Poetry of Kansas

Of Ishmael

Free-born, I, of a free-born race; yet nevermore is my spirit free:
There is a still, small voice within ___ the blood of Ishmael, cry-
ing in me.
 
(Ishmael, dust in your lonely grave these centuries gone, by a
weary way
Your sons must wander to find their rest; and blood of your
blood is my heart today.)
 
Here, in the hard-bound city-ways, with the endless clatter of
wheel on wheel,
Year after year, till the soul is stunned, the faint heart sick,
and the senses reel;
 
How do I know when the cold earth turns to welcome the
spring in the waiting north?
When, under languorous southern skies, the sensuous dogwood
blossoms forth?
 
How do I know when the warm tide throbs on the stark, gray
shores of the eastern coast?
And a young wind sings o'er the highest peak of that rugged
chain of the Rocky host?
 
By the pulsing foot and the troubling heart that ever must chafe
and fret in me;
By the sign that the Lord unto Hagar gave: that the free are
bond, and are bond, yet free.
 
(Ishmael dust and forgotten dust, in your narrow grave on
some eastern hill
Your sons still wander, because they must, and still are out-cast
because they will.
 
And mine is ever the bond-child's mark, till the last gray dawn
of my life is past,
Till my feet are sealed in some quiet place, and dust of your
dust is my heart at last.)
 

The Call of Kansas and Other Poems
Esther M. (Clark) Hill
(Cedar Rapids: Torch Press. __)
Pages 40-41

 
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November 13, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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