Spell of the Yukon

So the description of this forum was “thoughts about the game”, so I thought this would be the right place to post this. While looking for the perfect name for our Torchbearer “campaign”, I came across the poem ‘Spell of the Yukon’ and it seemed to touch on a theme or two.

[i][b]I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy—I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it—
Came out with a fortune last fall,—
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all…

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land 'way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.[/b][/i]

The phrase ‘Where Silence Has Lease’ is what I’ve chosen. I actually found out later it was the name of a Star Trek TNG episode. Anyway, the idea that it’s not really about the loot - because geez you’ve spent all of it by the time you’ve left town - but it’s the “life” of an adventurer/murdering hobo that calls you on.

One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather reading to me from this tome, so I was delighted to recently rediscover Robert Service. I am not generally a fan of poetry collections, but this one is special. Robert Service had a magical knack for putting the beauty of Alaska into poetry. Though most readers know him for his humor and storytelling, for me his strongest suit is his ability to put grandeur and emotion into words. His ability to describe the feelings from listening to piano music in a bar in “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” far outstrips the story told, and his descriptions of the Alaskan wild in “The Spell of the Yukon” bring the vibrant land to life for his readers. I’ll be keeping this volume near at hand for a long time to come.