Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wildnerness (for Wilderness)

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

- from The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert Service

The Canadian wilderness is often depicted in my country’s art, both written and visual. Robert Service was known for his narrative poetry about the wilderness of the Yukon, and The Cremation of Sam McGee, set during the gold rush, is a prime example of his work, with its vivid imagery, quick-paced meter, and surprise ending.

The Group of Seven, Canadian painters inspired by Post-Impressionism and the work of Tom Thompson, painted images of the wilderness all across Canada. Pictured is A.J. Casson’s White Pine.

Leanne Olson

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