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"SONG OF MISSIKAMAA" -- (Ojibwa for Michigan/Michigami): Big Beautiful Blue Lake:

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Published on Sep 22, 2016

By ALICIA PATCH OLDHAM (89 year old artist/poet): Alicia's poem provides a very visual depiction of the changing seasons, and her thoughts and favorite memories of life in Michigan. Her poem lovingly encourages everyone to visit Michigan and see the natural beauty and special features of our State! .................... "SONG OF MISSIKAMAA" -- (OJIBWA FOR MICHIGAN/MICHIGAMI): BIG BEAUTIFUL BLUE LAKE ..................... "All night long I heard this song Whispering ‘round my head. I grabbed my pad and pencil Off the table by my bed. I could hear the wind a-moaning As this tune came back again I heard it sigh, of days gone by: “The song of Michigan”. I’d like to sing this song to you For it’s still haunting me. But first, I’ll have to ask you . . . Have you heard this melody? Have you felt the rhythm of the waves; Seen footprints in the snow, Glimpsed shadows on her moonlit shores As seasons come and go? Have you ever been to Michigan On a snowy winter’s day When the lakes are froze . . . the schools all close But it’s too cold out to play? All the trees bow down To touch the ground Like angels clad in white. We call it ‘Winter-Wonder Land’ And it is an awesome sight! Sometimes there’s an ice storm And the roads are glazed with ice . . . Weatherman warns us: “Traffic’s slow, Don’t go . . . if you don’t have to go!” So . . . we take his advice. We don our winter underwear, Settle back in our easy chair, Hibernate like a big brown bear, And hope for an early spring! After a while, it’s hard to smile – Sitting still too long, just cramps our style And ‘cabin fever’ has its fling. We’ve laid too long in our comfy bed, All the ‘Book of the Month Club’ books are read, Vernal visions dance in our heads, While circadian clocks forget to ring. Then . . . one day, to our surprise We wake and rub our sleepy eyes – And God’s changed everything! The earth wakes, too, from its winter’s nap, The maples start to ooze their sap, The birds return . . . (without a map?) . . . h-m-m-m And a robin starts to sing. Sometimes the March winds can be raw But when the lakes begin to thaw We can count again on Nature’s law: “Old winter’s lost its sting”. A crocus pokes its pretty head Thru a spot of snow in the flower bed, “Old Sol” peeks out from an April cloud, “Thor” seems to roar our thoughts out loud As he thunders down to the sleeping ground: “Awake, my dear . . . for Spring is here . . . Rise and shine . . . you sleepy head!” Have you ever been to Michigan When the lilacs are in bloom? You open wide your window And their fragrance floods the room. The lilies of the valley exude their sweet perfume As orioles, and hummingbirds, and busy honey bees All partake of nectar from the blooming cherry trees. If you should come to Michigan On a clear and cloudless day You’ll realize, these bright blue skies Mean summer’s on its way. It never lasts forever So enjoy it while you may. Drink in its lovely lakes and streams, Bask in its lazy, hazy dreams . . . Soak up its golden moon-lit beams And . . . you may decide to stay! Now, if you come to Michigan, Why don’t you come in Fall? It just may be (at least for me) The grandest time of all. It’s then you’ll see God’s artistry In every tree unfold. What once had been, a verdant green, Now . . . vivid reds and golds, Now . . . there’s a nip to autumn air, First frost will be here soon You feel earth’s rhythms everywhere, Drum-beat to the Harvest Moon. When it comes to Seasons It is so hard to choose, Each one has its fun-filled days, Each one has its winning ways, There’s no way you can lose, That is why I bid you come And join me as I sing Please . . . don’t disappoint me . . . Or my song won’t mean a thing. Should you come tomorrow On a still and foggy morn And hear the call of a mallard drake, Echoing across the lake Or the mournful tune of a love-sick loon, (He really does sound blue) These sounds I love, they’re music of Old days . . . When earth was new. This is Miššikamaa music That echoes o’er these waves. Can’t you hear Ojibwa maidens Call to Ojibwa braves Who hunt the proud wild turkey And the tawny white-tail deer As they trod the deep green forest By the trout streams running clear? There’s the ‘kuk’ of a ring-neck pheasant, The ‘caw’ of a jet-black crow . . . You can hear them . . . if you listen If you see them . . . then you’ll know Why I tell my story, Why I sing my song, Song of Miššikamaa . . . And I hope you’ll sing along. Should you never come here You may never understand, Or hear the ancient whispering wind That echoes o’er this land That’s girdled ‘round by deep blue waters . . . Where I live . . . and hope to die. Now . . . I drop my pad and pencil . . . as The wind becomes my lullabye."

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