MINNESOTA BLUE – SHOULD IT BE THE STATE POEM?

Cordell Keith Haugen, one of the most prolific songwriters in Hawaii over the past decades is a native Minnesotan. Haugen was born in Greenbush, in far northwestern Minnesota. After serving in the Army he lived in Japan, returned to Idaho for college and wound up in Hawaii working for the government in public relations. And he wrote music!

It’s not uncommon for natives of Minnesota to eventually find their thoughts and their hearts back in Minnesota remembering the wonders of their childhood. In 1985 Haugen wrote Minnesota Blue. A beautiful poem expressing a man’s pride in his homeland. “Minnesota was a great place to grow up, and remains a wonderful place to raise a family,” he says today. “I feel a sense of pride when I read about surveys which rank the state of my childhood high in the things that really count — like education, quality of living and concern for the environment.”

A bill was introduced by State Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo) to honor his words as the state poem.  The following is cited from the Assoc Press “Unfortunately Minnesota has a poet laureate thanks to a law pursued years ago by Minneapolis Rep. Phyllis Kahn. But Kahn, a Democrat, had a dour reaction to the proposed “Minnesota Blue” tribute.

She said it might be offensive to people here to give the honor to a piece written by someone who has lived most of his life elsewhere. And she had doubts about the ability of any poem to stand the test of time that comes with being an official state symbol.

“Having a poet laureate is good enough for me,” she said.” Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

MINNESOTA BLUE

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I’ve been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, your lakes and rivers too
How I miss your Minnesota Blue

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
Do the Northern Lights still dance across your sky
Does the North Star still guide you
Do your farmers still provide you
With the way of life that we all learned to share
Do they still follow the Golden Rule
And dress up each week for Sunday School
Do your families still give thanks for living there

Are your skies still free of smoke and haze
Do your old folks still remember days
When your skyline was a grove of Norway pines
Does the North Wind whistle through your trees
Can you still smell wildflowers on the breeze
Do bass and pike still play with fishing lines
Do your children still walk the rails
Or discover hidden Indian trails
Do canoes glide through Minnesota streams
Can you hear the cry of the lonely loon
Do wolves still howl at your full moon
Is Viking Land still Mother Nature’s dream

Do you still have dairies and rolling hills
And mines and quarries and flour mills
Do you still brew the best of America’s beers
Do bobcats still cry at night
Does snow still fall so soft and white
Do icicles hang like crystal chandeliers
So many of yours have left to roam
But they still call Minnesota home
Like geese that fly above your lakes and wilds
And for every one of your million stars
There’s a prairie son who’s traveled far
Oh, please remember this Minnesota child.

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I’ve been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, 10,000 lakes and you

How I miss my Minnesota Blue
Oh, how I miss my Minnesota Blue
Copyright 1985, Keith Haugen

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