Lileks: It's nice, but official state poem? No dice
- Article by: JAMES LILEKS
- Star Tribune
- February 16, 2013 - 6:14 PM
There's a movement to declare "Minnesota Blue" the official state poem. It was written in 1985 by a guy in Hawaii, but it's otherwise modern and local.
It satisfies the basic conception of a traditional ode: It rhymes, and a trained horse could stamp out the meter. It includes the loon, whose gibbering babble reminds us all of evenings at the lake. It even mentions crops.
It's not free verse -- like, for example, this:
Pointy part pokes Canada and
Your flat part sits on Iowa's head just
As your western border elbows South Dakota
In the side. Play nice now.
But do we need a state poem? No more than a state muffin (blueberry) or a state tool (ball-peen hammer) or a state state (somewhat repressed.) States need a motto, a flag and a song. If your song is about how the flag has the motto on it, even better. But a poem?
Sure. Can't cost more than the ink to run off a copy to put in the Secretary of State's office and file it next to the State Crossword Puzzle and the State Rebus and the State Palindrome.
But some object because it's about missing Minnesota. Heck, if that's OK, why not commission a Snowbird Ode:
Yea, I dwell in Phoenix / Where I rarely wear a coat / News says 10 inches on the Range / Well, better phone and gloat
Of course, once we open it up to the opinions of various subgroups of our state, we'll have to have a poem for the legislators:
I think that I shall never see
A bill as lovely as 2013-ii (c)
It does what people of our State
So love to do, that's regulate
It solves a problem keenly felt
When VFWs offer smelt
To one and all for fish-fry dinners
Some of those smelt are actually minners
No, we should stick with something about loons and grains. But something to consider -- here's the second verse:
"Do your golden fields of wheat and corn / Still shimmer in the early morn /Waving to the clouds as they drift by / Do moose and bear still rule the earth / In the Red River Valley of my birth."
You can sing it to the melody of Hawaii 5-0.
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