Kenoza Lake

John Greenleaf Whittier

This beautiful lake in East Haverhill was the "Great Pond" of the writer's boyhood. In 1859 a movement was made for improving its shores as a public park. At the opening of the park, August 31, 1859, the poem which gave it the name of Kenoza (in Indian language signifying Pickerel) was read.

As Adam did in Paradise,
To-day the primal right we claim
Fair mirror of the woods and skies,
We give to thee a name.

Lake of the pickerel!--let no more
The echoes answer back, "Great Pond,"
But sweet Kenoza, from thy shore
And watching hills beyond,

Let Indian ghosts, if such there be
Who ply unseen their shadowy lines,
Call back the ancient name to thee,
As with the voice of pines.

The shores we trod as barefoot boys,
The nutted woods we wandered through,
To friendship, love, and social joys
We consecrate anew.

Here shall the tender song be sung,
And memory's dirges soft and low,
And wit shall sparkle on the tongue,
And mirth shall overflow,

Harmless as summer lightning plays
From a low, hidden cloud by night,
A light to set the hills ablaze,
But not a bolt to smite.

In sunny South and prairied West
Are exiled hearts remembering still,
As bees their hive, as birds their nest,
The homes of Haverhill.

They join us in our rites to-day;
And, listening, we may hear, erelong,
From inland lake and ocean bay,
The echoes of our song.

Kenoza! o'er no sweeter lake
Shall morning break or noon-cloud sail,--
No fairer face than thine shall take
The sunset's golden veil.

Long be it ere the tide of trade
Shall break with harsh-resounding din
The quiet of thy banks of shade,
And hills that fold thee in.

Still let thy woodlands hide the hare,
The shy loon sound his trumpet-note,
Wing-weary from his fields of air,
The wild-goose on thee float.

Thy peace rebuke our feverish stir,
Thy beauty our deforming strife;
Thy woods and waters minister
The healing of their life.

And sinless Mirth, from care released,
Behold, unawed, thy mirrored sky,
Smiling as smiled on Cana's feast
The Master's loving eye.

And when the summer day grows dim,
And light mists walk thy mimic sea,
Revive in us the thought of Him
Who walked on Galilee!

Kenoza Lake, in modern Haverhill, is still a pleasant place to visit, surrounded by woods and trails.