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Poems by the End of the Oregon Trail
By J. V. Laswell
- The whisper of snow on each tin-hat,
- The drum-roll of incoming rain;
- Said the day would not be too pleasant,
- But still they'd all head for the train.
- From the dark and the fog they'd assemble,
- And shout to each other by name.
- As they moved to the fire in the barrel.
- Extending their hands to the flame.
- Cleve heisted himself up the ladder
- After journals were thrown open wide,
- To blow out the last liquid water
- Before they were ready to ride.
- With a pump oiler grasped in his right hand,
- Claude hustled briskly about,
- And the big wad of waste in his south-paw
- Would wipe up the oil that leaked out.
- With two short toots of the whistle,
- the laggers were told to move in;
- And the young lads who stood by the barrel
- Felt they really were men.
- With a rattle of tin dinner buckets,
- All would then scramble aboard,
- And seat themselves next to their partner;
- Then wish the steel bunk _was_ a board.
- Chuffing up through the crooks of the canyon,
- They saw the first hint of the dawn,
- As the swaying veils in the treetops
- Gave a hint of the crest beyond.
- One lad, a young gandy-dancer,
- Whose job it was to work on a spur;
- After slogging up close by the incline
- That would lower the next mammoth fir.
- The whisper of snow on each tin-hat;
- The drum-roll of incessant rain,
- Found the young logger next to his buddy
- As they'd head for the woods once again.
Jules Verne Laswell
Copyright ©1990 J. V. Laswell.
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