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Best Famous Trail Poems

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

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Written by Robert Louis Stevenson | Create an image from this poem

Autumn Fires

 In the other gardens 
And all up the vale, 
From the autumn bonfires 
See the smoke trail! 

Pleasant summer over 
And all the summer flowers, 
The red fire blazes, 
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons! Something bright in all! Flowers in the summer, Fires in the fall!


Written by Fleda Brown | Create an image from this poem

I Write My Mother a Poem

Sometimes I feel her easing further into her grave, 
resigned, as always, and I have to come to her rescue.
Like now, when I have so much else to do.
Not that she'd want a poem.
She would have been proud, of course, of all its mystery, involving her, but scared a little.
Her eyes would have filled with tears.
It always comes to that, I don't know why I bother.
One gesture and she's gone down a well of raw feeling, and I'm left alone again.
I avert my eyes, to keep from scaring her.
On her dresser is one of those old glass bottles of Jergen's Lotion with the black label, a little round bottle of Mum deodorant, a white plastic tray with Avon necklaces and earrings, pennies, paper clips, and a large black coat button.
I appear to be very interested in these objects, even interested in the sun through the blinds.
It falls across her face, and not, as she changes the bed.
She would rather have clean sheets than my poem, but as long as I don't bother her, she's glad to know I care.
She's talked my father into taking a drive later, stopping for an A & W root beer.
She is dreaming of foam on the glass, the tray propped on the car window.
And trees, farmhouses, the expanse of the world as seen from inside the car.
It is no use to try to get her out to watch airplanes take off, or walk a trail, or hear this poem and offer anything more than "Isn't that sweet!" Right now bombs are exploding in Kosovo, students shot in Colorado, and my mother is wearing a root beer mustache.
Her eyes are unfocused, everything's root beer.
I write root beer, root beer, to make her happy.
from Breathing In, Breathing Out, Anhinga Press, 2002 © 2000, Fleda Brown (first published in The Southern Review, 36 [2000])
Written by Sara Teasdale | Create an image from this poem

A November Night

 There! See the line of lights,
A chain of stars down either side the street --
Why can't you lift the chain and give it to me,
A necklace for my throat? I'd twist it round
And you could play with it.
You smile at me As though I were a little dreamy child Behind whose eyes the fairies live.
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And see, The people on the street look up at us All envious.
We are a king and queen, Our royal carriage is a motor bus, We watch our subjects with a haughty joy.
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How still you are! Have you been hard at work And are you tired to-night? It is so long Since I have seen you -- four whole days, I think.
My heart is crowded full of foolish thoughts Like early flowers in an April meadow, And I must give them to you, all of them, Before they fade.
The people I have met, The play I saw, the trivial, shifting things That loom too big or shrink too little, shadows That hurry, gesturing along a wall, Haunting or gay -- and yet they all grow real And take their proper size here in my heart When you have seen them.
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There's the Plaza now, A lake of light! To-night it almost seems That all the lights are gathered in your eyes, Drawn somehow toward you.
See the open park Lying below us with a million lamps Scattered in wise disorder like the stars.
We look down on them as God must look down On constellations floating under Him Tangled in clouds.
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Come, then, and let us walk Since we have reached the park.
It is our garden, All black and blossomless this winter night, But we bring April with us, you and I; We set the whole world on the trail of spring.
I think that every path we ever took Has marked our footprints in mysterious fire, Delicate gold that only fairies see.
When they wake up at dawn in hollow tree-trunks And come out on the drowsy park, they look Along the empty paths and say, "Oh, here They went, and here, and here, and here! Come, see, Here is their bench, take hands and let us dance About it in a windy ring and make A circle round it only they can cross When they come back again!" .
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Look at the lake -- Do you remember how we watched the swans That night in late October while they slept? Swans must have stately dreams, I think.
But now The lake bears only thin reflected lights That shake a little.
How I long to take One from the cold black water -- new-made gold To give you in your hand! And see, and see, There is a star, deep in the lake, a star! Oh, dimmer than a pearl -- if you stoop down Your hand could almost reach it up to me.
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There was a new frail yellow moon to-night -- I wish you could have had it for a cup With stars like dew to fill it to the brim.
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How cold it is! Even the lights are cold; They have put shawls of fog around them, see! What if the air should grow so dimly white That we would lose our way along the paths Made new by walls of moving mist receding The more we follow.
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What a silver night! That was our bench the time you said to me The long new poem -- but how different now, How eerie with the curtain of the fog Making it strange to all the friendly trees! There is no wind, and yet great curving scrolls Carve themselves, ever changing, in the mist.
Walk on a little, let me stand here watching To see you, too, grown strange to me and far.
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I used to wonder how the park would be If one night we could have it all alone -- No lovers with close arm-encircled waists To whisper and break in upon our dreams.
And now we have it! Every wish comes true! We are alone now in a fleecy world; Even the stars have gone.
We two alone!
Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson | Create an image from this poem

The Mermaid

 I

Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?

II

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
'Who is it loves me? who loves not me?'
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
 Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
 Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
 Springing alone
 With a shrill inner sound
 Over the throne
 In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea Would feel their immortality Die in their hearts for the love of me.
III But at night I would wander away, away, I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks, And lightly vault from the throne and play With the mermen in and out of the rocks; We would run to and fro, and hide and seek, On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells, Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call and shriek, And adown the steep like a wave I would leap From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells; For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list Of the bold merry mermen under the sea.
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me, In the purple twilights under the sea; But the king of them all would carry me, Woo me, and win me, and marry me, In the branching jaspers under the sea.
Then all the dry-pied things that be In the hueless mosses under the sea Would curl round my silver feet silently, All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft All things that are forked, and horned, and soft Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea, All looking down for the love of me.
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Call Of The Wild

 Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
 Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
 Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
 Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God's sake go and do it;
 Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation, The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze? Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation, And learned to know the desert's little ways? Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o'er the ranges, Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through? Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes? Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver? (Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.
) Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river, Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize? Have you marked the map's void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races, Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew? And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses? Then hearken to the Wild -- it's wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory, Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole? "Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story, Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul? Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders? (You'll never hear it in the family pew.
) The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things -- Then listen to the Wild -- it's calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching, They have soaked you in convention through and through; They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching -- But can't you hear the Wild? -- it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us; Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling .
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let us go.


Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

Adventure

 Out of the wood my White Knight came:
His eyes were bright with a bitter flame,
As I clung to his stirrup leather;
For I was only a dreaming lad,
Yet oh, what a wonderful faith I had!
And the song in my heart was never so glad,
As we took to the trail together.
"Friends and lovers, good-bye," I said; Never once did I turn my head, Though wickedly wild the weather min were the rover's rags and scars, And the rover's bed beneath the stars, But never the shadow of prison bars, As we ranged the world together.
Dreary and darkling was the trail, But my Knight was clad in a gleaming mail, And he plucked from his plume a feather.
And oh how foolishly proud was I! "I'll wear it," I told him, "till I die; Freemen we'll be of sea and sky, To the ends of the earth together.
" Yet now I know by my failing breath I'm ripe for the last adventure, Death, And I've reached the end of my tether: But my Knight of the shining mail is there, And his eyes are bright and he bids me dare: So into the Dark let's boldly fare, Into the Dark .
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together.
Written by Bliss Carman | Create an image from this poem

On Love

 TO the assembled folk 
At great St.
Kavin’s spoke Young Brother Amiel on Christmas Eve; I give you joy, my friends, That as the round year ends, We meet once more for gladness by God’s leave.
On other festal days For penitence or praise Or prayer we meet, or fullness of thanksgiving; To-night we calendar The rising of that star Which lit the old world with new joy of living.
Ah, we disparage still The Tidings of Good Will, Discrediting Love’s gospel now as then! And with the verbal creed That God is love indeed, Who dares make Love his god before all men? Shall we not, therefore, friends, Resolve to make amends To that glad inspiration of the heart; To grudge not, to cast out Selfishness, malice, doubt, Anger and fear; and for the better part, To love so much, so well, The spirit cannot tell The range and sweep of her own boundary! There is no period Between the soul and God; Love is the tide, God the eternal sea.
… To-day we walk by love; To strive is not enough, Save against greed and ignorance and might.
We apprehend peace comes Not with the roll of drums, But in the still processions of the night.
And we perceive, not awe But love is the great law That binds the world together safe and whole.
The splendid planets run Their courses in the sun; Love is the gravitation of the soul.
In the profound unknown, Illumined, fair, and lone, Each star is set to shimmer in its place.
In the profound divine Each soul is set to shine, And its unique appointed orbit trace.
There is no near nor far, Where glorious Algebar Swings round his mighty circuit through the night, Yet where without a sound The winged seed comes to ground, And the red leaf seems hardly to alight.
One force, one lore, one need For satellite and seed, In the serene benignity for all.
Letting her time-glass run With star-dust, sun by sun, In Nature’s thought there is no great nor small.
There is no far nor near Within the spirit’s sphere.
The summer sunset’s scarlet-yellow wings Are tinged with the same dye That paints the tulip’s ply.
And what is colour but the soul of things? (The earth was without form; God moulded it with storm, Ice, flood, and tempest, gleaming tint and hue; Lest it should come to ill For lack of spirit still, He gave it colour,—let the love shine through.
)… Of old, men said, ‘Sin not; By every line and jot Ye shall abide; man’s heart is false and vile.
’ Christ said, ‘By love alone In man’s heart is God known; Obey the word no falsehood can defile.
’… And since that day we prove Only how great is love, Nor to this hour its greatness half believe.
For to what other power Will life give equal dower, Or chaos grant one moment of reprieve! Look down the ages’ line, Where slowly the divine Evinces energy, puts forth control; See mighty love alone Transmuting stock and stone, Infusing being, helping sense and soul.
And what is energy, In-working, which bids be The starry pageant and the life of earth? What is the genesis Of every joy and bliss, Each action dared, each beauty brought to birth? What hangs the sun on high? What swells the growing rye? What bids the loons cry on the Northern lake? What stirs in swamp and swale, When April winds prevail, And all the dwellers of the ground awake?… What lurks in the deep gaze Of the old wolf? Amaze, Hope, recognition, gladness, anger, fear.
But deeper than all these Love muses, yearns, and sees, And is the self that does not change nor veer.
Not love of self alone, Struggle for lair and bone, But self-denying love of mate and young, Love that is kind and wise, Knows trust and sacrifice, And croons the old dark universal tongue.
… And who has understood Our brothers of the wood, Save he who puts off guile and every guise Of violence,—made truce With panther, bear, and moose, As beings like ourselves whom love makes wise? For they, too, do love’s will, Our lesser clansmen still; The House of Many Mansions holds us all; Courageous, glad and hale, They go forth on the trail, Hearing the message, hearkening to the call.
… Open the door to-night Within your heart, and light The lantern of love there to shine afar.
On a tumultuous sea Some straining craft, maybe, With bearings lost, shall sight love’s silver star.
Written by Wendell Berry | Create an image from this poem

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

 Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay.
Want more of everything ready-made.
Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery any more.
Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something they will call you.
When they want you to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something that won't compute.
Love the Lord.
Love the world.
Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace the flag.
Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot understand.
Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium.
Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit.
Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years.
Listen to carrion -- put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world.
Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable.
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade.
Rest your head in her lap.
Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it.
Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn't go.
Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
Written by Robinson Jeffers | Create an image from this poem

The Deer Lay Down Their Bones

 I followed the narrow cliffside trail half way up the mountain
Above the deep river-canyon.
There was a little cataract crossed the path, flinging itself Over tree roots and rocks, shaking the jeweled fern-fronds, bright bubbling water Pure from the mountain, but a bad smell came up.
Wondering at it I clam- bered down the steep stream Some forty feet, and found in the midst of bush-oak and laurel, Hung like a bird's nest on the precipice brink a small hidden clearing, Grass and a shallow pool.
But all about there were bones Iying in the grass, clean bones and stinking bones, Antlers and bones: I understood that the place was a refuge for wounded deer; there are so many Hurt ones escape the hunters and limp away to lie hidden; here they have water for the awful thirst And peace to die in; dense green laurel and grim cliff Make sanctuary, and a sweet wind blows upward from the deep gorge.
--I wish my bones were with theirs.
But that's a foolish thing to confess, and a little cowardly.
We know that life Is on the whole quite equally good and bad, mostly gray neutral, and can be endured To the dim end, no matter what magic of grass, water and precipice, and pain of wounds, Makes death look dear.
We have been given life and have used it--not a great gift perhaps--but in honesty Should use it all.
Mine's empty since my love died--Empty? The flame- haired grandchild with great blue eyes That look like hers?--What can I do for the child? I gaze at her and wonder what sort of man In the fall of the world .
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I am growing old, that is the trouble.
My chil- dren and little grandchildren Will find their way, and why should I wait ten years yet, having lived sixty- seven, ten years more or less, Before I crawl out on a ledge of rock and die snapping, like a wolf Who has lost his mate?--I am bound by my own thirty-year-old decision: who drinks the wine Should take the dregs; even in the bitter lees and sediment New discovery may lie.
The deer in that beautiful place lay down their bones: I must wear mine.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson | Create an image from this poem

The Scapegoat

 We have all of us read how the Israelites fled 
From Egypt with Pharaoh in eager pursuit of 'em, 
And Pharaoh's fierce troop were all put "in the soup" 
When the waters rolled softly o'er every galoot of 'em.
The Jews were so glad when old Pharaoh was "had" That they sounded their timbrels and capered like mad.
You see he was hated from Jordan to Cairo -- Whence comes the expression "to buck against faro".
For forty long years, 'midst perils and fears In deserts with never a famine to follow by, The Israelite horde went roaming abroad Like so many sundowners "out on the wallaby".
When Moses, who led 'em, and taught 'em, and fed 'em, Was dying, he murmured, "A rorty old hoss you are: I give you command of the whole of the band" -- And handed the Government over to Joshua.
But Moses told 'em before he died, "Wherever you are, whatever betide, Every year as the time draws near By lot or by rote choose you a goat, And let the high priest confess on the beast The sins of the people the worst and the least, Lay your sins on the goat! Sure the plan ought to suit yer.
Because all your sins are 'his troubles' in future.
Then lead him away to the wilderness black To die with the weight of your sins on his back: Of thirst let him perish alone and unshriven, For thus shall your sins be absolved and forgiven!" 'Tis needless to say, though it reeked of barbarity This scapegoat arrangement gained great popularity.
By this means a Jew, whate'er he might do, Though he burgled, or murdered, or cheated at loo, Or meat on Good Friday (a sin most terrific) ate, Could get his discharge, like a bankrupt's certificate; Just here let us note -- Did they choose their best goat? It's food for conjecture, to judge from the picture By Hunt in the Gallery close to our door, a Man well might suppose that the scapegoat they chose Was a long way from being their choicest Angora.
In fact I should think he was one of their weediest: 'Tis a rule that obtains, no matter who reigns, When making a sacrifice, offer the seediest; Which accounts for a theory known to my hearers Who live in the wild by the wattle beguiled, That a "stag" makes quite good enough mutton for shearers.
Be that as it may, as each year passed away, a scapegoat was led to the desert and freighted With sin (the poor brute must have been overweighted) And left there -- to die as his fancy dictated.
The day it has come, with trumpet and drum.
With pomp and solemnity fit for the tomb They lead the old billy-goat off to his doom: On every hand a reverend band, Prophets and preachers and elders stand And the oldest rabbi, with a tear in his eye, Delivers a sermon to all standing by.
(We haven't his name -- whether Cohen or Harris, he No doubt was the "poisonest" kind of Pharisee.
) The sermon was marked by a deal of humility And pointed the fact, with no end of ability.
That being a Gentile's no mark of gentility, And, according to Samuel, would certainly d--n you well.
Then, shedding his coat, he approaches the goat And, while a red fillet he carefully pins on him, Confesses the whole of the Israelites' sins on him.
With this eloquent burst he exhorts the accurst -- "Go forth in the desert and perish in woe, The sins of the people are whiter than snow!" Then signs to his pal "for to let the brute go".
(That "pal" as I've heard, is an elegant word, Derived from the Persian "Palaykhur" or "Pallaghur"), As the scapegoat strains and tugs at the reins The Rabbi yells rapidly, "Let her go, Gallagher!" The animal, freed from all restraint Lowered his head, made a kind of feint, And charged straight at that elderly saint.
So fierce his attack and so very severe, it Quite floored the Rabbi, who, ere he could fly, Was rammed on the -- no, not the back -- but just near it.
The scapegoat he snorted, and wildly cavorted, A light-hearted antelope "out on the ramp", Then stopped, looked around, got the "lay of the ground", And made a beeline back again to the camp.
The elderly priest, as he noticed the beast So gallantly making his way to the east, Says he, "From the tents may I never more roam again If that there old billy-goat ain't going home again.
He's hurrying, too! This never will do.
Can't somebody stop him? I'm all of a stew.
After all our confessions, so openly granted, He's taking our sins back to where they're not wanted.
We've come all this distance salvation to win agog, If he takes home our sins, it'll burst up the Synagogue!" He turned to an Acolyte who was making his bacca light, A fleet-footed youth who could run like a crack o' light.
"Run, Abraham, run! Hunt him over the plain, And drive back the brute to the desert again.
The Sphinx is a-watching, the Pyramids will frown on you, From those granite tops forty cent'ries look down on you -- Run, Abraham, run! I'll bet half-a-crown on you.
" So Abraham ran, like a man did he go for him, But the goat made it clear each time he drew near That he had what the racing men call "too much toe" for him.
The crowd with great eagerness studied the race -- "Great Scott! isn't Abraham forcing the pace -- And don't the goat spiel? It is hard to keep sight on him, The sins of the Israelites ride mighty light on him.
The scapegoat is leading a furlong or more, And Abraham's tiring -- I'll lay six to four! He rolls in his stride; he's done, there's no question!" But here the old Rabbi brought up a suggestion.
('Twas strange that in racing he showed so much cunning), "It's a hard race," said he, "and I think it would be A good thing for someone to take up the running.
" As soon said as done, they started to run -- The priests and the deacons, strong runners and weak 'uns All reckoned ere long to come up with the brute, And so the whole boiling set off in pursuit.
And then it came out, as the rabble and rout Streamed over the desert with many a shout -- The Rabbi so elderly, grave, and patrician, Had been in his youth a bold metallician, And offered, in gasps, as they merrily spieled, "Any price Abraham! Evens the field!" Alas! the whole clan, they raced and they ran, And Abraham proved him an "even time" man, But the goat -- now a speck they could scarce keep their eyes on -- Stretched out in his stride in a style most surprisin' And vanished ere long o'er the distant horizon.
Away in the camp the bill-sticker's tramp Is heard as he wanders with paste, brush, and notices, And paling and wall he plasters them all, "I wonder how's things gettin' on with the goat," he says, The pulls out his bills, "Use Solomon's Pills" "Great Stoning of Christians! To all devout Jews! you all Must each bring a stone -- Great sport will be shown; Enormous Attractions! And prices as usual! Roll up to the Hall!! Wives, children and all, For naught the most delicate feelings to hurt is meant!!" Here his eyes opened wide, for close by his side Was the scapegoat: And eating his latest advertisement! One shriek from him burst -- "You creature accurst!" And he ran from the spot like one fearing the worst.
His language was chaste, as he fled in his haste, But the goat stayed behind him -- and "scoffed up" the paste.
With downcast head, and sorrowful tread, The people came back from the desert in dread.
"The goat -- was he back there? Had anyone heard of him?" In very short order they got plenty word of him.
In fact as they wandered by street, lane and hall, "The trail of the serpent was over them all.
" A poor little child knocked out stiff in the gutter Proclaimed that the scapegoat was bred for a "butter".
The bill-sticker's pail told a sorrowful tale, The scapegoat had licked it as dry as a nail; He raced through their houses, and frightened their spouses, But his latest achievement most anger arouses, For while they were searching, and scratching their craniums, One little Ben Ourbed, who looked in the flow'r-bed, Discovered him eating the Rabbi's geraniums.
Moral The moral is patent to all the beholders -- Don't shift your own sins on to other folks' shoulders; Be kind to dumb creatures and never abuse them, Nor curse them nor kick them, nor spitefully use them: Take their lives if needs must -- when it comes to the worst, But don't let them perish of hunger or thirst.
Remember, no matter how far you may roam That dogs, goats, and chickens, it's simply the dickens, Their talent stupendous for "getting back home".
Your sins, without doubt, will aye find you out, And so will a scapegoat, he's bound to achieve it, But, die in the wilderness! Don't you believe it!
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