Edmund V. Strolis
The River's End - Poem by Edmund V. Strolis
How many rivers, creeks and lakes he had traveled.
His first memory was of the fire and his first canoe.
Birch covered vehicle, wondrous freedom finder.
With father's rifle at his side, beaver pelts to trade.
The tribes they came to welcome him as a true forest brother.
His honest tongue guided them in just which men to trust.
His cheeks were red below squinting eyes of winter suns.
Rugged as the mountain pass, true as the northern star.
Moonlight tales by firelight he shared the elk with all.
Until at last the mountains called and he would bid them well.
Away he leaped bound for heights no earthly horse could reach.
Marking seasons by the moss and angles of the western sun.
On a river new to him he felt an unfamiliar force and quickening.
His heart raced for just a moment as he steadied for eternity.
His weary bones had run their course and he let the canoe glide.
The rush turned to a roar as he paddled toward the waterfall.
No witness saw that fateful moment unless you count the trees.
The mountain man with father's rifle knew the time was at hand
No funeral or eulogy no eyes to wipe or regrets to repress.
The mountain man let out a yell that summed up all his happiness.
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