“Gone Are The Nights”

The poet as a young man

Gone are the nights of long ago
When the dogs had the coon on the run;
When I would carry the lantern,
And Dad would carry the gun.

When the mist was softly falling
Through the fog-enshrouded trees,
And we heard the far-off calling
Of the Southward flying geese.

When the cornshocks stood like teepees
In the fields around the town,
And the winds and frosts of autumn
Brought the leaves and walnuts down.

How l loved the mystic darkness
Of those wooded hills at night
Where I learned a hunter’s secrets
By a gleaming lantern’s light.

We would cross ravines and ridges
Where the briars grew so dense,
Then we’d stop awhile and listen
By a rustic old rail fence.

We could hear the thrilling music
As the dogs came circling back,
As they tried to solve the puzzle
Of a swamp coon’s tangled tracks.

I always will remember
How the dogs and coon would fight,
In and out of giant shadows,
In and out of lantern light.

Yes, gone are the nights of long ago
When boyhood adventure was fun;
When I would carry the lantern,
And Dad would carry the gun.

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