Poetry of Kansas

In Egypt___Illinois

IT was down at old Cairo___not on the Nile___
     When very young fellows were we,
Unwearied with marching full many a mile
     From the country they call "Cherokee."
And the zephyrs that fanned us in evenings fair
     Were hardly more careless than we,
As we dreamily loafed through the dirty old square,
     And thought of the things that might be.
Sometimes to the thrummings of the soft guitar___
     Hid under a shadowy tree___
There struggled within us a different war
     Than the fighting for our dear country.
Oh, the fingers were white and they flashed a fine light,
     And was it much wonder that we___
Of sensitive nature___succumbed to the sight,
     And out of the shade of the tree
     Were tempted incontinently.
Now that was a good while ago, old friend,
     When fountains of wisdom were we___
     A condition, not theory,
     When the down that later is hair
     Gives a hint of the razor's despair___
And much have we found to condemn or commend
     Since hid by the shade of the tree
     We listened to sweet melody.
From the old to the new your dreams have come true___
     With light through the loveliest tree
     That ever on earth may be;
Through prisms of love your visions you prove,
     And in music of childish glee;
     But only in memory
From the new to the old I return to the gold
     That showered through moonlight and tree;
And I think to be young were better than old
     A-listening to hope's melody-
     And still in the shade of the tree.

__A. A. B. Cavaness.


Poems by Two Brothers
A. A. B. Cavaness & J. M. Cavaness
(Chetopa: J. M. Cavaness and Son. 1896)
Pages 48-49

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October 22, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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