............THE FOREST






‘I Knew A Logger’

I knew a logger –
they called him Joe Charleston.
He was a big barrel-chested man
and a damn good steam donkey engineer
Joe was soft-spoken
came from South Africa.
He had a mouthful
of the best looking teeth
you ever laid eyes on.
He used to brush them with charcoal,
from the 45 gallon wood burner.
Joe loved animals –
even mice.
I remember
him walking
along a string of boomsticks
out to his A-frame on a Sunday
in the wind-blown winter
to feed those little mice.
Joe was a steam man
Never made the change to diesel.

I knew a logger
His name was Friend Cornilius
A professional chokerman
In the hungry thirties.
He was stocky – with a
weather-beaten bark creased face.
Friend was a Mudhen
and I believe he enjoyed
digging under logs for that elusive
choker knob.
He was a friend to kids
for he had none of his own.
And he could whittle a block of wood
into a boy’s ocean-going four master.
He was a bunkhouse diplomat too,
Loved to talk
When he entered the bunkhouse after work
he’d throw the wet old bone dry clothes
....under his bunk
....and crawl back into them
....still wet
....In the morning.
He was a friend


I knew a logger
His name was Alex Barr,
And he was a high-ball hand faller,
Black curly hair,
handsome, strong –
They called in the Irish Swede,
His two partners and he could
....fall half the trees in BC,
....In a DAY,
....if you told them to.
And they could drink
all the booze in BC
....if they got turned loose
....in the old Stanley Hotel.

He was a ball of sweat
at five after eight in
....the morning
....and he made a saw sing.
The Irish Swede felled a lot of trees
....but one too many
....for he died at his trade,
....under a snag
....too young.

I like the Irish Swede – everyone did.

I knew a logger
His name was Steve.
He was a Yugoslavian
A power – saw faller.
Tall, bony thin, hawk nosed
and had the look of fire in his eyes.
He had a short partner
“FALL the trees Sam”
“Come here Sam”
“Sam, hurry up “
“Sam don’t make the ham sandwich
....make the jam”
“Where the hell are you Sam?”
Sam got the cancer
Steve took him to hospital
Never left his side and –
Steve gave Sam the best funeral –
and some of the fire went out
of Steve’s eyes.


I knew a logger
His name was Pegleg Murphy
A timekeeper on the old float camps.
Scaled three sets of hand fallers
In the morning.
Ran the water pumps
for the steam pots
and worked on the boom
in his spare time.
Wasn’t much government forms
....in those days.
Never will forget
how old Murphy used to
....holler and curse
when he was caught out on a
....lonely boomstick
and they blew from up on the hill that
..the logs were coming down the chute.
He was a poker-playing-stiff-legged-
....cranky-old-Irish timekeeper
But was all solid logger.

I knew a logger
His name was Fib Johnson
He was a higher rigger
and there weren’t many men on the coast
Who could rig an old wooden
....faster or better
....than Fib.
He could move a steam pot
through felled and bucked timber
as though it were a paved highway.
As a young man I watched him
....go out hand over hand on a skyline
....hundred feet above the ground
....to retrieve a carriage that had
....bust it’s tail-bolt.
Fib had cracked just about every
....in his body
He was a big man –
....Silent –
....lumbering and
He really knew how to get a log
out of the bush.


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I knew a logger –
His name was Moses Dean
He was a boom man
....and a good one.
Moses had worked his way out west
With the river-drives from Michigan
in the early days.
Didn’t like talkin –
Used to eat his lunch by hisself
down on the windy end of the boom
Just sittin
Just thinkin

Wore bone dry clothes when he
....hit the big city
Cause he just didn’t have time
....to change
....Into fancy town ones.
Moses could stow up a boom of logs
like they was meant to fit.

I knew a logger –
His name was a Red Langes
Red lost one leg at the knee
‘cause he let the infection spread
from an in-grown toenail that got hurt
while he was on a drunk.
....Too busy
....spending his wad
....to bother to see the doctor.
Red could high-rig or
or do most anything
....in the woods.
A rock-hard man who never spared hisself
....or anyone else around him.
He hired back out to camp
....about two months after they
....cut off his leg at the knee
and I used to watch him
....at the landing, between turns
rubbing that old stump
....because it hurt –
....so much.
But he was nobody’s ward –
....No charity seeker he,
Red was a logger.

I knew a logger –
His name was Albert.
He ran a small A-frame float camp
out on the West Coast.

His men were hungry thirty loggers.
Top man got six-fifty a day
Jerk wire whistle punk got to six bits.

He was a kind man
tall and thin
and his crew stuck with him
year after year.
He logged for seven dollars
and fifty cents a thousand
....in 1934
And swung the logs three or
....four times
....with steam donkeys.
He asked no favors
and he worked hard
....every day of his life.
I can see him yet –
wearing his old battered felt hat
Standing on the felled and bucked
sizing up the lay of the land.
....He was a logger
....he was my father.
They came from all over –
From Sweden, Yugoslavia, Maine,
From South Africa, Finland,
Ontario, Ireland and Poland
They came to the big trees of British Columbia
They hired out to Masset –
Seymour Inlet,
Cowichan Lake,
they were bossed by
........Smith, and H.R.


They shipped out on
........The John,
........the Maquinna,
........the Venture and
........the Adelaide.

They ate silently in cookhouses
and sat on their bunks
........and played crib
and talked of other days.

They got wet in the winter and cursed
....the heat of summer
This old world has hosted many
She never saw I better bunch of men
....Than the logger.
I’m glad I knew some of them
....Aren’t you glad too?

The above were all real names and real people

Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore


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to - I Knew a Logger
by - W.D. (Bill) Moore –
Oct 8, 1922 - Nov. 24, 2000

I knew a logger –
His name was Bill Moore.
He tried for heaven, here on earth
When he married a beautiful young woman named
He built a community on an Indian reserve
To get his people off the float camp.
I remember the swings he built
....for the kids
I remember the stories he used to tell of
....Ming Woo, the greatest pirate
....in all of China Bong,
and of Ruddy, the flying red cat
....to his children.
I remember the night the alarm was risen
as the earthquake in Anchorage, ....Alaska,
was causing a tidal wave in our harbor.
He was the heart and soul of his
And I remember how he cried when his
life fell apart.

He rebuilt his life,
....raised a new family,
....and it too was good and prosperous.
He grew in wisdom, and in depth.
He met his idol, Frank Sinatra
And achieved recognition from his peers
....As a man of his word
....As a man with good values
....As a man with vision.

He’s gone now, and we’ll miss him,
Though his memory lives on.

His music festivals, his parties,
This hard working, son-of-a-gun,
Left his mark on many a spruce tree.

May his spirit soar, with the eagles
that lived in the tree in his backyard.

I raise my eyes to you, sir
May your memory survive in me
As I travel through life in the wilderness.

[By William (Billy) Moore - #2 son
on the first anniversary of his passing]