A Voyageur’s Poem


Awake at dawn to fog calm mists

We stow our packs and check off lists.

Hoist the canoe up on the roof –

Secure her place at bow and stern.

We’re off to lakes in God’s great North

With maps and compass, oars and mirth.

What hazards on this journey wait?

What pleasures, sights and mysteries great?

Banish thoughts of bears or borish winds.

Dwell not long on fears of white-water plights.

The gear is piled down on the dock

Our tethered craft on waves doth sway and rock.

Smartly load her now with bags.

Nimbly step into her sides.

Paddles sweeping silently,

We glide on trails that glaciers plied.

How vast the lakes and woods we find

In this Ontario’s untamed wild.

If winds be gentle and our compass true

We’ll stop at dusk and pitch a tent for two.

It’s quiet and our shoulders ache

So occasionally we take a break.

Perhaps jump off a rock to swim

Or gobble up blueberries in a tin.

The sun beams down upon the lake

Reflecting cliffs with pine and birch.

Across the water loons cry out.

An eagle screams from his high perch.

Here and there a fish leaps up

And we both jump to sudden splashing!

Will we hear the wolves tonight

or see a moose thru brush come crashing?

In pink and grey the sun sinks down

The crackling fire an ancient rite.

The canoe she rests o’er turned by pines

And we keep watch by Northern light.

There’s magic in the path and paddle…

Healing in the North country.

Nowhere in this world compares.

Nowhere at all I’d rather be.


“When you look at the face of Canada and study the geography carefully, you come away with the feeling that God could have designed the canoe first and then set about to conceive a land in which it could flourish.” – Bill Mason, Path of the Paddle

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