Montana is Calling
Sent by Janet Imogene Hansen Fulkerson, on Nov. 21, 2013
Dear Montana Magazine,
Please find below a poem about Montana written in 2012 by my mother, the late Imogene Z. Hansen.
She died earlier this month at age 86 in my home in the state of Indiana.
I discovered the poem below on her computer AFTER she died when I was “cleaning out” files. Imogene resided in Montana 63 years, and lived in the same house in Helena for more than 50 of those.
Poor health caused her to move here so that I could care for her as her Parkinson’s disease progressed.
Attached is a 1954 photo of Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, holding my sister, Susan Marie, and a truck load of furniture made by Imogene’s father in Louisville, Kentucky. The young family was on its way back to Helena, where they were living in the basement of an unfinished house while Bruce was building the house next door that became their home from 1954 to 2010.
Bruce was the son of first-generation immigrants from Denmark. His parents started in a sod house in the middle of Grant (nowhere), Mont., then moved to Butte, where his father worked in a copper mine and died of silicosis.
Bruce, one of the “greatest generation”, came back from the U.S. Navy after WWII and worked hard to build a better life for his family. Imogene had a career a teacher in the Helena school system. Together, they raised three children who share their parent’s love for the state of Montana.
Montana Is Calling
By Imogene Hansen
September 17, 2012
My heart’s in Montana; my heart is not here.
It’s in Big Sky Country so high, wide, and clear.
From the mountains and prairies that I loved to roam
Montana is calling, and I want to go home.
I miss Montana which is far, far from here
where the earth is too flat and the sky seldom clear.
I miss the Chinook winds and the miles of fresh snow
where the sun will be shining at twenty below.
I want to be back in my Helena home,
walk down Last Chance Gulch, see the Capitol dome
while the giant who sleeps guards the valley below
where I’ll lie at peace when it’s my time to go.
I’d like to watch deer eat my flowers and grass,
see antelope run through the fields as I pass,
spot a lone elk or bear that might drift into town,
gaze at glorious skies when the sun’s going down.
I long to see places where tamaracks tall
turn from beautiful green to bright gold in the fall,
where summer brings wild flowers to each mountain side
and the bitterroots bloom when spring greets the divide.
I need to smell mountain air pristine and pure,
watch mountain goats scamper on feet swift and sure,
hear bugling elk call in the crisp autumn air,
feel the soft touch of snowflakes on my face and hair.
In Montana great glories of nature are found
and in Glacier and Yellowstone Parks they abound
where the Going-to-the-Sun and the Beartooth climb high
to the top of the world where the earth meets the sky.
Montana has prairies that roll like the sea
with Canada geese flying high in a v.
It has Northern Lights dancing across the night sky
and snow geese at Freezeout Lake waiting to fly.
It has riches in minerals deep underground,
and gold on the Highline in wheat fields is found.
I long to return each time I feel it call
for truly it is the “last, best place” of all.