Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

I bet you thought that it was only a song didn’t you?  Well it is a song, but it’s a song with a purpose, sort of like that Boney M song Rasputin that Ms. Mac told us all about a while ago.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the sinking of The Edmund Fitzgerald.  Wow, I always thought it was much longer than that, because I always knew the song by Gordon Lightfoot

I can tell you all about it, but Gordon does a great job of explaining it in his song, so here are the lyrics:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on downOf the big lake they call Gitche GumeeThe lake, it is said, never gives up her deadWhen the skies of November turn gloomy.With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons moreThan the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed emptyThat good ship and true was a bone to be chewedWhen the gales of November came earlyThe ship was the pride of the American sideComing back from some mill in WisconsonAs the big freighters go it was bigger than mostWith a crew and the Captain well seasoned.Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firmsWhen they left fully loaded for ClevelandAnd later that night when the ships bell rangCould it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.The wind in the wires made a tattletale soundAnd a wave broke over the railingAnd 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 waitWhen the gales of November came slashingWhen afternoon came it was freezing rainIn the face of a hurricane West WindWhen supper time came the old cook came on deckSaying fellows it's too rough to feed yaAt 7PM a main hatchway caved inHe said fellas it's been good to know ya.The Captain wired in he had water coming inAnd the good ship and crew was in perilAnd later that night when his lights went out of sightCame the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.Does anyone know where the love of God goesWhen the words turn the minutes to hoursThe searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish BayIf they'd fifteen more miles behind her.They might have split up or they might have capsizedThey may have broke deep and took waterAnd all that remains is the faces and the namesOf the wives and the sons and the daughters.Lake Huron rolls, Superior singsIn the ruins of her ice water mansionOld Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,The islands and bays are for sportsmen.And farther below Lake OntarioTakes in what Lake Erie can send herAnd the iron boats go as the mariners all knowWith the gales of November remembered.In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayedIn the Maritime Sailors' CathedralThe church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 timesFor each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.The legend lives on from the Chippewa on downOf the big lake they call Gitche GumeeSuperior, they say, never gives up her deadWhen the gales of November come early.

4 comments:

Gretchen said...

As a former Wisconsinite, I can proudly say (should I be proud?) that I know that song! My sister and I used to love singing it as kids, and we especially loved calling the lake Gitche Gumee. Thanks for the memories.

captain_howdy_girl said...

I like gordon lightfoot. my parents used to listen to him when we went camping

The Big Finn said...

Mrs. TBF and I actually went to a Gordon Lightfoot concert at Ravinia when we were dating. Man! That had to be about twenty years ago.!

Andi said...

I first heard that song about four years ago and loved the story behind it.