The Writer’s Garret

The Writer’s Garret

By Christine Swanberg, Author and Poet

This summer’s “Writer’s Garret” will feature the winners and honorable mentions from the 2003 Rock River Poetry Contest as well as a literary column. During the summer, the column will feature a literary retrospective of Door County, where many local people spend their summer vacations. This feature will contain some poetry written about Door County along with selected memoirs from this writer’s point of view. The first entry in this summer series is the following poem, “At Cana Cove.” Cana Cove is an enchanted stretch of beach and woods along the Lake Michigan shore on the east side of Door County. Cana Island Lighthouse, accessible by foot if the water is low enough, juts out into the water, making this area remarkably beautiful. The trick is: You have to find it by going down some rustic roads. It isn’t easy to find, and many people who travel to Door County never do find it. I consider it part of Hidden Door County, where there are no T-shirt shops or sprawling tourist attractions. It is so wonderful, you will have to find it on your own.

At Cana Cove

—Door County, Wisconsin

Today the May sun surprises

Like a long-distance phone call

From a friend gone too long,

And all day the lady fingers

Of Lake Michigan massage the rocks.

Mergansers ride the waves

Off Cana Island Lighthouse,

That bright white beacon beckoning

Me back year after year.


At dusk I walked the cove again,

A private ritual of silence sliced

By a gull’s cry.

A lullaby of lapping waves.

Then a fox

Jogging along road shoulders,

Stopping beneath a pine.

Its ears perk up, its fur glistening

In the Nordic moon rising

From that softest pink horizon

We connoisseurs of dusk

Know is strictly Door.

Then a buck

Drinking from the lake, his hooves

A shadow on precarious rocks,

So vulnerable. So bold.

—Christine Swanberg

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