Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

The Charge of the Wilderness Brigade

By Andy Kerr

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

    Half an acre, half an acre
    Half an acre onward,
    All around Oregon
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward the Wilderness Brigade!
    Charge for the pens!" he said:
    All around Oregon
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward the Wilderness Brigade!"
    A lot of people were dismayed.
    The entire state would know
1 had blundered:
    Theirs was to make reply,
    Theirs was to reason why,
    Theirs that Wilderness wouldn't die:
    All around Oregon
    Rode the six hundred.
    Timber beasts to the right of them,
    Miners to the left of them
    ORV'ers in front of them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.
    Flashed all their pencils bare,
    Flashed as they turned in air,
    Outwriting the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the state wondered.
    Plunged in the political smoke
    Right through the line they broke;
    Beast and Miner
    Reeled from the pencil-stroke,
    Battered, but victorious
    Then they rode back with more
    More than six hundred.
    Miners to the right of them,
    Timber beasts to the left of them,
    ORV'ers behind them
    Volleyed and thundered;
    Surviving shot and shell,
    Future History will tell,
    That they had fought so well.
    Came through the jaws of Death
    With Wilderness safe as hell.
    Thousands more of them.
    More than six hundred.
    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the State wondered,
    Honor the charge they made!
    Honor the Wilderness Brigade,
    Noble Six Hundred. 

1 Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh (1979-1986)