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Thursday, April 9, 2015

879 Poetry

Here's one I enjoy.  I dunno why I like it, somehow it speaks to me. 

The Cremation of Sam McGee

By Robert W. Service
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Whee...yet more

I certainly have a way to go, don't I?  Let's see, I've got 120 so far, that makes only...eeek!  Lots more to go.

919 the wren nest out in the milk barn
918 A church that sings hymns
917 Hollyhock seeds that sprouted after a storage of 7-8 yrs
916 A debt-free life
915 Thunder clouds seen from an airplane

914 Toilet paper

913 An empty tomb and all it signifies

912 The in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, without which I'd be lost

911 Pepper seeds sprouting...yay! They are notorious for NOT sprouting. But I soaked them 24 hrs before planting them.

910 Jointed Teddy Bears
909 Betty Scurlock's chocolate peanut clusters.
908 Bella pulling Ellen's sled in the snow
907 Paper dolls
906 Real frosting on a fake Valentine's cupcake box
905 A glass cherry to top it off
904 Scarf blowing in the breeze
903 The glass barometer
902 Wing imprints in the snow
901 Hearing the 1st peeper sounding in late winter
900 Sprouting green bean umbrellas in the garden in spring
899 Melted chocolate on toasted marshmallows (who needs graham crackers)
898 Ellen -who wrote her name on my handwritten list on the counter ha
897 The smell of a used-book store
896 Rose buds in spring
895 Kittens
894 A grown cat romping like a kitten
893 New pencils
892 playing games with family
891 Vanilla lattes
890 Juicy red-ripe watermelons
889 Ellen's beauty mark in her right cheek
888 Sand dollars
887 Sea shells
886 A good cup of coffee
885 with cream
884 Ice patterns on the pond
883 Graham crackers and milk
882 An owl hooting at dawn
881 The chitter of tree frogs in summer
880 Gilligan's Island re-runs such silliness!