Phil-O-Rum's Canoe

William Henry Drummond

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O Ma ole canoe! w'at's matter wit' you,
an' w'y was you be so slow?
Don 't I work hard enough on de paddle, an'
still you don 't seem to go-
No win' at all on de fronte side, an' current
she don 't be strong,
Den w'y are you lak lazy feller, too sleepy for
move along?

"I 'member de tam w'en you jomp de sam' as
deer wit' de wolf behin'
An' brochet on d top de water, you scare
heem mos' off hees min';
But fish don 't care for you now at all, only jus'
mebbe wink de eye,
For he know it 's easy get out de way w'en you
was a passin' by."

I 'm spikin' dis way de oder day w'en I 'm
out wit'de ole canoe,
Crossin' de point w'ere I see las' fall wan very
beeg caribou,
W'en somebody say, "Phil-o-rum, mon vieux,
wat's matter wit' you youse'f?"
An' who do you s'pose was talkin'? w'y de
poor ole canoe shese'f.

O yass, I 'm scare w'en I 'm sittin' dere an'
she 's callin' ma nam' dat way:
"Phil-o-rum Juneau, w'y you spik so moche,
you 're off on de head to-day
Can't be you forget ole feller, you an' me
we 're not too young,
An' if I'm lookin' so ole lak you, I t'ink I
will close ma tongue.

"You should feel ashame; for you 're alway
blame, w'en it is n't ma fault at all
For I 'm tryin' to do bes' I can for you on sum-
mer-tam, spring, an' fall.
How offen you drown on de reever if I 'm not
lookin' out for you
W'en you 're takin' too moche on de w'isky
some night comin' down de Soo.

"De firse tam we go on de Wessoneau no fel-
ler can beat us den,
For you 're purty strong man wit' de paddle,
but dat 's long ago ma frien',
An' win' she can blow off de mountain, an'
tonder an' rain may come,
But camp see us bote on de evening-you know
dat was true Phil-o-rum.

"An' who's your horse too, but your ole
canoe, an' w'en you feel cole an' wet
Who was your house w'en I 'm upside down
an' onder de roof you get,
Wit' rain ronnin' down ma back, Baptême! till
I 'm gettin' de rheumateez,
An' I never say not'ing at all, moi-même, but
let you do jus' you please.

"You t'ink it was right, kip me out all night
on reever side down below,
An' even' Bon Soir' you was never say, but
off on de camp you go
Leffin' your poor ole canoe behin' lyin' dere
on de groun'
Watchin' de moon on de water, an' de bat
flyin' all aroun'.

"O! dat 's lonesome t'ing hear de grey owl
sing up on de beeg pine tree
An' many long night she kip me awake till sun
on de eas' I see,
An' den you come down on de morning for
start on some more voyage,
An' only t'ing decen' you do all day is carry
me on portage.

"Dat 's way Phil-o-rum, rheumateez she
come, wit' pain ronnin' troo ma side
Wan leetle hole here, noder beeg wan dere, dat
not'ing can never hide;
Don 't do any good fix me up agen, no matter
how moche you try,
For w'en we come ole an' our work she 's
done, bote man an' canoe mus'die."

"Wall! she talk dat way mebbe mos' de day,
till we 're passin' some beaver dam
An' wan de young beaver he 's mak' hees tail
come down on de water flam!
I never see de canoe so scare, she jomp nearly
two, t'ree feet
I t'ink she was goin' for ronne away, an' she
shut up de mout' toute suite.

It mak'me feel queer, de strange t'ing I hear,
an' I 'm glad she don 't spik no more,
But soon as we fin'ourse'f arrive over dere on
de noder shore
I tak' dat canoe lak de lady, an' carry her off
wit' me,
For I 'm sorry de way I treat her, an' she
know more dan me, sapree!

Yass! dat 's smart canoe, an' I know it 's true,
w'at she 's spikin' wit' me dat day,
I 'm not de young feller I use to be w'en work
she was only play;
An' I know I was comin' closer on place w'ere
I mus' tak' care
W'ere de mos' worse current 's de las' wan too,
de current of Dead Riviere.

You can only steer, an' if rock be near, wit'
wave dashin' all aroun',
Better mak' leetle prayer, for on Dead Riviere
some very smart man get drown;
But if you be locky an' watch youse'f, mebbe
reever won 't seem so wide,
An' firse t'ing you know you 'll ronne ashore,
safe on de noder side.

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