LibriVox: The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. Service

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m not much for either poetry or magic. But some poems are magic. Here’s one…

LIBRIVOX - The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. ServiceThe Spell Of The Yukon
By Robert W. Service; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 4 Minutes [POEM]
Published: January 10, 2010

There are another dozen recordings of The Spell Of The Yukon by Robert W. Service available at I chose to point you towards Mark F. Smith’s version, but maybe you think another reader captures the poem better.

Here’s my annotated text version (can you spot the Star Trek connection?)…

The Spell Of The Yukon
by Robert W. Service

I wanted the gold, and I sought it,
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy — I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it —
Came out with a fortune last fall, —
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth — and I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

The summer — no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness —
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I’ve bade ’em good-by — but I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land — oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back — and I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fight — and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! — but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite —
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

Posted by Jesse Willis

H.P. Lovecraft lovelies from Forbidden Dragon

SFFaudio Online Audio

Forbidden DragonI’m a sucker for pretty much anything Lovecraft, and judging from the stats for our site a good number of you are too. Which means we’ll all be pleased that I spotted these two Lovecraft items on the Internet Archive the other day. Curious, I traced them back to the source. It turns out that Marlo Dianne, an SF writer and blogger is responsible, she’s got these and more, including some of her own stories over on her Forbidden Dragon blog. First up a poem…

By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Marlo Dianne
1 |MP3| – Approx. 2 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Forbidden Dragon
Published: 2007

Published in 1922 as a six part serial, Herbert West: Reanimator is a classic story of Science Fiction and Horror by H. P. Lovecraft. Atmosphere, language, and science blend effortlessly, timeless, in this gruesome tale of a doctor of death.

Herbert West: Re-Animator by H.P. LovecraftHerbert West: Reanimator
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Marlo Dianne
Publisher: Forbidden Dragon
Published: 2006
Convinced that death is merely mechanical failure, and that they can find a chemical mechanism to reboot the machine, West and our nameless narrator, are on the hunt for bodies–the fresher, the better. Through graveyards and laboratories, they want to find death, chase it, trap it, prod it, and defeat it. But when you chase something to within arm’s reach, it can reach back…

Part 1 – From the Dark |MP3|
Part 2 – The Plague-Daemon |MP3|
Part 3 – Six Shots By Moonlight |MP3|
Part 4 – The Scream of the Dead |MP3|
Part 5 – The Horror from the Shadows |MP3|
Part 6 – The Tomb-Legions |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis