Poetry of Kansas
 

School Chums

Of all the joys that ever came to me when I was
    young
The joys of school days long ago of which fond
    bards have sung,
The joy that made my heart beat fast and made
    my burdens light
Was mine, when mother said, "You may go home
    with Bill tonight."
 
Fer Bill and I were chums, we sat together in one
    seat,
We shared at dinner every day the things we had
    to eat,
We studied from the well thumbed books, (with
    ink marks on each page)
That in one term or less appeared to have been
    used an age.
 
I chewed Bill's gum when he was tired, or if
    enough for two
The rule of short division was applied so both
    could chew.
And when I spilled the ink across his copy book's
    fair page
Bill took his sleeve and wiped it up and showed
    no sign of rage.
 
So when my mother said, "You may go home
    with Bill tonight,"
My heart jumped high for I was filled with joy's
    supreme delight.
And all the day as moments dragged from nine
    o'clock till four
"You're goin' home with me tonight" Bill said it
    o'er and o'er.
 
Bill showed me where the crow's nest was (to
    climb to it we tried).
I helped him milk old Crumply Horn, one of us
    on each side.
And then we made a fishin' line___a bent pin for
    a hook,
'N' Bill and I and Bill's grandpa went fishin' in
    the brook.
We had the measles, Bill and I, Bill broke out
    with them first.
Of all the lonesome days I've seen, the next day
    was the worst.
I sat alone and tried in vain to study some that
    day,
But 'twasn't any use to try, with my chum Bill
    away.
 
That night when Bill was in his bed, with measles
    coming out,
His mother came into the room to tuck the quilt
    about,
And when the flickering candle shone upon Bill's
    curly hair,
His mother started with surprise, for my head too
    was there.
 
Oh, Billy Boy, my youthful chum, may years
    touch lightly now
Upon the head I love so well, upon thy once fair
When springtime comes and pupils search for
    flowers on the hill,
I call from memory again my boyhood chum, my
    Bill.

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Pages 49-50

 
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April 5, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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