Poetry of Kansas

The Sod House On the Claim

Now come dear children and I'll tell
About the mansion where we dwell;
It is a sod house on the flat,
And we are staying now in that.
Now I will tell you how 'tis made,
The sod is cut with plow and spade,
Some two feet long and one foot wide.
and then are laid down side by side.
The next round now as up we go
Is laid on crosswise in a row;
(They lay the sod across that way
So that it will be sure to stay.)
When high enough the walls are done
And they then roll a huge log on.
The gable-ends they then fill out,
And trim the structure round about.
Our ridge-pole is a cottonwood log
Some sixteen inches through,
And on this pole the rafters lay
With small brush next in view.
Now on this brush they lay more sod
To make it snug and firm.
And then on that they throw more dirt
To keep it dry and warm.
It now appears so very nice,
It keeps us snug and warm.
It shelters us from wintry blasts
And from the frozen storm.
Now then inside they go to work.
They cut and trim the wall.
Then over that spread lime and sand
So that the dirt won't fall.
There's one thing more for you to know
That I will try to tell.
The windows are so very nice
In this place where we dwell.
Up from the floor they're three feet high
(That is up to the sill)
And then the wall is cut around
The space the windows fill.
Now then these windows are so nice
(They look that way to me).
And they afford abundant light
 For all within to see.
Our floor it was but common earth,
'Twas here before we came
And on it then the grass did grow
For us to walk upon.
But we have got a pine floor now
and doing very well.
But how much longer we will stay
I really cannot tell.
There's one thing more I have to fear
Snakes and lizards both are here.
With other reptiles not a few
That frequently appear in view.
I've penned these verses now for you.
Well knowing they are strictly true.
And after you have read them through
I hope you'll think that they will do.

__Susannah Williams
Bertie, Graham Co., Kansas


The poem was written for the Millbrook Times in February of 1892 and reprinted in Gradan-a memory by Ruth Gross McCalister.

July 22, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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