The Old Camp Coffee-Pot

Old camp-mate, black and rough to see,
A hard-worked aid and ally you
In all my single-handed wars
With naked nature's savagery.
Your scars are marks of service true,
Dear loving-cup of out-o'-doors,
And history in every spot
Has battered you, old coffee-pot.

Oh, black Pandora-box of dreams!
Though dry of drink for mortal needs,
Out of your spout what fancies flow!
The flash of trout in sunny streams,
The swoop of ducks among the reeds,
The buck that paws the reddened snow—
What suns and storms, what dust and mire,
What gay, tanned faces round the fire!

So, vividly as clouds that blaze
Above a sunset's rainy red,
Scene after scene, you bring to me
The camps and trails of other days.
And as a shell, long dry and dead,
Holds echoes of its native sea,
So dear old murmurs, half forgot,
Rise from your depths, old coffee-pot.

I hear the stir of horses' hoofs,
The solemn challenge of the owl,
The wind song on the piny height,
The lilt of rain on canvas roofs,
The far-off coyote's hungry howl,
And all the camp sounds of the night.
They rise—a thousand things like these—
From you, old well of memories.

Our fires are dead on hill and plain
And old camp faces lost and gone,
But yet we two are left, old friend.
And as the summers bloom and wane
May I meet you at dusk and dawn
By many fires before the end,
And drink to you in nectar hot
From your black throat, old coffee-pot.