General Poetry posted October 4, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
A Robert Service tale

The Creation of Sam McGee

by Paul McFarland

I'd just come back
From a miner's shack
Up north in the land of gold.
I was looking to find
Someone inclined
To venture up there in the cold.

One night in a bar
There playing guitar
Was a man in grief's embrace.
He came up to me,
Said, "I'm Sam McGee.
I want to get out of this place."

I told him my plan
To find a good man
And head to the Arctic plain.
He said, "Search no more."
Then vile oaths he swore.
His words were profound and profane.

Then I said, "Old son
There are strange things done
In the land where they're looking for gold."
But I couldn't convince
That southern born prince
That winters up there were damn cold.

So I signed him on,
And then we were gone
On the very next westbound train.
And he was all smiles
As we traveled those miles
To Seattle in dense fog and rain.

It was late in the spring,
So the very next thing
We did was to get on a boat,
And then make our way
To a big payday
In a land that was wild and remote.

I remember the day
When we got to Skagway,
And our steamboat pulled into the town.
Those old muddy streets
Had cutthroats and cheats
Just waiting to take us both down.

So we grabbed our gear,
And we started to steer
Our way to the Chilkoot Pass,
And when we got there,
Old Sam, I do swear,
Was fading and dragging his ass.

So we took a break
For old Sam's sake,
Then tackled that dreaded steep hill,
And after ten trips
With just a few slips,
Sam said that he'd had his fill.

I knew he was stressed,
So I did my best
To set the man's mind at ease.
And then we set sail
On that old Klondike Trail
In the teeth of a stiff Arctic breeze.

Now Sam McGee
Was wishing that he
Had been spared the lust for gold.
When the months had passed,
Daylight fading fast,
The long nights were getting quite cold.

In a few more weeks,
The lakes and the creeks
Were covered with thick ice and snow,
And the midnight sun
Was long since done,
And the fierce Arctic gales did blow.

The northern lights
On those cold clear nights
Were an eerie sight to see.
And under his hood
It didn't look good
For the likes of Sam McGee.

We had left our claim
And it was our aim
To get to a warm fireside,
And dance and sing
With a sweet young thing
Til winter had up and died.

But then one day
While mushing our way
Over the Dawson Trail,
Old Sam McGee
Set his spirit free,
And you know the rest of the tale.

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