Chrys Salt has written eight poetry collections, been translated into several languages, performed across Europe, North America,  India and Australia, and her poems have inspired artists, musicians and film-makers to create collaborative pieces.


Amongst many awards she received funding from Creative Scotland to visit Yukon and undertake the research for this collection.


Chrys was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014 for Services to Arts.

Cover design by Deirdre Carlisle




138 x 216mm


64 pages


£10.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-29-7


PUB: March 2020












The Klondike Gold Rush


Chrys Salt



This collection is a gift to the First Nation peoples of Yukon, many of whom still strive to regain the way of life they lost. Whatever poems I have made of their stories, or fashioned from my own research and experience of being there, in the spirit of just exchange I give them back. Chrys Salt MBE




‘...a brave montage of voices past and present forging links between our world and late nineteenth century North America. With great originality she deploys creation myths and explores the colonial prejudices of governments and greedy, desperate prospectors alongside the exploitation and fate of North America’s First Nation People - a colourful condemnation of human greed, but a testament to the survival instincts of individuals and cultures.’

Martyn Crucefix


‘Centring on First Nation folk-hero Skookum Jim, these poems beautifully evoke the landscape, non-human beings and lore of the North Canadian wilderness, capture the frenzy of the gold rush years, the desolation of their aftermath and how landscape and people survive the vagaries of history – always fully acknowledging the poet’s observer status.’

Professor Margaret Elphinstone 

Novelist/Emeritus Professor of Strathclyde University

What the lookout saw

(Beaver Mountain 1897)


The placid Yukon winds its arms

round inlets, reed beds, stranded isles,

glacial silt washed down from mountains

to the river's lip,

sheer sand banks undercut by currents,

pocked with swallows' nests.


He's standing where he always stands,

high on the warty outcrop,

look-out for bark canoes,

graceful and marvellously light,

skimming towards his village with their wares –


but not for this, this

silence shredded to a din,

these shrieking clouds,

hurled spume, this smash,

this loud flotilla on the water snake.

How could there be so many in the world?


Swift on his moccasins

he scrambles down.

He shouts in the fields,

he shouts in the fish camp.

He runs like the hare to tell them

that the white man comes again,

lights fires on their land,

takes fish for dog food,

scares the moose

cuts down trees,

tramples the sweet-grass,

makes rivers run backwards,

turns mountains inside out.


'Until our fallen warriors return,’

the wise Chief says,

'we will be moose calves in a land of wolves.’



Keish's childhood 1850s


tight in a blanket

he rode on his mother

child of the Wolf Clan

Bear was his brother

ran where the moose ran

bronze brown and laughing

knew what his bones knew

before his arriving

tales of the Yukon

passed on with the telling

smelled the moon rising

before night was waking

saw big winds whisper

before leaves were shaking

whip crack of dawn light

first spring ice breaking

portent of snow slide

in the year's turning

tracked as a wolf might

the caribou's wandering

learned at his making

when words are spoken

there is no unsaying

when earth is broken

there is no returning.


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