From the "Lake Superior" Notes
(300 pages of notes Niedecker made in preparation for her poem "Lake
Photo Credit: (c) Bonnie Roub
"Notes from the Trip," an excerpt
edited by Jenny Penberthy for Sulfur 46 (Winter 2000).
* * * * *
Doty: Mackinaw country ? Island: Many of the rocks are crusted over
with calcareous spar, particularly at Robinson's Folly.
St. Mary's R. Here are whitefish of superior quality
white, red and grey sandstone in river at Soo
Grand Marais, 21 miles from the Two Hearted River (Michigan)
"as the season shifts"
S: "no ardent spirits shall be hereafter introduced under any pretence,
into the Indian country"
a lake, Plantagenette (The Rest in the Path) water fowl shot ? the mallard,
Towards Rainy R. from North Shore ? ospreys dive for fish and eagles
swoop down to rid them of their catch. Timber wolves, bear, beaver.
Frenchmen came there early 18th century to look for the Sea of the West.
Scene 20 years ago now much the same as then
The peace pipe the war chief smoked with his heart
Indians ? S: "a life of want and vicissitude"
"lakes of a pondy character, redolent with nymphae odorata, thru
which we successfully passed."
"the naked solitudes of Red River"
32 ft. long canoe
"a portage of four pauses"
lake ? its outlet of a spreading, sandy shelly character ? no Indian
nor French name so as Mr. Johnston shot a deer here we named the lake
after him. Sibly Lake (other notes)
un chanson du voyageur
He presented a pipe
Miss. R. Valley ? the great carboniferous limestone formation which
At home we're in the drowned lands ? trees standing permanently in the
"We slept on a kind of bog which the men call Tetes des femmes.
treaty of limits between the tribes
Pike (of Pike's Peak) when he went up the Miss. R. ? north of the St.
Croix R. he said the river (Miss. I take it) became "black in the
depths and clear in sandy shallows."
calcite ? a native calcium carbonate also called calc spar, occurring
in many crystalline forms, such as chalk, marble, etc . . .
The face of the earth is a graveyard and so it has always been.
My inner midwest
I was in a St. Ignace fog
Why this fascination with rock terms, name, probably because we like
to think the first geologists took their finds and created them ? name
to thing ? out of the nature of things ? plus sometimes their sound
or reflection of colour that delighted their senses.