Sunday, January 27, 2013


I have never been much of a horse enthusiast and also do not think that Michael Martin Murphey's Wildfire is a particularly great song - but - it has always been hauntingly sad.  So if you are in need of a dose of melancholy along with nice horse pictures, have at it.

She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named, Wildfire
With a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Oh, they say, she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named, Wildfire
Busted down it's stall
In a blizzard she was lost

She ran callin', Wildfire
She ran callin', Wildfire
She ran callin', Wildfire

By the dark of the moon, I planted
But there came an early snow
There's been a hoot-owl howling by my window now
For six nights in a row
She's coming for me, I know
And on Wildfire, we're both gonna go

We'll be riding, Wildfire
We'll be riding, Wildfire
We'll be riding, Wildfire

On Wildfire, we're gonna ride
We're gonna leave, sodbustin' behind
Get these hard times right on out of our minds
Riding Wildfire


Just Sayin' said...

I have absolutely no comprehension as to what the words mean, but it is a beautiful song.

Dr S said...

Just Sayin' - agreed, but as usual there is commentary on the web about the "meaning" of this song, e.g.

This is one of the best songs ever written... Wildfire is both a story and a metaphor.

The story is from the 19th Century, when Nebraska was still the wild, wild west, the settlers lived in homes made of sod, and life was hard.

She is either the daughter, the wife or the fiance of the singer. He loved watching her ride her pony Wildfire, she was a vision of raging life, and love.

She died during a 'killing frost' of the kind that blanketed the midwest in the winter of 2007-2008. The horse ran off, being spooked by something, and was never seen again.

By the dark of the moon refers to the time when the moon is full to when it is new again, and is the time that you plant crops that grow below ground, such as potatoes, beets, turnips, etc. The singer was following the old farmers almanac, but his crops were destroyed by an early snow before he could harvest.

He lay there in his cold, empty sod house, knowing he would die of starvation that winter, as promised by the hoot owl outside his window, which in native american lore meant death was coming.

So he waited for her and Wildfire...

Wildfire is a metaphor for something that takes you away from hard times. The song pays tribute to the bravery and hardships faced by our ancestors.

It's a masterpiece.

Dr S said...

Also - Murphey talks about the song here:

Just Sayin' said...

Thanks for the explanation, Dr. S. My right brain was going, "Ah, yes," while my left brain was going, "WTF?"

hoosierdaddy said...

Totally JS - trying to interpret lyrics is both a small industry and a lost cause! Most of the time the lyric writers don't have a clue what the words mean!