Poetry of Kansas

The Country Editor

He wouldn't take the paper,
    For it didn't suit him quite;
If it would change its politics
    Some future time he might.
But one day when a fever
    Left Jim a-lying cold,
That little country weekly
    The sweetest story told___
Of Jim, the noble citizen,
    Of Jim, an honest man,
Of Jim, the kindest husband___
    'Twas thus the story ran.
And when the lonely widow
    Came in one day to see
How much would be some extras
    He gave a dozen free.
Joe Sponge was there in business,
    Not half a block away.
He bought no advertising___
    He said it didn't pay,
His letterhead used daily
    Bore cuts of axle grease,
And dust came through the wind
    And settled down in peace.
When others boosted business
    By boosting for the town,
When others spent their money
    Joe never would come down;
They couldn't get a nickel
    Of him to make things go,
He sat around and waited
    To catch the overflow,
But one day Joe was busy
    A figuring intent,
On how to make some money
    And yet not spend a cent,
When Gabriel's horn blew loudly
    And Joe he heard its call,
And passed from earth forever
    O'er the dividing wall.
That editor got busy
    And wrote a column "ad"
Of how Joe Sponge, the merchant,
    Had made the town so sad,
But some way as he wrote it,
    No tears came to his eyes,
For something seemed to whisper,
    "He wouldn't advertise."
And when he spoke of sorrow
    A whisper come___"How few
There are who care, Dear Writer,
    Except myself and you."
And when he spoke of kindness
    To some poor mortal done,
A whisper louder than the rest
    Said, "Can you name just one?"
Though it was an irksome duty,
    Yet boldly on he wrote,
And though the words were sad, he felt
    No choking in his throat.
And when his readers read it
    With eyes free from all tears,
One statement's true they all agreed,
    "He lived here twenty years."
Tall is the man that dwells above
    The mists of hate and scorn,
That sees the sun beyond the cloud,
    The rose, before the thorn.
He speaks the kindlier word for all,
    The living and the dead,
Works hard each day, misunderstood,
    Continues straight ahead,
Discriminating, fearless, firm
    When evils override,
He is the strength of every town
    The Nation's safest guide.

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Pages 70-72

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April 8, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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