|A PRESENTATION OF THE EARL SHAFFER FOUNDATION
... celebrating the life and times of Earl V. Shaffer of Pennsylvania, writer and poet, naturalist, dedicated environmentalist, and the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end in one continuous journey. We hope you enjoy your visit!
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by Earl Shaffer
You can go back to your city
Back to your factories and mills
Where everything's smoky and gritty
But I'll go back to my hills.
You can go back to your fancy home,
Back to your tailored togs;
I'll go back where the wild deer roam
Back to my cabin of logs.
You can go back to your swimming pool
Back to your troublesome bills;
I'll swim again in a streamlet cool
Back in my peaceful hills
The evenings you'll spend on a dance floor
I'll spend out under the stars
And find in my solitude once more
A balm for my wounds and scars.
I'll purge all my hatred or try to
Live as a free man again,
Do as I like when I want to
Go where I choose to and when.
No offered position could lure me
No chance for gain or renown
Could ever beguile or detour me
To coop myself up in a town.
You may take wide spacious highways
To offices, factories and mills
But I'll take the trails and the byways
That lead to my peaceful hills.
THE DESERT ISLES
by Earl Shaffer
In the bleakest part of an ocean
That is bleak from shore to shore
Encompassing half creation
In the far-flung island war,
Are islands of desolation
That thousands of men recall
As Midway, Baker, and Canton
And Johnston the worst of all.
We served on those tiny islands
Of coral and rock and sand,
Existing where plant life withered
And dreamed of our native land.
No trees where the shade could linger;
No grass where a man could lie
And trace with an idle finger
On the lacework of the sky.
No brooklets of cold clear water
But pits where the rising tide
Seeped through from the nearby ocean,
We lived and we lost our pride.
Embittered by endless yearning,
We clashed with relentless life:
In starkest clarity learning
The futility of strife.
There wasn't a chance for glory--
Just live on the sinking sand
As part of the horror story
That the mad warmongers planned.
In the bleakest part of an ocean,
We served on the desert isles:
Midway, Canton and Johnston
And Baker, the coral piles.