Good Timber

forest light

forest light

Douglas Malloch, 1877-1938, was a Midwestern poet and short story writer who wrote about woods, forests and lumberjack adventure stories.   You may not have heard of him, but you may recognize a famous lumberjack that he wrote about in The Round River Drive.  There was lumberjack that was a giant of a man and traveled with an ox or so the story goes, and his name was Paul Bunyan.

I wanted to share a Malloch poem about life, nature and good timber.

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

An earlier post on another Midwest poet:

Jared Carter Midwest Poet


5 responses to “Good Timber

  1. My Malloch favorite:
    The Greater the Heart

    There are sorrow and storms
    as the forest grows old;
    there are Summers too warm,
    there are Winters too cold.
    Gray the Autumn may be
    and the sun may depart –
    But the older the tree,
    the greater the heart.

    Grow old like the pine,
    through the smiles and the tears,
    Growing better, like wine,
    with the passing of years;
    Let them say, if you can,
    when from life you depart
    “The older the man,
    The greater the heart.”

    — Douglas Malloch

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