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Give Me Lakes
Kenton M. Stewart

As a student on the shore
thinking thoughts not thought before,
I wondered why, yes why, do lakes appeal to me?
What is their magic lure?
Oh yes, it's magic to be sure,
but there's more to lakes than eyes can really see.
So... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

Am I hopelessly romantic,
are my thoughts of lakes just frantic
yearning for some knowledge from that haunting blue?
But is color only tissue,
and the depths the deeper issue
where dynamic interactions challenge you?
Yes... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

What is beneath the surface
has its mystery and purpose.
Though physics does not lie it can confuse,
along with chemistry, biology,
and others like geology,
and now with all the journals we have no time to peruse.
Still... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

When still waters start to flow,
with their motions to and fro,
turbulence and chaos are their call.
But I get my greatest high,
when the waters stratify,
And the thermal structure sets the stage for all.
So... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

Now take your average algal cell,
which photosynthesizes well,
within the photic zone of temperate lakes.
This microscopic grass,
which through herbivores may pass,
shows us energy recycling with high stakes.
So... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

There are some whose fondest dreams
are simply satisfied by streams,
where turbulent transport confuses Stokes.
But I am one who feels,
that more challenging appeals,
Are met by your average lentic folks.
So... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

Still others satisfy their notions
with the motions of the oceans,
where salt and tide are factored in.
This will do if big is better,
probing depths beyond forever,
but to me its stretching things a bit too thin.
So... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!

Just keep your thoughts on lakes,
Yes I said lakes, I said lakes,
where challenge and beauty interact.
Like me you'll wonder and ponder,
As those blue gems make you fonder,
of a fluid side of nature, that's a fact.
Just... give me lakes, give me lakes, give me lakes!


about this poem

Aquatic ecologists study interactions in lakes, streams, oceans and other bodies of water.  Rarely, however, does one ecologist work in all of these ecosystems.  Instead, the tradition has been for each aquatic ecologist to specialize either as a lake ecologist, stream ecologist or marine ecologist.

In this poem, lake ecologist Kenton M. Stewart of the Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, tells us some of the reasons why he likes to do his ecological research in lakes.  As might be expected, there are stream ecologists and marine ecologists who are equally passionate about the waters that they work in.

Because Professor Stewart has studied a great many lakes, someone once asked him which lake was his favorite.  His answer was similar to that of the late humorist/writer Will Rogers, who said that he never met a man he didn't like.  "I never met a lake I didn't like," paraphrased Dr. Stewart.  "Each lake is unique, and so I have no favorite."

This poem was originally published in the IAGLR Lakes Letter, Volume 25, page 12 (1994).  However, Stewart was inspired to write the poem a few years earlier while he was enroute to and attending an IAGLR Conference (30 May - 2 June 1989) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.  The poem is reprinted here with the permission of the International Association of Great Lakes Research and Dr. Stewart.  The photograph was taken at Lake Guaíba, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, by Guilherme Silva of Porto Alegre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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