by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The rocky ledge runs far into the sea, and on its outer point, some miles away, the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry, A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
Even at this distance I can see the tides, Upheaving, break unheard along its base, A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides in the white tip and tremor of the face.
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright, through the deep purple of the twilight air, Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light, with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!
No one alone: from each projecting cape And perilous reef along the ocean's verge, Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape, Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave, Wading far out among the rocks and sands, The night o'er taken mariner to save.
And the great ships sail outward and return Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells, And ever joyful, as they see it burn They wave their silent welcome and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails Gleam for a moment only in the blaze, And eager faces, as the light unveils Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
The mariner remembers when a child, on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink And when returning from adventures wild, He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same, Year after year, through all the silent night Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame, Shines on that inextinguishable light!
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace: It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp, And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.
The startled waves leap over it; the storm Smites it with all the scourges of the rain, And steadily against its solid form press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din of wings and winds and solitary cries, Blinded and maddened by the light within, Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock, Still grasping in his hand the fire of love, it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock, but hails the mariner with words of love.
"Sail on!" it says: "sail on, ye stately ships! And with your floating bridge the ocean span; Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse. Be yours to bring man neared unto man.
South Manitou Island Light, PO Box 277, South Manitou Island, MI, Phone: (231) 256-9061. Located in Leelanau county, southeast of south Manitou islands. Strategically located off the mainland coast of Michigan, the Manitou Islands formed the western side of what was known as the "Manitou Passage." By traveling through this passage, vessels were able to reduce the distance between ports on the southern shores into the Straits of Mackinac by sixty miles, as compared to the trip around the islands on the lake side
Waugoshance Light [Lighthouse], Waugoshance Light, Cross Village, MI 49723, Phone: (800) 828-6157. A silent and majestic sentinel, the Waugoshance Lighthouse marks the western entrance to the Straits of Mackinac. This treacherous area of Lake Michigan was the location of the first Lightship, stationed on Waugoshance Shoal in 1832. It was used to help guide the many ships through the area, now known as Wilderness State Park. After nineteen years of service, in 1851, the Lighthouse Board decided to replace the Lightship with the present Lighthouse.