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I wouldn't wish on no one such a father,
The terror of eleven counties 'round.
And I the only kinfolk that was left he hadn't driven far afield
Or buried in the ground.
And then one day there's a widder, 
Old and wrinkled as a walnut,
Comes a-puffin' and a-climbin' up our hill,
And her with fifty acres
In possession, so's my father
Had a thought to make me wed against my will.

But for the first time, I wasn't scared of him.
For the first time, I took a stand.
And in that moment, I felt a courage wellin' up within my heart,
And a power in my hand.
All my days I'd been a coward,
But the change came there and then.
From that day forward,
I swore I'd be never afeard again.

I laid my bloody shovel in the cornstalks,
And turned my face towards the settin' sun.
I took my foot in hand, and since this Tuesday was a week,
I been an outcast on the run.
Oh, it's lonesome seeing porchlights
Of the cabins on the hillside
Shinin' out like tiny pinpoints in the dark.
And there's nothin' breaks the silence
But your footfalls on the gravel
Of the railbed, and the distant dogs that bark.

But for the first time, I wasn't scared a bit,
Walkin' friendless through the gloam.
And for the first time, I wasn't runnin' away,
'Cause in a way, I was runnin' home.
All my days, seems I been hidin'
From the man I shoulda been.
With each step onward,
I swore I'd be never afeard again.

And I ain't never felt afore the kind of strength I'm feelin' now.
Now, to be here telllin' you my story and see kindness shinin' in your brow.
Oh, whatever brought me to your door was like an angel's clarion call.
'Cause I never felt so brave.
With you I ain't afeard at all—

© 2009 by Peter Mills