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Bill: Enshrine 'Minnesota Blue' poem in law

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A poem that serves as a tribute to the state of Minnesota is in line for a tribute itself.  

A bill that would designate Cordell Keith Haugen's "Minnesota Blue" as the official state poem surfaced Wednesday. It would add the poem to a pantheon of state symbols recognized in law. Hockey is the state sport, the loon is the state bird, the walleye is the state fish, blueberry is the official state muffin flavor. In all, Minnesota has a dozen official symbols.  

The poem bill was introduced by Republican Sen. Bruce Anderson of Buffalo.  

The 45-line poem starts and ends with a "Minnesota, how I love you" verse. Here it is in full:

MINNESOTA BLUE 

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I've been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, your lakes and rivers too
How I miss your Minnesota Blue

Do your golden fields of wheat and corn
Still shimmer in the early morn
Waving to the clouds as they drift by
Do moose and bear still rule the earth
In the Red River Valley of my birth
  Do the Northern Lights still dance across your sky
  Does the North Star still guide you
  Do your farmers still provide you
  With the way of life that we all learned to share
  Do they still follow the Golden Rule
  And dress up each week for Sunday School
  Do your families still give thanks for living there

Are your skies still free of smoke and haze
  Do your old folks still remember days
When your skyline was a grove of Norway pines
Does the North Wind whistle through your trees
  Can you still smell wildflowers on the breeze
Do bass and pike still play with fishing lines
Do your children still walk the rails
Or discover hidden Indian trails
Do canoes glide through Minnesota streams
Can you hear the cry of the lonely loon
Do wolves still howl at your full moon
Is Viking Land still Mother Nature's dream

Do you still have dairies and rolling hills
And mines and quarries and flour mills
Do you still brew the best of America's beers
  Do bobcats still cry at night
Does snow still fall so soft and white
Do icicles hang like crystal chandeliers
So many of yours have left to roam
But they still call Minnesota home
Like geese that fly above your lakes and wilds
And for every one of your million stars
  There's a prairie son who's traveled far
Oh, please remember this Minnesota child. 

Minnesota, how I love you
Minnesota, I've been away too long
How I miss your clean fresh air, 10,000 lakes and you

How I miss my Minnesota Blue
Oh, how I miss my Minnesota Blue

Copyright 1985, Keith Haugen