The Ballad of Hal and Nanook

Paddlin' Hal
Paddlin' Hal

I've reached out and touched a rock
in all the rivers I've paddled on,
but never a rock as big as the block
on the mighty river Saint John.

It must rear full twenty feet high,
thrusting its spire into the sky.
Forever and ever it stands in the sun,
square and squat in the blue waves' run.

Hal had gone ahead alone,
communing with the rushing stream.
He turned his boat toward the stone,
to touch it and fulfill his dream.

But alas poor Hal was thwarted,
the rapids on the left were fierce.
His attempt was soon aborted,
the eddy line he could not pierce.

Ole Nanook observed his pal,
as he neared a moment later.
Saw that he must skirt the swell,
using his paddle as persuader.

Nanook boofed right off the ledgey reef,
edging down the wave train's line,
careful not to come to grief
and fail in his noble design.

It seemed as if he'd gone far wide,
the stone well sheltered by the rips.
But then he lunged out to the side
and brushed it with his fingertips.

A knowing smile then creased his face.
He pumped his fist once in the air.
He knew his touch had left no trace,
yet would ever linger there.

 Nanook of the Nashwaak 
 Reach out and touch a rock 

Click here to hear Nanook recite this poem.

Paddlin' Hal, Connecticut River
Paddlin' Hal, Connecticut River

The Ballad of Alderboy

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