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Best Famous Spoken Word Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Spoken Word poems. This is a select list of the best famous Spoken Word poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Spoken Word poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of spoken word poems.

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Written by Emanuel Xavier | Create an image from this poem


 “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
” -critic Harold Bloom, who first called slam poetry "the death of art.
” I am not a poet.
I want to be rich and buy things for my family.
Besides, I am sort of popular and can honestly say I’ve had a great sex life.
I am not a poet.
Georgia O' Keefe paintings do absolutely nothing for me.
I do not feel oppressed or depressed and no longer have anything to say about the President.
I am not a poet.
I do not like being called an "activist" because it takes away from those that are out on the streets protesting and fighting for our rights.
I am not a poet.
I eat poultry and fish and suck way too much dick to be considered a vegetarian.
I am not a poet.
I would most likely give my *** up in prison before trying to save it with poetry .
and I’d like it! Heck, I’d probably be inspired.
I am not a poet.
I may value peace but I will not simply use a pen to unleash my anger.
I would **** somebody up if I had to.
I am not a poet.
I may have been abused and had a difficult life but I don’t want pity.
I believe laughter and love heals.
I am not a poet.
I am not dying.
I write a lot about AIDS and how it has affected my life but, despite the rumors, I am not positive.
Believe it or not, weight loss amongst sexually active gay men could still be a choice.
I am not a poet.
I do not get Kerouac or honestly care much for Bukowski.
I am not a poet.
I don’t spend my weekends reading and writing.
I like to go out and party.
I like to have a few cocktails but I do not have a drinking problem regardless of what borough, city or state I may wake up in.
I am not a poet.
I don’t need drugs to open up my imagination.
I've been a dealer and had a really bad habit but that was long before I started writing.
I am not a poet.
I can seriously only tolerate about half an hour of spoken word before I start tuning out and thinking about my grocery list or what my cats are up to.
I am not a poet.
I only do poetry events if I know there will be cute guys there and I always carry business cards.
I am not a poet according to the scholars and academics and Harold Bloom.
I only write to masturbate my mind.
After all, fucking yourself is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
I am not a poet.
I am only trying to get attention and convince myself that poetry can save lives when my words simply and proudly contribute to “the death of art.

Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Ballad of the Red Earl

 (It is not for them to criticize too minutely
the methods the Irish followed, though they might deplore some of
their results.
During the past few years Ireland had been going through what was tantamount to a revolution.
-- EARL SPENCER) Red Earl, and will ye take for guide The silly camel-birds, That ye bury your head in an Irish thorn, On a desert of drifting words? Ye have followed a man for a God, Red Earl, As the Lod o' Wrong and Right; But the day is done with the setting sun Will ye follow into the night? He gave you your own old words, Red Earl, For food on the wastrel way; Will ye rise and eat in the night, Red Earl, That fed so full in the day? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, And where did the wandering lead? From the day that ye praised the spoken word To the day ye must gloss the deed.
And as ye have given your hand for gain, So must ye give in loss; And as ye ha' come to the brink of the pit, So must ye loup across.
For some be rogues in grain, Red Earl, And some be rogues in fact, And rogues direct and rogues elect; But all be rogues in pact.
Ye have cast your lot with these, Red Earl; Take heed to where ye stand.
Ye have tied a knot with your tongue, Red Earl, That ye cannot loose with your hand.
Ye have travelled fast, ye have travelled far, In the grip of a tightening tether, Till ye find at the end ye must take for friend The quick and their dead together.
Ye have played with the Law between your lips, And mouthed it daintilee; But the gist o' the speech is ill to teach, For ye say: "Let wrong go free.
" Red Earl, ye wear the Garter fair, And gat your place from a King: Do ye make Rebellion of no account, And Treason a little thing? And have ye weighed your words, Red Earl, That stand and speak so high? And is it good that the guilt o' blood, Be cleared at the cost of a sigh? And is it well for the sake of peace, Our tattered Honour to sell, And higgle anew with a tainted crew -- Red Earl, and is it well? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, On a dark and doubtful way, And the road is hard, is hard, Red Earl, And the price is yet to pay.
Ye shall pay that price as ye reap reward For the toil of your tongue and pen -- In the praise of the blamed and the thanks of the shamed, And the honour o' knavish men.
They scarce shall veil their scorn, Red Earl, And the worst at the last shall be, When you tell your heart that it does not know And your eye that it does not see.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

To the True Romance

 Thy face is far from this our war,
 Our call and counter-cry,
I shall not find Thee quick and kind,
 Nor know Thee till I die,
Enough for me in dreams to see
 And touch Thy garments' hem:
Thy feet have trod so near to God
 I may not follow them.
Through wantonness if men profess They weary of Thy parts, E'en let them die at blasphemy And perish with their arts; But we that love, but we that prove Thine excellence august, While we adore discover more Thee perfect, wise, and just.
Since spoken word Man's Spirit stirred Beyond his belly-need, What is is Thine of fair design In thought and craft and deed; Each stroke aright of toil and fight, That was and that shall be, And hope too high, wherefore we die, Has birth and worth in Thee.
Who holds by Thee hath Heaven in fee To gild his dross thereby, And knowledge sure that he endure A child until he die -- For to make plain that man's disdain Is but new Beauty's birth -- For to possess in loneliness The joy of all the earth.
As Thou didst teach all lovers speech And Life all mystery, So shalt Thou rule by every school Till love and longing die, Who wast or yet the Lights were set, A whisper in the Void, Who shalt be sung through planets young When this is clean destroyed.
Beyond the bounds our staring rounds, Across the pressing dark, The children wise of outer skies Look hitherward and mark A light that shifts, a glare that drifts, Rekindling thus and thus, Not all forlorn, for Thou hast borne Strange tales to them of us.
Time hath no tide but must abide The servant of Thy will; Tide hath no time, for to Thy rhyme The ranging stars stand still -- Regent of spheres that lock our fears, Our hopes invisible, Oh 'twas certes at Thy decrees We fashioned Heaven and Hell! Pure Wisdom hath no certain path That lacks thy morning-eyne, And captains bold by Thee controlled Most like to Gods design; Thou art the Voice to kingly boys To lift them through the fight, And Comfortress of Unsuccess, To give the dead good-night -- A veil to draw 'twixt God His Law And Man's infirmity, A shadow kind to dumb and blind The shambles where we die; A rule to trick th' arithmetic Too base of leaguing odds -- The spur of trust, the curb of lust, Thou handmaid of the Gods! O Charity, all patiently Abiding wrack and scaith! O Faith, that meets ten thousand cheats Yet drops no jot of faith! Devil and brute Thou dost transmute To higher, lordlier show, Who art in sooth that lovely Truth The careless angels know! Thy face is far from this our war, Our call and counter-cry, I may not find Thee quick and kind, Nor know Thee till I die.
Yet may I look with heart unshook On blow brought home or missed -- Yet may I hear with equal ear The clarions down the List; Yet set my lance above mischance And ride the barriere -- Oh, hit or miss, how little 'tis, My Lady is not there!
Written by Anne Kingsmill Finch | Create an image from this poem


 Do you believe, in what you see
do you believe in reality
do you believe in the sun that’s bright
do you believe in the stars in the night

Do you believe in the birds that fly
do you believe in clouds and the sky
do you believe in wind that flows
do you believe in moon that glows
do you believe in light

Do you believe the spoken word
do you believe the things you’ve heard
do you believe in the final answer
do you believe in the swirling dancer

Do you believe in sound and sight
do you believe in moments bright
do you believe in taste and touch
do you believe that much

Do you believe in the soul inside
do you believe in ecstasy and delight
do you believe in glory and god
do you believe in that thought

Do you believe in the sky above
do you believe in love 

Do you believe in the heaven and the earth 
do you believe in death and birth
do you believe in life

open your eyes with hope within
open the door, let light reach in
if you believe, then you'll win
Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | Create an image from this poem


 How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
From the neighboring school Come the boys, With more than their wonted noise And commotion; And down the wet streets Sail their mimic fleets, Till the treacherous pool Ingulfs them in its whirling And turbulent ocean.
In the country, on every side, Where far and wide, Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide, Stretches the plain, To the dry grass and the drier grain How welcome is the rain! In the furrowed land The toilsome and patient oxen stand; Lifting the yoke encumbered head, With their dilated nostrils spread, They silently inhale The clover-scented gale, And the vapors that arise From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil Their large and lustrous eyes Seem to thank the Lord, More than man's spoken word.
Near at hand, From under the sheltering trees, The farmer sees His pastures, and his fields of grain, As they bend their tops To the numberless beating drops Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin That he sees therein Only his own thrift and gain.
These, and far more than these, The Poet sees! He can behold Aquarius old Walking the fenceless fields of air; And from each ample fold Of the clouds about him rolled Scattering everywhere The showery rain, As the farmer scatters his grain.
He can behold Things manifold That have not yet been wholly told,-- Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops, Follows the water-drops Down to the graves of the dead, Down through chasms and gulfs profound, To the dreary fountain-head Of lakes and rivers under ground; And sees them, when the rain is done, On the bridge of colors seven Climbing up once more to heaven, Opposite the setting sun.
Thus the Seer, With vision clear, Sees forms appear and disappear, In the perpetual round of strange, Mysterious change From birth to death, from death to birth, From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth; Till glimpses more sublime Of things, unseen before, Unto his wondering eyes reveal The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel Turning forevermore In the rapid and rushing river of Time.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem


 When I was cub reporter I
Would interview the Great,
And sometimes they would make reply,
And sometimes hesitate;
But often they would sharply say,
With bushy eyebrows bent:
"Young man, your answer for to-day
 Is - No Comment.
" Nigh sixty years have called the tune, And silver is my pate; No longer do I importune Important men of state; But time has made me wise, and so When button-holed I shake My head and say: "To-day, I've no Comment to make.
" Oh, silence is a mighty shield, Verbosity is vain; let others wordy warfare wield, From arguments abstain; When faced with dialectic foes Just shrug and turn away: Be sure your wisest words are those You do not say.
Yea, Silence is a gleaming sword Whose wounds are hard to heal; Its quiet stuns the spoken word More than a thunder peal; Against it there is no defense, For like the grave-yard sod Its hush is Heaven's eloquence, The VOICE OF GOD.
Written by Stevie Smith | Create an image from this poem

Conviction (i)

 Christ died for God and me
Upon the crucifixion tree
For God a spoken Word
For me a Sword
For God a hymn of praise
For me eternal days
For God an explanation
For me salvation.

Written by Edwin Arlington Robinson | Create an image from this poem


 Gawaine, aware again of Lancelot 
In the King’s garden, coughed and followed him; 
Whereat he turned and stood with folded arms 
And weary-waiting eyes, cold and half-closed— 
Hard eyes, where doubts at war with memories
Fanned a sad wrath.
“Why frown upon a friend? Few live that have too many,” Gawaine said, And wished unsaid, so thinly came the light Between the narrowing lids at which he gazed.
“And who of us are they that name their friends?” Lancelot said.
“They live that have not any.
Why do they live, Gawaine? Ask why, and answer.
” Two men of an elected eminence, They stood for a time silent.
Then Gawaine, Acknowledging the ghost of what was gone, Put out his hand: “Rather, I say, why ask? If I be not the friend of Lancelot, May I be nailed alive along the ground And emmets eat me dead.
If I be not The friend of Lancelot, may I be fried With other liars in the pans of hell.
What item otherwise of immolation Your Darkness may invent, be it mine to endure And yours to gloat on.
For the time between, Consider this thing you see that is my hand.
If once, it has been yours a thousand times; Why not again? Gawaine has never lied To Lancelot; and this, of all wrong days— This day before the day when you go south To God knows what accomplishment of exile— Were surely an ill day for lies to find An issue or a cause or an occasion.
King Ban your father and King Lot my father, Were they alive, would shake their heads in sorrow To see us as we are, and I shake mine In wonder.
Will you take my hand, or no? Strong as I am, I do not hold it out For ever and on air.
You see—my hand.
” Lancelot gave his hand there to Gawaine, Who took it, held it, and then let it go, Chagrined with its indifference.
“Yes, Gawaine, I go tomorrow, and I wish you well; You and your brothers, Gareth, Gaheris,— And Agravaine; yes, even Agravaine, Whose tongue has told all Camelot and all Britain More lies than yet have hatched of Modred’s envy.
You say that you have never lied to me, And I believe it so.
Let it be so.
For now and always.
Gawaine, I wish you well.
Tomorrow I go south, as Merlin went, But not for Merlin’s end.
I go, Gawaine, And leave you to your ways.
There are ways left.
” “There are three ways I know, three famous ways, And all in Holy Writ,” Gawaine said, smiling: “The snake’s way and the eagle’s way are two, And then we have a man’s way with a maid— Or with a woman who is not a maid.
Your late way is to send all women scudding, To the last flash of the last cramoisy, While you go south to find the fires of God.
Since we came back again to Camelot From our immortal Quest—I came back first— No man has known you for the man you were Before you saw whatever ’t was you saw, To make so little of kings and queens and friends Thereafter.
Modred? Agravaine? My brothers? And what if they be brothers? What are brothers, If they be not our friends, your friends and mine? You turn away, and my words are no mark On you affection or your memory? So be it then, if so it is to be.
God save you, Lancelot; for by Saint Stephen, You are no more than man to save yourself.
” “Gawaine, I do not say that you are wrong, Or that you are ill-seasoned in your lightness; You say that all you know is what you saw, And on your own averment you saw nothing.
Your spoken word, Gawaine, I have not weighed In those unhappy scales of inference That have no beam but one made out of hates And fears, and venomous conjecturings; Your tongue is not the sword that urges me Now out of Camelot.
Two other swords There are that are awake, and in their scabbards Are parching for the blood of Lancelot.
Yet I go not away for fear of them, But for a sharper care.
You say the truth, But not when you contend the fires of God Are my one fear,—for there is one fear more.
Therefore I go.
Gawaine, I wish you well.
” “Well-wishing in a way is well enough; So, in a way, is caution; so, in a way, Are leeches, neatherds, and astrologers.
Lancelot, listen.
Sit you down and listen: You talk of swords and fears and banishment.
Two swords, you say; Modred and Agravaine, You mean.
Had you meant Gaheris and Gareth, Or willed an evil on them, I should welcome And hasten your farewell.
But Agravaine Hears little what I say; his ears are Modred’s.
The King is Modred’s father, and the Queen A prepossession of Modred’s lunacy.
So much for my two brothers whom you fear, Not fearing for yourself.
I say to you, Fear not for anything—and so be wise And amiable again as heretofore; Let Modred have his humor, and Agravaine His tongue.
The two of them have done their worst, And having done their worst, what have they done? A whisper now and then, a chirrup or so In corners,—and what else? Ask what, and answer.
” Still with a frown that had no faith in it, Lancelot, pitying Gawaine’s lost endeavour To make an evil jest of evidence, Sat fronting him with a remote forbearance— Whether for Gawaine blind or Gawaine false, Or both, or neither, he could not say yet, If ever; and to himself he said no more Than he said now aloud: “What else, Gawaine? What else, am I to say? Then ruin, I say; Destruction, dissolution, desolation, I say,—should I compound with jeopardy now.
For there are more than whispers here, Gawaine: The way that we have gone so long together Has underneath our feet, without our will, Become a twofold faring.
Yours, I trust, May lead you always on, as it has led you, To praise and to much joy.
Mine, I believe, Leads off to battles that are not yet fought, And to the Light that once had blinded me.
When I came back from seeing what I saw, I saw no place for me in Camelot.
There is no place for me in Camelot.
There is no place for me save where the Light May lead me; and to that place I shall go.
Meanwhile I lay upon your soul no load Of counsel or of empty admonition; Only I ask of you, should strife arise In Camelot, to remember, if you may, That you’ve an ardor that outruns your reason, Also a glamour that outshines your guile; And you are a strange hater.
I know that; And I’m in fortune that you hate not me.
Yet while we have our sins to dream about, Time has done worse for time than in our making; Albeit there may be sundry falterings And falls against us in the Book of Man.
” “Praise Adam, you are mellowing at last! I’ve always liked this world, and would so still; And if it is your new Light leads you on To such an admirable gait, for God’s sake, Follow it, follow it, follow it, Lancelot; Follow it as you never followed glory.
Once I believed that I was on the way That you call yours, but I came home again To Camelot—and Camelot was right, For the world knows its own that knows not you; You are a thing too vaporous to be sharing The carnal feast of life.
You mow down men Like elder-stems, and you leave women sighing For one more sight of you; but they do wrong.
You are a man of mist, and have no shadow.
God save you, Lancelot.
If I laugh at you, I laugh in envy and in admiration.
” The joyless evanescence of a smile, Discovered on the face of Lancelot By Gawaine’s unrelenting vigilance, Wavered, and with a sullen change went out; And then there was the music of a woman Laughing behind them, and a woman spoke: “Gawaine, you said ‘God save you, Lancelot.
’ Why should He save him any more to-day Than on another day? What has he done, Gawaine, that God should save him?” Guinevere, With many questions in her dark blue eyes And one gay jewel in her golden hair, Had come upon the two of them unseen, Till now she was a russet apparition At which the two arose—one with a dash Of easy leisure in his courtliness, One with a stately calm that might have pleased The Queen of a strange land indifferently.
The firm incisive languor of her speech, Heard once, was heard through battles: “Lancelot, What have you done to-day that God should save you? What has he done, Gawaine, that God should save him? I grieve that you two pinks of chivalry Should be so near me in my desolation, And I, poor soul alone, know nothing of it.
What has he done, Gawaine?” With all her poise, To Gawaine’s undeceived urbanity She was less queen than woman for the nonce, And in her eyes there was a flickering Of a still fear that would not be veiled wholly With any mask of mannered nonchalance.
“What has he done? Madam, attend your nephew; And learn from him, in your incertitude, That this inordinate man Lancelot, This engine of renown, this hewer down daily Of potent men by scores in our late warfare, Has now inside his head a foreign fever That urges him away to the last edge Of everything, there to efface himself In ecstasy, and so be done with us.
Hereafter, peradventure certain birds Will perch in meditation on his bones, Quite as if they were some poor sailor’s bones, Or felon’s jettisoned, or fisherman’s, Or fowler’s bones, or Mark of Cornwall’s bones.
In fine, this flower of men that was our comrade Shall be for us no more, from this day on, Than a much remembered Frenchman far away.
Magnanimously I leave you now to prize Your final sight of him; and leaving you, I leave the sun to shine for him alone, Whiles I grope on to gloom.
Madam, farewell; And you, contrarious Lancelot, farewell.
Written by John Betjeman | Create an image from this poem

Death In Leamington

 She died in the upstairs bedroom
By the light of the ev'ning star
That shone through the plate glass window
From over Leamington Spa

Beside her the lonely crochet
Lay patiently and unstirred,
But the fingers that would have work'd it
Were dead as the spoken word.
And Nurse came in with the tea-things Breast high 'mid the stands and chairs- But Nurse was alone with her own little soul, And the things were alone with theirs.
She bolted the big round window, She let the blinds unroll, She set a match to the mantle, She covered the fire with coal.
And "Tea!" she said in a tiny voice "Wake up! It's nearly five" Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness, Half dead and half alive.
Do you know that the stucco is peeling? Do you know that the heart will stop? From those yellow Italianate arches Do you hear the plaster drop? Nurse looked at the silent bedstead, At the gray, decaying face, As the calm of a Leamington ev'ning Drifted into the place.
She moved the table of bottles Away from the bed to the wall; And tiptoeing gently over the stairs Turned down the gas in the hall.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Clancy Of The Mounted Police

 In the little Crimson Manual it's written plain and clear
That who would wear the scarlet coat shall say good-bye to fear;
Shall be a guardian of the right, a sleuth-hound of the trail--
In the little Crimson Manual there's no such word as "fail"--
Shall follow on though heavens fall, or hell's top-turrets freeze,
Half round the world, if need there be, on bleeding hands and knees.
It's duty, duty, first and last, the Crimson Manual saith; The Scarlet Rider makes reply: "It's duty--to the death.
" And so they sweep the solitudes, free men from all the earth; And so they sentinel the woods, the wilds that know their worth; And so they scour the startled plains and mock at hurt and pain, And read their Crimson Manual, and find their duty plain.
Knights of the lists of unrenown, born of the frontier's need, Disdainful of the spoken word, exultant in the deed; Unconscious heroes of the waste, proud players of the game, Props of the power behind the throne, upholders of the name: For thus the Great White Chief hath said, "In all my lands be peace", And to maintain his word he gave his West the Scarlet Police.
Livid-lipped was the valley, still as the grave of God; Misty shadows of mountain thinned into mists of cloud; Corpselike and stark was the land, with a quiet that crushed and awed, And the stars of the weird sub-arctic glimmered over its shroud.
Deep in the trench of the valley two men stationed the Post, Seymour and Clancy the reckless, fresh from the long patrol; Seymour, the sergeant, and Clancy--Clancy who made his boast He could cinch like a bronco the Northland, and cling to the prongs of the Pole.
Two lone men on detachment, standing for law on the trail; Undismayed in the vastness, wise with the wisdom of old-- Out of the night hailed a half-breed telling a pitiful tale, "White man starving and crazy on the banks of the Nordenscold.
" Up sprang the red-haired Clancy, lean and eager of eye; Loaded the long toboggan, strapped each dog at its post; Whirled his lash at the leader; then, with a whoop and a cry, Into the Great White Silence faded away like a ghost.
The clouds were a misty shadow, the hills were a shadowy mist; Sunless, voiceless and pulseless, the day was a dream of woe; Through the ice-rifts the river smoked and bubbled and hissed; Behind was a trail fresh broken, in front the untrodden snow.
Ahead of the dogs ploughed Clancy, haloed by steaming breath; Through peril of open water, through ache of insensate cold; Up rivers wantonly winding in a land affianced to death, Till he came to a cowering cabin on the banks of the Nordenscold.
Then Clancy loosed his revolver, and he strode through the open door; And there was the man he sought for, crouching beside the fire; The hair of his beard was singeing, the frost on his back was hoar, And ever he crooned and chanted as if he never would tire:-- "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; So I'll wait and wait till the floods abate, and I'll sink a shaft once more, And I'd like to bet that I'll go home yet with a brass band playing before.
" He was nigh as thin as a sliver, and he whined like a Moose-hide cur; So Clancy clothed him and nursed him as a mother nurses a child; Lifted him on the toboggan, wrapped him in robes of fur, Then with the dogs sore straining started to face the Wild.
Said the Wild, "I will crush this Clancy, so fearless and insolent; For him will I loose my fury, and blind and buffet and beat; Pile up my snows to stay him; then when his strength is spent, Leap on him from my ambush and crush him under my feet.
"Him will I ring with my silence, compass him with my cold; Closer and closer clutch him unto mine icy breast; Buffet him with my blizzards, deep in my snows enfold, Claiming his life as my tribute, giving my wolves the rest.
" Clancy crawled through the vastness; o'er him the hate of the Wild; Full on his face fell the blizzard; cheering his huskies he ran; Fighting, fierce-hearted and tireless, snows that drifted and piled, With ever and ever behind him singing the crazy man.
"Sing hey, sing ho, for the ice and snow, And a heart that's ever merry; Let us trim and square with a lover's care (For why should a man be sorry?) A grave deep, deep, with the moon a-peep, A grave in the frozen mould.
Sing hey, sing ho, for the winds that blow, And a grave deep down in the ice and snow, A grave in the land of gold.
" Day after day of darkness, the whirl of the seething snows; Day after day of blindness, the swoop of the stinging blast; On through a blur of fury the swing of staggering blows; On through a world of turmoil, empty, inane and vast.
Night with its writhing storm-whirl, night despairingly black; Night with its hours of terror, numb and endlessly long; Night with its weary waiting, fighting the shadows back, And ever the crouching madman singing his crazy song.
Cold with its creeping terror, cold with its sudden clinch; Cold so utter you wonder if 'twill ever again be warm; Clancy grinned as he shuddered, "Surely it isn't a cinch Being wet-nurse to a looney in the teeth of an arctic storm.
"The blizzard passed and the dawn broke, knife-edged and crystal clear; The sky was a blue-domed iceberg, sunshine outlawed away; Ever by snowslide and ice-rip haunted and hovered the Fear; Ever the Wild malignant poised and panted to slay.
The lead-dog freezes in harness--cut him out of the team! The lung of the wheel-dog's bleeding--shoot him and let him lie! On and on with the others--lash them until they scream! "Pull for your lives, you devils! On! To halt is to die.
" There in the frozen vastness Clancy fought with his foes; The ache of the stiffened fingers, the cut of the snowshoe thong; Cheeks black-raw through the hood-flap, eyes that tingled and closed, And ever to urge and cheer him quavered the madman's song.
Colder it grew and colder, till the last heat left the earth, And there in the great stark stillness the bale fires glinted and gleamed, And the Wild all around exulted and shook with a devilish mirth, And life was far and forgotten, the ghost of a joy once dreamed.
Death! And one who defied it, a man of the Mounted Police; Fought it there to a standstill long after hope was gone; Grinned through his bitter anguish, fought without let or cease, Suffering, straining, striving, stumbling, struggling on.
Till the dogs lay down in their traces, and rose and staggered and fell; Till the eyes of him dimmed with shadows, and the trail was so hard to see; Till the Wild howled out triumphant, and the world was a frozen hell-- Then said Constable Clancy: "I guess that it's up to me.
" Far down the trail they saw him, and his hands they were blanched like bone; His face was a blackened horror, from his eyelids the salt rheum ran; His feet he was lifting strangely, as if they were made of stone, But safe in his arms and sleeping he carried the crazy man.
So Clancy got into Barracks, and the boys made rather a scene; And the O.
called him a hero, and was nice as a man could be; But Clancy gazed down his trousers at the place where his toes had been, And then he howled like a husky, and sang in a shaky key: "When I go back to the old love that's true to the finger-tips, I'll say: `Here's bushels of gold, love,' and I'll kiss my girl on the lips; It's yours to have and to hold, love.
' It's the proud, proud boy I'll be, When I go back to the old love that's waited so long for me.