The Julia Belle Swain, Part 1

Belle of many hearts, how you once cut through the Mississippi River was art.

Of Mark Twain and the swain which came about you.

How you blew your Calliope and sounded your whistle as you paddled throughout The Muddy and The Deep.


La Crosse, at sundown, she once stood at attention.

Speaking of you, an honor to mention.


Your first name was Julia, I do dare tell.

The current in the water below you spun and swell.


Steam poured through you, all of your hot and powerful veins.

Sorted history, faded paint, and tie-downs remain in your old space.


Your hull of history and mystery is massive as your myth.

A trip on you up and down the Mississippi was not to be missed.


Winona to Prairie Du Chien, now, in dreams.


So much attention and affection and now you sit vacated North of port.

Once accompanied by the leisurely relaxing sporting sort.


No more a deckhand says, “All Aboard!”

No more flags soar.

No more polished glass on the captain’s door.


As if your funeral precession was silent and empty.

Cut the ropes, let you drift-finally set free.


I imagine in my dreams dusting the Red, White, and Blue of you.


Many have loved you, taken sight of you-jaws have dropped in awe.


I had a single summer with you.

One season I will remember until I die.

To this moment what I learned from you:  Alone, I could still catch both lines and lock you down on the fly.


3 Comments to “The Julia Belle Swain, Part 1”

  1. Hey, Terry. This one rocks. Gave me chills. Nice work.


  2. Excellent post! Can you write a post about fertility also?

    Your writing skills are quite impressive, and I can
    see it definitely spurred some heated debate!
    Quite an impressive discussion this story started!

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