Bill would designate state poem

Legislation introduced today in the Minnesota Senate would designate an official state poem.

Sen. Bruce Anderson, R-Buffalo Township, is proposing the honor for “Minnesota Blue,” which was written by Keith Haugen in 1985 as a tribute to the state. In addition to the designation, Anderson’s bill would require that a copy of the poem be placed in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Here’s the poem:


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

  • I think we need to work on improving our flag, seal, and anthem, before we start thinking about a poem.

  • Brian Wene

    I don’t like this archaic portrait of a very modern and cutting edge environment we have in our glorious state. Just think about how our twin cities are ever changing. We have some brand new stadiums to hold up high and some state-of-the-art transportation to look forward to in the next few years. We have very modern museums and theatres present here and a music scene that rivals any in the modern world. Also we have the best medicine clinics and hospitals in America! All of this is very modern and cutting edge! I think that a state poem ought to shine a light on these ‘modern’ qualities rather than an antiquated vision of our glorious state.

  • suestuben

    I think we should consider the artistic merit of a state poem. If the poem is relatively ‘artless’ then it is a poor representation of the state. MN is a wonderment of the arts, in our theatre, our museums, our film festivals, and the many authors we’ve born. If our state poem is poorly crafted it may negate the illustrious art reputation we have in the nation. Perhaps we could select several poems as candidates and then call for public comment or votes. ‘Minnesota Blue’ is probably not the best example of our state’s artistic acumen.

  • Gosh, wasn’t it just last week that the MN-GOP was complaining about how legislative time was being spent … for example, Senator Warren Limmer (the Republican from Maple Grove) said :”Why is the agenda focused on guns and it’s not on the budget in the state of Minnesota, because that’s the long range issue that’s going to affect every Minnesotan for many years to come.”

    And this breaking news is being matched by Erik Paulsen who introduced HR. 627 which will authorize the minting of a series of commemorative coins (a five dollar gold coin, a silver dollar, and a clad half dollar) to recognize the National Park Service.

    Wake me when they start working on real stuff.

  • Jim

    This legislation is a complete waste of time. Are you kidding me Senator Anderson? Balance the budget, stop the ridiculous tax increases, then retire back to your couch and watch another episode of Green Acres.

  • Orval Lund

    This poem’s not bad as this sort of thing goes–alma maters and the like–though it is rather pedestrian and sentimental. If we’re going to have a state poem, we ought to invite our current and former poet laureates to write one–especially Robert Bly, who just yesterday was honored with the Frost Award.

  • Landis Lundquist

    I’ve met the author of this poem in Hawaii where he performed in Honolulu. He has written and performed more songs than, perhaps, any other person living in Hawaii. I suspect that he plays “Minnesota Blue” on his ukelele each night, providing Minnesotan travelers with a piece of home. I disagree that Minnesota is now too sophisticated for such a simple poem. At its heart our state is still the wild, natural place the song portrays and, I believe, intends to preserve. Perhaps someone gone from the state has the best perspective.