Graphic from the book for the top of even-numbered pages

Kansas.

From the surge of the western ocean and the roaring
of the sea,
From the Land of the Orange BloSsom, thy daughter
cried to thee,
"Kansas, beloved Mother;'" so I with a heart as
sore
Turn from the wooded hillside and vast Atlantic's
shore
To the wind-swept Kansas prairies and golden seas
of grain,
With as desperate a longing and hands that stretch
as vain.
 
Not I with the crowded palette of genius-given
art
Crystallize into perfection the yearning of my
heart;,
Her's is the sun-kissed rapture, her's is the gift
divine,
Only the blundering phrases of awkwardness are
mine;
And yet from the hills of longing thru severing
leagues between
I cry with the bitter aching of loneliness as keen.
 
Mahattan's walls reecho with a million clamoring
cries,
The stars grow wan above her in the glory of her
eyes,
The sea falls down before her like a lover at her
knees,
And rich is she in raiment of his purple, argosies
A queen upon a dais at the gateway of the world,
She is not half so lovely as the Prairie, dewdrop
pearled.
 
The elms of Boston murmur, with ghostly memories,
And haunting echoes of the past speak still in cul-
tured ease;
But at her heart a grave-yard has festered with
its dead,
A white skull glistens underneath the garlands of
her head;
Aross the Kansas prairies, with brown and dusty
feet,
The wind-blown sweetheart of the Sun has gone
her lord to greet.
 
Not in the crowded cities of money-maddened men,
Not in the shaded cloister where Learning trims
her pen,
But out on the Kansas prairies, in purity of the
Sun,
There are the great thoughts builded, visions of
empires begun;
Here on the wooded hillside I sicken in heart and
brain
But some day, beloved Mother, I'm coming home
again

Dedicated to Esther M. Clark, author of "The Call of Kansas."

__Willard Wattles.

 
Sunflowers, A Book of Kansas Poems
Selected by Willard Wattles
pages 42-43
(Chicago: A. C. McClurg. 1916)
 
September 26, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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