Dunescape, A Collection of Poems

A Collection of 14 Poems written by Sharon Hammer Baker during her June 2007 Artist-in-Residence at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Afternoon Metallurgy

a sterling sun blankets
the broad lake with a million
flecks of shimmery silver

turning the sky above
so bright a shade of gray
the horizon disappears
in a gleam too painful to look at
and too compelling to ignore

gulls flying east pull the
lustrous mantle behind them
with each shiny wing stroke


Sunset Tapestry

woven of wind and water
it spreads out across
the ancient bed of sand and stone

a warp of color
a weft of ripples

pale golds and blues intersect
a boat’s wake weaves
a darker blue accent row
across the shimmering warp
of the setting sun’s reflection

as the brilliant disc slips
behind a cloud bank
the weaving is complete
edged by vibrant bands
of rose and coral and violet

a warp of color
a weft of ripples

the calm of night
smoothes the final wrinkles
from the finished cloth


Stopping by the Little Calumet River

at the edge of the water
the still brown surface
reflects a cloud of damsel flies
darting above a tangle of dry branches
in and out of the dappled sun
glistening iridescent blue
and brilliant black

Night Rain

after the long dry week
the welcome showers blow
from inland across the dunes

shooting thunder before them
like giant volleys across marshes
and oak savannahs toward the lake
then linger to dampen the sandy slopes

clean dust from quivering cottonwoods
replenish drying marshes and parched bogs
before rolling out to disappear over the lake

The Stump by the Lane

opposite the farmhouse gate
the grayed remains of
a tree planted long ago
and cut more recently

1908 and 1998 carved
deep in weathered wood
the flat mossy stump
holds its own epitaph

once the tree shaded
the fine brick farmhouse
and sheltered children at play
while birds nested within

now it sloughs what bark remains
enriches the soil around it and
feeds the dandelions and grasses
that crowd its crumbling edge

Chellberg Ravine

Behind the barn
The land dips sharply
Through thick woods
No good for farming
It was left to flourish
In its own woodsy way

Now stairs and bridges
Slippery from last night’s rain
Lead down into the ravine
Fresh with a trickle of stream
And polls of standing water

Dappled shade echoes
With rasps pf the last cicadas
Ginseng and rue anemone
Flourish under tiny maples
Mosses and lichens color
Rough bark and smooth rocks

Along the winding way
Droplets hang on sheltered leaves
Pale and tender in the cool shade
Of this ancient untouched flume
At the edge of the old farm


Morning at the Douglas Center

beside the path
near the marsh pond

shards of eggs lay
scattered beside
a sandy pit

a turtle’s nest
invaded, destroyed

as the sun reaches
between tall oaks
the air warms

in the near distance
another train screams by


Marsh Colors

at the edge of summer
a red-headed woodpecker
deepens his dark dwelling
in the weathered utility pole

milkweed flowers below
reflect his brilliant hue
showing traces of pink
on tight buds

Storm Ride

bright white against
steel blue rain clouds

gulls glide on strong
storms winds of the lake

following the line
where sand and water meet

across the dunescape
soaring on wings

held still and outright
for the effortless ride

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

Contact Us