The Portage

Now for a careful beach atween the towering
Grey rocks a'yawn like tombs,
Aft lies the lake, blurred by our paddle's scouring,
Forward the Portage looms,
Beyond its fastness, a river creeping,
Then—rapids leaping.

Now for a bracing up of stalwart shoulders
And now a load to lift;
An uphill tramp through tangled briars and boulders,
The irksome weight to shift,
And through it all, the far incessant calling
Of waters falling.

What of the heat? the toil? the sun's red glaring?
The blistered fingers, too?
What of the muscles teased and strained in bearing
The fearless fleet canoe?
Brief is the labour, then the wild sweet laughter
Of rapids after.
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