A Working Woman

"A Working Woman" is the fifth and final song of Libby Larsen's song cycle Songs from Letters. The cycle sets letters from Calamity Jane to her daughter Jane.

Date: 1989Composer: Libby LarsenText: Calamity JaneSong Collection: Songs From Letters

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A Working Woman (1882-1893)
Letter from Calamity Jane to her daughter Jane

Your mother works for a living.
One day I have chickens, and the next day feathers.

These days I’m driving a stagecoach.
For a while, I worked in Russell’s saloon
but when I worked there all the virtuous women
planned to run me out of town,
so these days, I’m driving a stagecoach.

I’ll be leaving soon to join Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
I’ll ride a horse bare-back,
standing up, shoot my old Stetson hat
twice – throwing it into the air –
and landing on my head.

These are hectic days – like hell let out for noon.
I mind my own business, but remember
the one thing the world hates is a woman
who minds her own business.

All the virtuous women
have bastards and shot-gun weddings.
I have nursed them through childbirth and
my only pay is a kick in the pants when my back is turned.
These other women are pot bellied, hairy legged
and look like something the cat dragged in.
I wish I had the power to damn their souls to hell!
Your mother works for a living.

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