SCHOODIC LAKES, MAINE a Poem
SCHOODIC LAKES, MAINE
“The Schoodics are the home of the land-locked salmon. If it is that this peculiar species of delicious and gamy fish exists in other waters, it is, nevertheless, identified always with the charming Schoodic Lakes and the St. Croix River.—Charles Hallock's Fishing Tourist.”
AH, let us blissful float on this pellucid stream,
Idling the hours of summer-time away!
Let us forget the fashions of the world—
Its cares, its fretful griefs, anxieties,
Ambition, pride, and selfish, low desires;
The greedy struggles of the rich for wealth,
The slavish toil of poverty for bread,
The arrogance of power, the hard fate
Of men in smoky crib and cabins rude,
And all the sordid passions of mankind.
On, in our birch canoe, we listless float,
Now in the sunshine, now in shadows lost,
Where great Spruce Mountain casts its inky shade,
And the dim depths seem fathomless.
There is depressing sadness in this gloom
That overspreads these waters, and we ply
The oar, to float in heaven's own light again.
Plying the paddle, soon the light canoe
Speeds like an arrow, like a flitting bird,
With scarce a murmuring ripple at the stern.
Pausing awhile, entranc'd, we downward gaze
Deep in the wave; we see the floating cloud
And the pure, blue, ethereal skies above
Reflected, picturing a new heaven below.
From a cliff-summit an o'erhanging tree
Leans o'er, its great inverted form to see,
To see its branching tops sink prone beneath.
A red squirrel, running down a pendent bough,
Doth seem to rise from bottom of the lake,
And as the gazer on the mirror looks
He sees exact his image reproduc'd.
The flapping crows, the circling hawks that pass,
See with amaze their figures in the wave.
Aloft, majestic on a dead tree-top,
An eagle sits as wondering at the scene;
A soaring fish-hawk skims athwart the wave,'
Then dips his dropping wing to seize his prey.
A wild-duck, startled from the cove, sweeps by;
Zigzag a kingfisher flies, shrill-screaming, past;
From up the lake come hoarse cries of a crane,
And melancholy wail of lonely loon.
All these the boatman notes with dreamy sense,
And then anon he takes his tapering rod
And casts his feather'd lures with skilful hand;
He takes the lordly salmon and the trout
That in the watery abysses float.
The fleeting day is all too brief for him,
So fill'd with pleasing sights and pleasant sound;
So, when the evening shades steal gradual round
He turns reluctant to his bowery camp.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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