Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST RAFT, by JOSEPH V. ADAMS

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THE LAST RAFT, by            
First Line: A sad but happy picture is brought before our gaze
Last Line: "find ""anchor"" in the harbor when rafting days are through."
Subject(s): Rafts

A sad but happy picture is brought before our gaze;
It tells of pain and laughter of the near-forgotten days;
Of sturdy men of courage who danger seldom knew,
Of winters long with labor, and the glad reunions too.

The monarchs of the forest defying sun and storm;
The temples of religion before religion's form,
An unspoiled silence always until their height was grown,
Existence with perfection until man's wants were known.

But now the world needs temples and cottages and ships,
It needs the royal tables, and nectars for its lips;
It needs the lath and timbers for sturdy frame and wall --
The forests are the answer, they meet the human call.

I hear the jolly woodsmen, I hear the raftsmen brave,
The forest does not frighten, nor Susquehanna's wave;
I see the sharpened blade of axe, the peavey and the hook,
I see the logs arolling from ev'ry shady nook.

I see the calked-heel boots that cling securely to the craft,
I see the swarthy sinews strain to drive the plunging raft;
And when with gleeful shout at last these "jacks" "tie-up" their store,
The homeward trek with well-earned pay begins, and round of work starts

Companions are the raftsmen from glade to city's mart;
I've seen them work together, I've known their suff'ring heart;
I've climbed the benches with them, I've taken of their cup,
More loyal chaps ne'er labored or quaffed life's potions up.

They were the city's builders, a laboring arm laid bare,
Our cities and our country depend upon them there;
We love these sturdy pioneers who blazed the well-known trail
And proved that honest labor is ne'er without avail.

"Last Raft" you say? -- you mean it? hold now till I explain;
There's one more sure to follow when o'er is all our pain;
The Master of our labor, of woodland and of dome
Is Keeper of the raftsmen to bring them safely home.

As swiftly down the current Great Raftsman guides our craft,
Our "Covert from the Tempest" protects us fore and aft;
May each and ev'ry workman whate'er his hands may do,
Find "anchor" in the Harbor when rafting days are through.

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