Iremember the steamboats, the old man said.
I remember them coming in spring.
I remember the paddlewheels churning the water
and bringing us many good things.
I remember us kids rushing down to the docks.
each wanting so hard to be first
to see what was unloaded, rolled off the decks,
hearts pounding as if they would burst.
Those boats meant the end of the winter
even more than the Break-up, it seems.
Those boats brought back old friends, and many new faces,
some filled with impossible dreams.
But the years went by and they built up the road;
oh, how those trucks rattled and clanked.
And one autumn day they pulled out the steamboats
and left them to sit on the bank.
They left them to rot and sink into decay,
as the cold and the wet wore them down.
And they’ve settled still lower with each passing year,
at the end of the tourists’ campground.
Now decaying mem’ries are all we have left
of the days when those boats ruled the river.
We pass them each time we travel to Moosehide
and the sight gives us all a slight shiver.
For like the great king in that poem by Shelly
these wrecks now crumbling so fast
seem ironic reminders of a golden time,
an era that never could last.
“See us – remember the glory we had,”
those sad old ships seem to say.
And the forest encroaches and eats up their limbs,
and the river runs far and away.