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Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870-1943) arrived in the Arizona Territory as a young girl. She wrote about those early days and continued to document her life and the stories and histories of Arizona in wrote essays, short stories, articles, and poetry.

Fiercely independent, Sharlot Hall was the first Arizona woman to hold public office, serving as Territorial Historian of Arizona. In 1924, shortly after women won the right to vote, she was selected to take the state's vote to Washington, D. C.

As Territorial Historian, she traveled the area to collect information and become familiar with "every city and nearly every town and mining camp in Arizona." In 1911, she set off to visit the Arizona Strip, and documented that experience in a diary that is published in Sharlot Hall on the Arizona Strip; A Diary of a Journey Through Northern Arizona in 1911, edited by C. Gregory Crampton in 1975, and reprinted in 1988 and 1999. Utah was attempting to annex the "Arizona Strip," and the diaries were serialized at the time in Arizona, The New State Magazine, in part, to lobby against a proposed merger of New Mexico and Arizona. One of her best-known poems, "Arizona" written in 1906, ridiculed that plan.

Sharlot Hall started a museum in Prescott in 1928 with her own collection, and it has grown into the respected Sharlot Hall Museum. The museum sponsored the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering for its first 19 years. Read more about her life and work here at the museum's web site.

Her poems are recited today, and Arizonan Jody Drake is known for her historical presentations of Sharlot Hall and her works. Among the most-frequently heard are " When Maw Turned the Stampede ," " The Old Ranch Mother ," and "Old Cow Men's Parade," which is often recited by Tom Weathers at the Arizona Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Sharlot Hall never married. The Arizona Woman's Hall of Fame quotes one of her letters, "In all the homes I knew, then and over most of my life ... I saw women crucified by the insatiable passion of men so dull and stolid and stupid that it was a calamity to the race that they were able to reproduce their kind ... I tell you honestly that the very thought of love became an abomination to me."

The introduction to Sharlot Hall on the Arizona Strip; A Diary of a Journey Through Northern Arizona in 1911 comments:

On the opening leaf of the diary she carried along on the 1911 journey to the Arizona Strip, this appears in her own hand: "There is something better than making a living—making a life."

 

Below:

 

Poems

Books by and about Sharlot Hall

 

 

 


 

Poems

When Maw Turned the Stampede

The Old Ranch Mother

The Smell of Rain

The West

Arizona

Cash In  

Old Cow Men's Parade

Drouth Time

Beyond the Range


more to come ....

 

 

When Maw Turned the Stampede

Seven Bar had combed the range
Bare as a mule with Texas mange;
A thousan' beef steers rollin' fat
Pawed the dirt on Big Pine Flat.
Punchers guardin' 'em, head an' tail,
Waitin' fer word to hit th' trail,
San Carlos trail, that th' beef herds go
With porter-house steak for Geronimo.

A thousan' beef steers, big an' fat;
Ready to run at th' drop of a hat.
Each steer achin' to git th' lead
An' start th' herd on a mad stampede.
No man knows what a big steer thinks
When he shakes his head an' snorts an' winks.
No man knows why he'll up an' run
At nothin', or anythin' under the sun.

Seven Bar trail boss, Gran'dad Shanks,
Old an' gray in a steer herd's pranks;
Learned their cussedness head an' tail
Pokin' steers on th' Chis'um trail.
"Born in the saddle," he used to brag;
"An' cut my milk-teeth ridin' drag;
Growed my mustach pointin' the' lead
Of Texas long-horns build for speed."

"Watch 'em! Watch 'em, Boys," he'd say.
"They'll run tomorrow, if they don't today."
Lazy, sleepy afternoon;
Gran'dad dronin' an old hymn tune.
Men in their saddles, loafin' at ease,
When a blue-jay squawked in th' tall pine trees.
Quick as th' flash of a lightnin' stroke
Every steer into a gallop broke;

Shoulder to shoulder the wide horns clashed,
Nostrils snorted and wild eyes flashed;
Thunder of hoofs, and swish of tail—
Down they swept for the canyon trail.
Gran'dad Shanks an' his men in the' rear,
Whipped and rode with a mighty fear.
Whipped and spurred, an' tried to pray,
But their hearts went cold an' their faces, gray;

Fer up that trail each day from school
Came Buddy an' Sis, on old Pete, mule:
An' down at th' camp by th' aspen trees
Was the clay-bank mare with th' broken knees;
An' old Boss, dog' an' gray Maw Shanks,
With ginger-bread sol'jers waitin' in ranks.
Like a mountain river at cloudburst speed
Crashed and thundered th' mad stampede.

Th' Flat behind them seemed to rock
An' reel, an' roar with an earthquake shock;
An' Grand'dad, spurrin', tried to pray,
An' bowed his head, an' looked away;
Then, out from the camp in th' aspen draw
Th' leap of a runnin' horse he saw:
God! It was Maw on th' claybank mare
Her old black sunbonnet flappin' th' air;

Maw!...Without saddle, or bit, or spur
....Never a belt-winner rode like her.
Clo's-line rope 'round th' old mare's nose
Straight in th' track of th' steers she goes,
Ridin' as straight as a fightin' Sioux
Swingin' her apern an' yellin': "Shoo!"
Horns tossed high an' eyes a-glare
Th' wild dun leader stopped to stare;

Snorted an' shied, an' turned,—like that
An' trotted back to Big Pine Flat
Over th' trail that was torn and plowed
Oak-brush trampled, an' young pines bowed.
Gran'dad spurred, an' cried like a fool
Fer Buddy an Sis, on old Pete, mule,
Climbed th' hill from th' canyon banks
An' stopped on th' grass with Gran'maw Shanks.

An' Sis said, lookin' from him to her:
"Gran'dad, say, what ye cryin' fer?"

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953


(The original poem is printed without the stanza breaks above, which are included here for easier reading on the screen.)

"When Maw Turned the Stampede" was published in Short Stories magazine in 1927, as listed here at the FictionMags index.

 


 

The Old Ranch Mother

Long time ago I used to say to Jim
('Fore any children come to call him Paw):
"Oh Jim, Oh, Jim, let's leave this sorry place
An' go where trees is, an' green grass,
An' water springs. This desert here
Burns up my heart and makes me so afraid.
Let's go where folks is—Jim. Oh, Jim, let's go."
An Jim, he'd chaw an' spit an' chaw,
An' say: "Aw, Lizzy, this place, it's all right'
Th' cattle's company better'n too much folks."

I set here on this hill right smart that year—
A-waitin' and a-waitin'—plum scared wild
To hold some woman's hand, an' hear her talk.
I made Jim put th' baby 'way up here—
An' sometimes yit I see her scared, dead face.

Jodie, he come nex' year. I walked them trails
Fer weeks an' months—seemed like I had to fly
To git away—to go an' be with folks.
That there ain't Jodie's grave. It's got his name
But God, He only, knows where Jodie is.
'Fore he could walk he'd roll an' crawl to git
Out o' th' door—jis had to get away—
Like everywhere was callin' him to come.
Las' year I made-believe that grave o' his
When he was killed 'way down in Mexico.
Seemed like I felt him comin' on them trails
                                  Back to his Maw.

When th' rest come, I didn't think so much.
Th' cattle, like Jim said, was company.
Th' cows with little calves, cute little tricks,
I turned 'em in to water at the trough
An' talked to 'em. When Piedy's calf, it died
An' she went wild a-mooin', I jes took
Th' little thing an' buried it up here
Right by my baby—an' she seemd to know—
An' her an' me was frien's fer many year
                                 Like human folks.

I took a heap o' comfort in them cows.
It never done no good to talk to Jim—
He'd jes' set dum an' chaw, an' spit, an' chaw.
My, them was workin' times! Me waterin' cattle—
Childern comin' fast, an' growin' fast—
An' Jim off ridin', mostly, on th' range.
That's John there, close to Babe.
Come, once, a runnin' horse, a-thunderin' down
Th' water trail—an' somethin' draggin' caught
Into the stirrup.

                                                 Even yit
A runnin' horse jes' shets my heart up tight.
That's Lulie—she was so afraid o' storms.
Th' lightnin' got her, bringin' up th' cows—
Me, goin' to meet her, saw the big flash hit.
I ain't never let no rain storm fall
On Lulie, there. I put that roofin' iron
All over her, an' always kep' it close—
                                  Storms scared her so.

Th' others come here like comin' home.
Rustlers got Bill. He caught 'em blottin' brands
On his Paw's steers. They shot him on th' trail
'Fore he could tell—Him nothin' but a boy.
Pete, he was ridin' in a tournamint
To win first prize. His horse, it fell
An' caught him under it.
I hate them tournamints, th' boys' most always has
A drink too much.

I think right often of that year I set
Up on this hill, a-waitin' 'till Babe come—
Scared mos' to death—an' crazy wild fer folks.
There's come a heap o' changes sence that time.
Settin' here now's jes' like th' work done up
An' all the fam'ly comin' in to rest.
I've got so still an' dumb-like down inside
Nothin' cain't ever scare me any more.
Paw says, sometimes; "Le's sell this ranch an' go
Where folks is."
                    What's th' use? He couldn't chaw
No more tabaccy there then he does here—
An' me, ... I don't want livin' folks no more,
I only want this hill-top, an' my graves.

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 


 


"The Old Orchard Ranch House," from Poems of a Ranch Woman
Sketches of the ranch house are the book's end papers

 


 

Smell of Rain

Smell of drought on every side;
Every whirlwind flings aside
Acrid, evil-smelling dust
Like some burning mold or musk.
Wind across the garden brings
Scent of blistered, dying things.
Deep corral dust trampled fine
Stings the lips like bitter wine.
Warping boards ooze drops of pitch
Scented with a memory rich
Of cook forests far away.
In the sunbaked fields the hay
Yields a piteous, panting breath
As it slowly burns to death.
Roses in the ranch-house yard
Turn to mummies dry and hard.
Out of dusk and out of dawn
Every fragrance is withdrawn.
Hot, hot winds, and clear, hot sky
Burn the throat and sear the eye.
Then, at last, a cool dawn wind
Pitying and deeply kind,
Brings a far-off scent of rain.
Ah, the sick earth lives again!
Herds that straggle dusty-pale
Down the deep-worn water trail,
Life their sunken eyes with hope
To the distant mountain slope.
Lean work horses shy and snot
In an awkward, eager sport;
And the ranch dogs, baying, run
Out to meet the rising sun.
In the yard a woman stands,
Touching with bewildered hands
Wan buds trying to unclose
On a parched and dying rose.

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 

Virginia Bennett recites "The Smell of Rain" on the Smithsonian Folkways recording, Cowboy Poetry Classics.

 


From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 


 

 

The West

When the world of waters was parted by the stroke of a mighty rod,
Her eyes were first of the lands of earth to look on the face of God;
The white mists robed and throned her, and the sun in his orbit wide
Bent down from his ultimate pathway and claimed her his chosen bride;
And he who had formed and dowered her with the dower of a royal queen,
Decreed her the strength of mighty hills, the peace of the plains between;
The silence of utmost desert, and canyons rifted and riven,
And the music of wide-flung forests were strong winds shout to heaven.

Then high and apart he set her and bade the gray seas guard,
And the lean sands clutching her garments' hem keep stern and solemn ward.
What dreams she knew as she waited! What strange keels touched her shore!
And feet went into the stillness and returned to the sea no more.
They passed through her dream like shadows — till she woke one pregnant morn
And watched Magellan's white-winged ships swing round the ice-bound Horn;
She thrilled to their masterful presage, those dauntless sails from afar,
And laughed as she leaned to the ocean till her face shone out like a star.

And men who toiled in the drudging hives of a world as flat as a floor
Thrilled in their souls to her laughter and turned with face to the door;
And creeds as hoary as Adam, and feuds as old as Cain,
Fell deaf on the ear that harkened and caught that far refrain;
Into dungeons by light forgotten, and prisons of grim despair,
Hope came with pale reflection of her star on the swooning air;
And the old, hedged, human whirlpool, with its seething misery,
Broke bound, as a pent-up river breaks through to the healing sun.

Calling, calling, calling; resistless, imperative, strong;
Soldier and priest and dreamer — she drew them, a mighty throng.
The unmapped seas took tribute of many a dauntless band,
And many a brave hope measured but bleaching bones in the sand;
Yet for one that fell, a hundred sprang out to fill his place,
For death at her call was sweeter than life in a tamer race.
Sinew and bone she drew them; steel-thewed—and the weaklings shrank;
Grim-wrought of granite and iron were the men of her foremost rank.

Stern as the land before them, and strong as the waters crossed;
Men who had looked on the face of defeat nor counted the battle lost;
Uncrowned rulers and statesmen, shaping their daily need
To the law of brother with brother, till the world stood by to heed;
The sills of a greater empire they hewed and hammered and turned
And the torch of a larger freedom from their blazing hilltops burned;
Till the old ideals that had led them grew dim as a childhood's dream,
And Caste went down in the balance, and Manhood stood supreme.

The wanderers of earth turned to her, outcast of the older lands;
With a promise and hope in their pleading, and she reached them pitying hands;
And she cried to the Old World cities that drowse by the Eastern main:
"Send me your weary, house-worn broods and I'll send you men again!
Lo, here in my wind-swept reaches, by my marshalled peaks of snow,
Is room for a larger reaping than your o'er-tilled fields can grow;
Seed of the Man-seed springing to stature and strength in my sun,
Free, with a limitless freedom no battles of men, have won."

For men, like the grain of the cornfields, grow small in the huddled crowd;
And weak for the breath of spaces where a soul may speak aloud;
For hills like stairways to heaven, shaming the level track;
And sick with the clang of pavements, and the marts of the trafficking pack;
Greatness is born of greatness, and breadth of a breadth profound;
The old Antaean fable of strength renewed from the ground
Was a human truth for the ages; since the hour of Eden-birth,
That man among men was the strongest who stood with his feet on the earth.

from Cactus and Pine, 1911

 

"The West" appears in  Sharlot Hall's 1911 book, Cactus and Pine, and in the book's later editions (1924, and a 1989 reprint). In the 1924 edition, she writes:

This poem was written between November 12 and 26, 1901; indeed, though I had been thinking it over from the first date on  it [it] was put on paper the night of the 25th. In the autumn of that year, Charles F. Lummis, then editor of a magazine called The Land of Sunshine, published in Los Angeles, California, had decided to enlarge the periodical and to change the name to Out West.

He had asked both Edwin Markham and Joaquin Miller for a poem to be used on the first page of the first issue under the new name. Neither responded and at the last moment (I was then working on the magazine but was just preparing to return to Arizona to collect material for some special articles) Mr. Lummis told me that I would have the furnish the poem needed before I left for Arizona.

The poem was printed on heavy cardboard and sent to every periodical of importance in the United States, with an announcement of the change in the magazine. The "broadside," which was attractively printed on delicately tinted paper, was copied in many periodicals, and later to set to music for many voices by Willard Patton and given under his direction at a Festival of Western Song in Minnesota. Margaret MacArthur, Harry Leon Wilson, Susannah Cocroft, and other writers have used portions of it in stories and essays, and it has been included in various collections of verse.

 

 


 

Arizona

In his message of December, 1905, President Roosevelt advised that Arizona and New Mexico be admitted to the union as one state. In Arizona the opposition to this "joint-statehood" was bitter and determined.

No beggar she in the mighty hall where her bay-crowned sisters wait,
No empty-handed pleader for the right of a free-born state;
No child, with a child's insistence, demanding a gilded toy;
But a fair-browed, queenly woman, strong to create or destroy.
Wise for the need of the sons she has bred in the school where weaklings fail,
Where cunning is less than manhood, and deeds, not words, avail:
With the high, unswerving purpose that measures and overcomes;
 And the faith in the Farthest Vision that builded her hard-won homes.

Link her, in her clean-proved fitness, in her right to stand alone,

Secure for whatever future in the strength that her past has won,

Link her, in her morning beauty, with another, however fair?
And open your jealous portal and bid her enter there
With shackles on wrist and ankle, and dust on her stately head,
And her proud eyes dim with weeping? No! Bar your doors instead
And seal them fast forever! but let her go her way

Uncrowned if you will, but unshackled, to wait for a larger day.

Ay! Let her go bare-handed; bound with no grudging gift;
Back to her own free spaces where her rock- ribbed mountains lift
Their walls like a sheltering fortress
back to her house and blood;
And we of her blood will go our way and reckon your judgment good.
We will wait outside your sullen door till the stars you wear grow dim
As the pale dawn-stars that swim and fade o'er our mighty Canon's rim.
We will lift no hand for the bays ye wear, nor covet your robes of state

But ah! By the skies above us all, we will shame ye while we wait!

We will make ye the mould of an empire here in the land ye scorn;
While ye drowse and dream in your well-housed ease that States at your nod are born.
Ye have blotted your own beginnings, and taught your sons to forget
That ye did not spring fat-fed and old from the powers that bear and beget;
But the while ye follow your smooth-made roads to a fireside safe of fears,
Shall come a voice from a land still young, to sing in your age-dulled ears
The hero song of a strife as fine as your fathers' fathers knew,
When they dared the rivers of unmapped wilds at the will of a bark canoe


The song of the deed in the doing, of the work still hot from the hand;
Of the yoke of man laid friendly-wise on the neck of a tameless land.
While your merchandise is weighing, we will bit and bridle and rein
The floods of the storm-rocked mountains and lead them down to the plain;
And the foam-ribbed, dark-hued waters, tired from that mighty race.
Shall lie at the feet of palm and vine and know their appointed place;
And out of that subtle union, desert and mountain-flood.
Shall be homes for a nation's choosing, where no home else had stood.

We will match the gold of your minting, with its mint-stamp dulled and marred
By the tears and blood that have stained it and the bands that have clutched too hard,
With the gold that no man has lied for
the gold no woman has made
 The price of her truth and honor, plying a shameless trade:
The clean, pure gold of the mountains, straight from the strong, dark earth,
With no tang or taint upon it from the hour of its primal birth.
The trick of the money-changer, shifting his coins as he wills,
Ye may keep
no Christ was bartered for the wealth of our lavish hills.

"Yet we are a little people
too weak for the cares of state!"
Let us go our way
when ye look again, ye may find us, mayhap, too great.
Cities we lack
and gutters where children snatch for bread:
Numbers
and hordes of starvelings, toiling but never fed.
Spare pains that would make us greater in the pattern that ye have set;
We hold to the larger measure of the men that ye forget

The men who, from trackless forests and prairies lone and far,
 Hewed out the land where ye sit at ease and grudge us our fair-won star.

"There yet be men, my masters," though the net that the trickster flings
Lies wide on the land to its bitter shame, and his cunning parleyings
Have deafened the ears of Justice, that was blind and slow of old;
Yet Time, the last Great Judge, is not bought, or bribed, or sold;
And Time and the Race shall judge us
not a league of trafficking men,
Selling the trust of the people, to barter it back again;
Palming the lives of millions as a handful of easy coin

With a single heart to the narrow verge where Craft and Statecraft join.

from Cactus and Pine, 1911

 


 

Cash In

O life is a game of poker
And I've played it straight to the end;
But the last chip's down on the table
And I'm done with the game, my friend.

The fire in my blood it flickers
Like a guttering candle light,
When the tallow beads in greasy tears
And the wind whips in from the night.

The deck was stacked by the Dealer
Before he would let me in;
The cards were marked, and I knew it—
There was never a chance to win.

But I bluffed the game to a finish
Till He nodded and called my hand

Palms empty and crossed
—but the lips still smile—
And the Dealer will understand.

from Cactus and Pine, 1911

 


 

Old Cow Men's Parade

The flags are flying, the bands are playing,
   And there, down Gurley street
The big parade is coming

   Hark to the trampling feet!
Two hundred cow men riding,
   Dressed out for holiday;
Ten-gallon hats and fancy shirts
   And 'kerchiefs bright and gay.

Two hundred horses prancing
   As the riders whoop and yell;
And jingle of spurs and bridle chains
   The noise and music swell.
There's Ruffner on the sorrel,
   His silver bridle shines;
And Doc Pardee comes riding
   Down from the Munds Park pines.

And there's the Beloat of Buckeye
   Who twirls a winning rope;
Loge Morris and his juniors,
   All on a swinging lope.
The Champies and Ed Bowman,
   And all the medalled train
Come back to lift more honors
   At Prescott once again.

They pass with jokes and laughter,
   And shouting clear and loud,
Out to the big arena
   To face the cheering crowd.
And some will rope for glory
   And some will ride for gold;
And some will grappled bull-dogged steers
   And win on a strangle-hold.

Down sweep the big sombreros
   As the bow to the grandstand's cheer;
But, look, as they ride to their places

   God! Look what's coming here!
A long, long train of horsemen,
   Yet never a hoof-beat sounds;
And never a dust-spurt rises
   From the trampled sporting grounds.

A-breast, in martial order
   They wheel and swing to place;
But their forms are thin and misty
   And a shadow dims each face;
A pale and still battalion
   In Stetsons, chaps, and spurs;
And they, too, bow to the grandstand

   But the picture swims and blurs.

Here are the men of Texas
   Who made the Chisholm Trail,
Pointing their herds of long-horns
   To the track of a steel-shod rail,
Heading their leaders northward
   By a puff of engine smoke;
Betting their all on a market chance

   Thousands--or down, and broke.

Men who trailed the Long Trail
   With steers for Idaho;
Men who drove their beef herds
   To feed Geronimo.
Men who could buck a Norther,
   Men who could fight a drouth;
Sitting their lean trail-horses,
   Keen-eyed, and grim of mouth.

There's Jim O'Neal from Date Creek
   With his riders, dark and trim;
And close at this knee Juan Leyvas,
   A stripling lithe and slim.
And Stuart Knight comes riding
   With his smile and careless grace

But a whirlwind whips down the beaten track
   And a dust-cloud blurs each face.

Gone are the silent riders,
   And only the sun beats down
On the trampled, barren arena
   And the chute gates weathered brown:
They've ridden back to the Days That Were;
   But before a play is made

Three cheers for the unseen men who passed
   In the old cow men's parade.

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 

Frequently, audiences at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering are treated to Tom Weathers' recitation of this poem, which describes the Prescott Rodeo parade. Families of many of those mentioned in the poem still live in the Prescott area today.

 


 

 

Drouth Time

Burning, burning, lies the land,
Parched and hot as a sick man's hand;
Dry and hot as a sick man's palm
When a fever burns past cure or balm.

Sun-cracked and blistered, baked and dried,
Like a drouth-dead steer with a sun-cured hide
The fields that the plowshare once has turned
Yawn to the sky, all sere and burned.

In the ranch-house garden the dying things
Fill the air with a scent that stings;
And the hot wind rattles the corn blades down
On the fist-big melons, cooked and brown.

Over the sweltering mesa's rim,
Through shimmering dust-banks dun and dim,
The skeleton cattle stagger in
To drink ere mid-day heat begin.

The lean calves hide in the meager shade,
And the cows crowd close to the pole stockade,
With deep-lunged sigh; and grunt, and cough
For the scant, wet draught of the water trough.

The windmill whirls and a thin stream falls,
While a thirsty throat for each drop calls
And a woman peers down the shrinking well
With a fear too deep for words to tell.

As the last herd back to the mesa goes
Low and lower the thin stream flows—
God! Will it water them once again?
God! Will ever come the rain?

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 


 

Beyond the Range

  (Jack Martin died at dawn on July 12, 1925. Sharlot write in her diary: "Never say of me that I am dead.
   Say that I have gone on an eternal prospecting trip.")

Now, here I cache the useless pack
     I nevermore shall need;
And here I take the Longest Trail
     Wherever it may lead.
Beyond the Range—beyond the range
     Oh, strong and sure and free!
I quest for more than life has brought
     And more than eyes can see.

Oh, desert skies and desert stars
     And desert trails I knew;
Brown peaks that hold the dream of gold,
     I turn no more to you.
Oh, nevermore I turn to you
     At dawn or set of sun

For campfire's light, or nuggets bright
     The golden day is done.

Now, stake for me a last, last claim
     And lay them there to rest
The trailworn feet, the weary hands,
     The still heart in my breast.
Earth's last prospecting trip is done,
     But somewhere, strong and sure,
My spirit seeks the Mother-lode
     Whose treasure shall endure.

Out, out beyond the farthest star,
     Beyond the last lone peak;
More fair than desert-born mirage
     The Glory Land I seek.
No monuments are on the trail,
     The way is dim and strange

But light of God is on the land
     That lies Beyond the Range.

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

This poem is included in our collection of poems for solemn occasions.

 


 

This photo of Sharlot Hall and her mother is included in the 1924 edition of Cactus and Pine


 

From Poems of a Ranch Woman, 1953

 


Books by and about Sharlot Hall

 

 

   Cactus and Pine (1910, 1924, and 1989)



Cactus and Pine is Sharlot Hall's first collection of poetry. The 1924 edition includes an introduction by Sharlot Hall and 18 "new poems."

The 1989 edition is a reprint of the 1924 edition and includes an introduction by Kenneth R. Kimsey, then Director of the Sharlot Hall Museum, and illustrations and photos.

 


 

   Poems of a Ranch Woman (1953 and 1989)

This second collection of Sharlot Hall's poems was published after her death as a companion to Cactus and Pine. It includes a biography by Charles Franklin Parker.

The foreword by Josephine F. Mackenzie in the 1953 edition states:

These songs from a ranch woman's heart tell her own story of courage and unflagging will.

Demand for two editions of Sharlot Hall's first book, Cactus and Pine, is proof of the esteem in which her poetry is held. She planned a second book and set down its name, Poems of a Ranch Woman, which is the name of this volume, but she died without having completed it. Some six years later the work of bringing together her unpublished poems was undertaken, and all sources were explored from which they might be obtained. It is believed that all the poems here are hers, and with one or two exceptions, all that were found among her papers were included here. The two-fold hope that motivated this compilation is: that the lover of poetry will find here the exalted beauty he seeks: and, that the book will measure up to the high standard which the gifted poet set for herself.

The Sharlot Hall Museum Press has announced that a new edition of this book is being prepared.

Both editions of Poems of a Ranch Woman include the same poems. The 1989 edition, "enlarged and revised," includes some additional photos and illustrations.

 


 

 Sharlot Hall on the Arizona Strip; A Diary of a Journey Through Northern Arizona in 1911, edited by C. Gregory Crampton (1975, 1988, and 1999).

As Arizona Territorial Historian, Sharlot Hall traveled the area to collect information and become familiar with "every city and nearly every town and mining camp in Arizona." In 1911, she set off to visit the Arizona Strip, and documented that experience in a diary, which is the main contents of this book.

Utah was attempting to annex the "Arizona Strip," and the diaries were serialized at the time in Arizona, The New State Magazine, in part, to lobby against a proposed merger of New Mexico and Arizona. One of her best-known poems, "Arizona," written in 1906, ridiculed that plan.

The book's introduction gives a glimpse of the traveling conditions and the spirit of the traveler on the 75-day trip:

Sharlot herself found it difficult to get very much information ahead of time about roads, water, or the general lay of the country north and west of the Grand Canyon. The advice given by a sheriff and a stockman was: "Don't go." But she was determined to have that "stray history, no matter how hard it might be to round up, so I hired a guide at Flagstaff and with his stout travelling wagon and a pony team that could stand the rough roads, I started out" July 23, 1911. The guide was Allen Doyle. "We carried grain for the horses for a month, a water barrel to tide us over the desert stretches which we were told might be long, and the lightest camp outfit that it seemed possible to get on with.

 


 

A Passion for Freedom: the Life of Sharlot Hall  Margaret F. Maxwell, University of Arizona Press, 1982

 


 

Sharlot Herself: Selected Writings of Sharlot Hall, edited by Nancy Kirkpatrick Wright with an introduction by Margaret F. Maxwell, Sharlot Hall Museum Press , 1992.

 


 

Sharlot Hall's bookplate, from Poems of a Ranch Woman

The whirling air takes form of dust—
A little hour—to fall again;
So whirling thought takes form of books,
Dust shaken from the minds of men.

 

 

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