Picture of the Week

A LEGEND OF PAUL BUNYAN

by Arthur S. Bourinot

He came,
striding
over the mountain,
the moon slung on  his back,

like a pack,
a great pine
stuck on his shoulder
swayed as he walked,
as he talked
to his blue ox
Babe;
a huge, looming shadow
of a man,
clad
in a mackinaw coat,
his logger's shirt
open at the throat
and the great mane of hair
matching
meeting
the locks of night,
the smoke from his cauldron pipe
a cloud on the moon
and his laugh
rolled through the mountains
like thunder
on a summer night

while the lightning of his smile
split the heavens
asunder.

His blue ox, Babe,

statue.jpg (29498 bytes)

pawed the ground
till the earth trembled
and shook and a high cliff
toppled and fell:
and Babe's bellow
was fellow
to the echo
of Bunyan's laughter;
and then
with one step
he was in the next valley
dragging the moon after,
the stars
tangled,
spangled
in the branches of the great pine.
And as he left,
he whistled in the dark
like a far off train
blowing for a crossing
and plainly heard
were the plodding grunts
of Babe, the blue ox,
trying
to keep pace
from hill to hill,
and then, the sounds
fading,
dying,
were lost
in the churn of night, --
and all was still.

Our thanks to the wonderful staff of the Bangor Public Library Children's Department for helping us find this poem in the book, America Forever New:  A Book of Poems, compiled by Sara and John E. Brewton (New York:  Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968).

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