gwen petersen
Big timber, mont.

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June 23, 2014
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 6-23-14

Nearly everyone knows the history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806 into the interior of the country. And most people probably know the story of Pompeys Pillar named by Captain William Clark. He dubbed the unusual chunk of sandstone rock “Pompys Tower” after Sacajawea’s infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. The pillar stands 150 feet tall and covers an acre of ground at its base. That’s a heck of a heap of rock! Later the name changed into Pompeys Pillar. Today, Pompeys Pillar is a designated National Monument — the smallest one in the nation — under the auspices of the Bureau of Land Management.

Every year, the Friends of Pompeys Pillar hold a Clark Days Festival on either the last weekend of July or the first weekend of August. In 2014, Clark Days will be held August 2-3. The event commemorates William Clark’s stop at the site on July 25, 1806, on his trip down the Yellowstone River. Activities include interpretive programs, demonstrations, nature walks, and a main presentation.

This year, for the “main presentation,” Friends of Pompeys Piller are hosting a cowboy poets and pickers show starting at 5:30. Yours truly, along with several other performers, has been invited to present cowboy poetry. The invitation led me to think about writing an audience participation song parody. So I did.

I’ll take my guitar but I play badly and sing worse so may receive only hurled over-ripe fruit. Oh, well, I can always make a salad. Watch this space for full report. Or come on down to Pompeys Pillar and judge for yourself.

Tribute To Pompeys Pillar

(Warble the lyrics to the tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic).

Now Clark and Lewis traveled

all across this glorious land

They explored the wilderness;

discovered sights so truly grand

As they wandered here and wandered there,

they found a butte of sand

And gazed on it with awe

Chorus ...

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar.

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar.

They gazed on it with awe.

Then William Clark climbed up top and

he carved his name thereon

And the 25th of July we remember all along

And now we read Clark’s signature and

we sing it loud and strong

And gaze on it with awe.

Chorus ...

Clark named the pillar Pompy

for Sacajawea’s son

Hist’ry changed the spelling to

the way that it has now become

May the story of Clark’s naming

be well-told to everyone

And gaze on it with awe.


Now hist’ry sounds the trumpet

of the mission to the west

Clark and Lewis went exploring all

at Jefferson’s behest

And returned to tell the story of

their wild and woolly quest

They spoke of it with awe.


Now Pompeys Pillar is well-known

throughout our glorious land

And we guard the mem-o-ry of Clark

who with a gesture grand

Did inscribe on Pompey’s Pillar

his enduring timeless brand.

We gaze on it with awe.

Chorus ...

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar.

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar

Glory, Glory, Pompeys Pillar.

They gazed on it with awe. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Jun 19, 2014 12:03PM Published Jul 8, 2014 12:19PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.