Fannie Quigley, 1870-1944

Train moved round the bend, civilized now,
not then. Those days, she chose life
off the beaten track. No lookin’ back.
Twenty-six claims staked and panned.
Never hit it rich the way we define it.
Kantishna, home to caribou, moose
and Fannie Quigley. One tough broad.
Slung back whiskey and cussed with ‘em all.
Calloused hands skinned her kill
then rolled flaky pie crust,
bear lard, the secret.
Legendary in her day and beyond,
she took no train but her own.

Written for NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 5 and dVerse Pub for Poets where Bjorn suggests we use the idea of railroad/trains for a poem today. Photo Credits: from our Alaska trip last year. We visited the remote cabin of Fannie Quigley.

21 thoughts on “Fannie Quigley, 1870-1944

  1. whimsygizmo April 5, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    I love the voice in this, so much.
    And the excellent juxtaposition in this line:
    “Calloused hands skinned her kill
    then rolled flaky pie crust,
    bear lard, the secret.”

    Bearing lard and secrets with equal measure = awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 5, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      Thanks — so glad you liked it! It was really fascinating to visit her cabin — way out at the end of Kantishna road in Denali National Park. Quite the woman she was!!!

      Like

  2. Grace April 5, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    She is some gutsy woman ~ Love the way you described her Lillian with:

    Slung back whiskey and cussed with ‘em all.
    Calloused hands skinned her kill
    then rolled flaky pie crust,

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 6, 2016 / 6:14 am

      …and she did indeed use bear lard for her pies!

      Like

    • lillian April 6, 2016 / 6:15 am

      Nor was I till we took the National Park Service ride to the end of Denali National Park’s one road in Alaska — The Kantishna Experience. Highly recommend it if you’re ever out there. Her cabin was a bit of a hike from the end of the road — a true wilderness gal who lived to her own beat.

      Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 6, 2016 / 6:16 am

      I loved visiting her cabin and seeing the old photos. She really did use bear lard for pie crust! Glad you liked it.

      Like

  3. ShirleyB April 6, 2016 / 3:16 am

    Amazing how you captured the essence of those rough-living, tough-talking days of yesteryear in this so well. Loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 6, 2016 / 6:16 am

      Thanks, Shirley! Appreciate the read and very kind words!

      Like

  4. AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack April 6, 2016 / 5:43 am

    Lillian,
    how lively your inspired words move this morn-just what I needed to arm myself, before I go off to face middle school kiddies- the noise there louder than twenty trains
    this Ms Quigley–how I would have so enjoyed slinging back thick black coffee grounds with her and her wicked wonderful mind
    fantastic prose
    am:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian April 6, 2016 / 6:18 am

      Ah yes…….I’m certain she drank her coffee this way 🙂 Best of luck with subbing today — you are a brave lady who adds talent to the classroom — kids are lucky to have you.

      Like

  5. JoHanna Massey April 6, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Oh you so captured this lively character. Inspiration to one and all women. Thank you. 🐞

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 7, 2016 / 7:58 am

      Would have loved to meet her! Her cabin truly is in the midst of real Alaska country!

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian April 7, 2016 / 7:56 am

      I loved learning about her from the park ranger at Denali National Park in Alaska!

      Like

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