Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Yukon Song - Bill Watterson

My tiger friend has got the sled,
And I have packed a snack.
We're all set for the trip ahead.
We're never coming back!

We're abandoning this life we've led!
So long, Mom and Pop!
We're sick of doing what you've said,
And now it's going to stop!

We're going where it snows all year,
Where life can have real meaning.
A place where we won't have to hear,
"Your room could stand some cleaning."

The Yukon is the place for us!
That's where we want to live.
Up there we'll get to yell and cuss,
And act real primitive.

We'll never have to go to school,
Forced into submission,
By monstrous, crabby teacher who'll
Make us learn addition.

We'll never have to clean  plate,
Of veggie glops and good.
Messily we'll masticate
Using any fork we choose!

The timber wolves will be our friends.
We'll stay up late and howl,
At the moon, till nighttime ends,
Before going on the prowl.

Oh, what a life!  We cannot wait,
To be in that arctic lang,
Where we'll be masters of our fate,
And leaf a life that's grand!

No more of parental rules!
We're heading for some snow!
Good riddance to those grown-up ghouls!
We're leaving!  Yukon ho!

For me, Calvin and Hobbes (from which this poem is excerpted) is the spirit of childhood wrapped in the intellectualism of adulthood.  The way Calvin speaks is that of an adult, but his sentiments all (usually) represent the unbridled enthusiasm and desire of youth.  The desire for autonomy in the above poem is childish, certainly, but it's endearing, and something we've all felt.  Even I still feel it sometimes.  There's something bizarrely re-assuring to me, knowing that I can, at any moment, just get up and go.  There's nothing stopping me from getting in my car and just driving.  Not that I ever would, but somehow, it's always good to know that I'm free (or at least that I have the functional illusion of freedom) to do as I choose at any given moment.

The poem itself is delightful, full of exciting childhood dreams (roaming with the wolves, being free of school and vegetables) and fun imagery.  Who wouldn't want the opportunity to yell and scream for no reason other than that you can?  It's part of being a kid, desiring these things.  It's a lovely little encasement of childhood sentiment, and it comes across as genuine, rather than idealized or cliche and tinted.  Really, to me, this poem is a warming shield, reminding me that I, too, used to be a kid who romped around the backyard on grand adventures.  Particularly fun was chopping down dandelions with sticks, pretending I was a cool swordsman cutting down evil monsters.  I hope I never forget being that heroic little swordsman.  Were I to meet my 7 year old self, I hope I'd be able to play along with him in his imaginative games.  I want to be an adult that my littler self can be proud of, and I think poems like this help to keep me on track.


  1. Christopher,
    I'm glad I have come across the "Poem a Day" blog of yours. Stumbling upon your blog through beloved Calvin makes it more magical than it actually is.
    You put in words the essence of the poem brilliantly. Thank you for that.

    -Lavanya !

  2. i just love that song

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  4. We are looking for the poem," I didn't want to go with them" by Bill Watterson. Can you please help me find it?
    Many Thanks