Billy Goat Smith

Alone in the woods, with no worldly goods,
Save hammer and spade, a gun and fish hooks,
There lives a recluse who no more has use
For friendship and love and family roots.
Some try to befriend him, and gifts they might send him,
But a welcome of buckshot is what he extends them,
And a sign there prevents any feigned ignorance,
It says, “No dogs or Powell River residents.”

CHORUS:   Hey, Billy Goat Smith, half man and half myth,
                    Why did you leave all your kin and your kith?
                    At the head of Powell Lake, everyone you forsake,
                    And with garden and gun, your own world you make.

When first he came ’round to this rain sodden town,
The slaughtered hills echoed new papermill sounds;
The old timbered landscape was now a fresh mudscrape,
Where job-hungry men sweat their dreams into shape.
But the secretive stranger whose eyes hinted danger
Wasn’t logger, millworker or forestry ranger;
By the Shinglemill shore in a skiff full of stores,
He left us behind with one pull on his oars.     CHORUS:

Well-known he became with his long-distance aim,
With a half-mile shot he could drop any game;
Sure-footed and swift, he ranged over the cliffs,
Soon everyone called him “Billy Goat Smith”.
But the rumours they grew, with the little we knew,
And one more than the others just might have been true;
He was tricked by a loved one into using his six-gun,
And all but his bitterness he had outrun.     CHORUS:

Now a heart that will mend can be time’s dividend,
But an angry old goat he stayed to the end,
When that old unforgiver one day gave a shiver,
Fell into his ‘barrow and to death was delivered.
Well, I’ve been betrayed, had my heartstrings all frayed,
And I thought of old Billy and the choice that he made;
But I never lost hope, like that old misanthrope,
Now love’s like the acorn grown into an oak.   CHORUS:

FINAL           Hey, Billy Goat Smith, half-man and half-myth,
CHORUS:      What were the devils you were living with?
                      At the head of Powell Lake, everyone you forsaked,
                      And with garden and gun, your own world you made.