The Ballad of the Rogue Trader by Andrew Scott

Epilogue – Thoughts

Sit in this cell, deep in my thought
I have a lot of time
since now I have been locked up here
kicked like a back door slime

I sit here in this pit knowing
my guilt was already made
convicted because who I am
I am in the rogue trade

Town is like that for men like me
to be always labelled
that is their way, never changes
everywhere I traveled

The minds are always the same
place of no forward change
should have stayed away from Quesnelle
welcomed would have been strange

Instead I am sitting right here
in this dark, rotten cell
with my own bewildered, fast thoughts
how I landed in hell

Part I – The Beginning

Came to life when I was born
forty three years ago
do not truly know what year it was now
it was so long ago

Time was not important back then
still is not actually
counted days by moons and sunrises
the world beautifully

Do remember always working
a family work farm
from up the road of our home
kept me from the wrong harm

Father said it built character
I do know how to work
unlike some others I have met
hard for them to be a clerk

Itchy feet came during my growth
wanted to just explore
Mom and Dad were great folks to me
had to see earth’s store

My father cried the day I left
so sad to see those tears
Mother would not come out for byes
did not want to show fears

With a satchel on my shoulder
I went to search than land
to check the newer horizons
to sleep where I will stand

Part II – Working the Land

The next few years were difficult
bumping from town to town
earning enough to eat and sleep
same clothes were my worn gown

I was able to find a constant
field during this venture
Irish family building life
under weather’s torture

Maybe was because they squatted
swore they picked the worse place
to grow anything took long months
determined brave face

I grew antsy with each long day
was not seeing this land
curious what each town looked like
was melting I stand

Grabbed my hollow pack and started
to exploration I sought
leaving a place with room and board
the land would be my cot

I headed north to the mountain
I am not sure to why
picturesque peaks were calling me
beauty that searched the sky

I made sure I would not be cold
stole an old cattle skin
from an old animal that passed
left ripe for the takin’

After the first steps taken forward
had no place to arrive
the next destination unknown
never felt so alive

After three days and two long nights
found my first small village
where everything for me would switch
place with perfect image

Part III – Dawson

The first few weeks here were quiet
place seems uneventful
just a town that was slow building
into something fruitful

Most new prairie towns were like this
find identity
being born to us from the ground
into society

I blended in during the day
watched the arrival
of all citizens like me
trying to peaceful

Night time was spent in an alley
smeared with tang smell
but it was a place to rest, sleep
to others this was hell

Neighbourly, I was given a job
at a local motel
by a generous barkeep
my new hostel

Was cleaning up the evolving filth
made by cowboys
pretending to be rough outlaws
actions were more like noise

Heard great ideas for the future
to live a caravan
a life living free of town’s rules
or anyone else’s ban

I knew right away what to do
a horse, sturdy carriage
to be gotten, stolen with peace
not a man of carnage

Talked a man into giving gifts
of his transportation
in trade for land I did not own
so I had my vision

It seemed taking was so easy
survival was ready made
in the gleam in a new storm’s eye
new life in the rogue trade

Part IV – The Rogue Trader

The next several years passed on by
different seasons changed
and in meeting and seeing more
I became estranged

What I did was lonely business
surviving on the trail
my horse was that only constant
cried when she became frail

It was like losing family
made sure she was at peace
could not watch the struggle anymore
her life given new release

Contracted new work for a horse
a beautiful Clydesdale
that would last for many long mile
left without lifting a nail

It was the first time for me
making a deal like that
I always knew to leave at night
before I was got at

The carriage made for a great home
had all truly needed
seasons never tore it apart
even when they pleaded

I had very little inside
a few broken, torn books
no guns were in my presence here
do not like their dark looks

Guess that is what made me unique
used my brains to survive
instead of tactics of others
out here being alive

Only time we bandits were to speak
to one another was
to deliver priority
messages with cause

Mine came to me during daylight
a winded messenger
to tell of a family illness
that was about mother

I rushed back to where I was born
never knew if too late
to say goodbye to the spirit
going to pearly gates

Quesnelle was the destination
I road without a care
stampeding against the angels
I knew when I got there

Part V – Quesnelle

Quesnelle looked the same from outside
erected new buildings
that replaced older ones with time
nothing worth the showings

It did not take long to find out
the messenger was wrong
my mother was in good, fit health
right where she did belong

Not say my travel was in vain
the mother of my child
was going mad in front of folks
her eyes, mind were wild

Was the only child I knew
that was part of myself
there may have been others out there
these thoughts were on the shelf

I could hear the madness outside
from where I was standing
in the yard, child hovering
the mother threatening

Just saw the pitchfork in the hands
when I ran quick inside
and faced her with her own weapon
pulled trigger in one glide

There was one bullet, one hit
the mother was stricken
with death immediately as she fell
guns have power within

Was not long before the law showed
and then took me away
murder in doing what I did
that brings us to today

Prologue – Last Thoughts

I still do not understand as to why
I am locked up now in here
I was saving a life that day
now I’m a corralled steer

Wonder if here because yesterday
I took from an other
Imprisoned because of living
townsfolk should not bother

I do wait for my final fate
I laugh at the irony
only true good deed I ever did
will bring me infamy

Suppose as I follow hangman
I am to regret all
but everything I did made me
I rise with every fall

They have me as a centerpiece
make to be smallest
when the noose is around my neck
I will stand my tallest

August 24, 2012
© Andrew Scott – Just a Maritime Boy 2012


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Bio:Andrew Scott is a native of Fredericton, NB. During his time as an active poet, Andrew Scott has taken the time to speak in front of a classrooms, judge poetry competitions as well as be published worldwide in such publications as The Art of Being Human, Battered Shadows and The Broken Ones. His books, Snake With A Flower, The Phoenix Has Risen, The Path, The Storm Is Coming and Through My Eyes are available now.


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