Outdoor Tales & Poetry

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Feuer686, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Feuer686


    Dec 3, 2009
    Any folks here familiar with/fans of Robert Service? My Dad showed me a poem by Service yesterday he said reminded him of me.

    Anyways until he finishes reading the book - (A collection of Robert Service poems), I was wondering if anyone here knows of some good wilderness/outdoors themed poems, short-stories and writers.

    The standards come to mind - London, Muir, Irving. I've found a few similarly themed poems and short stories by Poe that I've really liked.

    Occasionally I'll try to make some words rhyme together, but it's always good to read from those who do it successfully. Anyone come to mind?
  2. baldtaco-II


    Feb 28, 2006
    Wordsworth wandered lonely as a clod. [sic]
  3. the lone gunman

    the lone gunman

    May 29, 2008
    My Favorite:
    By Robert Frost
    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.
  4. Feuer686


    Dec 3, 2009
    Yes, Frost is always one of the standards that comes to mind, thanks.
  5. Chignecto Woodsman

    Chignecto Woodsman

    Aug 2, 2014
    Logged me out so my post was lost. Starting to get really annoying that you only stay logged in for 5 minutes or so. Anyway.

    Pushkin, Blok, Tarkovsky for Russian poets. Also Platonov's Among Animals and Plants for a short story.
    Sebald - After Nature
    Paine - The Tent Dwellers
    Richards - Friends of Meager Fortune
    Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass

    Here's the start of one poem:
    "WEAPON, shapely, naked, wan!
    Head from the mother's bowels drawn!
    Wooded flesh and metal bone! limb only one, and lip
    only one!
    Gray-blue leaf by red-heat grown! helve produced from
    a little seed sown!
    Resting the grass amid and upon,
    To be lean'd, and to lean on.

    Strong shapes, and attributes of strong shapes—mas-
    culine trades, sights and sounds;
    Long varied train of an emblem, dabs of music;
    Fingers of the organist skipping staccato over the keys
    of the great organ."
  6. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    the first poem I even memorized was Service's Cremation of Sam McGee. I did so by repeating it back to my dad, a kinda party trick he came up with before I could read. Most of it still rattles around my brain, and I dig it up every now and again. I should really work to get it back there fully, but I just never seem to remember to. HA!

    I love Service's history and life, starting off by going to the wilds to be a writer, and just how those adventures sort of found him. The different era's of his life, from the Yukon to his war poems and then later Paris. Telling other's stories for their sake instead of his own, even though some are first person. I love how completely bonkers some are, like the Ballad of Blasphemous Bill, and some are slice-of-life like the shooting of Dan McGrew, and still others of the harsh reality of the landscape.
  7. Danketch


    Apr 27, 2007
    I just finished Steven Rinella's Meateater today. It was my first book I read by him, but it wont be my last. He does an excellent job explaining his motivations for hunting, in an honest way, that seems really relate-able. His MeatEater TV show is what inspired me to finally get my hunting license a few years ago.
  8. taldesta

    taldesta Retired :-) Time is the Gold Platinum Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    And up on the hills against the sky,
    A fir tree rocking its lullaby,
    Swings, swings,
    Its emerald wings,
    Swelling the song that my paddle sings.

    Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake (1861-1913)
    From her poem "The Song My Paddle Sings"


    Cache Lake Country
    Life in the North Woods, Wilderness Edition
    By John J. Rowlands
    Illustrated by Henry B. Kane
    Copyright 1947

    Packed full of nuggets for survival and comfort and amusement, following the seasons, living in the "natural honesty of the Northern wilderness."

    By the author:
    "In Cache Lake Country I have recounted not only the happy and rewarding experiences of life in the North, but the deep satisfaction and excitement of discovering how inventive and resourceful man can be when his living depends upon making he most effective use of whatever comes to hand."

    This book is generously illustrated ... some quaint and amusing, most very informative.

    I have found some of this book's art decorating a DIY wannigan
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  9. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    The Big Two-Hearted River by Hemingway is a short story I will never grow tired of. I enjoy reading Robert Frost and The Cremation of Sam McGee is my favorite poem.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  10. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    I'm not much of a poet guy but R Service is certainly near the top.
  11. OwenM


    Oct 26, 2000
    Not a poem, but sometimes I compile quotes:
    "As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens(Stephen Graham)...because Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence(Alfred Billings Street), therefore...those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life,(Rachel Carson)...so if it seems The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, be not discouraged - keep on - there are divine things, well envelop'd; I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell(Walt Whitman)...when you recognize that Nature is the clothing of God"(Alan Hovhaness).
  12. oldmanron


    Jun 19, 2012
    For "The Cremation of Sam McGee" there is an absolutely beautiful book (out of print now but I found three gently-used ones online last year) that combines the gorgeous northern art of Ted Harrison with Service's classic poem. It would make a wonderful gift. Just Google "The Cremation of Sam McGee" and "Ted Harrison" and you'll see why the book is considered a real gem, a classic.

    From Chapters / Indigo ...

    "In 1986 Kids Can Press published an edition of Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee" illustrated by painter Ted Harrison, who used his signature broad brushstrokes and unconventional choice of color to bring this gritty narrative poem to life. Evoking both the spare beauty and the mournful solitude of the Yukon landscape, Harrison's paintings proved the perfect match for Service's masterpiece about a doomed prospector adrift in a harsh land. Harrison's Illustrator's Notes on each page enhanced both poem and illustrations by adding valuable historical background. Upon its original publication, many recognized the book as an innovative approach to illustrating poetry for children. For years The Cremation of Sam McGee has stood out as a publishing landmark, losing none of its appeal both as a read-aloud and as a work of art. Kids Can Press proudly publishes this deluxe hardcover twentieth anniversary edition -- complete with a spot-varnished cover, new cover art and heavy coated stock -- of a book that remains as entrancing as a night sky alive with the vibrant glow of the Northern Lights."
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  13. Feuer686


    Dec 3, 2009
  14. Phoynix


    Dec 21, 2013
    I like "Banjo" Paterson quite a bit.

    Man from Ironbark.

    It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,
    He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.
    He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,
    Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber's shop.
    "'Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I'll be a man of mark,
    I'll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark."

    The barber man was small and flash, as barbers mostly are,
    He wore a strike-your-fancy sash, he smoked a huge cigar;
    He was a humorist of note and keen at repartee,
    He laid the odds and kept a "tote", whatever that may be,
    And when he saw our friend arrive, he whispered, "Here's a lark!
    Just watch me catch him all alive, this man from Ironbark."

    There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber's wall.
    Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all;
    To them the barber passed the wink, his dexter eyelid shut,
    "I'll make this bloomin' yokel think his bloomin' throat is cut."
    And as he soaped and rubbed it in he made a rude remark:
    "I s'pose the flats is pretty green up there in Ironbark."

    A grunt was all reply he got; he shaved the bushman's chin,
    Then made the water boiling hot and dipped the razor in.
    He raised his hand, his brow grew black, he paused awhile to gloat,
    Then slashed the red-hot razor-back across his victim's throat:
    Upon the newly-shaven skin it made a livid mark -
    No doubt it fairly took him in - the man from Ironbark.

    He fetched a wild up-country yell might wake the dead to hear,
    And though his throat, he knew full well, was cut from ear to ear,
    He struggled gamely to his feet, and faced the murd'rous foe:
    "You've done for me! you dog, I'm beat! one hit before I go!
    I only wish I had a knife, you blessed murdering shark!
    But you'll remember all your life the man from Ironbark."

    He lifted up his hairy paw, with one tremendous clout
    He landed on the barber's jaw, and knocked the barber out.
    He set to work with nail and tooth, he made the place a wreck;
    He grabbed the nearest gilded youth, and tried to break his neck.
    And all the while his throat he held to save his vital spark,
    And "Murder! Bloody murder!" yelled the man from Ironbark.

    A peeler man who heard the din came in to see the show;
    He tried to run the bushman in, but he refused to go.
    And when at last the barber spoke, and said "'Twas all in fun—
    'Twas just a little harmless joke, a trifle overdone."
    "A joke!" he cried, "By George, that's fine; a lively sort of lark;
    I'd like to catch that murdering swine some night in Ironbark."

    And now while round the shearing floor the list'ning shearers gape,
    He tells the story o'er and o'er, and brags of his escape.
    "Them barber chaps what keeps a tote, By George, I've had enough,
    One tried to cut my bloomin' throat, but thank the Lord it's tough."
    And whether he's believed or no, there's one thing to remark,
    That flowing beards are all the go way up in Ironbark.
  15. taldesta

    taldesta Retired :-) Time is the Gold Platinum Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Good one. :thumbup: Most enjoyable. I was not familiar with this author
  16. Student762


    Mar 7, 2014
    Banjo patterson is a classic author of poems about the Australian outback. He's my all time favourite poet and has some real rippers. one of my favourites is called "Bush Christening", not particularly on topic but a terrific read for those who have the time.
  17. taldesta

    taldesta Retired :-) Time is the Gold Platinum Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    The Foxfire Book, the original one. Not poetry, but somehow very beautiful. In good part, the words of pure mountain dialect transcribed from tapes catches me somewhere between survival/homesteading and time travel.

    The knowledge of an oral civilization preserved by their children and grandchildren through a novel high school experiment in English studies. Foxfire, its beginnings as a magazine, filled with articles about these students' own roots, heritage and culture.

    Chapters on Moonshining as a Fine Art, Snake Lore, Home remedies (fascinating but I won't go there willingly!) and lots of stories on top of the 'how to' sections.

    Rich in solid, historic construction and food lore and a treasury of language of the time and place, but not all direction based in fact or to be tried at home IMO. :eek:

    Copyright 1972 by Brooks Eliot Wigginton


    The Best of Robert Service is always right beside my reading chair because his words ring true, his take on humanity and nature rings true to me. His humour is wonderful. His poetry very often reflects his great world experience and personal depth as well. Memorable phrasing.

    "The river is a-flop with fish ..." from poem While The Bannock Bakes

    "I should have bawled the bastard out:
    A yellow dog he slew;
    But worse, he proved beyond a doubt
    That - I was yellow too" from poem Yellow
  18. taldesta

    taldesta Retired :-) Time is the Gold Platinum Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Australia ... I should have guessed! Wonderful. Thank you.
  19. bobs1415


    Feb 10, 2013
    This is pretty heavy company, but I'm going to offer a work of mine.

    Jefferson County, Kansas

    About midnight I lay a chunk of oak in the stove to keep
    the house warm until I get back. Shrug into my old field
    jacket, pull on a watch cap, slip out the door. With quiet steps

    I walk down the hill to the band of trees along the creek. Sit on
    a stump to listen to the night, to practice stillness. Little interior
    voices begin their chatter. “This is dumb.” “I’m bored.” “It’s cold

    out here.” Tiny distractions that interrupt the start of a meditation. I
    allow them to yack for a few moments, raise an index finger
    to my lips, whisper, “Be silent.” Waxing gibbous moon low

    in the west. Bare bones of tree branches above me. Field of knee
    high sage grass before me. Close my eyes, eavesdrop on pines
    discussing the day’s news. From off to my right a screech owl’s

    trilling call. Soft rustle in the carpet of leaves across the creek.
    A coon or possum. No self-respecting bobcat would make such
    a racket. The critter scurries away south through the woods. Brief

    rattle of branches. Wind has picked up. I pull my cap down
    to the tops of my ears, clutch my coat closer around me, listen
    to the business of the night. Slowly like ice melts, turn my head

    right and left to pick up the faint sounds of dry sage grass
    swaying in the wind. Time creeps by. Trace of wood smoke drifts
    down the hill from the house. Moon slowly falls out of sight. Shadows

    deepen. Coyote yelps once, gets no answer. At long intervals I hear
    cars crunching along the gravel road a few hundred yards
    to the east. Then, somewhere in the field directly in front of me,

    a small thump, a shrill squeal suddenly cut off. A meadow mouse
    finds his fate. An owl finds her supper. She leaves on silent wings.
    As the eastern sky brightens, I begin to feel the chill air moving

    through my bones. Stand and shake the stiffness from my
    legs. I make a bow, thank the night for sharing its treasures.
    Climb back up the hill to the house’s warmth.
  20. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    bobs1415, thank you. Very well done.

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