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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Late Life of Mr. Boone


Daniel Boone at 84 (a few months before his death): Chester Harding, 1820

I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days -- Daniel Boone

I Reversion

Further failure as a frontier trader
default as arms dealer to militia
charged with incompetence enraged
stalked off into woods with rifle for some days

lost taste for business shut down his store
moved up river to a squatter's shack
abandoned legal claims to save vexation
got sore with Yankees not Indians

nor critters would rather by far be poor
than constrained by or retain relation
with world of venture capital in
which he'd always been a misfit turned

back completely from commerce of exchange
to bear and deer shooting and beaver trapping
hunting and gath'ring no life for an old man
rheumatism on his winter hunt gimpy

couldn't lift a foot sans difficulty
still materialized out of the woods
old mocassin'd ghost at a cabin door
"come young man get your trap and go with me"

File:Osage warrior.jpg

Osage warrior of the Wha-sha-she band (a subdivision of Hunkah): George Catlin, 1834

II A New Founding Party

In his sixties a clan patriarch a new
founding party still restless westering people
washed up on a green bluff above pleasant
river bed delta bottom "Bachelors

Bottom" Femme Osage rich Indian flower
alluvial place into which as into
a vanished aboriginal Kentucky
nation migrated Boone and Rebecca

but naked of all accumulation old
left to lean years strangers to Osage
nation "owned not a foot of soil"
but still age 76 restless will

"went high up the Missouri trapping"
coming back met Astor's skin traders going
out ascending to the Columbia "throb
of the old pioneer" from the bank watching

the booty barges arrow west into the sun

File:Boone by Chappel.jpg

An elderly Daniel Boone hunting in Missouri: Alonzo Chappel, 1861


Elmo St. Rose said... there's someone that
should be paid more attention too.
There's a museum of Western art
in Tulsa Oklahoma that has quite
a collection
American history is replete with
able and noble characters. Boone
may not have been one...on the other hand it was a feat to live to
be 84 in those days,particularly
on the frontier

TC said...

Well, able he was, and then some.

And whether the ability to live upon the land among its creatures, know the skills thereof, and be thus in nature wise, be called nobility or not, it's something.

Thanks for picking up on the Catlin, Elmo. I'm right with you there.

(And thanks too for coming back from holiday: the Return of the Native, we needed that.)

Zephirine said...

Anyone who can keep their being bewildered down to a mere three days is doing pretty well in my opinion.

TC said...

Yes Z, I find I can easily pack at least three days' worth of bewilderment into any given ten minutes.

Make that four days' worth at the moment... we have just spent the frigid pre-dawn hours watching a screener of that flick about slinky blue friendlies cavorting like Alley Oop through computer generated forests on the backs of big polychromatic Nazguls or whatever you call them. The hero seemed to be a bit of a Daniel Boone type, though his enunciation was so poor it was (mercifully) hard to catch most of his lines. He seemed a bit bewildered, too. Especially when batting eyelashes with the slinky blue friendly heroine.

They say James Cameron has two phobias. You're not allowed to touch him and you're not allowed to call him Jim. Should he ever be taken captive in the computer generated woods and made to wear one of those washcloth-knickers thingies, hopefully Daniel Boone will be on hand with some magic fronds to ward off such phobic unpleasantries.