Lake Mistake

The Great Lakes are a natural marvel.   And even though these massive bodies of water have distinct personalities, in 2004 then-U.S. Senator Norm Coleman appeared to get a couple of the Great Lakes mixed up.  

“We have Duluth, which is located on Lake Erie, which is the entryway, the gateway to the Great Lakes …” Senator Norm Coleman, during a debate about the National Intelligence Reform Bill, US Senate, September 28, 2004

This inexplicable error led to two things public officials and their constituents hate in equal measure – criticism and poetry.

A person could, if he were weary
Confuse Superior and Erie
For both are wet and natural.
Their first names are identical!

They both are colored blue on maps.
They both have buoys. Both have traps
for mollusks, fish, and water thingies.
They’re full of waves and boats and dinghies.

Politically you can’t divide ‘em.
Both have swing states right beside ‘em.
Round the edge are geese and ducks
And on the northern shore – Canucks!

Except for size and depth and clarity;
History, geography (a minor disparity)
Color, flavor, smell and name
It’s fair to say they are the same.

It’s something of a minor art
to tell these Greatest lakes apart.
So here’s a hint from one who’s tried it.
One has the other’s name inside it.

Superior is clearly better.
Deeper, wider, has more letters.
If you mix them in your stupor,
take Eri out, it still is Supor.

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