April is National Poetry Month and we are celebrating by sharing and honoring the poems and poets of our lovely peninsula. Be sure to check the Leelanau Historical Society’s Facebook page for more writers and poems. We picked this first one from a Northport resident, Thea M. Kellog. A poster of this poem about bears wandered into the museum and we fell in love with it. We hope you’re dancing with the bears too after reading this poem.
Night Bears of Leelanau
by Thea M. Kellog, 1995
One night when I did awake, because I could not sleep.
My love arose to leave me. I said “I’ll just count sheep.”
“Oh no,” he said “count bears, they’re ever so unique!”
“I started at the age of six, bears do more things than sheep.”
I thought about these bears he knew, I smiled and closed my eyes.
At first these bears just lumbered in, and then much to my surprise,
They turned and stood on their hind feet! They studied me and stared,
I was a stranger in their midst, but yet they knew I cared.
These bears were every shape and size. They dressed in colors bright!
I knew that I would love these bears who found me on that night.
I know we’ll have adventures, we have promises to keep.
I’ll call them from their dark deep woods on nights I cannot sleep.
One night I woke at 3:00a.m., the ebars were not in sight.
I called to them, I yelled tot hem. They said, “GO AWAY — WE’RE SLEEPING!”
“No,” I cried, “That’s not how it works, for I have control of the plan.”
They stomped their feet, they grumbled, “you don’t know our land!”
They were not dressed in colors bright. For their sleep they just wore gray.
They looked at me through tired eyes as I heard the biggest one say,
“We will not come out tonight, so please be on your way.”
“We only come when you’re polite and we come when we ALL want to play.”
I slowly turned from the woods, back in bed, I tried to sleep
I closed my eyes and was so sad, a tear ran down my cheek.
That night I learned a lesson and I learned it from a bear!
If I want friends to play with me, I have to learn to share.
In time I walked up to the woods with a honey gift in hand.
“I’m sorry I didn’t think of your feelings. May I join you in your land?”
I never head such commotion! A path was quickly cleared.
They all arrived and smiled. “We’re glad you came,” they cheered.
They handed me a huge bouquet, mixed with white Queen Anne’s Lace.
Next morning when I did wake, ’twas in my favorite vase!
These bears have come into my life and I am in such awe,
to spend my semi-sleepless nights with the Bears of Leelanau.