For me, there's more poetry in the sung (not just read) lyrics of some seemingly conventional back-country mountain ballads than there is in so much apparently "artistic" poetry. 'Utah Phillips' songs are well known to fans of folk, country and bluegrass music. The songwriters and performers Buddy and his wife Julie Miller sing this great ballad on one of their albums. Where the first few stanzas and choruses may seem a conventional anguished cry of a jilted lover, the final two stanzas burst into real poetry when you hear it sun--a chilling, devastating, wrongful but paradoxically beautifully articulated fantasy of homicidal revenge. ROCK SALT AND NAILS By Bruce ("Utah") Phillips On the banks of the river Where the willows hang down Where the wild birds all warble With a low moaning sound NowI lie on my bed And I see your sweet face The past I remember Time can't erase The letter you wrote me It was written in shame And I know that your conscience Still echoes my name Now the nights are so long My sorrow runs deep Nothing is worse Than a night without sleep I walk out alone I look at the sky Too empty to sing Too lonesome to cry Now if the ladies were blackbirds And the ladies were thrushes I'd lie there for hours In the chilly cold marshes If the ladies were squirrels With them high bushy tails I'd fill up my shotgun With rock salt and nails.