Pat O Cotter Poems >>
The Malamute

When the stars from the skies have fallen
 And the smoke of the world's cleared away;
When Saint Peter marks "30" in Life's Book
 And we meet there on Judgment Day;
When our trials and troubles are ended
 And we're wise to the best and the worst;
When the time has arrived that the wise ones
 Have told us the last shall be first;

When the men who've made good are rewarded
 And the losers are turned loose in Hell;
That's the time that a lot will be learning
 The true reason and cause that they fell.
And I wonder when Peter gets busy
 As he works out the tenement plan,
And when Heaven's thrown free for location
 Will he confine the locations to man?

If he does, my claim's open for jumping
 For I can't figure Heaven complete,
If the dim distant trails of the sky land
 Are not pattered by malamutes' feet.
Cause I know it would never seem home-like
 No matter how golden the strand,
If I lose out that pal-loving feeling
 Of a malamute's nose in my hand.

And it's that way with lots of Alaskans
 These men of our own last frontier,
Who tear into nature unaided
 And who scarce know the meaning of fear.
Who live on lone creeks all alone here
 Where the living and dying are hard,
And where oft times their only companion
 Is a malamute pup for a pard.

He's a real chum with things coming easy,
 He's a pal with things breaking tough,
He's a hell-roaring fighting companion
 When somebody starts something rough.
He's a true friend in sorrow and sickness
 And he doesn't mind hunger or cold,
And he's really the only one pardner
 You can trust when you uncover gold.

He's a guard you can trust at the sluice box,
 And he'll watch by your cache thru the night,
And if some cheechako tries to molest it
 That cheechako's in for a fight.
As a pardner he's silent, but cheerful
 With never a kick 'bout the trails
And if it wasn't for him in the winter
 There never would be any mails.

He pulls on our sleds in the winter
 He's first in the rushing stampede
He goes where a horse couldn't travel
 And besides that he rustles his feed.
He takes a pack saddle in summer
 And follows us off thru the hills
And when we go short on the grub pile
 He shares up whatever he kills.

'Twas a malamute first scaled the Chilkoot
 At the time of the great Klondike charge;
'Twas a malamute first saw Lake Bennett
 And left his footprints at La Barge;
They hauled the first mail into Dawson,
 That Land of the Old Timer's dream,
And when Wada first drove in from Fairbanks
 He was driving a malamute team.

They broke the first trail into Bettles
 With no guide save the lone Northern Star;
They freighted next year to Kantishna
 And from there to the famed Chandelar.
They know the long trail to Innoko,
 Tacotna and Iditarod too,
For there's never a Camp in the Northland
 But what these same malamutes knew.

They brought the first sport to the Nome Beach
 Where they showed up in action and deed
That the North dog is game as they make them
 And besides that has plenty of speed.
He came home with the bacon from Candle
 Like a bat out of Hell, thru the snow,
And the plunger that cashed in his "out tab"
 Was his pardner, the Old Sourdough.

So it seems to me kind of unfair now
 As we drift toward that permanent Camp
Where the angels are running a dance hall
 And a millionaire grades with a tramp;
Where the trails are located on pay dirt
 And a grub stake can never expire--
Well, if they shut out my dog, they can keep it
 And I'll "siwash" it, down by Hell's Fire.

They herald the growth of the Northland
 And progress is marked by their trail;
A railroad now goes where they brought out
 The Seward-Iditarod mail.
He's first in the growth of Alaska
 And without him this land would be lost,
For there's never a stream in this country
 That the malamutes' trail has not crossed.

But you can't tell me God would have Heaven
 So a man couldn't mix with his friends;
That we're doomed to meet disappointment
 When we come to the place the trail ends.
That would be a low-grade sort of Heaven
 And I'd never regret a damned sin
If I mush up to the gates, white and pearly,
 And they don't let my malamute in.