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"Black is the sky, but the land is white--
(O the wind, the snow and the storm!)--
Father, where is our boy to-night?
Pray to God he is safe and warm."
"Mother, mother, why should you fear?
Safe is he, and the Arctic moon
Over his cabin shines so clear--
Rest and sleep, 'twill be morning soon."
"It's getting dark awful sudden. Say, this is mighty queer!
Where in the world have I got to? It's still and black as a tomb.
I reckoned the camp was yonder, I figured the trail was here--
Nothing! Just draw and valley packed with quiet and gloom;
Snow that comes down like feathers, thick and gobby and gray;
Night that looks spiteful ugly--seems that I've lost my way.
"The cold's got an edge like a jackknife--it must be forty below;
Leastways that's what it seems like--it cuts so fierce to the bone.
The wind's getting real ferocious; it's heaving and whirling the snow;
It shrieks with a howl of fury, it dies away to a moan;
Its arms sweep round like a banshee's, swift and icily white,
And buffet and blind and beat me. Lord! it's a hell of a night.
"I'm all tangled up in a blizzard. There's only one thing to do--
Keep on moving and moving; it's death, it's death if I rest.
Oh, God! if I see the morning, if only I struggle through,
I'll say the prayers I've forgotten since I lay on my mother's breast.
I seem going round in a circle; maybe the camp is near.
Say! did somebody holler? Was it a light I saw?
Or was it only a notion? I'll shout, and maybe they'll hear--
No! the wind only drowns me--shout till my throat is raw.
"The boys are all round the camp-fire wondering when I'll be back.
They'll soon be starting to seek me; they'll scarcely wait for the light.
What will they find, I wonder, when they come to the end of my track--
A hand stuck out of a snowdrift, frozen and stiff and white.
That's what they'll strike, I reckon; that's how they'll find their pard,
A pie-faced corpse in a snowbank--curse you, don't be a fool!
Play the game to the finish; bet on your very last card;
Nerve yourself for the struggle. Oh, you coward, keep cool!
I'm going to lick this blizzard; I'm going to live the night.
It can't down me with its bluster--I'm not the kind to be beat.
On hands and knees will I buck it; with every breath will I fight;
It's life, it's life that I fight for--never it seemed so sweet.
I know that my face is frozen; my hands are numblike and dead;
But oh, my feet keep a-moving, heavy and hard and slow;
They're trying to kill me, kill me, the night that's black overhead,
The wind that cuts like a razor, the whipcord lash of the snow.
Keep a-moving, a-moving; don't, don't stumble, you fool!
Curse this snow that's a-piling a-purpose to block my way.
It's heavy as gold in the rocker, it's white and fleecy as wool;
It's soft as a bed of feathers, it's warm as a stack of hay.
Curse on my feet that slip so, my poor tired, stumbling feet;
I guess they're a job for the surgeon, they feel so queerlike to lift--
I'll rest them just for a moment--oh, but to rest is sweet!
The awful wind cannot get me, deep, deep down in the drift."
"Father, a bitter cry I heard,
Out of the night so dark and wild.
Why is my heart so strangely stirred?
'Twas like the voice of our erring child."
"Mother, mother, you only heard
A waterfowl in the locked lagoon--
Out of the night a wounded bird--
Rest and sleep, 'twill be morning soon."
Who is it talks of sleeping? I'll swear that somebody shook
Me hard by the arm for a moment, but how on earth could it be?
See how my feet are moving--awfully funny they look--
Moving as if they belonged to a someone that wasn't me.
The wind down the night's long alley bowls me down like a pin;
I stagger and fall and stagger, crawl arm-deep in the snow.
Beaten back to my corner, how can I hope to win?
And there is the blizzard waiting to give me the knockout blow.
Oh, I'm so warm and sleepy! No more hunger and pain.
Just to rest for a moment; was ever rest such a joy?
Ha! what was that? I'll swear it, somebody shook me again;
Somebody seemed to whisper: "Fight to the last, my boy."
Fight! That's right, I must struggle. I know that to rest means death;
Death, but then what does death mean? --ease from a world of strife.
Life has been none too pleasant; y
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"Lost" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 19 Aug. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/32225/lost>.