Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let Ocracoke Alone!

At least twice I have published my views about Ocracoke and change. You can read my most recent post on that subject here:

As I mention in that article, I very much understand the sentiment to "let Ocracoke alone!" And even though I believe it is naive to think that Ocracoke will never change, I am sentimental enough to long for the simple life that was island living when I was a youngster. With that in mind, I share below what I believe may be a never before published poem written by Carl Goerch (author of "Ocracoke") in the 1950s (it was discovered in a file saved by an islander who died in 1997):


Hark unto me, oh friend of mine
And listen while I speak.
My eyes are dimmed with unshed tears --
'Tis sympathy I seek.

They're modernizing Ocracoke
And say it won't be long
Before you'll hardly know the place,
And this, my friend, is wrong.

For years I've loved its sandy shores,
Its gnarled and stumpy trees,
Its calm and placid atmosphere
Its fragrant, balmy breeze.

I've been awakened many times
By softly-quacking ducks,
But this may soon be drowned out now
By noisy cars and trucks.

I love the Gaskills, Burruses,
McWilliams and O'Neals;
I love the nights of restful sleep;
The seafood at most meals.

I love to hear the people say;
"Hoigh Toide at Foive o'clock"
The finest folks you've ever seen,
And I don't mean to mock.

Change Chicago or New York,
Or any other city,
But to make a change at Ocracoke
Would be an awful pity.

Sure, there have been changes on the island -- some for the better, some for the worse. But we still have our miles of undeveloped beach, our sandy lanes, our tight-knit community, fresh seafood, quiet winter nights, and a relaxed lifestyle.

Ocracoke continues to be a delightful place to call "home."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Civil War on the Outer Banks, Josephus Daniels, Jr, Secretary of the Navy during WWI, and his connection to Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Nice. I found his book "Ocracoke" a few years ago in a used bookstore in Asheville, NC. What a fun, informational read. It's an autographed copy by him to "Blanche" but there is no last name.

  2. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Thanks for passing that find along to us. He mentioned one of my ancestors (O'Neal). Was he not too crazy about the others? Oh well , I guess it is a little hard to rhyme anything with Garrish or Howard.

  3. Anonymous4:26 PM

    I've been going to Ocracoke for 45 years. I mind my own business. Talk to a couple of old timers (some are not there anymore (Mr. Williams, Mr. Clinton Gaskill and a few others) I never leave a mark. I sneak in and sneak out. I stay at different places not wanting to become familiar to anyone. You don't even know that I am there. I don't have a right to mess in other people’s affairs or change anything to suit me. I have seen Ocracoke go through changes on it's own without my help. You’re doing just fine. I have always had one wish though. It's too bad that the old coast guard station isn’t accessible to the common vacationer. I bet the view from the tower is something. If it was a state museum would be nice especially if it honored all those who served during WWII. Silver Lake saw a lot of coming and going back then. That time period brought change to the island. Hard roads, modern conveniences, tourism leading to a prosperous community. No, you'll not have me interfere. Let the change be slow.

  4. Anonymous5:31 PM

    What a great poem! I love it. Thanks for publishing it here. It is interesting to think of how much change came since it was written.