The Logic of the Gun
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Written by Sam Walter Foss

NH POETRY

Sorry, we couldn’t resist the comparison. New Hampshire poet Sam Walter Foss hit the mark time and again with his poetry. This one seems especially on target a century after the poem appeared in Foss’ volume Songs of the Average Man in 1907. Foss attended high school in Portsmouth, NH.

 

 

 

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The Logic of the Gun
By Sam Walter Foss

He wrote in letters plain to see,
   That all could understand;
ALL PERSONS CARRYING FIREARMS
   FORBIDDEN ON THIS LAND.
And through his hundred-acre woods,
   To stay through calm and breeze,
He nailed his minatory sign
   Upon two hundred trees.
So all who wandered through those wilds
   Could read and understand:
ALL PERSONS CARRYING FIREARMS
   FORBIDDEN ON THIS LAND.

Ben Bean, the Nimrod of the town,
   Went shooting through the land;
His vocal musket banged in tones
   That all could understand.
And then the owner of the woods
   Who placed the warnings signs,
Went after Ben and talked to him
   Of penalties and fines.
"Do you now see these signs?" he said he,
    "A child can understand,
"All persons carrying firearms
    Forbidden on this land?"

"But how’ll you get me off?" asked Ben,  
   And spoke without a wince,
"A person carrying firearms
   Ain’t easy to convince."
"Go off!" the farmer cried; "Begone!"
   "Come drive me off," Ben said,
And raised his musket toward the man,
   And aimed it at his head.
"Why, I have right upon my side,"
    The farmer said, "Now run!"
"You may have right, I don’t deny’t,
    But I have got the gun."

And there are empires, just like Ben,
    Who hunt the world around,
Whose purpose ‘tis to use the world
    For their own hunting ground.
And there’s no potentate or power,
    No premier or prince,
Who’s well-equipped with firearms,
    That’s easy to convince.
And when their victims prate of rights
    They say to every one,
"You may have right, I don’t deny’t,
    But I have got the gun."

Sam Walter Foss
From Songs of the Average Man, 1907