I love poetry. I have since I was a kid. I used to take books with me when I’d go walking out in the woods behind our house and sit beneath a tall oak tree and read. Elliot, Wordsworth, Thoreau, Service. I especially enjoyed the writings of Robert Service. He wasn’t very subtle in his poetry, unlike other poets who I think tried too hard to seem intelligent. What he wrote about, mostly, was wild men of the west, particularly the North West.
I was working in Alaska a few years ago, Cordova to be exact. One of the few days I had off, I strolled into Orca Book and Sound book store there and found The Illustrated Robert Service. It was costly as most things in Alaska are, but I bought it anyway. I figured I was making some good money and could spare a bit of change for something to read in my bunk between shifts.
It’s a nice book. I’m glad I bought it. It kept me from getting too homesick many a night as I lay there, the sound of floors creaking, seagulls squawking, men snoring and the ocean pounding the shore just outside.
If you never read Robert Service, might I suggest you go to a local bookstore and pick up a used copy of one his volumes? Google just isn’t the same as holding a book in your hands and letting the words seep into your skin. Simple, his poetry might be, but I think it strikes a cord with every man whose ever had fanciful dreams of striking out into the wild to see what he’s made of. That, and finding gold.
“I panned and I panned in the shiny sand, and I sniped on the river bar; But I know, I know, that it’s down below that the golden treasures are;
– Clancy of Mounted Police
‘Tis pale and grim by the Polar rim, but seek and ye shall not fail.’
“And lo! that night I too did dream of my mother’s sister’s son,
And he said to me: “By the Arctic Sea there’s a treasure to be won.
Follow and follow a lone moose trail, till you come to a valley grim,
On the slope of the lonely watershed that borders the Polar brim.”
Then I woke my pals, and soft we swore by the mystic Silver Flail,
‘Twas the hand of Fate, and to-morrow straight we would seek the lone moose trail.
– The Ballad of Northern Lights
Just a couple of snippets for your pleasure. I find it interesting that the first time I walked into to Collected Works bookstore and got a copy of The Thrill of the Chase, the first thing that came to mind was my copy of The Illustrated Robert Service.
I’d bet a dollar to a quarter that somewhere on Mister Fenn’s bookshelf lies some Robert Service poetry…
No Reason I think that… just saying.
Anyway, just some random thoughts for you. In other news, I finally landed a job and start training next week. My wife will be giving birth to my son somewhere around the 30th. Its likely I will miss it. We’ll see if I can convince my boss, to give me a day off, even though I’ve just started, but if not, well, as a wise woman has said to me more times than I can count, in my life, “Ya Gotta do, what you Gotta do.”
So there’s that. Treasure Hunting is on hold for the moment, but I wish the best to those of you out and about. Be careful. Watch out for Bears, snakes, and Reality Shows.
We’ll see ya in the woods. (Maybe)