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Best Famous Timber Poems

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

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Written by T S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot | Create an image from this poem

Four Quartets 2: East Coker


In my beginning is my end.
In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires, Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur and faeces, Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building And a time for living and for generation And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
In my beginning is my end.
Now the light falls Across the open field, leaving the deep lane Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon, Where you lean against a bank while a van passes, And the deep lane insists on the direction Into the village, in the electric heat Hypnotised.
In a warm haze the sultry light Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.
In that open field If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close, On a summer midnight, you can hear the music Of the weak pipe and the little drum And see them dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie— A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche betokeneth concorde.
Round and round the fire Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles, Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes, Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth Mirth of those long since under earth Nourishing the corn.
Keeping time, Keeping the rhythm in their dancing As in their living in the living seasons The time of the seasons and the constellations The time of milking and the time of harvest The time of the coupling of man and woman And that of beasts.
Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking.
Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day Prepares for heat and silence.
Out at sea the dawn wind Wrinkles and slides.
I am here Or there, or elsewhere.
In my beginning.
II What is the late November doing With the disturbance of the spring And creatures of the summer heat, And snowdrops writhing under feet And hollyhocks that aim too high Red into grey and tumble down Late roses filled with early snow? Thunder rolled by the rolling stars Simulates triumphal cars Deployed in constellated wars Scorpion fights against the Sun Until the Sun and Moon go down Comets weep and Leonids fly Hunt the heavens and the plains Whirled in a vortex that shall bring The world to that destructive fire Which burns before the ice-cap reigns.
That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory: A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle With words and meanings.
The poetry does not matter.
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to, Long hoped for calm, the autumnal serenity And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, Bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit? The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets Useless in the darkness into which they peered Or from which they turned their eyes.
There is, it seems to us, At best, only a limited value In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies, For the pattern is new in every moment And every moment is a new and shocking Valuation of all we have been.
We are only undeceived Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble, On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold, And menaced by monsters, fancy lights, Risking enchantment.
Do not let me hear Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly, Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession, Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.
III O dark dark dark.
They all go into the dark, The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees, Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark, And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors, And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral, Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you Which shall be the darkness of God.
As, in a theatre, The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness, And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away— Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about; Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing— I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry, The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony Of death and birth.
You say I am repeating Something I have said before.
I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not.
IV The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer's art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam's curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.
The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
The chill ascends from feet to knees, The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze And quake in frigid purgatorial fires Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.
The dripping blood our only drink, The bloody flesh our only food: In spite of which we like to think That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood— Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
V So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years— Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres Trying to use words, and every attempt Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure Because one has only learnt to get the better of words For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which One is no longer disposed to say it.
And so each venture Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate With shabby equipment always deteriorating In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion.
And what there is to conquer By strength and submission, has already been discovered Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope To emulate—but there is no competition— There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions That seem unpropitious.
But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying.
The rest is not our business.
Home is where one starts from.
As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living.
Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers Here or there does not matter We must be still and still moving Into another intensity For a further union, a deeper communion Through the dark cold and the empty desolation, The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters Of the petrel and the porpoise.
In my end is my beginning.

Written by John Drinkwater | Create an image from this poem



I 	At any moment love unheralded
Comes, and is king.
Then as, with a fall Of frost, the buds upon the hawthorn spread Are withered in untimely burial, So love, occasion gone, his crown puts by, And as a beggar walks unfriended ways, With but remembered beauty to defy The frozen sorrows of unsceptred days.
Or in that later travelling he comes Upon a bleak oblivion, and tells Himself, again, again, forgotten tombs Are all now that love was, and blindly spells His royal state of old a glory cursed, Saying 'I have forgot', and that's the worst.
II If we should part upon that one embrace, And set our courses ever, each from each, With all our treasure but a fading face And little ghostly syllables of speech; Should beauty's moment never be renewed, And moons on moons look out for us in vain, And each but whisper from a solitude To hear but echoes of a lonely pain, — Still in a world that fortune cannot change Should walk those two that once were you and I, Those two that once when moon and stars were strange Poets above us in an April sky, Heard a voice falling on the midnight sea, Mute, and for ever, but for you and me.
III This nature, this great flood of life, this cheat That uses us as baubles for her coat, Takes love, that should be nothing but the beat Of blood for its own beauty, by the throat, Saying, you are my servant and shall do My purposes, or utter bitterness Shall be your wage, and nothing come to you But stammering tongues that never can confess.
Undaunted then in answer here I cry, 'You wanton, that control the hand of him Who masquerades as wisdom in a sky Where holy, holy, sing the cherubim, I will not pay one penny to your name Though all my body crumble into shame.
' IV Woman, I once had whimpered at your hand, Saying that all the wisdom that I sought Lay in your brain, that you were as the sand Should cleanse the muddy mirrors of my thought; I should have read in you the character Of oracles that quick a thousand lays, Looked in your eyes, and seen accounted there Solomons legioned for bewildered praise.
Now have I learnt love as love is.
I take Your hand, and with no inquisition learn All that your eyes can tell, and that's to make A little reckoning and brief, then turn Away, and in my heart I hear a call, 'I love, I love, I love'; and that is all.
V When all the hungry pain of love I bear, And in poor lightless thought but burn and burn, And wit goes hunting wisdom everywhere, Yet can no word of revelation learn; When endlessly the scales of yea and nay In dreadful motion fall and rise and fall, When all my heart in sorrow I could pay Until at last were left no tear at all; Then if with tame or subtle argument Companions come and draw me to a place Where words are but the tappings of content, And life spreads all her garments with a grace, I curse that ease, and hunger in my heart Back to my pain and lonely to depart.
VI Not anything you do can make you mine, For enterprise with equal charity In duty as in love elect will shine, The constant slave of mutability.
Nor can your words for all their honey breath Outsing the speech of many an older rhyme, And though my ear deliver them from death One day or two, it is so little time.
Nor does your beauty in its excellence Excel a thousand in the daily sun, Yet must I put a period to pretence, And with my logic's catalogue have done, For act and word and beauty are but keys To unlock the heart, and you, dear love, are these.
VII Never the heart of spring had trembled so As on that day when first in Paradise We went afoot as novices to know For the first time what blue was in the skies, What fresher green than any in the grass, And how the sap goes beating to the sun, And tell how on the clocks of beauty pass Minute by minute till the last is done.
But not the new birds singing in the brake, And not the buds of our discovery, The deeper blue, the wilder green, the ache For beauty that we shadow as we see, Made heaven, but we, as love's occasion brings, Took these, and made them Paradisal things.
VIII The lilacs offer beauty to the sun, Throbbing with wonder as eternally For sad and happy lovers they have done With the first bloom of summer in the sky; Yet they are newly spread in honour now, Because, for every beam of beauty given Out of that clustering heart, back to the bough My love goes beating, from a greater heaven.
So be my love for good or sorry luck Bound, it has virtue on this April eve That shall be there for ever when they pluck Lilacs for love.
And though I come to grieve Long at a frosty tomb, there still shall be My happy lyric in the lilac tree.
IX When they make silly question of my love, And speak to me of danger and disdain, And look by fond old argument to move My wisdom to docility again; When to my prouder heart they set the pride Of custom and the gossip of the street, And show me figures of myself beside A self diminished at their judgment seat; Then do I sit as in a drowsy pew To hear a priest expounding th' heavenly will, Defiling wonder that he never knew With stolen words of measured good and ill; For to the love that knows their counselling, Out of my love contempt alone I bring.
X Not love of you is most that I can bring, Since what I am to love you is the test, And should I love you more than any thing You would but be of idle love possessed, A mere love wandering in appetite, Counting your glories and yet bringing none, Finding in you occasions of delight, A thief of payment for no service done.
But when of labouring life I make a song And bring it you, as that were my reward, To let what most is me to you belong, Then do I come of high possessions lord, And loving life more than my love of you I give you love more excellently true.
XI What better tale could any lover tell When age or death his reckoning shall write Than thus, 'Love taught me only to rebel Against these things, — the thieving of delight Without return; the gospellers of fear Who, loving, yet deny the truth they bear, Sad-suited lusts with lecherous hands to smear The cloth of gold they would but dare not wear.
And love gave me great knowledge of the trees, And singing birds, and earth with all her flowers; Wisdom I knew and righteousness in these, I lived in their atonement all my hours; Love taught me how to beauty's eye alone The secret of the lying heart is known.
' XII This then at last; we may be wiser far Than love, and put his folly to our measure, Yet shall we learn, poor wizards that we are, That love chimes not nor motions at our pleasure.
We bid him come, and light an eager fire, And he goes down the road without debating; We cast him from the house of our desire, And when at last we leave he will be waiting.
And in the end there is no folly but this, To counsel love out of our little learning.
For still he knows where rotten timber is, And where the boughs for the long winter burning; And when life needs no more of us at all, Love's word will be the last that we recall.
Written by Countee Cullen | Create an image from this poem


 What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?

So I lie, who all day long
Want no sound except the song
Sung by wild barbaric birds
Goading massive jungle herds,
Juggernauts of flesh that pass
Trampling tall defiant grass
Where young forest lovers lie,
Plighting troth beneath the sky.
So I lie, who always hear, Though I cram against my ear Both my thumbs, and keep them there, Great drums throbbing through the air.
So I lie, whose fount of pride, Dear distress, and joy allied, Is my somber flesh and skin, With the dark blood dammed within Like great pulsing tides of wine That, I fear, must burst the fine Channels of the chafing net Where they surge and foam and fret.
Africa?A book one thumbs Listlessly, till slumber comes.
Unremembered are her bats Circling through the night, her cats Crouching in the river reeds, Stalking gentle flesh that feeds By the river brink; no more Does the bugle-throated roar Cry that monarch claws have leapt From the scabbards where they slept.
Silver snakes that once a year Doff the lovely coats you wear, Seek no covert in your fear Lest a mortal eye should see; What's your nakedness to me? Here no leprous flowers rear Fierce corollas in the air; Here no bodies sleek and wet, Dripping mingled rain and sweat, Tread the savage measures of Jungle boys and girls in love.
What is last year's snow to me, Last year's anything?The tree Budding yearly must forget How its past arose or set­­ Bough and blossom, flower, fruit, Even what shy bird with mute Wonder at her travail there, Meekly labored in its hair.
One three centuries removed From the scenes his fathers loved, Spicy grove, cinnamon tree, What is Africa to me? So I lie, who find no peace Night or day, no slight release From the unremittent beat Made by cruel padded feet Walking through my body's street.
Up and down they go, and back, Treading out a jungle track.
So I lie, who never quite Safely sleep from rain at night-- I can never rest at all When the rain begins to fall; Like a soul gone mad with pain I must match its weird refrain; Ever must I twist and squirm, Writhing like a baited worm, While its primal measures drip Through my body, crying, "Strip! Doff this new exuberance.
Come and dance the Lover's Dance!" In an old remembered way Rain works on me night and day.
Quaint, outlandish heathen gods Black men fashion out of rods, Clay, and brittle bits of stone, In a likeness like their own, My conversion came high-priced; I belong to Jesus Christ, Preacher of humility; Heathen gods are naught to me.
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, So I make an idle boast; Jesus of the twice-turned cheek, Lamb of God, although I speak With my mouth thus, in my heart Do I play a double part.
Ever at Thy glowing altar Must my heart grow sick and falter, Wishing He I served were black, Thinking then it would not lack Precedent of pain to guide it, Let who would or might deride it; Surely then this flesh would know Yours had borne a kindred woe.
Lord, I fashion dark gods, too, Daring even to give You Dark despairing features where, Crowned with dark rebellious hair, Patience wavers just so much as Mortal grief compels, while touches Quick and hot, of anger, rise To smitten cheek and weary eyes.
Lord, forgive me if my need Sometimes shapes a human creed.
All day long and all night through, One thing only must I do: Quench my pride and cool my blood, Lest I perish in the flood.
Lest a hidden ember set Timber that I thought was wet Burning like the dryest flax, Melting like the merest wax, Lest the grave restore its dead.
Not yet has my heart or head In the least way realized They and I are civilized.
Written by Les Murray | Create an image from this poem

The Dream Of Wearing Shorts Forever

 To go home and wear shorts forever
in the enormous paddocks, in that warm climate,
adding a sweater when winter soaks the grass, 

to camp out along the river bends
for good, wearing shorts, with a pocketknife,
a fishing line and matches, 

or there where the hills are all down, below the plain,
to sit around in shorts at evening
on the plank verandah - 

If the cardinal points of costume
are Robes, Tat, Rig and Scunge,
where are shorts in this compass? 

They are never Robes
as other bareleg outfits have been:
the toga, the kilt, the lava-lava
the Mahatma's cotton dhoti; 

archbishops and field marshals
at their ceremonies never wear shorts.
The very word means underpants in North America.
Shorts can be Tat, Land-Rovering bush-environmental tat, socio-political ripped-and-metal-stapled tat, solidarity-with-the-Third World tat tvam asi, likewise track-and-field shorts worn to parties and the further humid, modelling negligee of the Kingdom of Flaunt, that unchallenged aristocracy.
More plainly climatic, shorts are farmers' rig, leathery with salt and bonemeal; are sailors' and branch bankers' rig, the crisp golfing style of our youngest male National Costume.
Most loosely, they are Scunge, ancient Bengal bloomers or moth-eaten hot pants worn with a former shirt, feet, beach sand, hair and a paucity of signals.
Scunge, which is real negligee housework in a swimsuit, pyjamas worn all day, is holiday, is freedom from ambition.
Scunge makes you invisible to the world and yourself.
The entropy of costume, scunge can get you conquered by more vigorous cultures and help you notice it less.
To be or to become is a serious question posed by a work-shorts counter with its pressed stack, bulk khaki and blue, reading Yakka or King Gee, crisp with steely warehouse odour.
Satisfied ambition, defeat, true unconcern, the wish and the knack of self-forgetfulness all fall within the scunge ambit wearing board shorts of similar; it is a kind of weightlessness.
Unlike public nakedness, which in Westerners is deeply circumstantial, relaxed as exam time, artless and equal as the corsetry of a hussar regiment, shorts and their plain like are an angelic nudity, spirituality with pockets! A double updraft as you drop from branch to pool! Ideal for getting served last in shops of the temperate zone they are also ideal for going home, into space, into time, to farm the mind's Sabine acres for product and subsistence.
Now that everyone who yearned to wear long pants has essentially achieved them, long pants, which have themselves been underwear repeatedly, and underground more than once, it is time perhaps to cherish the culture of shorts, to moderate grim vigour with the knobble of bare knees, to cool bareknuckle feet in inland water, slapping flies with a book on solar wind or a patient bare hand, beneath the cadjiput trees, to be walking meditatively among green timber, through the grassy forest towards a calm sea and looking across to more of that great island and the further tropics.
Written by G K Chesterton | Create an image from this poem

The House of Christmas

 There fared a mother driven forth 
Out of an inn to roam; 
In the place where she was homeless 
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand, With shaking timber and shifting sand, Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes, And strangers under the sun, And they lay on their heads in a foreign land Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes, And chance and honour and high surprise, But our homes are under miraculous skies Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable, Where the beasts feed and foam; Only where He was homeless Are you and I at home; We have hands that fashion and heads that know, But our hearts we lost - how long ago! In a place no chart nor ship can show Under the sky's dome.
This world is wild as an old wives' tale, And strange the plain things are, The earth is enough and the air is enough For our wonder and our war; But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings And our peace is put in impossible things Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening Home shall men come, To an older place than Eden And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star, To the things that cannot be and that are, To the place where God was homeless And all men are at home.

Written by Gerard Manley Hopkins | Create an image from this poem

Repeat That Repeat

 Repeat that, repeat,
Cuckoo, bird, and open ear wells, heart-springs, delightfully sweet,
With a ballad, with a ballad, a rebound 
Off trundled timber and scoops of the hillside ground, hollow hollow hollow ground:
The whole landscape flushes on a sudden at a sound.
Written by John Donne | Create an image from this poem

Elegy IX: The Autumnal

 No spring nor summer Beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnall face.
Young beauties force our love, and that's a rape, This doth but counsel, yet you cannot 'scape.
If 'twere a shame to love, here 'twere no shame, Affection here takes Reverence's name.
Were her first years the Golden Age; that's true, But now she's gold oft tried, and ever new.
That was her torrid and inflaming time, This is her tolerable Tropique clime.
Fair eyes, who asks more heat than comes from hence, He in a fever wishes pestilence.
Call not these wrinkles, graves; if graves they were, They were Love's graves; for else he is no where.
Yet lies not Love dead here, but here doth sit Vowed to this trench, like an Anachorit.
And here, till hers, which must be his death, come, He doth not dig a grave, but build a tomb.
Here dwells he, though he sojourn ev'ry where, In progress, yet his standing house is here.
Here, where still evening is; not noon, nor night; Where no voluptuousness, yet all delight In all her words, unto all hearers fit, You may at revels, you at counsel, sit.
This is Love's timber, youth his under-wood; There he, as wine in June enrages blood, Which then comes seasonabliest, when our taste And appetite to other things is past.
Xerxes' strange Lydian love, the Platane tree, Was loved for age, none being so large as she, Or else because, being young, nature did bless Her youth with age's glory, Barrenness.
If we love things long sought, Age is a thing Which we are fifty years in compassing; If transitory things, which soon decay, Age must be loveliest at the latest day.
But name not winter-faces, whose skin's slack; Lank, as an unthrift's purse; but a soul's sack; Whose eyes seek light within, for all here's shade; Whose mouths are holes, rather worn out than made; Whose every tooth to a several place is gone, To vex their souls at Resurrection; Name not these living deaths-heads unto me, For these, not ancient, but antique be.
I hate extremes; yet I had rather stay With tombs than cradles, to wear out a day.
Since such love's natural lation is, may still My love descend, and journey down the hill, Not panting after growing beauties so, I shall ebb out with them, who homeward go.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Ballad Of The Black Fox Skin


There was Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike living the life of shame,
When unto them in the Long, Long Night came the man-who-had-no-name;
Bearing his prize of a black fox pelt, out of the Wild he came.
His cheeks were blanched as the flume-head foam when the brown spring freshets flow; Deep in their dark, sin-calcined pits were his sombre eyes aglow; They knew him far for the fitful man who spat forth blood on the snow.
"Did ever you see such a skin?" quoth he; "there's nought in the world so fine-- Such fullness of fur as black as the night, such lustre, such size, such shine; It's life to a one-lunged man like me; it's London, it's women, it's wine.
"The Moose-hides called it the devil-fox, and swore that no man could kill; That he who hunted it, soon or late, must surely suffer some ill; But I laughed at them and their old squaw-tales.
Ha! Ha! I'm laughing still.
"For look ye, the skin--it's as smooth as sin, and black as the core of the Pit.
By gun or by trap, whatever the hap, I swore I would capture it; By star and by star afield and afar, I hunted and would not quit.
"For the devil-fox, it was swift and sly, and it seemed to fleer at me; I would wake in fright by the camp-fire light, hearing its evil glee; Into my dream its eyes would gleam, and its shadow would I see.
"It sniffed and ran from the ptarmigan I had poisoned to excess; Unharmed it sped from my wrathful lead ('twas as if I shot by guess); Yet it came by night in the stark moonlight to mock at my weariness.
"I tracked it up where the mountains hunch like the vertebrae of the world; I tracked it down to the death-still pits where the avalanche is hurled; From the glooms to the sacerdotal snows, where the carded clouds are curled.
"From the vastitudes where the world protrudes through clouds like seas up-shoaled, I held its track till it led me back to the land I had left of old-- The land I had looted many moons.
I was weary and sick and cold.
"I was sick, soul-sick, of the futile chase, and there and then I swore The foul fiend fox might scathless go, for I would hunt no more; Then I rubbed mine eyes in a vast surprise--it stood by my cabin door.
"A rifle raised in the wraith-like gloom, and a vengeful shot that sped; A howl that would thrill a cream-faced corpse-- and the demon fox lay dead.
Yet there was never a sign of wound, and never a drop he bled.
"So that was the end of the great black fox, and here is the prize I've won; And now for a drink to cheer me up--I've mushed since the early sun; We'll drink a toast to the sorry ghost of the fox whose race is run.
" II Now Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike, bad as the worst were they; In their road-house down by the river-trail they waited and watched for prey; With wine and song they joyed night long, and they slept like swine by day.
For things were done in the Midnight Sun that no tongue will ever tell; And men there be who walk earth-free, but whose names are writ in hell-- Are writ in flames with the guilty names of Fournier and Labelle.
Put not your trust in a poke of dust would ye sleep the sleep of sin; For there be those who would rob your clothes ere yet the dawn comes in; And a prize likewise in a woman's eyes is a peerless black fox skin.
Put your faith in the mountain cat if you lie within his lair; Trust the fangs of the mother-wolf, and the claws of the lead-ripped bear; But oh, of the wiles and the gold-tooth smiles of a dance-hall wench beware! Wherefore it was beyond all laws that lusts of man restrain, A man drank deep and sank to sleep never to wake again; And the Yukon swallowed through a hole the cold corpse of the slain.
III The black fox skin a shadow cast from the roof nigh to the floor; And sleek it seemed and soft it gleamed, and the woman stroked it o'er; And the man stood by with a brooding eye, and gnashed his teeth and swore.
When thieves and thugs fall out and fight there's fell arrears to pay; And soon or late sin meets its fate, and so it fell one day That Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike fanged up like dogs at bay.
"The skin is mine, all mine," she cried; "I did the deed alone.
" "It's share and share with a guilt-yoked pair", he hissed in a pregnant tone; And so they snarled like malamutes over a mildewed bone.
And so they fought, by fear untaught, till haply it befell One dawn of day she slipped away to Dawson town to sell The fruit of sin, this black fox skin that had made their lives a hell.
She slipped away as still he lay, she clutched the wondrous fur; Her pulses beat, her foot was fleet, her fear was as a spur; She laughed with glee, she did not see him rise and follow her.
The bluffs uprear and grimly peer far over Dawson town; They see its lights a blaze o' nights and harshly they look down; They mock the plan and plot of man with grim, ironic frown.
The trail was steep; 'twas at the time when swiftly sinks the snow; All honey-combed, the river ice was rotting down below; The river chafed beneath its rind with many a mighty throe.
And up the swift and oozy drift a woman climbed in fear, Clutching to her a black fox fur as if she held it dear; And hard she pressed it to her breast--then Windy Ike drew near.
She made no moan--her heart was stone--she read his smiling face, And like a dream flashed all her life's dark horror and disgrace; A moment only--with a snarl he hurled her into space.
She rolled for nigh an hundred feet; she bounded like a ball; From crag to crag she carromed down through snow and timber fall; .
A hole gaped in the river ice; the spray flashed--that was all.
A bird sang for the joy of spring, so piercing sweet and frail; And blinding bright the land was dight in gay and glittering mail; And with a wondrous black fox skin a man slid down the trail.
IV A wedge-faced man there was who ran along the river bank, Who stumbled through each drift and slough, and ever slipped and sank, And ever cursed his Maker's name, and ever "hooch" he drank.
He travelled like a hunted thing, hard harried, sore distrest; The old grandmother moon crept out from her cloud-quilted nest; The aged mountains mocked at him in their primeval rest.
Grim shadows diapered the snow; the air was strangely mild; The valley's girth was dumb with mirth, the laughter of the wild; The still, sardonic laughter of an ogre o'er a child.
The river writhed beneath the ice; it groaned like one in pain, And yawning chasms opened wide, and closed and yawned again; And sheets of silver heaved on high until they split in twain.
From out the road-house by the trail they saw a man afar Make for the narrow river-reach where the swift cross-currents are; Where, frail and worn, the ice is torn and the angry waters jar.
But they did not see him crash and sink into the icy flow; They did not see him clinging there, gripped by the undertow, Clawing with bleeding finger-nails at the jagged ice and snow.
They found a note beside the hole where he had stumbled in: "Here met his fate by evil luck a man who lived in sin, And to the one who loves me least I leave this black fox skin.
" And strange it is; for, though they searched the river all around, No trace or sign of black fox skin was ever after found; Though one man said he saw the tread of HOOFS deep in the ground.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Explorer

 There's no sense in going further -- it's the edge of cultivation,"
 So they said, and I believed it -- broke my land and sowed my crop --
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
 Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop.
Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so: "Something hidden.
Go and find it.
Go and look behind the Ranges -- "Something lost behind the Ranges.
Lost in wating for you.
Go!" So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours -- Stole away with pack and ponies -- left 'em drinking in the town; And the faith that moveth mountains didn't seem to help my labours As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.
March by march I puzzled through 'em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders, Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass; Till I camped above the tree-line -- drifted snow and naked boulders -- Felt free air astir to windward -- knew I'd stumbled on the Pass.
'Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me -- Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair (It's the Railway Gap to-day, though).
Then my Whisper waked to hound me: -- "Something lost behind the Ranges.
Over yonder! Go you there!" Then I knew, the while I doubted -- knew His Hand was certain o'er me.
Still -- it might be self-delusion -- scores of better men had died -- I could reach the township living, but.
He knows what terror tore me .
But I didn't .
but I didn't.
I went down the other side, Till the snow ran out in flowers, and the flowers turned to aloes, And the aloes sprung to thickets and a brimming stream ran by; But the thickets dwined to thorn-scrub, and the water drained to shallows, And I dropped again on desert -- blasterd earth, and blasting sky.
I remember lighting fires; I remember sitting by 'em; I remember seeing faces, hearing voices, through the smoke; I remember they were fancy -- for I threw a stone to try 'em.
"Something lost behind the Ranges" was the only word they spoke.
But at last the country altered -- White Man's country past disputing -- Rolling grass and open timber, with a hint of hills behind -- There I found me food and water, and I lay a week recruiting.
Got my strength and lost my nightmares.
Then I entered on my find.
Thence I ran my first rough survey -- chose my trees and blazed and ringed 'em -- Week by week I pried and smhampled -- week by week my findings grew.
Saul he went to look for donkeys, and by God he found a kingdom! But by God, who sent His Whisper, I had struck the worth of two! Up along the hostile mountains, where the hair-poised snowslide shivers -- Down and through the big fat marshes that the virgin ore-bed stains, Till I heard the mile-wide mutterings of unimagined rivers, And beyond the nameless timber saw illimitable plains! 'Plotted sites of future cities, traced the easy grades between 'em; Watched unharnessed rapids wasting fifty thousand head an hour; Counted leagues of water-frontage through the axe-ripe woods that screen 'em -- Saw the plant to feed a people -- up and waiting for the power! Well, I know who'll take the credit -- all the clever chaps that followed -- Came, a dozen men together -- never knew my desert-fears; Tracked me by the camps I'd quitted, used the water-holes I hollowed.
They'll go back and do the talking.
They'll be called the Pioneers! They will find my sites of townships -- not the cities that I set there.
They will rediscover rivers -- not my rivers heard at night.
By my own old marks and bearings they will show me how to get there, By the lonely cairns I builded they will guide my feet aright.
Have I named one single river? Have I claimed one single acre? Have I kept one single nugget -- (barring samples)? No, not I! Because my price was paid me ten times over by my Maker.
But you wouldn't understand it.
You go up and occupy.
Ores you'll find there; wood and cattle; water-transit sure and steady (That should keep the railway rates down), coal and iron at your doors.
God took care to hide that country till He judged His people ready, Then He chose me for His Whisper, and I've found it, and it's yours! Yes, your "Never-never country" -- yes, your "edge of cultivation" And "no sense in going further" -- till I crossed the range to see.
God forgive me! No, I didn't.
It's God's present to our nation.
Anybody might have found it but -- His Whisper came to Me!
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

High Talk

 Processions that lack high stilts have nothing that
 catches the eye.
What if my great-granddad had a pair that were twenty foot high, And mine were but fifteen foot, no modern Stalks upon higher, Some rogue of the world stole them to patch up a fence or a fire.
Because piebald ponies, led bears, caged lions, ake but poor shows, Because children demand Daddy-long-legs upon This timber toes, Because women in the upper storeys demand a face at the pane, That patching old heels they may shriek, I take to chisel and plane.
Malachi Stilt-Jack am I, whatever I learned has run wild, From collar to collar, from stilt to stilt, from father to child.
All metaphor, Malachi, stilts and all.
A barnacle goose Far up in the stretches of night; night splits and the dawn breaks loose; I, through the terrible novelty of light, stalk on, stalk on; Those great sea-horses bare their teeth and laugh at the dawn.