January 31, 2007

Under a Montana Moon

My poem Under a Montana Moon was inspired by the Vintage Victorian Balls held each summer in Virginia City. Montana. Virigina City is famous for gold, vigilantes and Boot Hill - among many other things. I am seen reciting my poem at the beginning of the ball held in August, 2006 - "The Grand Ball for Peace, 1865." Award winning videographer (and son), KC Kern filmed the event. For the Kern family, this ball in an annual event. Kathie (my wife) and I attend as do our children depending on their availability. My parents, now in their mid-eighties are regulars as well. This is for sure one of the West's premiere vintage balls. If you like things western, chances are pretty good that you will enjoy this video.

Under a Montana Moon
by Paul Kern

Late in the summer just before fall in Montana’s Virginia City,
They put on a dance and call it a ball and the women folk sure dress up pretty.
It’s hard to believe the garb they wear as tourists gather and gawk,
Manifestin’ their Victorian flair as they promenade down the boardwalk.

Back at the dance hall up on the hill they make a right joyful noise,
The Grand March plays on until it plays out with much bravado and poise.
Soldiers decked out in Union blues commingle Confederate greys.
Boots keep time with fine buckled shoes as the fiddler stands up and plays.

With T.J. Wald a callin’ the moves to a sea of lavish hoop skirts,
Scoundels and scallywags pick up their hooves and dance until it hurts.
The crowd glides through the Tom Sargent Waltz then fires up a Virginia Reel.
The tempo is fast ‘til the fiddler halts and all present have kicked up a heel.

Circles are formed for a comely dance as the Spanish Waltz they play,
Demurrin’ debutants wait for their chance as couples swing as they sway.
The waltz is a polka played out slow - how they’re related has got me treed,
But this here polka is quite a show as hoop dresses whirl at top speed.

Four couples comprise the French Quadrille and deftly show off their grace,
Across the hollow from Old Boot Hill, the quick are smilin’ face to face.
The dance preferred by all of the men - the Schottische they stomp on the floor,
With a hop of the boot and a skip and again – hey, can the fiddlers play more?

A dance comes down that’s relished by all - it must be the real McCoy,
The crown of the ball - a jewel of a jig – they call it the Soldiers Joy.
It's Virginia City' s Victorian Ball at full roar under a Montana moon,
Who could ever request more as the fiddlers from Dillon strike up a tune?

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