Monday, March 21, 2005

Dreams of Gitchigumi

I imagine myself
In a row boat
Far out past the horizon
In the cold gray fog of Lake Superior
I lay there and feel the clouds kiss my skin
Rocking on a wave

I imagine myself
Sinking into the cold black water
With my eyes open wide
Feeling the ice sink into my bones
Looking around
Swirling tiny bubbles

I imagine myself
Sitting on the bottom
Feet pressed firmly in the sand
Looking up at miles of water and air
Listening to the voice of the whispering water
Watching the ancient secrets unfold
Before my eyes

I imagine myself
A dreamer asleep
Safe in another world
Wrapped in memories and hope
Feeling the water flow by
Lying in the bottom of the lake
Wide awake in life


Blogger Adrian said...

Hi Jen
I'm an Englishman and have unfortunately not yet visited the Great Lakes area, but I sometimes write poems about winter, the wilderness, etc. I wrote this one last night so perhaps you'd like to see it:

From this stale-and-shrouded, crowded sun
let time turn tomorrow's page
till I stand where icy rivers run
to Gitchigumi's rage:
where the wild wolf midnight's silence splinters
where frozen forests gnarl
through the blinding snows of savage winters
to the shores of Isle Royale.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Thank you so much for sharing your poem with me! It reminds me so much of home. I hope that one day you can make it there.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lake they all say never gives up her dead, when the gales of november come callin'...

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitchigumi
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty.
That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed
When the "Gales of November" came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feeling?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave tumbled over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck saying
"Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya."
At seven PM the main hatchway caved in, he said
"Fellas, it's been good to know ya"

The captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized;
They may have broke deep and took water.
All that remains are the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her icewater mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
The isles and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
In the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitchigumi
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Wow, fabulous poetry! Love the words to Gordon's song added on, and too. Nice work!

Roseville CA

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All 29 men on the Edmund Fitzgerald were not from Michigan. Some came from Ohio & Wisconsin. One was from Florida. My father was one of those men & he was living in Wisconsin at the time.

2:00 PM  

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