Rhymes of a National Park Naturalist
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Softly the night wind rustles
Where the age-old fir trees stand
Perpetual guard lest the creeping waves
Steal a march on the sleeping land.
Coyly the wind entreats them,
Pulls at each haughty tree.
And then with a flip, disdainful whirl,
Swoops down to play with the sea.
The wise old moon relaxes
Her watch. From her cloud-bound caves
Comes down to frolic, and skip, and dance
With the wind on the twinkling waves.
While a rusty, storm-scarred sea tramp,
From a life to the ocean wed,
Nears the harbor mouth, and her eager smoke
Like a leashed dog, strains ahead.


Oh, there I see you, wisdom tooth!
This mirror shows my open face.
Reflects you in your ugly truth,
That ragged edge, that rotten place.
Oh wisdom tooth, what imp of sin
Dwells back within your putrid brain
And keeps you, as you've always been,
A source of never ending pain?
When you first came to fill my mouth
With your foul self, you did not come
As should a self respecting tooth
But, point by point you pierced my gum,
And brought me almost constant pain.
And then decay began to bore.
I had you filled, but all in vain,
For now you're rotten to the core.
So now you'll suffer, horrid dent,
You pampered, petted brat, I'm through.
I'll have you pulled, 'though punishment
Will hurt me worse than it does you.

Oh tough and hardened reprobate!
Oh grizzled monarch, all alone
You lie here in my hand, in state
Your roots clench tight a snag of bone.
And 'though torn fighting from your throne
'Midst spurting blood and crunching jaw,
Your kingdom aches with throb and groan
Obedient to your stubborn law.


The Silver Spruce manager sat at his desk,
And smiled a self-satisfied smile.
The book was at press, but what really pleased him
Was the fact (you'll admit it's worth while)
That he'd taken in every cent that was owed,
Not a man had tried to evade.
Each organization had paid for its ration.
Each ad had been properly paid.

The Silver Spruce manager sat at his desk,
But his face was solemn and sad.
He'd checked on each person and organization,
He'd checked on each club and each ad.
But he'd found a whole page that had never been paid,
And he gritted his teeth in his rage
His mind was near wrecked, how could he collect
For the "In Memoriam" page?

Now nobody sits at the manager's desk.
The office is gloomy and still.
The typewriter keys are covered with dust.
Mice wander and scuffle at will.
For the manager shot himself right in the head.
People said "an insanity case"!
But I happen to know that he went for the dough
For the "In Memoriam" space.

Note: The Silver Spruce is the college year book.


It's three o'clock by my Ingersol,
And the supper bell doesn't ring 'till six.
I just tore the leg of my coverall
On one of these blasted willow sticks.

I got up this morning at half past four
And did the chores until breakfast bell,
Cut grass for the horses (a ton or more),
And curried the team, but none too well.

I cleaned out the stables, and milked two cows,
And carried fresh water to both calf pens,
Tossed plenty of hay down from the mows,
Turned out the sheep and threw corn to the hens.

Then, after grub, I brought in ice and wood,
And weeded the garden 'till dinner time,
Dug ditch through the willows as long as I could,
Then sat me down to write out this rhyme.

My Ingersol says that it's nearly four,
But grub isn't ready 'till after six,
So I'll continue to dig for an hour or more.
Then, after supper, there's fence to fix.

I'll cut more grass, and milk again,
Then, after the horses are watered and fed,
I'll tend to the calves and hens, and then
I'll hit for the bunkhouse and go to bed.


We bent a glass tube 'til 'twas right,
Then we pulled it out small at one end.
We obtained a single-hole cork
And shoved it up close to the bend.
We mixed in a small-neck glass flask
Into which the one-hole cork just fit
H2O with some strong HCL
And dropped mossy zinc into it.

When the action became fairly brisk,
We pushed in the tube and cork tight,
Brought a flame near the end of the tube
To see if the H-gas would light.
As we wiped up the acid and zinc,
And picked out the glass from our eye,
We determined we'd ne'er use a match
'Til we knew that the H-gas was dry.


When you're leaving the town on the eight o'clock train
And you have half an hour to spare.
So you write her a letter all bubbling with love,
Now wouldn't you, too, tear your hair
If you can't find a stamp?

You rush to the post office, all out of breath,
And eagerly push through the door
To be met by the windows all closed from behind.
You'll swear if you ne'er swore before
'Cause you can't get a stamp.

You just miss getting hit as you dash 'cross the street
To a corner drug store down the block.
You make your request, and "I'm sorry" she says
As she points to the safe, "but it's locked.
And you can't get a stamp".

You happen to think of the Main Street Hotel.
You can purchase a stamp, without doubt,
From these new slot machines, so you drop in a dime
"A stamp?" asks the clerk, "We're all out,
So you can't get a stamp".

As you stand on the platform all sweaty and blown,
And watch the train shrink down the track,
You mentally kick yourself clear 'cross the State
Through counties, and townships, and back.
In your purse was a stamp!


Camp robber drifting from fir to fir,
Bird of the silent wing
Sociable, quarrelsome, always alert
But not with a voice to sing.

Making your home where the forest is dense
Far from the haunts of men;
But seeming to know when a tent is pitched
And a campfire lit in a glen.

Waiting above on a well-hidden limb,
Modestly clothed in gray,
Ready to drop to a table top
Grasp a beak full and glide away.

(With Apologies to Joyce Kilmer)

I hope that I shall never see
A thing more tricky than a ski.
A ski whose gift of self control
Is lacking as its chosen goal.
And never, never seems to know
Next moment where its going to go.
And when a pair of these things meet
Strapped to two clumsy, untrained feet
They seem to gloat in trying to see
How inconsistent they can be.
One starts before the other's there
And stands itself on end in air.

For trash like this is writ by me.
I blame the Devil for the ski.

Tune: "When Shall We Meet Again?"

When shall we meet again,
As in the days of old, boys?
When shall the old refrain
Ring through the rooms and halls, boys?
Happy days with friends always true to us
Now must be left for a life that is new to us.
Always we'll hold on high
Love for old Lambda Chi.

When shall we meet again
Now that the world has called, boys?
What fellow here may ken
All that is held in store, boys?
Only in dreams will those hours return to us,
Hours which memory holds in the hearts of us,
Cherished until we die,
Sacred to Lambda Chi.

When shall we meet again,
Here in the good old house, boys?
Will we all be here then,
All that are singing now, boys?
College days have brought a new world to us.
Only now do we feel what they've meant to us.
Now that we say "good-bye,"
Brothers in Lambda Chi.

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Rhymes of a National Park Naturalist
dodge/sec1.htm — 19-May-2007