Flotsam

A poem by Pat O'Cotter

The China Coast's a dumping ground
And the South Sea gets its share
Of the kind of men that don't make good
The kind of man that never could
The men that never care.

A worthless, careless drinking lot
Combed out from between the Poles.
It's gin, and cards, a woman's breath,
Laughter and love and sudden death
And the Devil gets their souls.

It's a throwback to a weaker strain
That's washed by the Tropic tide.
And a mixture of Dago and Japanese
Latin and Jew and Portugese
Crops out thru a sun-tanned hide.

But the Northland gets a sterner breed
To fuse in its harder mould.
It's the breed of men that don't know fail;
That's the breed of men that hit the trail
For the fabled land of gold.

They're a sturdy, fearless, fighting lot
And they play the game to win.
They fall for women, wine, the game
And win or lose, they smile the same
And to quit is their only sin.

Here the Norsman bunks with the canny Scot
And the lad from the Emerald Isle
Works side by side with Russ and Dane,
North-bred men of brawn and brain,
Men that are worth your while.

So me for the land of the Midnight Sun
With the north lights in the sky,
Me for the land that mothers this race
Where you have to fight to hold your place,
Where you can't quit till you die.

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