Poetry of Kansas

Seeing the Editors.

I went to see the Editors, in great Milwaukee town.
And some were old, with hoary hair. some young, with locks
        of brown.
But, old or young, or tall or short, when all was said and
        done.
They seemed a goodly set of men as e'er the sun shone on.
 
They had come from north and south, they had come from
        east and west.
Down from the northern pine lands, up from the prairie's
        breast.
Men of the Leading Journals, men of the Local Sheet.
Came flocking in together, and I watched them meet and
        greet.
 
At this I greatly wondered; I saw each meet the other,
With a smile and a clasping hand, as if he were his brother.
Fair words and kindly cheer were the order of the day;
The pipe of peace went round, and the sword was laid away.
 
"Are these friends or enemies?" I questioned silent]y:
I recalled the odious names they have called each other by,___
"Idiot," "knave," and "sorehead"___all these, and many
        more,
They have used to pelt each other___is their rancor spent
        and o'er?
 
They talked of their position, of the duty of the press:
How opponents should be treated___with honest friendli-
        ness.
A fair and lovely theory! the practice seems to be
To call each man a rascal, who don't agree with me.
 
What do they mean, I wonder, by the "freedom of the
        press?"
Is it this,___that each man is free to vent his "cussedness?"
Free to ban and blacken whoever may chance to be
On the other side of the fence?- O glorious liberty!
 
But here they were___these warriors who have oft each other
        flayed,___
Talking in tones fraternal as they drank their lemonade;
And I wondered if the time, so long foretold, had come,___
The day of peace and brotherhood___the great Millennium.
 
I have read the papers since, and I see my hope was vain;
For the hatchet that was buried, they have dug it up
        again:
The sword has left its scabbard, the spiked guns roar away,
And he who was a "sorehead," is a "sorehead" to-day.
 
Each man is at his desk; he has grasped the wires again,
And is pulling for his party, with all his might and main
Opponents thresh each other, who shook hands the other
        day;
And I question,___ do they mean one-half of what they say?

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 81-82

 
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March 25, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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