“Call Of The Wild” is a Cinematic Poem Short Film Featuring Poet Robert Service Directed By Eric Larsen.
Filmed, Edited and Directed by: Eric Larsen
“The love and concern for our environment is something I have always known. Growing up in Wisconsin, I was outside as much as possible – camping fishing, riding my bike… But back then, my mind didn’t stretch much farther than my own backyard. For that, I credit writers like Farley Mowat, Sigurd Olsen, Barry Lopez and many others who were able to describe places of which I barely knew existed. They were some of my biggest sources of inspiration and their words instilled a longing to experience true wilderness for myself. But Robert Service’s ‘The Call of the Wild’, more than any of the others, stirred an unrelenting aching to grab my pack and go.
As a tribute to Robert Service’s eloquent words as well as the planet that is the foundation of both our dreams and health, I gathered up footage from the past eight years and five continents for an Earth Day tribute featuring some of Service’s lines. And if you think this video and poem might inspire someone else, please share it.
In the years since I discovered ‘The Call of the Wild’, I feel that I have lived each line tenfold. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need a reminder that the fate of our planet is in our hands. Earth day is a good start. But our efforts to reduce waste and pollution, curb greenhouse gas emissions, protect endangered species or remove plastic from our oceans should not end when the clock strikes midnight. There are a lot of great environmental organizations doing important work on behalf of our planet and I suggest that you support one or two or more. Of course, we need to take responsibility for our own actions as well. The environmental crises we face today are not problems for someone else to solve and we all need to make significant efforts on both the individual and global level.
I’ve spent several Earth Day’s on the Arctic Ocean either at, or very near, the North Pole. On April 22nd, 2010, I wrote this, “The weather started out relatively calm but the wind steadily increased to what I would consider near brutal proportions. We skied with our down parkas at times. Brrr. I guess it was the Arctic Ocean’s fun little way to remind us who’s in charge around here.”
So often on my expeditions, I feel insignificant and afraid, barely withstanding the extremes of our planet. But today, we all venture into uncharted territory. Human beings have an unprecedented ability to change and alter our environment. While we all need resources to be able to live and survive, which resources we use, how we use them and if they’re renewable or not should be cornerstone to every decision we make.’
“The Call Of The Wild” by Robert Service
Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sagebrush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of all creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o’er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through and through?
Have you chummed up with the mesa? Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.
Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild — it’s wanting you.
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew.)
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.
They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching —
But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go.