Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ADVANCE GUARD, by BERTON BRALEY

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE ADVANCE GUARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They fret and fume at the humdrum round round of sleep and food and toil
Last Line: For civilization dogs the heels of a highly uncivilized crew.
Subject(s): Guard Duty; Labor & Laborers; Work; Workers

They fret and fume at the humdrum round of sleep and food and toil,
They loaf and shirk at routine work which hasn't a hope of change,
But given the lure of a gambler's chance at copper or gold or oil
Out at the edge of a new frontier where life is raw and strange
They'll wager the last red cent they own, they'll wager their strength and
On finding gold at the rainbow's end, or oil in the desert's heart.
They'll sweat and starve and toil like fiends for a will-o'-the-wisp of wealth
Which dances ever before their eyes to lead them over the chart.

Some of them win, but most of them lose, and wearily beat it back
Shabby and broke to the home-kept folk, who look at these tramps askance.
But as soon as the rovers get a stake they're off on another track,
Slaves of glamour that draws them on, and bondsmen of Romance.
Though fame and fortune may wait at home, they care for these not at all;
Their veins are filled with a restless flood that drives them on afar
For they are bound in a mightier spell and held in a greater thrall
And ever they struggle further on to the light of a distant star.

Gamblers, rovers, adventurers all, who dream it is wealth they seek
Though it is only the wander-fret that drives them on their way
And if, by chance, their well comes in or they strike a paying streak,
They're off again to a newer field where the game is still to play.
Questing ever a gambler's thrill they flee from the towns of men,
They push ahead to the raw frontier where life begins anew,
And the settler comes on the trail they break—and pushes them on again,
For civilization dogs the heels of a highly uncivilized crew.

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