Friday, January 11, 2008

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it, I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy -- I fought it; I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it -- Came out with a fortune last fall, --
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it, And somehow the gold isn't all.

No! There's the land. (Have you seen it?) It's the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it; To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it; Some say it's a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there's some as would trade it; For no land on earth -- and I'm one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason); You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season, And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning; It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it's been since the beginning; It seems it will be to the end.

There's a land where the mountains are nameless, And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless, And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons; There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There's a land -- oh, it beckons and beckons, And I want to go back -- and I will.

There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting; It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting; So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder, It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder, It's the stillness that fills me with peace.

Robert Service in 1907

No comments: