Old Canoe

two canoes


Sometimes I stumble across a story or poem written long ago that captures my interest.  When it is by an obscure writer or artist where very little information is available on him or her; I feel like a treasure hunter that has discovered a buried treasure.  I wonder about the author of the story or poem and his or her life during those times.

It was by accident that I stumbled across this poem written in the early 1900’s by a North American poet, George Tracy Marsh.  He lived in Canada and/or America or both.

I like to travel, camp and canoe.  I’ve traveled in northern waters, and walked in the hills and high timber.  I could understand and relate to some of his thoughts.   I wanted to share this sentimental, thoughtful poem with you.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the poet, and can let me know more about some of his other poems.

Old Canoe

by George Tracy Marsh

“My seams gape wide so I’m tossed aside
To rot on a lonely shore,
While the leaves and mould like a shroud unfold,
For the last of my trails are o’er,
But I float in dreams on Northland streams
That never again I’ll see,
As I lie on the marge of the old portage
With grief for company.

When the sunset gilds the timbered hills
That guard Timagami,
And the moon beams play on far James Bay
By the brink of the frozen sea,
In phantom guise my spirit flies
As the dream blades dip and swing
Where the waters flow from the Long Ago
In the spell of the beck’ning spring.

Do the cow-moose call on the Montreal
When the first frost bites the air,
And the mists unfold from the red and gold
That the autumn ridges wear?
When the white falls roar as they did of yore
On the Lady Evelyn,
Do the square-tail leap from the black pool deep
Where the pictured rocks begin?

Oh! the fur fleet sings on Temiscaming
As the ashen paddles bend,
And the crews carouse at Rupert’s House
At the sullen winter’s end;
But my days are done where the lean wolves run,
And I ripple no more the path,
Where the grey geese race ‘cross the red moon’s face
From the white winds Arctic wrath.

Tho’ the death-fraught way from the Saguenay
To the storied Nipigon,
Once knew me well, now a crumbling shell
I watch as the years roll on,
And in memory’s haze I live the days
That forever are gone from me,
As I rot on the marge of the old portage
With grief for company.”

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