Stylized Sunflower  

 John Brown

  Stylized Sunflower
States are not great except as men may make them.
Men are not great except they do and dare.
But states, like men, have destinies that take them -
That bear them on, not knowing why or where.

The WHY repels the philosophic searcher -
The WHY and WHERE all questionings defy,
Until we find, far back in youthful nurture,
Prophetic facts that constitute the WHY.

All merit comes in daring the unequal,
All glory comes from daring to begin.
Fame loves the State that, reckless of the sequel,
Fights long and well, though it may lose or win.

Than in our State, no illustration apter
Is seen or found of faith and hope and will.
Take up her story; every leaf and chapter
Contains a record that conveys a thrill.

And there is one whose faith, whose fight, whose failing,
Fame yet shall placard on the walls of time.
He dared begin - despite the unavailing,
He dared begin, when failure was a crime.

When over Africa some future cycle
Shall sweep the lake-gemmed uplands with its surge;
When as with trumpet of Archangel Michael
Culture shall bid a colored race emerge;

When busy cities there, in constellations,
Shall gleam with spires and palaces and domes -
With marts wherein is heard the noise of nations -
With summer groves surrounding stately homes -

There future orators to cultured freemen
Shall tell of valor, and recount with praise
Stories of Kansas and of Lacedæmon,
Cradles of freedom, then of ancient days.

From boulevards o'erlooking both Nyanzas,
The statued bronze shall glitter in the sun,
With rugged lettering:

"JOHN BROWN, OF KANSAS:
HE DARED BEGIN;
HE LOST - BUT, LOSING, WON."
Eugene Ware

Rhymes of Ironquill
Eugene Ware
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1895)


Kansas:  Poetry  History  Towns  Counties  Colleges  Libraries  Museums

April 19, 1999 / John & Susan Howell / howell@kotn.org

Blue Skyways Kansas on the Net   Visit the Home Page for Kansas
  A service of the Kansas State Library