Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind.

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
preview At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

Gordon Lightfoot


Blogger Adagio said...

Yesterday I was listening to one of Dylan's early songs (compliments of National Radio) and it reminded me so much of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But I could not remember who the artist was. So I Googled it today and found that, of course, it was Gordon Lightfoot. I haven't been able to get the song out of my head today. That, and other things, made me feel/think it was time to add something to my forlorn little blog. Cheers all!

4:07 PM  
Blogger pohanginapete said...

Some of Gordon Lightfoot's songs don't work for me, but this one does. Haunting and powerful, it's a near-transcendent elegy, a fitting tribute to those lost and those who lost them.

I know that other song, and for the life of me I can't remember it either.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Adagio said...

God, you must have had your finger on the button Pete! That must be a record. You obviously haven't drowned in all this rain we have been having. "Rain, rain go away..."

I must have another Google around and find the name of Dylan's song.

Great to hear from you.

4:18 PM  
Blogger jacqueline b said...

The nautical theme is very fitting for me at present, though it's all sun and calm seas here on the Hawkesbury. I enjoyed watching a youtube clip after reading this, of gordon doing his thing.

8:49 PM  
Blogger juliet said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


2:33 AM  

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