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History’s Gem of the Month – Grand Marais Poems

June 2016

While searching through my archives to look for something to include as a “history gem,” I came across these three poems about Grand Marais.

Grand Marais by Esther Miller

On the shores of Lake Superior,
lies a special little town.
Inhabitants are very few,
but to me of great renown.
It brings back precious memories,
of my young and frivolous days.
School and teen days delving onward,
through every sort of phase.
I can see that stately lighthouse,
at the end of that rocky pier,
beckoning to ships that are lost in the night
Ships from both far and near.
I can visualize that harbor,
lit up by the vessels therein,
whose men await the storm to abate,
to get home to their kith and kin.
My ears still hear that great fog horn,
the lonesomest sound in the world.
But to many a weary traveler,
it’s like a banner unfurled.
I think of the times I have trod that beach,
when the lake was gentle and mild.
Picked up agates among the stones,
Oh! For the thoughts of a child.
The school overlooking that harbor
has memories too great to be told.
My childhood days so wonderful,
are treasures now that I’m old.
My friends are scattered here and there,
I often wonder if they
sometimes sit and dream like me
of places where we used to play.
The hills we used to slide on,
bob sleds we tugged up and down.
Over the snow banks and ridges,
then right through the heart of town.
in those days no cars were a threat.
We went merrily on our way,
singing at the top of our lungs
as we all went down in the sleigh.
We had such fun at dances.
He held me close to his heart.
not like the dances of today,
cavorting three feet apart.
Two steps, three steps and waltzes,
were more our cup of tea,
But of course – that was way back when,
this generation cannot see.
If I were to go home tomorrow,
I’d probably look in vain,
to find the things I’ve dreamed about,
things are never the same.
But I can keep on dreaming,
of the times that used to be,
and that in my book of memories
is good enough for me.

At Grand Marais by Roland A Beens

I hear the surging breakers roar,
along a far-off northern shore;
To fling their cascades crowned with spray
upon the sands at Grand Marais.
While towering birches, beaches, pine
stand guard along the rock-rimmed line
to Sable Point Light’s friendly ray,
leagues to the west of Grand Marais.
There dreams oft come and vanish too,
like gulls that veer above the blue.
Dreams of another tide that roars,
and breaks against grim, concrete shores—
of city canyons, dark and deep,
men toil to a hurried beat,
and never glimpse, where, far away,
one’s dreams come true at Grand Marais.
Custom soon comes with good and truce,
to draw me from these carefree days,
and lash me to life’s treadmill too,
Far from those sparkling waters blue,
but when the harness galls and sears,
and city life its ugly talons rears.
I’ll have my dreams to light the way
to Sable Light and Grand Marais.

Ode to Grand Marais by Sylvia Truhn (1963)

Oh, lovely Grand Marais, there is no place so fair
as you—a precious gem in setting rare;
when Lake Superior’s waves swirl in your bay,
and scenic wonders usher in each day.
I first laid my eyes on you in days of yore,
and lost my heart to you for evermore.
The years passed slowly, often sad and blue,
until that rapturous day when I return to you.
Since then I’ve walked for miles the sandy beach at dawn,
to watch the sun dispel the fog or kiss a startled fawn;
and in the eve with mirrored lake reflecting rainbow dyes.
I’ve stood among the gulls and heard their haunting cries.
When Spring drifts in on soft, caressing air,
the friendly frogs have sung their serenades beside my lair.
But that charmed season which enchants me more than all
Is crisp, sun-sparked, and artist frost’s be-painted Fall.
Then I have climbed the dunes to view the land,
the indigo of Sable Lake midst green and gold and red and sand.
When Winter winds blast snow across the ice-stilled bay at night,
I love to go exploring the drifted solitude in pale moon-light.
Whatever season comes your way, dear, captivating Grand Marais,
some glorious sight lends magic to each day;
and through the dark your flashing lighthouse beam,
comes dancing through my window pane to brighten every dream.
The only boon I ask of life is but to spend my days
among your priceless beauties, in sunlight and in haze,
and welcome every whim of weather that knocks upon my door,
and capture whiffs of your pure air forevermore.


History's Gems Archives

May 2007
(The Telescope Story)

June 2007
(The Story of the Grand Marais "Meteor")

July 2007
(Hints on Hunting Glacial Agate Article)

August 2007
(Lake Superior Origin from 1957)

Fall 2007
(Tourist Information from the 1920s)

December 2007
(Lake Superior Editorial)

January 2008
(Grand Marais Tourist Signpost)

February 2008
(Unusual Wedding Invitation)

March 2008
(1915 Rules for Teachers)

April 2008
(Cedar Stump article from 1962)

May 2008
(Old Postcards)

June 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal Proposal-Part 1)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 2)

Summer 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 3)

October 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal Proposal-Part 4)

November 2008
(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Proposal-Part 5)

December 2008
(Agate Leaflet from 1927)

January 2009
(Old Postcards)

February 2009
(Snowstorm Article from 1988)

March 2009
(Lake Superior Agate Poem)

Spring 2009
(History of M77)

July 2009
(Axel Niemi Photo)

August 2009
(Ship Travel on Lake Superior)

September 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates)

Fall 2009
(Hints on Hunting and Finding Agates Part 2)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 1)

February 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 2)

April/May 2010
(The Story of Grand Marais Part 3)

June 2010
(Box of Rocks Gets Diploma)

July 2010
(Shipwrecks at Agate Beach)

August/September 2010
(1958 Detroit News Article about Axel Niemi)

Fall 2010
(Reprint from the Douglas Houghton Expedition)

Winter 2011
(Old Postcards and Pictures)

Spring 2011
(1905 Grand Marais Article)

September 2011
(Michigan Log Marks)

March 2012
(John Keating)

January 2012
(Axel Remembered)

March 2012
(John Keating)

June 2012
(The Shark: Post 1)

September 2012
(The Shark: Post 2)

March 2013
(The Shark: Post 3)

August 2013
(All That Glitters. . .)

November 2013
(Excerpts from The Grand Marais Herald)

April 2014
(Souvenir View Book of Sault Ste. Marie)

September 2014
(Michigan Beach Stones)

February 2015
(Michiganís Mystic Dunes)

June 2015
(Vintage Grand Marais Photos)

November 2015
(Gitchee Agomowin)

June 2016
(Grand Marais Poems)

March 2017
(Logging Era Photos)

July 2017
(Jonas Hill Letters)

December 2017
(Seagull (Lost) Island, Grand Marais Bay)


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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839


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