Poetry of Kansas

A Memory

I recall a green, three-cornered nook,
    At the foot of a rocky incline,
Where a picturesque bend of a brook
    By some fairies was formed, I opine:
 
A few acres of sward, thick and Soft,
    Nearly girded by sheltering trees,
Where I heard the birds singing aloft,
   And below the mild hum of the bees.
 
In my youth, many summers ago,
    Once I walked through that beautiful dell,
In the dreamy and mystical glow
    That was shed o'er the spot, like a spell.
 
Only few were the moments I viewed
    The fair sight, as I passed on my way;
Yet my memory then was imbued
    With a scene that would not fade away.
 
Through the years, when dire cares have oppressed,
    And annoyances gravely perplexed,
When afflictions have sorely distressed,
    And temptations, unwelcome, have vexed;
 
Or, when joy, like sweet light had been shed
    All about me to brighten my hours,
And the days, like express trains I'm
    While pleasure requited my powers:
 
Whether joyous my heart, or depressed
    My thoughts have returned now
To that soft, grassy nook-to that blest
    Little three-cornered, wood-girded
 
But my reason for loving the place
    Has, as yet, not been fully reveal
It is not for the mystical grace.
    And calm beauty enrobing the field;
 
It is not for the green, leafy tree,
    The green trees with their cool shady bowers.
Nor the singing of birds in the breeze
    Nor the humming of bees in the
 
Than all these a more beautiful so
    Makes the spot a dear shrine to
A more meaningful vision. I ween
    Than is often by frail mortals caught.
 
As I walked in the cool, skirting shade,
    And enjoyed the damp smell of the mold,
I espied a sweet, rosy-cheeked maid,
    Surely not more than twelve summers old-
 
Rosy-cheeked, and yet browned with the sun,
    Hazel-eyed, with dark lashes, and long;-
All suggesting true thought and good fun,
    Or say, duty, a smile and a song.
 
With a pail on her arm, she was bent
    On despoiling a blackberry patch;
Her frail gown displayed many a rent,
    Her brown hands carried many a scratch.
 
A wee sister, as sun-browned as she,
    Hung about her with confident air;
Clung beside her, as vine clings to tree,
    Well assured of protection and care.
 
I accosted the maid and inquired
    Of their home and their parents, and found
That they lived on a spot just retired
    From this fairy-formed parcel of ground.
 
I found that their mother had died,
    And that motherly cares were then laid
On this rosy-cheeked lass at my side-
    On this thoughtful, though fun-loving maid.
 
I found her a heroine true,
    Unpretentious and plain in her ways,
Not suspecting that doing what's due
    Simple duty-deserves any praise.
 
As we chatted, we strolled a few yards,
    And behold, as I turned, I espied
Their small, vine-covered home, such as bards,
    In their songs, have extolled, far and wide.
 
To the left, through the trees, 'twas revealed,
    A bright vision, entrancing the eyes
The white house, the green blinds, the fenced
    field
A rare scene that provoked glad surprise.
 
There our paths again parted, and she
    Turned and started away from the glade;
And still petting the curls of her wee
    Little sister, she passed down the shade.

My last glance caught a warm, winsome smile,
    That, inwreathed all her round, rosy face,
And cheered me for many a mile,
    As I wandered alone from that place.

Even now I am cheered by that face,
    With its brightness that rivaled the sun--
The frank visage, adorned with the grace
    Of earnestness, duty, and fun.
 
For as grimly I tramp through the years,
    My thought oft returns to that dell,
And that girl, and that smile, and it cheers
    Me and helps me to do duty well.
 
Oh, that three-cornered; shade-skirted green!
    Where was it, I wonder? But then,
'Tis no matter; I well know the scene
    It can never pass out of my ken.

Quillings In Verse
John Edward Everett
(Smith Center: ___. 1912)
Pages 42-46

 
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March 24, 2005 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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