Society member David Gamage shared the following:
Squirrel Island Light
by David Gamage
Instructions to Keepers of the Lights of this Nation,
Contain directions for most every situation,
But not one small bit of useful information,
For the keeper to defend against red squirrel invasion.
So try as he might,
It just isn’t right!
No matter his efforts,
They refuse to take flight.
In the house on chairs and on the table,
As for enjoying ones meals, not at all able.
No flag could be flown for distress if inclined,
For one of these beasts had chewed through the line.
Help did arrive, the lighthouse tender.
Lowered the dory at the port side fenders.
But for seeing those squirrels by the boat house door,
The captain decided it best not go ashore.
This keeper now alone, with no comfort, no aid,
Under constant attack by this squirrel brigade.
No rest during day, and awakened at night,
for bad dreams of squirrels. It’s just not right!
The light at night must always be lit.
Though the keeper had no choice but to quit.
The keeper being forced to abandon his station.
With no willing replacement, the only choice– automation.
With such the light will display night after night.
This light station renamed.—Squirrel Island Light
According to Dave, this poem was inspired by actual squirrel challenges at Little River Light. During Tim Harrison’s project Lighthouse Endeavor, a person lived alone at this lighthouse year round. This live-in keeper thought these critters were cute so he began feeding a couple of them. Soon after, the invasion began when they brought all their many friends.
Submitted by David Gamage, September 26, 2017
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Candace was the US Lighthouse Society historian from 2016 until she passed away in August 2018. For 30 years, her work involved lighthouse history. She worked with the National Park Service and the Council of American Maritime Museums. She was a noted author and was considered the most knowledgable person on lighthouse information at the National Archives. Books by Candace Clifford include: Women who Kept the Lights: a History of Thirty-eight Female Lighthouse Keepers , Mind the Light Katie, and Maine Lighthouses, Documentation of their Past.