I go a-gunning, but take no gun;
I fish without a pole;
And I bag good game and catch such fish
As suit a sportsman’s soul;
For the choicest game that the forest holds,
And the best fish of the brook,
Are never brought down by a rifle shot
And never are caught with a hook.
I bob for fish by the forest brook,
I hunt for game in the trees,
For bigger birds than wing the air
Or fish that swim the seas.
A rodless Walton of the brooks
A bloodless sportsman, I—
I hunt for the thoughts that throng the woods,
The dreams that haunt the sky.
The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of the pine,
And thoughts in a flower bell curled;
And the thoughts that are blown with the scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world.
So, away! for the hunt in the fern-scented wood
Till the going down of the sun;
There is plenty of game still left in the woods
For the hunter who has no gun.
So, away! for the fish in the moss-bordered brook
That flows through the velvety sod;
There are plenty of fish still left in the streams
For the angler who has no rod.
Sam Walter Foss, 1858-1911