Old Timerís Lament


Sixty five years ago I used to paddle my canoe

Into wilderness lakes with waters clear and cool.

Iíd cast my line into opalescent depths

Happy with the thought of just a fish a fish or two.


Iíd wander secluded trails and get some partridge there,

And stalk quiet bogs for moose to feed my family

You see,

My wife, my kids, they counted on me.


I left not so much as a trail behind,

Perhaps the odd footprint in dew moistened moss,

But it is different now, though I donít know why.

But today I feel like Iím lost.


Today I cannot trap or hunt

In my wilderness domain,

Nor even walk through my old trails

To see four-footed friends who remain.


Somebody has placed a gate at my secret hideaway

And those new fangled cars line up the whole long day

With shouting kids and barking dogs, and boats that steer,

With motors and trailers, ATVs and all kinds of fancy gear.


It seems to me my country is gone,

That flag on the pole, it donít belong.

The park gates bar the entrance to where I was born.

My land of peace and plenty, all of it is gone.


Some young ranger said they put up them gates

To save the wilderness for others whoíd come.

I said I just wanted to go there one more time

Before my days are done.


I didnít have ten fifty

So he couldnít let me through,

I said to that young buck standiní there,

ĎHope St. Peter ainít done that tooí.


The city man he took my home,

Now my wilderness has strayed.

Now itís saved special

Just for them who can afford to pay.


You see I live in a little log shack just down the road a piece.

Donít got no light, no phone, no heat,

Just an old board shanty out back

Where I can take a leak.


I make my living off the land

She takes good care of me,

But now Iíve been evicted

By the folks from the big city.


Paton Lodge Lindsay

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