It’s been a while since I’ve written of the Old Woodsman. As warm weather graces us with its presence and the outdoor adventures abound, I’ll be providing some in-depth looks into some of Nessmuk’s woodcraft. But for now, a poem will have to suffice.
This poem, Hunting Song, is taken from Nessmuk’s published book of poems, Forest Runes. You can download the entire book for free here. You’ll find that there are excellent poems that strike various moods for the woodsman or lover of nature.
The lovers of mammom but treasure up wrath,
There’s a specter that follows in glory’s red path:
A curse ever follows the gripers of gold,
And the hearts of fame-seekers are callous and cold.
I will build me a camp by a cool mountain spring,
Where the trout play at eve and the wood thrushes sing;
I will roof it with bark; and my snug sylvan house
Shall be sweet with the fragrance of evergreen boughs.
When the shadows of night settle down on the marsh,
And the cry of the bittern booms sullen and harsh,
The glow of my camp-fire shall glisten and shine
Where the beech and the hemlock their branches entwine.
When a boy, ’twas my chiefest of pleasures to make
A rude camp in the forest, by river or lake,
Where the rod and the rifle induced through the day
The fatigue that at night passed so sweetly away.
There were freshness and joy past the power of words
In the crisp morning air and the voices of birds;
And ’twas sweet into slumber at night to decline
By the low alto song of the evergreen pine.
If you get a chance, you are welcome to download Nessmuk’s more popular book, Woodcraft and Camping here. Additionally, if you would like to read his Rough Notes from the Woods, they are available here.