style it provided, old fashioned values were taught in the home with emphasis on truth and honesty at a time when a handshake was a valid contract.

Cowboys, sheepherders, ranchers, trappers and hunters were dear and valued friends. Assigned with daily tasks of keeping the small herd of cattle away from the ranch and up on the range, riding came early for Ellie and her brother.

Drawn to story telling by a father who could paint vivid pictures with words, the family was entertained with wonderful tales of his life. Meal time was storytelling time and relished by family members, along with friends and strangers who dined at their table. Some came as strangers but left as friends.

Married at seventeen, Ellie and her husband have raised four children. Three sons, Mitch, Dan, and David and one daughter Megan, a daily source of contentment and joy to their cowgirl mother's heart.

She wrote her first poem in 1987 after attending the poetry gathering in Elko, Nevada (the granddaddy of them all). Ellie has committed her legendary father's stories along with Dave Edmiston's, a family friend, and her own to rhyme.

In 1987, Ellie her aunt Roberta Green and sister Ethie started the first poetry gathering in Salmon, Idaho. Since then she has attended and participated in gatherings in Virginia City, Missoula, Lewistown (Charlie Russell's Judith basin country), and Bannock, Montana. Besides attending the annual State Gathering in St. Anthony, Miss Ellie can be found sharing poems at gatherings throughout the State of Idaho. Rubbing shoulders with the greats of this ever, expanding movement, Ellie counts her fellow poets as part of her extended family.

Ellie has been using a cow's tail for a compass all her life and is still active in the ranching and cattle raising business. Her stories are real and her humor is genuine.

 

"The only way to preserve this art form is to introduce young people to this invaluable venue of self expression"
                                                                              
Ellie Corrigan



Poems

Satan Stallion

Listening for the Chains

Pards

 

Satan Stallion

The cowboys all assembled on a blisterin day in Hell
They were waitin on the devil and just dreaded what he'd tell,
They knew from days gone by that they wouldn't like his tune,
He rejoiced in all their misery their hopelessness and gloom
This mornin he's a smilin and they knew beyond a doubt,
They'd see the sorriest side of hell before the day was out

He cast a leery eye upon them and with a sadistic grin said,
"I think we'll have a rodeo, go get those horses in!"
"I want the rough stock yonder that runs out with that black stud,
The hoss you boys call "Satan." then he turns and points to Judd,
"Take a half a dozen riders and fetch em down the draw.
This will be the rankest rodeo you gents have ever saw!

Well he sure wasn't foolin and someone chanced to say
With his special brand of torment it was an unforgettin day
The boys were bruised and bleedin, they were kicked and stomped a bit
Then he takes it in his head to "Buck out Satan for we quit!"
Now those cowboys were no pilgrims but that order made them quake
Their courage badly shaken and they moaned for mercy sake

Then a handsome wiry puncher, with the warmest kindest eyes
Stepped out to face the Devil and before they realized
His voice rang out for silence and a hush fell on the crowd.
"I'll ride your Satan stallion, of which you are so proud!"
The Devil hadn't noticed this cowboy much till now
Still a fiendish laugh escaped him "I suppose you'll show em how,

What makes you think you're special, as far as I can tell,
Big brags and good intentions are all you find in Hell!"
The cowboy never wavered no backed up a single step, 
"I'll ride your killer stallion, I'm standin on my rep
And Devil, when I've done it, and showed him who's the boss,
You're gonna cut loose all these cowboys, and you'll set free ever hoss!"

With a moment's hesitation the Devil took the bet
He didn't have to worry Satan hadn't been rode yet!
So they strapped a saddle on him, while he screamed and bawled his hate
The cowboy slid down on him and he nodded for the gate
In true fashion of a rider with his arm thrown o'er his head, 
the waiting crowd watched mesmerized bu the Devil's filled with dread

For everyone could see it although it wasn't planned
The vivid, ugly jagged scar (of a nail hole through his hand!)

© Ellie Corrigan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

(Curly Musgrave created a song from this poem, and it is on his CD, The Heritage)
 

 

Listening for the Chains

My memories are connected to so very many things.  Sounds transport one back in time and bring memories vividly home!


I go back in my memory to the time when I'm a child, 
     and the pictures flash before me of four kids, born free and wild.
Our cabin in the mountains by a trail that's old and worn, 
     was the stage road in to Challis, many years before I was born.

That cabin was my birth place, season was the early spring, 
     It's a good time for a baby when the grass is turnin green.
Those years up in that valley, I'll remember all my life, 
     with  a cowboy for a Daddy, and our Mom the cowboy's wife.

So I set down and I listen for the sounds of yesterday, 
     the scratchin squawking chickens and the milk cows munchin hay,
The bug eyed calves a bawlin as a hot iron sears their hide, 
     that Boot brand wrote in leather that they'll carry on their side.

Dad's knife blade picks up sunlight as he bends at that calf's rear, 
     the little bull strains at the ropes and jumps back up a steer!
The long days chasing water and the harvesting of hay, 
     the smell of coffee boiling telling supper's on its way.

And fall came with the wood haul from the mountains back of home. 
     It was a time I really dreaded for it left us kids alone.
Our sisters went to college, Dave and I spent time in school, 
     the long walks home would catch us with the air turning cool.

We'd snack on bread and honey, then go out to milk and feed, 
     get in the wood, lock up the hens, there's a book I need to read.
And all the time we're working, we're listening for the sound of those harness chains 
     jingling bringing Mom and Daddy down.

Then a way off in the distance there's a tinkling like a bell, 
     it's the music we've been waiting for and we know that all is well.
So sometimes now when it's quiet and the nights are cold and clear
     I go back in my memory for the sounds I hold so dear,
I can hear those tug chains jingle, tho my childhood long has flown, 
     My heart leaps and I'm happy, MOM AND DADDY'S COMIN HOME!

© Ellie Corrigan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Pards

This is the first poem I ever wrote, it's about my Dad and his friend Dude Taylor when they were working on the Lazy Six horse ranch out of Saco, Montana. My dad's name was Slim!

This took place in Montana on a horse ranch Lazy Six,
     Two cowboys were working on a crossing for a crick,
They were young light hearted fellers, but the chore they had this day 
     was not the kind they'd pick out if given their own way.

"You know said Dude to Slim, "We could do this job real quick, 
     if we only had a culvert to gather up this crick.
Now that started Slim to thinkin, he mulled it over in his head, 
     "There's a big pipe layin on Larb Cr. Not far from the county shed.
It's been layin there a year or two, and it surely does seem like, 
     if we hitched the team and lit right out we could rustle us a pipe.

Well as one they dropped their shovels, left them standing in mid air, 
     running for the barn to hitch up two bay colts that were a pair.
They made the trip real easy, but as they were coming back, 
     a little yappy dog ran out and stood in the wagon track.

He was barkin and a fussin, like he owned that whole dang road, 
     and Slim's a talkin quiet to these broncs he had to hold,
But at last the pup got to them, and they took right off in high, 
     that pipe stood up like a turkey's tail pointed at the sky.

Dude he crawls back in the pipe and tries to hold it braced, 
     while Slim's sawin and pullin to slow down this hoss race.
Well they got their second wind runnin bellies to the ground, 
     when they overtook a Model T. that was puffin in to town.

It was chuggin and wheezin  travelin up the road, 
     the old driver is a light weight but the wife's a heavy load. 
When the team ran up behind that car, Slim's ears burned with pure disgrace, 
     that fat lady turns around in her seat and she's whippin em in the face.
Well naturally they swerved aside and did they're level best 
     to leave that car in dust so thick one couldn't get their breath.


They stretched it out for quite a while for Slim sorta slowed em down,
"If we don't get em pretty quick we're headed in to town!" But he's handy with the ribbons, 
with his cussin and his talk, he's humored em down to a trot and back into a walk.
They're all hot and tired and sweaty, both the horses and the men.
"That was one damn lively hoss race, they both allowed and then
In his slow easy way of speakin, Dude says "Pass me back yer gun."
Slim nearly fell off the wagon seat, just rememberin that last run.


" I hope, BY GOD, yer jokin, cause a shot down through that pipe
will start us up another wreck I won't get stopped all night!
On his belly on that tin chariot, Dude gave Slim a reckless grin
"Well, you can just take yer choice old pard, BUT HERE COMES THAT DOG AGAIN!"


© Ellie Corrigan
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Recordings

 

I Was Born in the Night But Not Last Night

A great collection of cowboy poetry by cowboy poet Ellie Corrigan.

A journey through rhyme to a place and time where a handshake was all that was needed for a deal. Children roamed free, loved and respected the soil and Life was hard but Living was easy.

Includes:

Pards
Slim
Mistaken Identity
Charlie Jenson
Ernie
Listening for the Chains
Ma's Biscuits
Satan Stallion
Pack Rat
Frisbee Cat
Lighten Up
Music Box
Taps


Martin M. Jones, Engineer. Produced, recorded, mixed, mastered and duplicated at:

Peach Creek Studio
HC 67, Box 322
Stanley, Idaho 83278
208-838-2651
peachdrk@custertel.net
http://www.custertel.net/~peachcrk/

I Was Born in the Night But Not Last Night is available for $15 plus $1.80 postage ($2.50 outside US) from Ellie Corrigan, P.O. Box 569, Challis, Idaho 83226, 208-879-4483, butch@custertel.net

See a review of this CD here.

Contact Information

 

Idaho’s Own Miss Ellie
P.O. Box 569
Challis, Idaho 83226
208-879-4483
butch@custertel.net

 

 

 

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