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Washington State
About William Robbins




The Claim

As I wandered o'er the desert
Searching for that yellow dust.
I came upon a shovel
That was nearly eaten thru with rust.
That was when the questions started
Could there be a claim around?
I began to search for diggins
In this lonely barren ground.

I searched throughout the sagebrush
Til the stars were my only light.
T'was then I spread by bedroll
And settled in for the night.
When I awoke next morning
I was in a surly mood.
The rest that I'd received last night
Was not what I'd call good.

It seemed like I was not alone
Though I saw no one else around.
So after I'd had my breakfast
T'was just beans and bannock bread.
I should have went on searching
But I laid back down instead.
Now if I fell asleep or not
I guess I'll never know.
I thought that I heard someone say
In a voice both soft and low.

There are many acres round here pal
Where you can make your bed.
I'm buried here, so I can't move
You're sitting on my head.

William Robbins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Ghost Town

The bat-wing doors on the old saloon,
will still swing in or out.
But it's not the same neath the harvest moon,
because you never hear a shout.
A pack rat runs across the floor,
where many feet have trod.
But the men who gathered here before,
are now beneath the sod.
The old ghost town's not the same today,
not like it used to be.
Boot Hill is just a patch of clay,
no markers can you see.
Think of the tales that are hidden here,
of death by a sudden draw.
The trials that were held in the old saloon,
that took the place of law.
See that piano standing there?
For years it has been still.
But it once furnished the merriment,
while the fellows drank their fill.
It's not the same, as I've said before,
it's like walking with the dead.
Where there once was talk and laughter,
there is silence now instead.
See that old snag in the distance?
It was once a cottonwood.
Where they hung the ones convicted,
so they knew that they'd be good.
See those bleached bones over yonder?
It was once a miner's partner,
a burro, don't you see?
They were always close together,
or so it seemed to be.
Whether they were on the desert,
or beneath a shady tree.
When at night the miner settled,
for a bed upon the ground.
You can bet your bottom dollar,
that old burro was around.
Then at last the miner perished,
he was buried close to here.
Is it strange that lonesome burro,
never traveled far from there.
They were partners in their lifetime,
they're together now in death.
Laying in this lonely ghost town,
neath the desert's sweltering breath.

William Robbins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Gunny-Sack Bill

Come chuckle and smile, but read on a while, and I will proceed now to tell.
Of the fabulous fortune that was hidden within the shack of old Gunny-sack Bill.
Willis McGregory, may God rest his soul, has gone to the regions above.
We laid him away on a bright summer day, and now he has joined his first love.
Old Bill was in Oregon some years ago, and some people had it in their dome.
That Willis had planted a large sack of dough in that old shack that he called home.
You ask, "Why the name of Gunny-sack Bill?  Well friends you are in for a treat.
In that cold winter weather, with no boots to wear, he would tie gunny-sacks round his feet.
Now there was an old codger who hung around town who wanted to move into Bill's shack.
The town council said, "No, it has got to come down, so the air can get into each crack"

There was an old fellow that we all called Dad, who lived bout a block down the street.
He said that he reckoned it wouldn't be bad if we gave the town council a treat.
So we found an old cash box all covered with rust, and a padlock that was equally old.
We swore we would fix up a treasure or bust, that was equal to Gunny-sack's gold.
Just where to hide it, now that was our goal, then Dad said with a gleam in his eye.
"There's a little false ceiling by the old stove pipe hole and that's where the treasure should lie."
And so that same evening, it was late and so still, old Dad and I went for a stroll.
Then I climbed up on the shack of old Gunny-sack Bill, and put the box  in the old stove pipe hole.

Well the way that man started to tear down that shack, you'd think he had St. Vitus dance.
Or else that a large swarm of bees, had crawled up and lodged in the seat of his pants.
I fully intended to be close around at the moment the treasure he'd find.
But he would quit work if I came onto the ground, his idea was different from mine.
I could spin you a yarn of what happened that day, but I won't, for it wouldn't be true.
The tale I have told you really happened that day, so I'll leave the conjecture to you.
Just what was in that old cash box you say, of which I have made such a stew?
Two nuts, from the railroad, packed in cloth and old hay, and a note that just said, "NUTS TO YOU"

William Robbins
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


William Robbins' friend who sent this poem told us, " This is the first poem that William Robbins wrote.  It is based on a true story.  Bill had bought an old mill building in Minnesota that he was going to use as a repair garage.  Willis McGregory (Gunny-sack Bill) lived in an old shack near by that was owned by the City.  It was rumored that he had a fortune hidden in the shack.  When he passed on, the City hired an old codger to tear the shack down.  The codger used that effort to look for the hidden fortune.  William Robbins and another man they called 'Dad' decided to play a trick on the old codger and town council, so they planted a money box, and here is his tale.


About William Robbins:

William Robbins was born in Minnesota in the year 1910.  At the age of 2, his family moved to Canada.  Bill completed his 8th year of school and then was forced into the scarce labor market.  During the Great Depression, his movement was from "pillar to post." Discovering a talent for repairing automobiles, he became a "shade tree mechanic" repairing autos wherever the opportunity presented.  A jack-of-all-trades, he got his reading enjoyment from the poems of Robert W. Service, especially enjoying "The Cremation of Sam McGee."  His first poem was "Gunnysack Bill," written about a recluse living in a shack and thought by the townspeople to have hidden gold.  Bill has written over 180 poems.  He currently lives in University Place, Washington.  His modest saying about his talent is:

You needn't be smart to write a poem.
As any fool can see.
You wouldn't be able to read these words.
If you were more stupid than me.



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