The Log Jam

A poem by William Henry Drummond

Dere 'a s beeg jam up de reever, w'ere rapide is runnin' fas',
An' de log we cut las' winter is takin' it all de room;
So boss of de gang is swearin', for not'ing at all can pass
An' float away down de current till somebody break de boom.
"Here 's for de man will tak' de job, holiday for a week
Extra monee w'en pay day come, an' ten dollar suit of clothes.
'T is n't so hard work run de log, if only you do it quick,
W'ere 's de man of de gang den is ready to say, ` Here goes?'"
Dere was de job for a feller, handy an' young an' smart,
Willin' to tak' hees chances, willin' to risk hees life.
'Cos many a t'ing is safer, dan tryin' de boom to start,
For if de log wance ketch you, dey 're cuttin' you lak a knife.
Aleck Lachance he lissen, an' answer heem right away
"Marie Louise dat 's leevin' off on de shore close by
She 's sayin' de word was mak' me mos' happies' man to-day
An' if you ax de reason I 'm ready to go, dat 's w'y."
Pierre Delorme he 's spikin' den, an' O! but he 's lookin' glad.
"Dis morning de sam' girl tole me, she mus' say to me, ` Good-bye Pierre.'
So no wan can stop me goin', for I feel I was comin' mad
An' wedder I see to-morrow, dat 's not'ing, for I don't care."
Aleck Lachance was steady, he 's bully boy all aroun',
Alway sendin' de monee to hees moder away below,
Now an' den savin' a leetle for buyin' de house an' groun',
An' never done t'inkin', t'inkin' of Marie Louise Lebeau.
Pierre was a half-breed feller, we call heem de grand Nor' Wes',
Dat is de place he 's leevin' w'en he work for de Compagnie,
Dey say he 's marry de squaw dere, never min' about all de res',
An' affer he get hees monee, he 's de boy for de jamboree!
Ev'ry wan start off cheerin' w'en dey pass on de log out dere
Jompin' about lak monkey, Aleck an' Pierre Delorme.
Workin' de sam' as twenty, an' runnin' off ev'ryw'ere,
An' busy on all de places, lak beaver before de storm.
Den we hear some wan shoutin', an' dere was dat crazy girl,
Marie Louise, on de hillside, cryin' an' raisin' row.
Could n't do not'ing worser! mos' foolish t'ing on de worl'
For Pierre Delorme an' Aleck was n't workin' upon de scow.
Bote of dem turn aroun' dere w'en girl is commencin' cry,
Lak woman I wance remember, got los' on de bush t'ree day,
"Look how de log is movin'! I 'm seein' it wit' ma eye,
Come back out of all dem danger!" an' den she was faint away.
Ten year I been reever driver, an' mebbe know somet'ing too,
An' dere was n't a man don't watch for de minute dem log she go;
But never a word from de boos dere, stannin' wit' all hees crew,
So how she can see dem movin' don't ax me, for I dunno.
Hitch dem all up togeder, t'ousan' horse crazy mad,
Only a couple of feller for han'le dem ev'ry wan,
Scare dem wit' t'onder an' lightning, an' den 't is n't half so bad
As log runnin' down de rapide, affer de boom she 's gone.
See dem nex' day on de basin, you t'ink dey was t'roo de fight
Cut wit' de sword an' bullet, lyin' along de shore
You 'd pity de log, I 'm sure, an' say 't was terrible sight
But man goin' t'roo de sam' t'ing, you 'd pity dat man some more.
An' Pierre w'en he see dem goin' an' log jompin' up an' down
De sign of de cross he 's makin' an' dive on de water dere,
He know it 's all up hees chances, an' he rader be goin' drown
Dan ketch by de rollin' timber, an' dat 's how he go, poor Pierre.
Aleck's red shirt is blazin' off w'ere we hear de log
Crackin' away an' bangin', sam' as a honder gun,
Lak' sun on de morning tryin' to peep t'roo de reever fog,
But Aleck's red shirt is redder dan ever I see de sun.
An' w'en dey 're tryin' wake her: Marie Louise Lebeau,
On her neck dey fin' a locket, she 's kipin' so nice an' warm,
An' dey 're tolin' de funny story, de funnies' I dunno,
For de face, Baptême! dey see dere, was de half-breed Pierre Delorme!

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