The Hermit


I met a hermit through a story

that the locals liked to tell.

This man lived on a mountain

and built his place to dwell.


He gathered trees and shrubbery

to build his forest home.

He fed 9 bears, and fed them well,

and never was alone.


The porcupines filled his belly

when temps were way below.

Rabbit stew was on the stove

and squirrels were in the know.


So the hermit bought a telescope,

three dollars was the moon.

He knew the constellations,

as well as owl and loon.


Locals came to visit,

and knew to bring him beer.

Then he spoke without the stutter,

and his stories were so clear.


I never really knew him

although I knew him well

Our stutter was our common bond

isolation was our hell.


For some, a conversation

is an easy kind of thing

For me, the gates would close

with no words or sense to bring.


The fears, the stares, the look aways

Being unable to speak,

But oh how rich our language was,

with cussing at its peak!


But oh the riches we have found

Being still and on our own

And now my eyes can look at you

As I read this little poem.


By Lynn Baldwin

Dedicated to Dr. Lon Emerick

As a recovering stutterer, I was blessed with finding a Speech Pathologist, Dr. Lon Emerick, who is now retired, while I was attending Northern Michigan University. 

I will be forever grateful to him, for leading me out of a world of avoiding people, hiding, incredible fear, and shame. He gave me, not only his time and professionalism, but his own experience as a stutterer, as well as his humor and humanity.  He taught me more about life than he will ever know. 

If you suffer from this isolating disability of stuttering, or if you know of someone that does, please know that NMU still has a Speech and Hearing Clinic and can be reached at 906-227-2125.