Sing Minnesota's Saga
Sing, little Crow Wing, lyrical your falls;
The Moccasin is blooming; the goldfinch calls:
The catkins crouch upon the swaying willows--
Follow a time-worn path--Wing, dappled billows!
I hear the Crow Wing waters as they flow
Chant Minnesota's saga, and I know
They ran through primal prairies, gypsy-free,
Startled by church and school bells--Destiny!
The French explorers came, the British too;
Her native tribes, the Chippewa and Sioux;
Arrival of the settlers--trampled trails ...
The Indian missions--Light that never fails!
The Sioux-land treaty--wagons pushing west;
The great seal of the state with its attest:
"I fain would see what lies beyond." The white
Man with his plow is here--His dreams are bright--
The Indian must go. All this I hear
While listening to the Crow Wing, silver-clear.
Sing, little Crow Wing! Sing of summer skies;
Man bent to purpose; faith in woman's eyes.
Tassled are cornfields; saffron is the grain;
Aster-blue the prairies; fruited the plain!
Straight as the Norway Pine, the Red Man stands
Then slow-retreats as settlers claim his lands.
Gone, isolation with the pack-horse trail!
A miracle: the railroad! Daily mail!
The frontier fears and loneliness disperse.
I watch the "boom," the panic's violence;
See Minnesota's countenance grow tense
Then eased and confident. I feel the urge
Of freedom's spirit in her heart to purge
The land of slavery. I know her white,
High courage and her starward faith in right.
I see a day, one hundred years ago,
Her day of statehood--a new star to glow
Unsullied in the banner of the free--
A timeless star to touch Infinity.
Sing, little Crow Wing! Sing of scarlet, gold;
Filled is the empty hutch, all it can hold.
Sing, little river, slowly, slowly run
Chanting in gratitude; gone the harvest sun!
My heart is tuned to rhythm of the song
Of Minnesota's cities with their long-
Line traffic, swarming streets, their commerce-humming--
I love to hear her mighty cities' thrumming!
But more I love the still, reflective peace
Of her small villages when labors cease
And twilight gently comes, for then I hear
Her children's laughter ... As the stars appear,
The old recall the locust year's dismay;
The young in love await the newer day,
For hush! They hear prophetic waters sing
A greater Minnesota's offering!
Still looking westward, eyes adventure-flamed,
Then scan the vastness of the sky unclaimed.
Dream little Crow Wing! Sweet is your repose
While beauty lies asleep beneath the snows.
Dream of tomorrow--Moccasin awaits
Your song when rain comes tapping April's gates!