Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OLD PROSPECTOR, by CHARLES BADGER CLARK JR.



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THE OLD PROSPECTOR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There's a song in the canyon below me
Last Line: I'll follow the trail that I love.
Alternate Author Name(s): Clark, Badger
Subject(s): Cowboys; Prospecting; Wealth; Riches; Fortunes


There's a song in the canyon below me
And a song in the pines overhead,
As the sunlight crawls down from the snow-line
And rustles the deer from his bed.
With mountains of green all around me
And mountains of white up above
And mountains of blue down the sky-line,
I follow the trail that I love.

My hands they are hard from the shovel,
My leg is rheumatic by streaks
And my face it is wrinkled from squintin'
At the glint of the sun on the peaks.
You pity the prospector sometimes
As if he was out of your grade.
Why, you are all prospectors, bless you!
I'm only a branch of the trade.

You prospect for wealth and for wisdom,
You prospect for love and for fame;
Our work don't just match as to details,
But the principle's mostly the same.
While I swing a pick in the mountains
You slave in the dust and the heat
And scratch with your pens for a color
And assay the float of the street.

You wail that your wisdom is salted,
That fame never pays for the mill,
That wealth hasn't half enough value
To pay you for climbin' the hill.
You even say love's El Dorado,
A pipe dream that never endures—
Well, my luck ain't all that I want it,
But I never envied you yours.

You're welcome to what the town gives you,
To prizes of laurel and rose,
But leave me the song in the pine tops,
The breath of a wind from the snows.
With mountains of green all around me
And mountains of white up above
And mountains of blue down the sky-line,
I'll follow the trail that I love.





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