Lo, mother, heed the progress of the vessel pale.
She’s steaming slowly towards us upstream from the seas.
The bos’n stands with head held haughty at the rail,
Big beacon red and ensign waving in the breeze.
Call out for John!
No post-boat she!
She is so close
Now I can see
The numbers writ
Upon her side.
She throws a wake
Against the tide.
And I dearly hope she has not come to stay.
My father went off seeking parts unknown to man.
My brother’s mountain-bound to stalk the caribou.
Big John now cannot wisely guide me by the hand,
Because he topes in grief for dear drowned Emmylou.
Here was I left
To take command.
With nothing planned.
As they drew near,
Those feelings grew.
I wondered still
What I should do.
And I felt abandoned by the pow’rs that be.
My father’s musket in my hand was solace sweet.
His words were: "Red means run, son, numbers come to naught."
But when the first shot hit the dock-planks at my feet
I saw the coming of that which I had not sought.
The musket raised
Up to my eye,
I took no pause
To wonder why.
And then I saw
More black than night,
So dark it was
That black seemed light.
And I felt my face go splashing in the sky.
O, shelter me against the powder and the finger.
And give me cover with the thought that pulled the trigger.
Consider me as one that you would never figure
To fade away so young, with much left still undone.
Give my love my regards, for I shall miss her.