Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan is the first song from Elie Siegmeister's song cycle American legends: six songs for voice and piano and sets Leo Paris' poetry to music.

Date: 1947Composer: Elie SiegmeisterSong Collection: American legends: six songs for voice and piano

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“Paul Bunyan”

by Leo Paris


Out of the North Paul Bunyan blew,

Riding a nine-day blizzard through,

Carrying an ox the color of blue,

Lumberman just lookin’ for some work to do.

Blizzard ended and he gazed around,

from the State of Maine to Puget Sound,

said, “Boys now look at the job I’ve found

gonna trim the whole U.S. A. right down to the ground!”

Trees started fallin’,

the ox started haulin’,

They chopped and piled the logs up ten miles tall.

Gouged out the prairie

and poured the Great Lakes in to float them all.

And the ox roared, “Bunyan! Paul Bunyan!!!”


And once it rained from a cloud in the sky,

Forty days and nights went by,

the shanty boys began to sigh

They were twenty-one feet under water come the Fourth of July

Paul heard them complainin’,

said, “I’ll stop that rainin’,”

Swam up the water spout to the middle of the air,

Plugged up the spigot

and rode the last drop down to the Courthouse Square,

And the crowd yelled, “Bunyan! Speech! Paul Bunyan!!!”


On Corkscrew River he met his fate

where the water ran crooked and the shores ran straight,

and the trees unwound at half-past eight,

They’d cut the last tree in Oregon State,

they were making flapjacks to celebrate,

the batter was ready but the little ox ate

the red-hot cookstove! “Bunyan! Hooray! Bunyan!”


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