Poem of the day

The Call of the Wild
by Robert Service (1874-1958)

Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
⁠         Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
⁠         Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
⁠         Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God’s sake go and do it;
⁠         Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
⁠         The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
⁠         And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o’er the ranges,
⁠         Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes?
⁠         Then listen to the Wild—it’s calling you.

Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
⁠         (Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
⁠         Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
⁠         Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
⁠         Then hearken to the Wild—it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
⁠         Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
⁠         Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
⁠         (You’ll never hear it in the family pew.)
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things—
⁠         Then listen to the Wild—it’s calling you.

They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
⁠         They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching—
⁠         But can’t you hear the Wild?—it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
⁠         Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
⁠         And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go.

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