Ho, For The Kankakee!

Maurice Thompson

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Ho, for the marshes, green with Spring,
Where the bitterns croak and the plovers pipe,
Where the gaunt old heron spreads his wing,
Above the haunt of rail and snipe;
For my gun is clean and my rod 's in trim,
And the old, wild longing is roused in me;
Ho, for the bass-pools cool and dim!
Ho, for the swales of the Kankakee!

Is there other joy like the joy of a man
Free for a season with rod and gun,
With the sun to tan and the winds to fan,
And the waters to lull, and never a one
Of the cares of life to follow him,
Or to shadow his mind while he wanders free?
Ho, for the currents slow and dim!
Ho, for the fens of the Kankakee!

A hut by the river, a light canoe,
My rod and my gun, and a sennight fair--
A wind from the South, and the wildfowl due
Be mine. All 's well. Comes never a care.
A strain of the savage fires my blood,
And the zest of freedom is keen in me;
Ho, for the marsh and the lilied flood!
Ho, for the sloughs of the Kankakee!

Give me to stand where the swift currents rush,
With my rod all astrain and a bass coming in,
Or give me the marsh, with the brown snipe aflush,
And my gun's sudden flashes and resonant din;
For I am tired of the desk, and tired of the town,
And I long to be out, and I long to be free:
Ho, for the marsh, with the birds whirling down!
Ho, for the pools of the Kankakee!

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