Manvotional: The Call

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 17, 2013 · 35 comments

in Manvotionals


The Call
By: Earl H. Emmons

Did you ever have a longin’ to get out and buck the trail,
And to face the crashin’ lightnin’ and the thunder and the gale?
Not for no partic’lar reason but to give the world the laugh,
And to show the roarin’ elyments you still can stand the gaff.

Don’t you ever feel a yearnin’ just to try your luck again
Down the rippin’ plungin’ rapids with a bunch of reg’lar men?
Don’t you ever sorta hanker for a rough and risky trip,
Just to prove you’re still a livin’ and you haven’t lost your grip?

Can’t you hear the woods a-callin’ for to have another try
Sleepin’ out beneath the spruces with a roof of moonlit sky,
With the wind a sorta singin’ through the branches overhead
And your fire a gaily crackin’ and your pipe a-glowin’ red?

Don’t you often get to feelin’ sorta cramped and useless there,
Makin’ figgers and a-shinin’ your pants upon a chair?
Don’t you yearn to get acquainted once again with Life and God?
If you don’t, then Heaven help you, for you’re a dyin’ in yer pod.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thom V August 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm

This is a great little poem. I do have a question for others, though: does the romanticization of the yearning for man’s primordial connection with the world signal that it’s already been lost for good, or is it just a little reminder, a tiny fire under our asses to motivate us toward the things we all strive for? I hope it’s the latter.

2 Don August 18, 2013 at 5:10 am

Nice little poem you’ve got
though religious, I am not.
Even still it made me smile,
and made me want to walk your mile.

Your god is not the same as mine,
though I respect you all the time.
Believe what you will and do what is right, If all goes well. we will meet beyond the light.

Treat your woman like a lady,
Do not cheat and don’t be shady.
Do not steal and don’t be late,
These are keys to being great.

I learned these from my mothers dad, so please be a gentleman and don’t be bad.

The human race depends on you,
and what in life you choose to do.

My dear friend, chivalry is not dead. It only sleeps in a lonely bed.

We are still here and we are men. If only you ladies could see that again.

We are friendly and we are nice but in the rat race, we are just mice.

We bend over backward and do what is right but we are alone at the end of the night.

We don’t want a fuck, and we don’t need a kiss, all we want is to say “good day to you. miss.”

You say we are strange and that we are weird, But isn’t it better than a douche bag beard?

You know the type, the muscle bound jocks, with the argyle socks, the stupid haircuts and the friends that are sluts.

We are not that guy.

You can take us home to mom. We are nice and we are calm.

We will treat you like the queen that you are. Even if we don’t have a fancy car.

We will open the door and let you walk through, as if it were the last thing that we ever do.

You are our everything, I can promise you now. And we would tell you that if we could figure out how.

We love you for your heart and for your brain. And, believe it or not, we are completely sane.

Give us a chance and you will see, that you’ll never be as happy as when you were with me.


3 Josh August 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

I came home from work tonight, after being on my feet for a solid 14 hours of good hard work; hard work that I love doing. But I got a moment to look up at the stars. And with those few moments I realized that to be where I want to be in life I need to find a way to link my hard work ethic-that has been built through tough labor-with my passion for earth and adventure and the world. Thanks for this poem, it brought further attention towards this fact in my life; I must link my nature with Mother Nature.

4 Steve August 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

Yes, absolutely yes. Brett, you have the knack of posting the most appropriate items at the most appropriate times. Well done you.

5 Dave D. August 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

Amen. “The Call” reminds me of all the places I see God. It is why Psalm 19 has been one of my favorites for years.

6 Dimitar Dimitrov August 18, 2013 at 7:47 am

You certainly got me going with this one! Thanks!

7 Mr Bill August 18, 2013 at 7:48 am

Did I ever…
Don’t I want to… again…

Oh Yeah. Bring it on.

Shining your pants upon a chair – LOL!!!

8 Phil Demeter August 18, 2013 at 7:56 am

This fits right into what our men’s group at church is talking about. Thanks for posting this today! I copied the link on our men’s site for church.

9 david August 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

Our pants aren’t shini’ any chairs here! Lol love the poem and the need to connect with God and nature. Awesome poem.

10 sugapablo August 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

Talk about an obscure find! I can barely even find much information about the author, although I believe I did find his photo:

11 Dano August 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

It’s next to impossible to enjoy the outdoors without experiencing the presence of God. People today are very reluctant to be “ALONE”. They need emails, smart phones, tv’s, etc. To walk in the great outdoors and see and feel his Majesty is motivation at it’s best. Thanks for this great poem.

12 naguere August 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Just back from a month cycle camping in France and literally back from my Sunday meeting.

this great article struck a chord with me. thank you

13 Michael August 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

Personally, I feel like hard-work, and adventure, and nature particularly, help me feel a greater connection to God. That’s while I feel like men have such a passion for things like camping and hiking and such!

14 Ken F. August 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

Great post Brett. I just sent this to my best friend who is on his way to Yellowstone to go camping for a week. Perfect!

15 Ed Cayanan August 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

OT—I was hoping AoM can get into spirituality and mysticism: (Joseph Campbell) (Ken Wilber) (Huston Smith) (Hossein Nasr) (Frithjof Schuon and René Guénon)

16 David Y August 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Sometimes it seems that in our crowded, tech heavy, always have to be connected, pop-culture, risk averse don’t do anything without a helmet and safety pads world that the inner fire of the primitive has gone out.

But for some of us, there are a few embers still glowing. I was out in the woods for a good hike earlier this week.
There were a few others on the trail that day. But mostly, I could feel like it was just me in the wild.

I think that being in nature helps to renew and restore something basic in us. We are in danger of losing it if we aren’t careful.

P.S. Don. Thanks for your poem.

17 Colin J August 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

God put His love for this world in all of us. It comes out in our curiosity, our need to explore, and our drive to test nature. It’s a great thing, and thank the Lord I don’t think it ever really goes away.

18 Bolt August 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I read this in an Irish accent. Does anyone happen to know if the author was Irish, since there’s not even a Wikipedia page for him?

Also, I love poetry like this. I’m by no means a woodsman, or in any sense religious, but the poem spoke to me personally – and I respect anyone who can express their thoughts with such power and skill,

19 Brian August 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Perhaps this was touched upon. But is there more here than the call to get in touch with nature. Perception is reality…

20 Jesse Malhi August 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm

A round of applause for a very manly poem. Well worthy to be put on this website and it describes me at a lot times.

21 Walter August 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm

@ Tom V, to those of us who do appreciate what it means to be a man and to yearn for this connection with the wild, I’d like to think that it is the latter; that this is just a little reminder to never let that go. Unfortunately the former is also true, that “the call” is becoming a thing of the past as many men become glued to their couches and only read these articles without ever experiencing what they are about.

22 Chinagozi Nwankwo August 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Great Poem…Just what i needed. In fact i’d resolved earlier this week that i’d go camping for my birthday weekend this year.

Are there any articles on Camping (pitching a tent, what to bring, activities and so on….?)

23 Doug August 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Great poem.
Kinda reminds me of Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling

24 Bicycle Bill August 19, 2013 at 1:18 am

I also would have immediately thought of Robert Service; it has much the same meter and flow as “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”.  Shel Silverstein could also have been a likely suspect for something like this as evidenced by works like his epic “Ballad of Billy Markham”.

A little more research shows that Earl H. Emmons was a writer of doggerel back in the middle part of the 20th century; I would be willing to bet that this was a nom de plume and the actual person behind the name is probably now dead and the trail is hidden in the mists of time.

25 Steven August 19, 2013 at 8:39 am

What a fantastic poem! Been knowing that feeling all to well in the recent weeks, to just get out and about. Thanks Brett and Kate!

26 D. de la Coupre August 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

Sometimes, having to walk,
I stop thinking, lose myself.
I do not choose the way.

Sometimes, my shins hurt
Because of nettles. Sometimes ivy
Smells strong on the tree under my hand

Sometimes, I wake up and behold:
A rock mantled in moss
A beast that calls.

And so I feel, like a shard in the skin,
The strength of roots growing
With the cry of a lover

(One of mine, traduced from french, pardon me if it’s clumsy. Great article! Not the english poetry I’m used to, refreshing.)

27 Eric August 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

I can feel and hear the calling. In fact it makes me sorrowful with no proper words to describe it. When I’m in the woods, I don’t want to go back . It leaves me longing. Sometimes I think about life and how pointless it is the way it is in today’s society. The importance of nature is very undervalued by most. How does one feed the ember enough to keep the flame burning in a western society, which is severing the connection bit by bit?

28 Todd August 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

That last stanza is what I want to live by. So well-stated.

29 Ed K. August 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Ouch. I’ve been working in a basement for almost thirty years. The weekends give me life. Or so I thought. But now I’m going to start taking a walk outside two or three times a day before I totally rust out. My little brother asked me to come out and learn to pan for gold. Who cares if I find any. Thank you for the inspiration.

30 Ed August 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm

This poem totally relates to my desire for adventure. With that said, I am dropping everything on March 1 and hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. The anticipation is almost unbearable!

31 carl Monster August 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Must be missing a gene for that! lol

32 Aaron August 22, 2013 at 10:49 am

Wonderful poem. Definitely hit me at a great time – I’ve been comfortably sitting at a desk job where capable monkeys are often praised the most, yearning for a more adventurous career regardless of the paycut. How well you are living life doesn’t need to correlate with the dollar amount on your pay-stub each week. This poem has definitely galvanized that in me. Onward to more meaningful adventures – I shall welcome the unknown with a pleasant smile and a man’s daring step forward.

33 chuck August 27, 2013 at 11:09 am

This feeling is exactly why I hike every weekend. It’s my sanity maintenance program!!

34 A6 August 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I don’t think I ever really got the gist of poems even though I was an English major in College (don’t ask), though I think I’ve been taking this advice to heart.
I had the opportunity to spend the last two weeks about as far away from the city as I could get. I had NO bars of service on my smartphone and barely any connection to the outside world. I spent my mornings by waking up at the break of dawn; 4:30 to be exact and exploring the great outdoors. I went trekking through the woods in Princeton, NJ and never looked back. The roads were dark and there was a very cool breeze at that time of the day….I used the darkness as some kind of exercise for my mind as I had to mind map where certain spots were on the trail in order not to stumble and fall the next day. During the day I went shopping for some local organic produce, meats, juices, and items that I needed for the week. During the evening, I hiked back to my dwelling on top of a hill and I put my life-long cooking skills to the test. Pretty sure that I made some of the most delicious foods I’ve ever tasted. Humbled much you ask?? Though I have to admit that some of the tips that I used during my “exploration” were from none other than the AOM site itself…..who knew? I think every man should spend some time away from this very tech-savvy, computer and smartphone laden, cars, trucks, planes and boats venue that we call “civilization.” The great outdoors offers peace, tranquility, and above all a chance to hit the internal reset button.

35 Tom September 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I can’t remember hearing a more beautifully crafted wake up call. I have a feeling that me and Earl H. Emmons and me would have got along just great because he was clearly someone with a deep love of the outdoors and one or two competing demands on his time.

With a few plainly spoken verses he’s summed up where so many guys are and I hope wherever he is now, he has a full pipe, a roaring fire and an inspiring view!

Thanks for posting, made my day!

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