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Poems by the End of the Oregon Trail

Lokie Logging

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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