Poetry of Kansas


Like the soft hand of love falls the air on my brow,
And sweet are the memories clasping me now,
And holy as life is the beauty that thrills
Through the hearts of the valleys, the views of the hills,
And sacred my home o'er the far-away sea;
Yet dearer than all is dear Kansas to me.
O she draws me and awes me with truth and with light,
As a Poet is drawn by the stars of the night,
And she touches the quick of my soul till it swims
On a sea of pure glory and blossoming hymns.
And I love her with beauty that seems to excel
The grandeur of heaven and the terrors of hell
But not for the lavishing riches she owns,
And not for the wealth of her mountainous thrones,
And not for the forests that girdle her streams,
Nor her plains that melt as the amber of dreams,
And not for the spirit-like swell of her slopes,
Do I crown her with all the delights of my hopes.
But for queenliness, shown in the terrible time
When her raiment was soiled by the fingers of crime,
When the green of her gardens was spattered with red,
And the terraces dripped with the blood of her dead,
And her widows and orphans sat wringing their hands,
While malice and murder stalked over her lands.
For the storm which flashed forth from her beautiful
When her peerless affection was tempted with lies;
For the blow that she dealt in the treacherous face
Of the robber and spoiler who stood in her place;
And the joy of her tears, like the sun on the mists,
For the majesty wreathing the steps of her youth,
And all of her loveliness, all of her truth;
For all the deep lessons of wisdom she taught,
And all the great deeds which her strong hands have
Oh, for this do I leap at the sound of her name,
And love her with love that mounts upward like flame.

__Richard Realf.

Kansas In Literature__Part I. Poetry
Introduction by William Herbert Carruth
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)
Pages 35-36

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September 19, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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