Close Close Previous Poem Next Poem Follow Us on Twitter! Poem of the Day Award Follow Us on Facebook! Follow Us on Twitter! Follow Us on Pinterest! Follow Our Youtube Channel! Follow Our RSS Feed! envelope star quill

The Deacon's Bear-Yarn

by Sam Walter Foss

When the Deacon told his bear-yarn we would gather round to hear him,
In open-mouthed expectancy to drink in all he said;
For all list'ners who drew near him could not choose but to revere him,
For an aureole of honor rested on the Deacon's head.
'Twas a tale of gore and slaughter, where the red blood flowed like water,
Such as ear had never heard of, or the heart could not conceive;
But our faith did never weaken in that bear-yarn of the Deacon—
When the Deacon told his bear-yarn we would listen and believe.

We had listened to the horse-liar and the fish-liar and the snake-liar,
But they told no tale of wonder with the Deacon's to compare;
Though their tales were dark and dire, not a tale of not a liar
Approached the truthful story of the Deacon and the bear.
'Twas a tale of awful terror, but without a shade of error;
And whereas it was impossible the Deacon could deceive,
We knew the Deacon's bear-yarn was an honest, fair, and quare yarn—
When the Deacon told his bear-yarn we would listen and believe.

When the Deacon told his bear-yarn we could hear the bone a-breaking,
And the loud reverberations of the bear's resounding growl;
We could feel the mountains shaking, and the very planet quaking,
And the air a-palpitating with the thunder of his howl.
Oh, the sanguinary, savage fierceness of the awful ravage
Of the roaring, ravening monster, heart of man cannot conceive!
But, whereas we knew the Deacon from the truth could never weaken—
When the Deacon told his bear-yarn we would listen and believe.

When the fierce bear wound his red jaws round the white neck of the Deacon,
And we heard the Deacon gurgle with a deathgasp of despair,
How our trembling knees would weaken as we gazed upon the Deacon,
And our lifted hats go flying from our perpendicular hair!
When into the mad bear's vitals—strangest of all strange recitals—
Did the Deacon plunge his right arm, with its reeking, bloody sleeve,
And tear out the bear's heart beating, as you'd tear a piece of sheeting—
When the Deacon told this bear-yarn we would listen and believe.

Fiercer, wilder, grew the contest every time we did behold it,
Wilder, fiercer, fought the Deacon, fiercer, wilder, raged the bear;
It was bloodier, more terrific, every time the Deacon told it,
Till at length there was no story w ith this bear-yarn could compare.
Bear and Deacon m ixed and mangled, gore incrusted, blood bespangled,
Dance through sanguin ary wal tzes that the m ind cannot conceive;
But there is a deathless beauty in all truth, and 'tis our duty
When the Deacon tells his bear-yarn just to listen and believe.

Follow Us On: