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Ballads of the Northwest

by Thomas Brooks, ca. 1961
(Caribou Crossing) Carcross, Yukon Territory

Thomas Brooks biography

Preface

The author, Thomas Brooks, was born in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, on the 29th of March, 1882, and migrated to Canada in the spring of 1899. He worked on a cattle ranch that summer, south of Maple Creek, in the Territory of Assiniboia, and in the fall he went to the Pacific Coast where he worked in logging camps and mines until 1904. He then went north and spent the winter in the mines of southeastern Alaska.

In the spring of 1905 the author, with three other men, bought a small boat in Whitehorse and drifted down the Yukon River to Dawson. The stampede to Fairbanks, Alaska was in full swing and there was a motley crew afloat on the river that spring. Approximately eight hundred small boats and numerous barges left Whitehorse for Dawson, Fairbanks, and other camps down the river. One barge carried forty dance-hall girls as well as a number of gamblers and other sporting clement, bearing a banner advertising the party as the "Happy Hooligans."

There was one bad actor in the party of four, and he showed his hand when they earn ed at the halfway point on Lake Lebarge. The party had been pushing the boat or two days on rotten ice on the upper part of the lake, using a couple of poles as runners for sleigh purposes; it was a tough, wet job. Beyond where the party camped, the lake was free of ice.

While cooking supper that night, a member of the party made the remark that the author was cutting the bacon too thick; to which the author replied, "If you don't like my style, you know what you can do about it." Whereupon the first party decided to do it by way of a large sheath knife he carried belted to his waist! The only firearm carried by the group was in the bow of the boat. The author made a sprint for it and got there two jumps ahead of his opponent, covered him with the rifle, and made him drop the knife.

"According to Hoyle", the group should have turned him in at the next Police Post, there being a detachment stationed every thirty miles on the river between Whitehorse and Dawson. However, one member of the group had been in on the staking of claims in the fall of 1904 at the new strike at Fairbanks, and he was anxious to reach the location before the big crowd of stampeders got there. In those days, claim-jumping was common, and to retain ownership one had to be on the claim to protect his interest.

He explained the position he was in, stating that if they turned the knife-wielder over to the police, all of them would be held as witnesses for the trial, and the delay might mean the loss of his claim in the new camp. The author and the other fellow agreed with his thinking and the decision was made that one of the group of three should always have the rifle handy, and stay awake while the others slept. They made the knife wielder take a position in the bow of the boat so he would always be in front of them, enabling them to watch until they got to Dawson.

The four men landed on the beach at Dawson at 2 o'clock in the morning, nearly two weeks ahead of the steamboats, The Police Patrol checked their papers, counted heads, and gave them clearance.

The author heard indirectly, at a later date, that the man who drew the knife on him, was involved in a killing in Alaska for which he was given a long term in the penitentiary.

For the past thirty years the author has been mining and prospecting around Carcross, Yukon, (Caribou Crossing) and became intimately acquainted with members of the Indian band that accompanied George Carmacks on his trip down the Yukon River, which voyage led to the discovery of the Klondike Gold Fields. Only one member of this Indian band is alive today, his name being Patsy Henderson. He was the youngest member of the party; today he is an old man and nearly blind. His home is the Indian Village at Carcross (Cariboo Crossing) Yukon.







Post Office Alley

Haunting and eerie the moaning
Of the Northwind passing in flight,
Bearing voices of derelicts roaming
As unseen they pass in the night.

Halting and stumbling the steps
And a woman weeps into the night,
Their secrets the night wind kept
Bourne in wind-blown flight.

Footsteps bound for the Abyss
Fading down the pathway of woe,
And lost to the mournful hiss
Of the drifting, whispering, snow.




The Sourdough

From a search for gold in the days of old, Jack Wilson failed to appear
His skill was great with a prospecting stake, a man who knew no fear;
With pan and pick he would make the trip, to wherever the gold creeks flow
And he staked his all when a stampede called, many long years ago.

His dogs held a load for the wilderness road, and Jack held a rifle and dream
To the trader he told I'll be back with the gold, ere the lights in the sky are agleam;
It came the fall and the trappers ball, a show Jack never missed
But he never turned up to fill his cup, where the lights-o-love were kissed.

They knew he was good for the wilderness food, though his time be a year and a day
For his shots were neat and he got his meat, wherever the game trails lay;
And none gave a thought that he ought to be sought, for lone men often will stray
Where the trails lie dim on the wilderness rim, and the Moose and the Caribou play.

But a half breed lass who had lots of class, was gripped with a silent fear
So she hit the trail o'er hill and dale, for the winter days were near;
'Twas a hundred mile to the mountain pile, that pierced the storm clad sky
And the woods wise kid a record did, a straight as the crow would fly.

On a placer creek by a granite peak, she cut Jack Wilson's sign
For days she tramped as she traced his camps, till she saw the blazed stake line;
With a prayer to God as the line she trod, and a hope she was still on time
Her dogs behind gave the cry of their kind, and ahead was the answer in rhyme.

Three shots she spaced and the echo's raced, from hill to timbered hill
An answering shot eased her a lot, for Jack was alive though ill;
The story told was one that is old, and is often the sourdough's fate
A scratch by the pick alone and sick, and help that is never or late.

As a rich man's wife she thinks of the life, of hardships long ago
The days on the creek where Jack lay weak, and life came back so slow;
Of a latter day when they worked the pay, and golden wealth did flow
And of silent nights when they watched the lights, flash in the sky and go.




The Girl We Knew as Belle

There were none of us knew her name, she was only a girl who had fell
Gentle and kind were her ways, though she travelled the pathway to Hell;
There were none of us offered her pity, she was not of the sobbing kind
Her virtues were all to the good, and her sins never entered our minds.

As a dance hall girl she was good, be it Miner or Banker the guest
For the girl we knew as Belle, was better than even the best;
To untangle the feet of a roughneck, so he'd sway to her rhyming step
Was the key to a dancers heart, and her take was high on her rep.

It came a cold night that winter, it was back in the Nineteen Oughts
The Northern Lights were ablaze, and the timber was cracking like shots;
When a Hellion named Unga Pete, drifted in from Ivory Creek
His heart was cold and hard, like the ice on his bearded cheek.

The floorman was Jake the Whaler, the Barbarry Coast knew him well
Till he shipped on the Frisco Whalers, he had worked in the gilded hells;
As a caller he had no equal, from the Dawson Halls to Nome
And his gun killed Unga Pete, the night that Belle went home.

Unga Pete was drunk and wildeyed, as he killed on the dance hall floor
And Belle's earthly days were over, ere died the gunshots roar;
Pete knew that death was waiting, in vengeance for Belle's fate
And his only thought was kill, ere death would claim the date.

But the Whaler's gun was blazing, Pete's thoughts they came too late
And justice dealt the hand, that sealed the Hellion's fate;
As the Whaler stood o'er Belle, in his hand the smoking gun
His eyes were filled with tears, for the girl whose days were done.

Perhaps Celestial judgement, will restore her soul to grace
For a heart beat kind and true, beneath the painted face;
She was only a dance hall girl, and the pathway of Hell she trod
But to those of the North who knew, her soul rode the pathway to God.




The Lonesome Trail

The span of life was fading fast
His time would soon be o'er,
The lonely man the die had cast
And a shot rang by the shore.

The lonesome trails will miss his step
And brooding hills will mourn,
To stars that once the watch had kept
No campfire's gleam is boume.

The summer's sun will shine again
Though hills be decked with snow,
And weeping skies will shed the rain
Where his soul was wont to go.




A Saga of the Tagish Sea

In a Yukon sky were scudding clouds, and a clockwise wind to boot
As a longshore and cast off the lines, on the "Taku Atlin" route.
'Twas a cargo load for Atlin camp, to last the winter round
Where miners blast the bedrock pay, so deep beneath the ground.

The Klukshu was the steamboats name, her home port was Carcross
A Vancouver crew manned her decks, her tonnage a thousand gross.
She backed her hull from the Carcross dock, and swung into the stream
And headed south for Taku bound, with a northwest wind abeam.

This October day so dull and grey, was the last of the season's run
For Summer days had passed away, and winter days had come.
It was 10 below when she made Taku, and the Captain well he knew
'Twas a quick discharge and head for home, or the Klukshu's days were through.

So they worked all night in the pale moonlight, the cargo to unload
And she left Taku with an anxious crew, and the fear of ice aboard.
The raging sea was a devil's brew, that rolled her smokestack down
And crewmen thought her days were ought, and Davy Jones was round.

All day she bucked the wintry seas, that rocked her to and fro
And hope did fail when the lookout's hail, said ice ahead, go slow.
The slow bell rung and the helm swung, to round the Polar floe
On the nearby shore were storm swept reefs, it would be touch and go.

It was no use there was no excuse, it was the reef or the Polar floe
A splintering crash and the ice was smashed, the Klukshu stood the blow.
For a master craftsman planked her hull, a good man with his tools
Who had planked the Arctic Whalers, of the Dundee Whaling School.

The snow was falling thickly, and the daylight fading fast
When the Polar Bears climbed on the deck, as the broken floe went past.
Soon the bears had manned the decks, where the crewmen should have been
My God, My God, the Captain cried, such things I've never seen.

We have no fuel the Engineers said, the tanks are nearly dry
So use your head or make your bed, for the fires will surely die.
We will burn the bears the Captain cried, for they are mostly fat
So Mister Mate round up those bear, and don't let me hear you blat.

This hard case mate with his hymn of hate, had profaned the seven seas
But to round in bear would muss his hair, and he trembled at the knees.
The Captains bluff it would not work, he was in an awful stew
So he dug up a quart from his private stock, of Hebridean dew.

It smelled of fish and heather smoke, and had a prunish hue
He doled it out with Scottish thrift, a little snift, to the mate and crew.
The mate rolled his eyes and stroked his thighs, and gave a fiendish yell
No Gods could save those Polar bear, this yell was their death knell.

With capstan bars and heaving leads, the gallant dew mad crew
Swept down the misty snow clad decks, and Polar bear they slew.
The Engineers gave up their fears, as the steam began to rise
And firemen fought with Polar bear, who had no wish to fry.

The gallant ship had picked up speed, and reeled the miles behind
She would dock at Carcross midnight, if fate were not unkind.
Her searchlight picked the narrows up, next the bouys the channel line
And surging up the channel, the Klukshu docked on time.




The Big Game Guide

In a lonely Yukon graveyard
Where Totem vies with cross,
He sleeps beside the River
Where the Caribou used to cross.

They called him Shorty Austin
This man so tall and slim,
But his days are now forgotten
And his past obscure and dim.

He manned the Chilkoot Summit
As well as Tagish Post,
Where men laid down the gauntlet
And of their deeds would boast.

He roamed the Yukon Valleys
From the Pelly to Liard,
And trapped the Coastal Ranges
Where trails are high and hard.

His trophies line the Mansions
Of hunters far and wide,
And a younger generation
Look on them with pride.

But his skill is not forgotten
Where roam the antlered game,
For another guides the hunters
Who bears the honoured name.




The Poke of Gold

I remember the lay where deep lay the pay, and the sheen of the bright yellow gold,
Where I toiled in the gloom of an underground room, in a drift that was frozen and cold;
It is there on the creek where the pay lay so deep, that the miners still tell of my fate,
For I lost all my gold in a game that is old, and the story is sad to relate.

With a poke full of gold that was ancient and old, when the Ark it was laden to sail,
I left for the town where gold held renown, at the end of the wagon road trail;
I know I done wrong but I loved that old song, and I must have been rearing to go,
For I joined in the fun and there was undone, at a place they call Sixty Below.

I woke in the brush from the dreams of a lush, and had reasons aplenty to pray,
For my poke it was gone like the migrating swan, that fly from the Arctic away;
I will always remember that night in September, it wound up the gold poke and me,
By the looks of the wreck they had stacked up the deck, and the frame up was easy to see

It could be that death had crept o'er the earth, for sad was the bartender's face,
And he spoke of his rum and the wrong I had done, as though I had fallen from grace;
I asked for the poke he said thats a joke, you blowed it last night with the boys,
And your children can tell of their Dad raising hell, it's a life that you seem to enjoy.

He sighed with regret as he looked at the wreck, and spoke of the hell raising crew,
There were tears in his eyes as he freely advised, the course that I ought to persue;
Go back to the creek where your pay lay so deep, and your talents were better employed,
And dig in the hole for the good of your soul, and think of the bar you destroyed.

The years they have gone since the night of the song, and I mourn for the poke full of gold,
But I have no regrets for the bar that I wrecked, or the tale that the bartender told;
As an actor he shone with his gift of the con, and he spoke of my talents as few,
So I hope he fares well where the bartenders dwell, when the Angels have bade him adieu.




The Rose of the Yukon

They call you the Rose of the Yukon
Sweet maid in the land of gold.
Though a rose will bloom and is gone
Your beauty will never grow old.

Your heart is like the wild flower
That grows on the far mountain slope,
And brightens the sunshine hours
A symbol of faith, love and hope.

Your hair so dark and lovely
A face of beauty enfolds,
No picture was ever so pretty
A rose in the land of gold.

The love light shines in your eyes
Like pools of light in a stream,
Where the wild birds mating call cries
And shadows and sunshine dream.

Beside the Yukon River
The Rose of the Yukon and I,
With hearts entwined together
Watch the years roll by.




The Halfbreed Soldiers

They were only halfbreed kids, in winter they ran a trapline,
Hunting and fishing in summer, and odd jobs part of the time;
Their schooling plain reading and writing, the rest of it wasnt so hot,
They knew nothing of war or its cause, but were eager to change their lot.

One was a sergeant gunner, and wore the Airforce blue,
In the tail of a Lancaster Bomber, many trips over Germany flew;
One night she was sorely crippled, and became a blazing hell,
Trapped in the gunpit and wounded, to a nameless grave he fell.

Another signed up with the infantry, and sailed far over the sea,
He saw the land of his father, the home of the brave and the free;
Landed on a Normandy beachhead, in battle was never behind,
Then one day reported missing, he was gone from the ken of mankind.

One joined a Dragoon regiment, sailing cast to the ancient sea,
He wore the badge of a Crusader, and shed his blood for others to free;
One bore a name that is honoured, on the storm swept island of Skye,
For a night in a hell that was England, years in a cot he did lie.

One held the rank of Instructor, and was soldierly spic and span.
He might have stepped out of a picture, he was just that kind of a man;
There are some who turn up their noses, because of the Indian blood,
But let them stack up their record, and his highness is likely the dud.

In lonely Yukon valleys, no sears of war you'll find,
For the Mothers hide their sorrow, in the silence of their kind;
And brothers run the traplines, of those whom fate had doomed,
For kin is to those people, what the shuttle's to the loom.




Memories

As I stand beside my cabin, where the silent waters flow,
I remember well the voyagers, and the days of long ago.
And I see the green clad valleys, and lakes that lie like gems,
Beneath the snow capped mountains, that lack the haunts of men.

And I think of stately steamboats, that whistled loud and long,
As they hailed the lonely outposts, and heard the sleigh dog song.
But now the lonesome waters, are but vassels of the stars,
And steamboats like the voyagers, have sailed beyond the bar.

And gone the bearded ancients, that called their dogs to heel,
To roam the Yukon valleys, where wealth they sought reveal.
And the highways of their passing, that scar the land of gold,
Are silent and forgotten, 'neath the windfalls and the mould.

No scars now mark the terrane, and the silver snows but dream,
Where once the sleigh bells ringing, would pace the racing team.
For gone the lithsome trapper, that sped the woodland trails,
And haunting is the silence, where the Malamute used to wail.

I can hear the wild geese honking, and I welcome back the spring,
It's a stampede in the making, where gold don't mean a thing.
But my days are nearly over, and when nature's had her fling;
I will rest beside the ancients, till I hear the trumpets ring.




Sandra

I entered a lowly cabin, a visit to a couple to pay
They had a little daughter, just fifteen months old that day;
Although she could not talk, her actions had plenty to say
As she toddled around upright, and with her doll did play.

She walked around me in a circle, as I sat upon a chair
Her little round face was serious, strangers at the gate were rare;
I spoke in a coaxing manner, in an effort to entice her to me
But she had plans other than mine, as I was soon to see.

She came up fairly close to me, and laid her doll upon the floor
Her gaze it never left me, as she backed towards the kitchen door;
She brought a stick of stovewood, and laid it by the doll
Then I knew "by her gifts," would friendship rise or fall.

I smiled and picked the doll up, also the stick of wood
She smiled in return, "I had taken the gifts" the stranger must be good;
This tiny atom of humanity, was in a generous mood
Perhaps the stranger is hungry, I will give him food.

She found a grimy apple core, also a crust of bread
With those two tasty morsels, the stranger would be fed;
This child had me a thinking, as to where the world stood
For she was acting out the play, that by nature man is good.

This untutored child of nature, had the wisdom of a diplomat
She came from humble parents, no daughter of an aristocrat;
If this child could rule the world, and things were done her way
Man would call man brother, and peace would come to stay.




The Malamute Trail

The four dog team was a driver's dream, and each dog shared the pull
No weaklings wail on the Malamute trail, and live to shun the reele;
And the land of gold held bitter cold, on the shores of a lonesome lake
Where the drifting snow in the northern blow, a shroud for all could make.

We lost the trail in the howling gale, and a wolf-dog held our fate
It could be doom in a snow-bound tomb, on the shores of an artic lake;
The winter night replaced daylight, as we fought our way to shore
No moon would shine till half-past nine, it was only half-past four.

We hit the beach by a timbered reach, and quietness reigned the shore
There was no breeze amongst the trees, some hand had closed a door;
The stars of night gave up no light, and dark the forest glade
And I gave the call for dogs to fall, ere strength within them fade.

A wolfish brute was the grey malamute, his aim to kill or maim
He ruled his mates by wolfish traits, and rose to lead dog fame;
To fill his place he would set the pace, this Swatka dog was good
I placed my faith in the gaunt like wraith, for I knew he understood.

I used no goad to start the load, our friendship bore no scars
And four dogs paced with a tauntened trace, our only light the stars;
The night was long when they voiced in song, and I gave the slackening hail
The gaunt like wraith that held my faith, was home on the Malamute trail.

As I walked ahead to pat their heads, and straighten out their gear
They crowded around to hear the sound, of a voice they love or fear;
And all of us knew the miles were few, to a cabin food and light
So down the trail through a frozen swale, and away in the silent night,




The Valley of Silence

There's a story that's told in the Yukon, where the bearded and silent men roam
Who look for the Valley of silence, and the woman that's moulded from stone;
They say there is gold in the valley, and fortune are there to be mined.
And the story will ne'er be forgotten, till the valley of silence they find.

It could be a myth or a fable, but not to the prospecting clan
For all of them look for the valley, that carry the pick and the pan;
So if in the Yukon you prospect, and look for the lady divine
Here's a tip on the silent woman, keep your eyes on the old skyline.

She lies on a roll top mountain, moulded by Gods of the past
And watches the valley of silence, that cradles the wealth of Midas;
It could be the Gods have decided, that forever in peace she will reign
For only the stars and the sunshine, have looked on the valley of fame.

Some say it's the prospectors heaven, where the aged and missing men go
Who never found fame or a fortune, in the hell that was Sixty Below;
So if by the Gods you are chosen, to share in the wealth of Midas
The records will show you are missing, or the end of your days come to pass.

Forever they look for the valley, and the woman that's moulded from stone
Hitched to a myth and a rumour, they are doomed in the Yukon to roam;
Till the Gods of the past have relented, and the fable or truth it be known
It's the port of the aged and missing, and the stars and the sunshine alone.




The Indian Soldier

In the moonlight by the river
Where the silvery waters flow,
I lost my heart to you forever
And I told you so as you would know.

You said I was your lover
And you wanted me to know,
You had never loved another
Where the silvery waters flow.

Then I told you to forget me never
For my love would ever grow,
And I would dream of the moonlit river
Where the silvery waters flow.

And the plea to our God said together
Ere I left o'er the ocean to go,
Was your lover return to the river
Where the silvery waters flow.

May the prayer we said by the river
Be a shield wherever I go,
Till the bugles are silent forever
And flowers on the battlefield grow.




The Trails End

There's a land lies north of Whitehorse, and it's scarred by streams of gold,
It's a land of bygone memories, that dreamed of wealth untold;
And 'neath skies where lights are blazing, unbroken lies the snow,
Where lonesome trails are haunted, by the men of long ago.

You may come from staid old Frisco, or bide by Oregon's shore,
Where your soul was steeped in romance, by tales of wagon lore;
But the sleigh-dog held the answer, to what oxen once begun,
And northward to the Arctic, spread the gold-pan and the gun.

For the trail it never ended, by the far Columbia shore,
And northward ever northward, came the heroes of your lore;
They left their patient oxen, and bade their homes adieu,
When the Fraser called the valiant, that here lay gold anew.

Though here no fabled Rainbow myth, laid down the mystic clue,
They blazed a trail to golden hills, and found the Caribou;
And so farewell to Barkerville, to brave the Stikine swift,
Where in lonesome land called Cassiar, again the lamp was lit.

They toiled again to golden end, and roved the ocean free,
To Douglas Isle and golden shore, where Juneau was to be;
Then mountains grim held ocean's end, where Chilkats ruled Dyea,
And voyagers sped where waters shed, to far-flung Arctic sea.

It led to famous Klondike field, the heart of Yukon land,
Where waters flowed to Bering Sea, to lave a golden strand;
Like snow their beards had whitened, their days not long to go,
And in graves now long forgotten, they sleep beneath the snow.




The lights were bright that winter night, and shone on beauty rare.
For Missouri Sal was a handsome gal, with a wealth of flaxen hair.
Of an English race was the oval face, and her sires were mountain men;
Where a feudal kill was a childhood thrill, and the law was beyond the ken.

The dance hall queen was a miners dream, the pride of the Silver Bow;
Whom hard case men from a gold filled glen, fought for the right to know.
But Taku Jack at his coin filled rack, smiled by the Roulette wheel,
For Missouri Sal was the gambler's gal, though he seldom called the deal.

But the Snowshoe Kid was a different bid, and a threat lay there for Sal.
When he spoke of his gold in a valley fold, and a thought of a female pal.
She knew his wealth was gained by stealth, and a gun had served him well,
And men had died 'neath the blazing eyes, that glowed with the fires of hell.

Though the Ozark lass had a lot of class, it was doom she now foretold
As she damned the Kid for his amorous bid, and spoke of a gambler bold.
The cave man stuff was brutal and rough, and she lay on the dance hall floor
But the Snowshoe Kid of a woman was rid, and his gun was free to roar.

That seething hate played possum's fate, the Snowshoe Kid ignored;
For he stepped across the spangled floss, to kill whom she adored.
And the words aloud of a whitened shroud, he would drape on a gambler dumb
Was the Kid's farewell 'ere he went to hell, in the land of the Midnight Sun.

The Snowshoe Kid had made his bid, and his gun was wreathed in flame
As a dancing pump bounced off his rump, and spoiled his deadly aim.
But Taku Jack was true to the mark, and the gunman's days were o'er
As Missouri Sal like a natural gal, swooned on the dance hall floor.

There's a lonesome pine hides a sunken line, where the Snowshoe Kid lies low.
And the Pack Rats roam in a ghostly home, 'neath the sign of the Silver Bow.
But memories hold of men that were bold, ere the doom of the old mine town
Where Missouri Sal was the gambler's gal, and once held great renown.




Lonesome Nell

She came from the coast where the loggers boast of their deeds on brawling streams,
And the skysails dip on the westbound ships, and fade where the sunset dreams.
Here the fogs hang low where the tall pines grow, in the land of the great outdoors.
And she went to her doom where the rollers boom, in the dives of the stormlashed shores.

She answered the hail of the Klondike trail, and sailed on the inside sea.
And she stepped ashore where the eagles soar, and her grave was soon to be.
Here the blazing lights lit Alaskan nights, as a lure to the wandering boy.
And the gold mad horde would pause on the road, for a night with sirens of joy.

We named her well where the floormen yell, and called to a lilting strain,
For she held no brief for a pandering thief, that soiled his soul for gain.
There was hidden grace in the wasted face, it shone in the lonely eyes,
And I think she knew her days were few, and thus her soul did cry.

She lingered awhile with her gentle smile, and her fate she n'er decried,
Till she passed away one Autumn day, as stars filled darkened skies.
The dance-hall lights were dim that night, and low the callers cried,
For lonesome Nell was loved right well, where the ancient trade was plied.

The sunshine shone on a motley throng, they were lined beside the grave,
And the preacher spoke of a heavenly cloak, for the soul he hoped to save.
The gamblers stood in a pensive mood, as if hell their souls had claimed,
And dance-hall belles were ebbing wells, their grief was unrestrained.

The gun toting man was Six Shooter Sam, his star was plain to see;
And the beaded bride by the lawman's side was a Klootch of high degree.
From the offshore fleet was Stavanga Pete, no man of peace was he,
He died on the deck of a blood-stained wreck, and sleeps in the Bering Sea.

The mountains grand as sentinals stand, and guard the lonely grave,
Where the seabirds fly with a wailing cry, and crest the rolling wave.
So we laid her away in the gold creek clay, her home forever to be,
Till a Clarion call awakens all, on the shores of the inside sea.




The Teacup Gal

Where mountains grim their secrets lock
And whiskered Lobos roam,
They pinned a sin on John Burdock
Though sin he'd ne'r condone.

They said he quoted College Pro
In a myth they called Geology,
That told of earth in Vulcan's glow
Ere the days of Anthropology.

The faithfull flocked to hear the plea
Where beer and wisdom flowed,
And Satan laughed in hellish glee
As he laid the festive board.

But John went to a Teacup Gal
And thus to him she spoke,
It was Satan and his College pal
That planned the master stroke.

The faithful made the welkin ring
And Satan fled in haste,
The College Pro his praise did sing
So he could save his face.

Thus John was cleansed from blackened pall
That shocked all Yukon men,
And Angels sang and blessed the Gal
That delved beyond our ken.




The sun went down in Whitehorse town, and white lay winter snow,
And lights were bright as stars of night, where the trail men loved to go.
Their souls could mar in the Klondike bar, if hell but called the roll,
And the welkin rang as they fought and sang, and echoed to the Pole.

Their John McGoon met a gambler's doom, at the hands of Yukon Dan,
And a broken heart watched life depart, in the grief of Wyoming Nan.
The flush was straight that shared his fate, but treys were backed by gun;
And his days were o'er on the Yukon's shore, where the ice clad waters run.

It was Kluane Jake that lousy snake, that blocked the gambler's draw,
And both men fled ere McGoon was dead, in dread of Miners law.
We buried McGoon by the light of the moon, and we hoped his soul would roam,
To the ice bound sea where the Walrus be, and a camp just struck called Nome.

The Miners law held a posse draw, and a Malamute wailed for the dead,
Till the dirge grew dim on the horizon's rim, where the trail of vengeance led.
The racing teams on the frozen stream, passed LeBarge and Thirty Mile,
Then a carbine's roar on the Yukon's shore, was death for Shifty Giles.

There were two more died ere the moonlight plied, on the blood soaked Yukon bay,
But the fight was won and Dan was done, and Jake had passed away.
The Skagway Kid from this earth was rid, of his sins we never comment,
And John Henry Bone was far from home, where only the law would lament.

We buried them deep for eternal sleep, where the river flowed silent beneath,
For Yukon Dan was that kind of a man, though his pal was only a thief.
As for Shifty Giles in hell he would smile, and pal with John Henry Bone,
But we doffed our lids to the Skagway Kid, and hoped he would make it alone.




The Ambush

In the mountains of Montana, near the State of Idaho,
A tented town was booming, in the days of long ago.
And gunmen they were flocking, to this boom town in the west -
Where sudden death was common, and the law was but a jest.

Came a gunman from Kentucky, his ways were brave and bold.
His gun butt held no notches, but his eyes were hard and cold.
He came from gentle parents, no mountain man was he;
Though his grave is on a mountain, beneath a tall pine tree.

From Butte there came a gunman, whose rep was overdone;
And he thought to run a sandy, on the blue grass son-of-a-gun.
But the man from old Kentucky, whose gun work held no flaw
Killed the man from Butte Montana, for he was slow to draw.

The man from Butte had brothers, whose guns held records too,
And vengeance they did swear, on the Kaintuck buckeroo.
But Kentucky's speed was record, and his aim was deadly true;
So an Ambush they did plan, and Kaintuck they foully slew.

As he walked on mountain trail, one sun filled summer's day,
His back was filled with lead, and his soul did pass away.
But when the lawmen found him, he faced the ambush dead;
And his gun had taken vengeance, for a dead man held his lead.

A mother loved him somewhere, and waited long in vain;
But her son would n'er return, to the blue grass State again.
In his grave on the lonely mountain, where eagles wheel and cry;
The gunman lies forgotten, with his creed of days gone by.




The Wilderness Trail

Always my dreams they are haunting, when I dream of that land far away
And I think it's the wilderness calling, where the lights in the sky always play;
For deep in my heart there lies buried, a thought for a song that's unsung
Of the trails that are lonely with beauty, and the pictures my memory hung.

I remember the pack laden furies, and I thought it ordained by the fates
That battles be fought through the ages, for a place on the trail by their mates;
It was strife that was known to the ancients, and fought on the trails of the horde
When pack trains were laden with booty: ere wheels ever rolled on a road.

And I think of the Kid that was wrangler, who spoke of the fields far away
His eyes held a look that was longing, and I knew from his home he would stray;
In his home in the Yukon up yonder, where his life it was happy and gay
They would grieve for a heart that was broken, in fields that were green far away.

The parks held a look that was ducal, they were scenes from the pages of time
Where I looked for a knight in his armour, to ride from the grass and the pine;
And high on the slopes of the mountains, was a picture that nature had drew
Of snowfields ablaze in the sunshine, and framed in a sky that was blue.

On the shores of a lake that was lovely, neath a sky that was shrouded in gloom
Came a cry that was haunting and lonely, and I thought of the banshees and doom;
But the cry of the loon was forgotten, and the sins of my soul bade adieu
Where the wild flowers lay bright in the sunshine, and the meadows were drenched by the dew.

The camp fires will gleam in the wilderness, and fade with the stars at the dawn
When the days of my score they are over, and I've gone to my fate on beyond;
And the riders will dream in the saddle, away from their kind and their kin
On the trails that are lonely with beauty, where the bells of the pack train ring.




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