Poetry of Kansas

Over The Back Fence

I.  Mr. Steady
 
One night the Steady boys got into a scrape,
And it almost broke their Father's spirit.
It rained the day after the disgrace,
And he sat alone looking through the old family album.
He thought:
I've worked my hands to the bone for them;
I've given them every advantage.
I've allowed them everything money can buy;
I've preached honor, and I've lived upright___
And what does it amount to?
They forget it all in one hour."
He noticed his old Grandmother's picture,
So prim and tidy
With her veined, pious old hands
Folded so modestly across her stomach.
He thought:
"She is dead and her bones are dust,
And for all the difference it makes
She might as well of had her picture taken
With her thumb
On her nose."
 
II.  Mrs. Tump
 
The women criticize Mrs. Tump
Because she dresses her sixteen year. old daughter
So fussily.
They say there won't be anything to suit Angeline
When she is twenty.
They claim that her mamma pushes her forward,
And that in place of satins
And dancing slippers,
She should be wearing ginghams and flat heeled shoes!
But those women do not understand.
They cannot realize
That when Mrs. Tump
Decks out her little blue-eyed, golden-haired daughter
In satin finery___
She is making two little girls happy:
Angeline, and the girl she herself used to be,
Who at eighteen, longed for pretties
While barefoot, and herding cattle
On the Kansas prairies!

__Nell Lewis Woods.

Contemporary Kansas Poetry
Helen Rhoda Hoopes
Pages 134-135
(Kansas City: Joseph D. Havens Company. 1927)

 
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December 5, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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