Today's Cap Picture brings to mind this entry for the Robert Service Poetry contest in 2007. If you ever wanted to know who invented skiing - read on!
The Legend of Bald Mountain Jack
Dark is the face of this mountain man's mug,
With a beard all twisted and black.
The scar cross his nose all jagged and bowed
Tells the tale of a frenzied attack.
For the wolf that did pounce from the brush that cold night
In Vermont's uncharted far reaches,
Was the wolf that men say, that stands to this day
By the side of this renegade's breeches.
This Jack from the woods, now hoisting a pack
Weighing twice what a work horse could carry
Had headed for town with a squint and a frown
For the bride he had promised to marry.
From Bald Mountain he trudged with a stride that was long
His clenched fist as broad as a stump
While whistling a tune that mimicked a loon
Down trails huge boots they did thump.
On through Lyndonville, Barton and West Burke
Jack scaled each summit with grace,
Though down in the valley he thought of his Sally
And the scowl on that hard women's face.
'Twas a visage he savoured, for mountain men claim
That beauty abounds in the snow.
Imagined with fondness, an image distinct
The true love ignited to grow.
Sal's clothes, though so tattered, were all that had mattered
For Jack saw through all her pretensions
It was the strength of her sinew, that made Jack continue
His most honorable marriage intentions.
Now Sal was a gal that gentlemen feared,
For her arms were tattooed and quite hairy,
And most of the town, though sensibly sound
Had lost track of her husbands since buried.
So St. Johnsbury's streets were deserted that day
The townsfolk retreated and staring
Through curtains now drawn, as they waited for dawn
And the betrothal of that notorious pairing.
Now Sal left her hovel and strutted her way
As she sloshed through the snow in a hurry.
She had waited so long with a love that was strong
For her Jack and his pet that was furry.
Jack slipped into town, then stopped in his tracks
When he saw the bold face from afar
Sal stood in the snow, her features aglow,
From the light of her blazing cigar.
Jack trudged through the slush, and likewise did Sal,
The distance between them receding.
The wolf and the man, the gal with the plan,
Which fatefully now was proceeding.
With arms full extended, they met at the square,
Embraced in a hug of redemption
And the kiss that they kissed both crackled and hissed
With the love that had been in suspension.
The wedding most say was a sight to behold,
The couple each riding an ox.
With Reverend Bob Speck, so staid and erect,
Standing high off the ground on a box.
With vows thus exchanged, the party got started
The townfolks were ripe for a bash.
But Jack and sweet Sal had too much to drink
Barrels of hootch they proceeded to smash.
With a crash and a crunch, the partners guffawed
As the townfolks ran hither and thither.
But the blizzard that roared outside the great door
Placed Jack in a delirious dither.
For how would they get to their honeymoon hut
Which stood high on a mountain near Stowe.
An impossible task to walk on the track
Because of the depth of the snow.
Jack had an idea that came in a flash
So he plunked himself down in the middle
Of the barrel staves shattered that rustled and clattered
To his feet his hands they did fiddle.
So strapped to their feet these parallel boards
Slid gracefully through the fresh snow.
As Jack and his gal, the sensational Sal
Down mountain face slickly did go.
Legend now has it, at least so I'm told
That the coupling described in this poem
Resulted in skiing becoming the sport
For which the State of Vermont is well known.