A poem by Pat O'Cotter

(A Steal from Kipling)

If you can hit the trail in zero weather
And laugh at frozen hand, or foot or face;
If you can eat your dogs, and still keep moving
And beat the rest, and hold the stampede's pace;
If you can stake and dig alone, unaided
And hold your ground, if needs be with a gun
And find the gold and have some lawyer steal it,
And lose, and start again, and call it fun.

If you can go a year on mouldy bacon
And fight the scurvy off with bayo beans;
If you can jump your socks and do your washing
And smile the while you patch your threadbare jeans;
If you can laugh when sordid hunger mocks you
And smile while passing strangers eat your grub;
If you can boost when everybody knocks you
And know him wrong who holds you but a dub.

If you can still the pain when Outside calls you
And choke back thoughts of friends you still hold dear;
If you can still the dreams when night befalls you
And wake and strike while eyes and brain are clear;
If you can wait and stick it out a-smiling
When longing letters come to you from home,
And then don't find the taste of "hootch" beguiling
You'll like this Land, from Seward up to Nome.

If you can bear the deadly strain of waiting
Till your turn comes, and fortune smiles on you;
If you can fight and lose and keep on fighting
And to your early promises stay true;
If you can go thru Hell to spend the summer
And cuss, and freeze, and starve the winter thru
And start in broke again another New Year
You don't need this Land to make a man of you.

If you can beat the Row, the Game, the Dance-hall
And all men's pleasures, that you know are sin;
If you can live alone, and not get lonesome
Nor heed the "lady" when she says "come in":
If you can pick a winner from the "wild cats"
And hold and hope when everything looks blue;
If you can give up everything you've ever cared for

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