God called Ham; a poem to honor Ham Muus

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Background for this poem.

Ham Muus, more than any other man, inspired my later teen and college years. He created four experiences for needy youth and I was privileged to counsel at them all- often with Ham leading the charge.

  • Wilderness Canoe Base, a camp on Seagull Lake near the end of the Gunflint Trail in Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters region.
  • Frontier Farm, a group home for delinquent youth near Effie, Minnesota- now a Teen Corp camp.
  • Big Horn Mountain Expedition, a trek up the side of the Big Horn Mountains, near Casper, Wyoming to Bomber Mountain.
  • Camp Amnicon, a wilderness camp on the south shore of Lake Superior. Here counselors and campers paddled Montreal canoes on the lake, setting up camp along the beach each night for a week.

As a young seminary graduate from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, this energetic young minister was intent on social justice and to further that end, was instrumental in founding Plymouth Christian Youth Center in Minneapolis. PCYC has grown into an expansive ministry with a call to enrich the skills, prospects and spirit of North Minneapolis area youth and adults, in partnership with families and communities.

I hope this does you justice, dear Ham. I love you.


God called Ham

The land of many waters, flourishing with pine
raised from icy shorelines one fittest of mankind.
With glorious carepower, in redhead Lutheran guise,
this keeper of Creation, God called to improvise.
To tempt probated youth away from troubled gangs,
away from scorching sidewalks. Come along, he sang.
Toward a camp with wooden cabins built with blistered hands
set beside clear rivers and trumpeting loon bands.

And Ham said,
Hold fast to this Wilderness, the camp that God decreed.
At Wilderness we plant our cross,
address our neighbor's need.

And to this Wilderness there came both indigent and tithed
to paddle along quiet streams, to prosper among flies.
God spoke in ways mysterious, God led in ways most wise.
On yokefellows and portages He shared His deep blue skies.
It wasn't always harmony that deepened souls within.
At times mosquito challenges raised ire among the kin.
Community created helped weather all these storms.
Acceptance of each person became the campfire norm.

And Ham said,
Hold fast to this Wilderness, the camp that God decreed.
At Wilderness we plant our cross,
address our neighbor's need.

But Ham saw other issues, like youth in troubled homes.
He could not settle down too long, his restless spirit roamed.
A Frontier farm for juveniles who'd earned delinquent fines
shared homemade bread and family chores and secure clotheslines.
A Big Horn trek for teenagers who slouched on plump behinds;
he led them thirteen miles up, blowing suburban minds.
Wilderness was crowded, Ham searched north shores again.
His Amnicon, with French canoes brought new and wide-eyed friends.

And Ham said,
Hold fast to this Wilderness, the camp that God decreed.
At Wilderness we plant our cross,
address our neighbor's need.

His Plymouth Youth had little, so friends stocked shelves with pride
creating stores with free, new gifts to brighten poor yuletides.
And so the years and so the youth passed through as was their due
And soon dear Ham and his wife Pearl achieved Feast 62.
Still, Ham won't rest on laurels, this fall he sent a plea,
God never broke his covenant. Micah 6:3.
Many of us answered- thirty nine in all-
for Ham and God are partners. We still hearken to His Call.

And Ham said,
Hold fast to this Wilderness, the camp that God decreed.
At Wilderness we plant our cross,
address our neighbor's need.


© 2011 Barbara

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Comments 17 comments

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

A well done and terrific hub!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Lots to contemplate in here.

Voted up and well stressed.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

great poem. well done!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

Thank you karaoke guy!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

Thank you Gypsy Rose Lee!

Martie, thank you for going deep.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, A wonderful piece of prose, and I am sure Ham will love it, he sounds like a wonderful man, rated up! cheers nell


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

Nell, I sent Ham a copy. I am anxious to hear his response. It would make me most happy for him to approve this message, lol!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

you're welcome, story. I'm curious to find out how your friend likes this!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

PDX, me too. I have been anxiously awaiting the mail but have yet to hear. My step dad sent a copy to one of Ham's good friends, as he thought it was an honorable piece. Ham might be overwhelmed- he's kind of a humble guy. Or busy; this is a crazy time of year.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

any word now?


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

Nope :(

Thank you for your interest!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

no problem, take care and keep me posted!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

I am a bit worried, as he is an older guy. Perhaps my letter got lost when the dear old bird flew south. Thank you so much for your interest. You are amazing.


blake4d profile image

blake4d 4 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

Very Kewel STRU. You would probably like my recent stuff...had friend die, you would probably relate. Love the hub, keep on hubbing. Blake4d


Solveig 4 years ago

It DOES do him justice ~ what an amazing poem! Thank you so much! Did you ever hear from him? If not, I would be thrilled to send it on one more time. You're right, Dad's a humble guy, but I know he would be moved by your generosity of spirit, and honored that you still feel this way about his life's work. May God bless and keep you!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

I did hear from Ham before I went home for Easter. He was A bit overwhelmed . I will copy his message, now that I am home and my mother in law has safely arrived in LA.

Solveig, thank you so much for your support. Your Dad is awesome.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter Author

And Ham wrote:

"The 'God called Ham' is most humbling... highly valued. How can one be so honored? Gracias!! May warm Spirit Winds continue to surround you... Humbly, Ham

"Genesis 1:20-23"

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