The Lost Trail

WHILE the drizzle falls on the slimy pavement, swelling The yellow gutters’ flow,
And the ways are dense with the hosts of buying, selling, And hurrying to and fro,
I know that out in the North the winds are crying
Round the willowed shores of the long white lakes outlying,
And the black pine woods where my old lost friends are dwelling,
And the splendor of the snow.
I know that mysterious land of wood and river,
Where the half-breed hunters range ;
The snow wraiths dancing upon the hill slopes ever,
The gray sun, low and strange ;
The bull moose skulking through windrow and through hollow,
The creak and crunch of raquettes where the trackers follow ;
The dark spruce shades where the forest dreams forever,
But never dreams of change.
A snowshoe track leads up from the swamp and over,
Where the otter trappers passed,

To the drifted winter hut in the hemlock cover
That shields it from the blast.
Are you there, Pierre, Gaultier, as when we together,
Free in the face of the grim Canadian weather,
Learned the changeless spell of the North to hold and love her,
And turn to her at the last ?
The snowstorm blindly drives through the woods to smother The ancient trail I knew ;
The track we blazed is lost, and never other
Has marked that blind way through ;
But the same great roar through the leagues of branches sweeping
Wakes the desire of a homesick heart that has long been sleeping.
O dark North woods, wild love and ruthless mother,
I call, I cry to you !
Frank Lillie Pollock.