William Henry Drummond

(13 April, 1854 – 6 April, 1907 / Mohill, County Leitrim)

Johnnie's First Moose - Poem by William Henry Drummond

De cloud is hide de moon, but dere's plain-
tee light above,
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low,
Move de paddle leetle quicker, an' de ole canoe
we'll shove
T'roo de water nice an' quiet
For de place we're goin' try it
Is beyon' de silver birch dere
You can see it lak a church dere
W'en we're passin' on de corner w'ere de lilly
flower grow.

Was n't dat correc' w'at I'm tolin' you jus
now?
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low,
Never min', I'll watch behin'- me - an' you
can watch de bow
An' you'll see a leetle clearer
W'en canoe is comin' nearer-
Dere she is-now easy, easy,
For de win' is gettin' breezy,
An' we don't want not'ing smell us, till de
horn begin to blow-

I remember long ago w'en ma fader tak' me out,
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low,
Jus' de way I'm takin' you, sir, hello! was
dat a shout?
Seems to me I t'ink I'm hearin'
Somet'ing stirrin' on de clearin'
W'ere it stan' de lumber shaintee,
If it's true, den yuo'll have plaintee
Work to do in half a minute, if de moose don't
start to go.

An' now we're on de shore, let us hide de ole
canoe,
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low,
An' lie among de rushes, dat's bes' t'ing we
can do,
For de ole boy may be closer
Dan anybody know, sir,
An' look out you don't be shakin'
Or de bad shot you'll be makin'
But I'm feelin' sam' way too, me, w'en I
was young, also-

You ready for de call? here goes for number
wan,
Steady Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low,
Did you hear how nice I do it, an' how it
travel on
Till ir reach across de reever
Dat'll geev' some moose de fever!
Wait now, Johnnie, don't you worry,
No use bein' on de hurry,
But lissen for de answer, it'll come before you
know.

For w'y you jomp lak dat? w'at's matter wit'
your ear?
Steady, Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low-
Tak' your finger off de trigger, dat was only
bird you hear,
Can't you tell de pine tree crickin'
Or de boule frog w'en he's spikin' ?
Don't you know de grey owl singin'
From de beeg moose w'en he's ringin'
Out hees challenge on de message your ole
gran' fader blow?

You're lucky boy to-night, wit' hunter man
lak me!
Steady, Johnnie, steady-kip your head down
low-
Can tole you all about it! H-s-s-h! dat's
somet'ing now I see,
Dere he's comin' t'roo de bushes,
So get down among de rushes,
Hear heem walk! I t'ink, by tonder,
He mus' go near fourteen honder!
Dat's de feller I been watchin' all de evening,
I dunno.

I'll geev' anoder call, jus' a leetle wan or
two,
Steady, Johnnie, steady-kip your head dwon
low-
W'en he see dere's no wan waitin' I wonder
w'at he'll do?
But look out for here he's comin'
Sa-pris-ti! ma heart is drummin'!
You can never get heem nearer
An' de moon is shinin' clearer,
W'at a fine shot you'll be havin'! now
Johnnie let her go!

Bang! bang! you got heem sure! an' he'll
never run away
Nor feed among de lily on de shore of Wes-
sonneau,
So dat's your firse moose Johnnie! wall! re-
member all I say-
Does n't matter w'at you 're chasin',
Does n't matter w'at you 're facin',
Only watch de t'ing you're doin'
If you don't, ba gosh! you 're ruin
An' steady, Johnnie, steady-kip your head
down low.


Comments about Johnnie's First Moose by William Henry Drummond

  • Susan Williams (1/14/2016 2:52:00 PM)


    I was in that canoe and paddling it quietly, I was in the reeds and the rushes and I was lying quietly, I was holding the rifle but I was trembling in my first case of buck fever, I shot my first moose and he was big and beautiful and he'll never wade the lake again and never eat the rushes nor the reeds, I feel sick- - wasn't that fantastic to walk in that boy's shoes and feel his excitement, his nervousness, his sorrow... This is great storytelling and poetry writing at one and the same time. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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