Saturday, July 11, 2009


Many people visiting the blog have asked for the complete poem; here it is. Alaska is more that a pretty face of unbelievable beauty or images of humans surviving in an unforgiving place, it is a state of mind. North to Alaska--Islands of Stability in Seas of Change will capture that state. If you enjoy the poem comments or posts are very welcome.
Come with me, beyond the seas, to the land of the Midnight Sun,
Northern Lights, glacier bays, icy peaks and mighty salmon runs,
Where a man is not judged by race, color, creed, money, or even looks,
But rather how well he sets a choker, mends a seine or baits a halibut hook.
It is known to all who visit or live there as truly The Last Frontier,
Where you know by actions at once a man’s core, there is no fa├žade or false veneer.
It’s a land of the bush pilot clawing through ocean fog and mountain mists,
No radar or tower, with one mistake and in an instance he ceases to exist,
Or the gill-netter fighting sleep, drifting toward Five Fingers Rocks,
Hoping for a full net as his boat and gear are way too deep in hock,
Or the logger in a jungle of Sitka Spruce eaten by mosquitoes and gnats,
Another tree to fall, choker to set, no time to rest or even chat,
Or the bravest of them all who is hidden by the 50 foot swells,
Lifting crab pots in a frigid Alaska Gulf ocean hell,
Or the innkeeper eking out a living in a tourist season far too short,
Hoping the reservations all come through and none will abort,
Or maybe the pipeline worker in parka shaking to his very marrow,
As the cold arctic winds blow long and hard across Pt. Barrow,
Or the Aleut with harpoon in hand not moving on an icy ridge,
Be this the day, with one toss I store another seal in nature’s fridge,
Or maybe even the tourist on a hike about to find the ultimate rush,
That sound, that rustle, that noise, is it a Brown Bear coming through the brush?
In a land where nature has stacked the deck and holds all the cards,
Where life outside the cities is never easy and always very hard,
For those who live, no matter whom or where, there is a common, admired trait,
When nature strikes, all is dropped and one rushes to save another from a deadly fate,
Contrast that with the pleasures and beauty we have in Newport Beach,
Where the values are as far from Alaska as a man could ever reach,
A man too often is faceless, honored not for character or strength of name,
But his FICO, and if not a Beamer, Benz or Rover to drive, he must hang his head in shame,
Too often judged by the skill of a scalpel for his trophy mate,
Or the length of the unused yacht in the harbor he uses as bait.
What values to you teach when a million dollar house is only a shack?
Where do you find the moral core that enables you to into adversity tack?
How do you shed the veneer that takes so much time to polish and shine?
God help you if in the material race, you begin to fall behind.
A suggestion not very novel nor even very bold,
Visit this land of human warmth and frigid cold,
Bring back visions of the Northern Lights to store,
To share with a loved one when you stroll upon Newport’s sandy shores.

Michael P. Ridley
© August 8, 2007

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