April 26, 2018
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An ode to Bean boots

This poem is preserved in the L.L.Bean archives. It was written by a customer who received his Bean boots from his father in 1945.


By Charles H. Gray

These boots were given to me, when Father’s hunting days were done,

when the war was finally over and our victory had been won.

The boots were nearly new then, and the leather still had shine,

with the laces strong and supple, when first they became mine.

I have loved these boots dearly, and they always served me well,

And the things they’ve seen while with me, they alone can tell.

If they could write a story, of the things that they have done,

They would tell of loyal service and the long life they have won.

They would tell of soles so worn now, and the heels run down beside,

But not of shame or shoddy work, for they have nothing bad to hide.

They have traveled far and wide with me, in my quest of sport and game,

Through sleet and mud and underbrush, they upheld their maker’s name.

They have stood in the icy Yukon, with the Salmon flashing by,

And felt the jolt of Mountain Rainbows, when they struck my floating fly.

They have tasted the blood of Reindeer, Caribou, and Moose,

Of Elk, the Antelope and Alaskan Brown, and of the wily Goose.

We have tramped for miles together, in a joy only hunters know,

Amid the rustle of grass and cornstalks, and the crunch of frozen snow.

We have seen the brilliant ‘Northern Lights,’ while in my sleeping bag I lie,

And seen the beauty of the ‘shooting stars,’ as they flashed by in the sky.

They have felt the warmth of campfires, and heard the Beagles bugle call,

On the Coon hunts in the moonlight, when the leaves began to fall.

They have shivered in the duck blind, amid the mornings dampness chill,

And felt the breath of winter, when the frost was on the hill.

They have felt me stand and tremble, with a fear that they could smell,

When the wounded, charging Boar Pig, screamed toward me in the dell.

They have helped me flush the Pheasants, the Chuckar, and the Grouse,

And held the muzzles of the hunting dogs, as we rested in in the house.

They have stood in rain and thunder, where the rushing rivers run,

And stalked the elusive, leaping Whitetail, in the brush of Michigan.

They have felt the crunch of dry leaves, in the beauty of the fall,

And heard the dogs in pursuit of game, and listened to their call.

Now a chapter of my life is over, to remain in my thoughts ’til the end,

And I’ll remember forever the good life, and the game trails we would wend.

No more the sight of hunting dogs, while in stiffened pointing stand,

No more the smell of leather and gun, when the chill creeps o’vr the land.

No more the smell of camp-fried fish, as they sizzle in the pan,

No more the friends of yesteryear, and the joshing man to man.

We have retired now in Oregon, our guns forever still,

Never to walk together again, through the valleys and up the hill.

These boots have keep my feet warm, comfortable, and dry,

And the thought of simply discarding them, can almost make me cry.

They have sat idle for too long now, never more to roam,

So it seems only natural to me, that they should come back home.

Reprinted by permission of L.L.Bean


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