The Day Guy Montreaux Died, Part I
Back in nineteen hundred and three
I working with a logging crew,
cutting and limbing mighty trees,
be they hemlock, pine, or spruce.
We worked for the Nowell Paper firm,
in the shades of the Adirondacks,
spent all winter in Camp Seven,
sending full sleds down icy tracks.
One morning in late December
we got up before the dawn,
that was just par for the course,
our work days were rather long.
We made it to the cook-house,
where waited the salt pork,
with flapjacks and potatoes fried,
we ate until enrgorged.
Then with a nod to the bull cook,
to let him know he’d done good,
we grabbed our axes, our crosscut saws,
and headed out into the woods.
By noon we worked a stump garden
we’d cleared back in the fall,
when we’d cut down the spruces
though a few still stood tall.
Those ones are the seed trees,
to make sure it grows again,
but the ones we felled we had cut
into fourteen-foot lengths.
Now in that deep chill of winter
we worked with our pike-poles,
hauling the logs to big sleds
drawn by horses, rather cold.
We stacked them for the ice road,
in air that made all shiver,
the teamster waited to haul it
all the way down to the river.
Now lumberjacks always work in pairs,
and my partner was Guy Montreaux,
a Quebecois better with an axe
than any farmer with a hoe.
He was quite an entertaining man,
lifted spirits in our shanties,
and knew the words to every bawdy song
ever sang in the north country.
On that grim day he huffed loudly,
having been put through his paces,
as he loaded up the last big log
a horse jolted back in its traces.
The equine kicked, the pile shook,
the teamster cried,’Get clear!”
Me and the boys all dove away,
filled with a familiar fear...
CONCLUDES IN PART II.
Copyright © David Welch | Year Posted 2018