by: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
- ard by an excavated street one sat
- In solitary session on the sand;
- And ever and anon he spake and spat
- And spake againa yellow skull in hand,
- To which that retrospective Pioneer
- Addressed the few remarks that follow here:
- "Who are you? Did you come 'der blains agross,'
- Or 'Horn aroundt'? In days o' '49
- Did them thar eye-holes see the Southern Cross
- From the Antarctic Sea git up an' shine?
- Or did you drive a bull team 'all the way
- From Pike,' with Mr. Joseph Bowers?say!
- "Was you in Frisco when the water came
- Up to Montgum'ry street? and do you mind
- The time when Peters run the faro game
- Jim Peters from old Mississipbehind
- Wells Fargo's, where he subsequent was bust
- By Sandy, as regards both bank and crust?
- "I wonder was you here when Casey shot
- James King o' William? And did you attend
- The neck-tie dance ensuin'? I did not,
- But j'ined the rush to Go Creek with my friend
- Ed'ard McGowan; for we was resolved
- In sech diversions not to be involved.
- "Maybe I knowed you; seems to me I've seed
- Your face afore. I don't forget a face,
- But names I disrememberI'm that breed
- Of owls. I'm talking some'at into space
- An' maybe my remarks is too derned free,
- Seein' yer name is unbeknown to me.
- "Ther' was a time, I reckon, when I knowed
- Nigh onto every dern galoot in town.
- That was as late as '50. Now she's growed
- Surprisin'! Yes, me an' my pardner, Brown,
- Was wide acquainted. If ther' was a cuss
- We didn't know, the cause washe knowed us.
- "Maybe you had that claim adjoinin' mine
- Up thar in Calaveras. Was it you
- To which Long Mary took a mighty shine,
- An' throwed squar' off on Jake the Kangaroo?
- I guess if she could see ye now she'd take
- Her chance o' happiness along o' Jake.
- "You ain't so purty now as you was then:
- Yer eyes is nothin' but two prospect holes,
- An' women which are hitched to better men
- Would hardly for sech glances damn their souls,
- As Lengthie did. By G! I hope it's you,
- For" (kicks the skull) "I'm Jake the Kangaroo."
POEMS BY AMBROSE BIERCE
|"Yorick" is reprinted from Shapes of Clay. Ambrose Bierce. San Francisco: W. E. Wood, 1903.