River Poetry     Nanook's River Poetry
The Nashwaak Alder Maze

I've poked with my stick down many a crick
since my younger days
but never a thicket near so thick
as the Nashwaak alder maze.

thicket (219K)
Into the thicket, Cross Creek

The hills are old and the water's cold
at the outlet of Nashwaak Lake.
The roads are bumps and the woods are stumps,
a land to shun and forsake.

Yet we fools four, we all knew the score
when we started our run.
The urge to explore was at the core
of our journey, not just having fun.

We should have been smart right at the start
and hauled our asses back home.
To hell with foreboding, get on with the loading,
and break out the beer and the rum.

Our courage was primed, our spirits sublimed,
we entered our boats and pushed off.
The channel we followed by alders was swallowed
but we didn't worry, we scoffed.

As the channel grew fainter, I grabbed the bow painter
and stepped out to guide us downstream.
I was playing the part of Humphrey Bogart
in the flick called The African Queen.

The stream opened wider, we jumped back inside her,
the alders reached out to grab us.
The current grew quicker, each branch was a flicker
just waiting to slap us and stab us.

We came round a bend, then it looked like the end
the downed tree loomed up like a bad dream.
Its branches were grippers, nasty nostril-rippers,
it spanned the whole width of the stream.

We spun to the bank, I grabbed me a shank
of green alder branch in desperation.
The alders sucked us in, our boat began to spin,
it looked like a pinning situation.

I quickly let go, then ever so slow
the bow slid into the sharp things.
The branches drew closer, our future looked grosser,
I thought we'd be soon plucking harp strings.

On a last-minute whim, Shane grabbed his hat-brim
and down over his face he then flopped it.
He came through the patch with nary a scratch,
otherwise, I'm sure he'd have copped it.

I leaned to the front and took the full brunt.
The branches cracked and snapped as I slid through.
I turned in my seat to see ever so neat
my bros use our hole to ease through too.

Though we didn't expect it, that last jam was the exit
from the dreaded Nashwaak maze.
You're waiting to learn, will I ever return?
Trust me, I'm counting the days.

 siggy (13K)
 Reach out and touch a rock

Click here to hear Nanook recite this poem.

GorbyGulchBridge (67K)
Gorby Gulch, exit from the Maze

River Poetry      The Voyageurs
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