Words From the Westbound Wagon

Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Veryl Goodnight honors strong Western women with her poem and sculpture, both titled No Turning Back.

No-Turning-Back for-webNo Turning Back, sculpture by Veryl Goodnight

By Katie Frank

Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Veryl Goodnight has created hundreds of beautiful sculptures, plus paintings and monuments. Her subjects mostly revolve around animals, such as horses, mules, foxes and deer, as well as the evolution of strong women as they face trying times.

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In 1993, the Colorado artist created what is now one of her most popular sculptures, No Turning Back. It features a woman leaning on a wagon wheel, cognizant of the choice to travel west and leave everything she knows behind. A casting of the sculpture is part of the permanent collection at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Goodnight Cowgirl-Hall-of-FameIn October 2016, Veryl Goodnight was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She gave a tour of her exhibit, aptly named after her most-popular sculpture, No Turning Back.

Although she doesn’t write poetry often, Goodnight wrote this poem as a nod to the woman in her piece and all women present-day who brave new beginnings.

No Turning Back, a poem

By Veryl Goodnight

Too young and naïve

to think they could fail

Too full of visions

For the end of the trail

They stored their silk dresses

And donned calico

To join in the cry

Of Westward Ho

Their diaries tell

of the endless hours

The vast sea of grass

and bounty of wildflowers

They tell of children

conceived and born

And of those who were buried

in the gray silent morn

Still the wagon rolled on

and the ruts got deeper

The column moved westward

as the route got steeper

Teams dropped from exhaustion

in the summer heat

As the emigrants pressed on

defying defeat

They met Indians who were friends

and many that were foe

They saw days of drought

and blinding snow

Only one thing was certain

along this wagon track

There was absolutely

No Turning Back 

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