THE SUM total of the creative artistic efforts of the white people of the Koyukuk includes several sincere but undistinguished oil paintings of both landscapes and portraits; one paper-covered book of reminiscences, with numerous flowery passages, which is ridiculed by almost every person in the region; and a number of attempts at verse.
The best of the latter was one facetious poem written by an anonymous author many years ago. It formed a sort of epic of the Koyukuk, replete with the quaint local slang, and was boomed out by many an inebriate voice in the old saloons and whorehouses. Here is how it went:
Come all you jolly snipers1 and listen unto me,
A story I will sing to you, with me you will agree,
About a jolly sniper who never did have luck,
Who fooled around for forty years in the good old Koyukuk.
An easy kind of a going man with a sort of a swindling smile,
Who worked a hunch on a North Fork gulch that went a
penny a mile.
And every fall he had his gall his hard luck to lament,
How the heavy rains washed out his drains so he couldn't
make a cent.