There are strange things done in the midnight sun, By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales, That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
4 thoughts on “Lazy Sunday………”
I LOVED the poem!😘
Wow, had my literary jolt for the day-night,,,I can’t believe I have never heard that before,,,loved it,,do I have your ok (permission to more studious folks) to try and copy? Gotta read that to Bryson, or rather let him read it to me,,,yeah he is a Trela, and his reading skills prove it, although there is Stallings and Johnson in there too,,,( those parts teach him to cook, blow bubbles in bubble gum, , all the hard stuff,,). He doesn’t like poetry, which I could read all day, so think he needs to read something like this, with me showing him the cadence of the sentences,,,makes all the difference in the world when reading. What a fun poem, and I love knowing your dad read this to you, guess didn’t know him as well as thought I did,. Also, are you giving us a lesson in weeds,,growing plants you have circled,,,I wouldn’t know, but guess they are WEED, aren’t they? Am 86, need to know what it looks like in wild, can’t tell from TV,,,learning all kind of things from you, Bill, you can’t make a copy of the poem can you? Don’t think I could print from this,,,that is if ok with you,,,have to find a way , if ok, as it is awesome,…thought you were going to start,,,,,THERE WAS A YOUNG LADY FROM FRANCE,,,,,,,,can’t believe have forgotten those Chop used to say,,,my loss…good pictures, good talking to us each day,,,enjoy,,,
Guess they are supposed to be long, are they,,,only way I know, write like I talk,,,a LOT,,,SORRY,,,, how much can I print, just to bottom? 🤓
So glad you are enjoying my ramblings and even happier you liked the poem. It is freely available on the internet. Just type in “The Cremation of Sam McGee” in the search box and it will pull up multiple variations of it – and you are free to copy and use any of them.
As far as typing on here, you can type as much as you want – when you get to the bottom of the box/page – it will automatically keep adding lines – so type away – you should also be able to print from this web site as well, just ‘right click’ your mouse and the “print” option should come up – of course, you will have to have a printer there in your house.
You can write just one line or paragraphs if you want – whatever you feel like – I love hearing from you.
I don’t guess I realized Chop had been gone for that long — really kind of scary how fast time goes by. He was definitely one of the good guys~
Looking at the radar, looks like you’re done with the rain for a while….. I just hope the ‘Mighty Wabash’ doesn’t get too out of control or get to close to you —
Take care and write anytime you want.