Poetry of Kansas

Prairie Town

There was a river under First and Main,
the salt mines honeycombed farther down.
A wealth of sun and wind ever so strong
converged on that home town, long gone.
At the north edge there were the sand hills.
I used to stare for hours at prairie dogs,
which had their town, and folded their little
to stare beyond their fence where I was.
River rolling in secret, salt mines with care
holding your crystals and stillness, north prairie
what kind of trip can I make, with what old friend,
ever to find a town so widely rich again?
Pioneers, for whom history was walking through
    dead grass,
I and the main things that happened were miles
    and the time of day-
you built that town, and I have let it pass.
Little folded paws, judge me: I came away.

__William Stafford.

The Darkness Around Me Is Deep
William Stafford
(New York: HarperCollins. 1993)
Page 106

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October 30, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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