Collections Carousel – Charles “Charley” Martin, Teacher and Poet

Charles Martin, Circa 1974
Charles Martin, Circa 1974

Charles “Charley” Dennis Martin, teacher and poet, was born on June 28, 1909 to Dennis and Louise (Porlier) Martin. The Martin’s lived on a farm in Parker Township near Randall, Minnesota. Charles taught English at Little Falls High School, his alma mater, for nearly four decades. Well-loved and respected, the auditorium in the new Little Falls Community High School was named for him when he retired in 1974. Charles married Duane Heltemes of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, on December 29, 1937. Charles and Duane had three children – Dennis, Sharon and Thomas. Below are two poems written by Charley Martin from “Voices of Yesterday: With memories of Morrison County, Minnesota and the USA” published by The Morrison County Historical Society in 1977.

MY STATE

I love this place God’s set aside

With lakes and pines and rolling lands;

I love its wilderness and rich, cool earth

That feels so good within my hands.

I love this place-

I love the cold, harsh winters

That tumble into rivers in the spring-

And the hot rip’ning winds of summer

And threadbare autumn-

When birds southward take to wing.

All these things-and more-are mine

To make my love so great.

My home-it’s Minnesota-

It’s My State!

Charles Martin, Circa 1974
Charles Martin, Circa 1974

SOLITUDE RETURNS

(When summer training ends at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.)

Silently, the doe steps from the swamp

And noses curiously the breeze

That rises gently with the dawn.

And whispers in the trees

That the gunnered sentry

No longer trods with measured tread,

Nor do tracers needle through the night

Sewing Heaven with their golden thread.

That man has disappeared

With his cannon, trucks, and plane,

And left the fields and hills

To her and God again.

Then she signals to her fawn

And taps with dainty hoof a muskrat mound-

Then turns and flags the wind

And moves to higher ground.

Charles Martin, Circa 1974
Charles Martin, Circa 1974

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