Poetry of Kansas
 

Western Hospitality

Good mornin' to you, stranger,
    You'd jist as well git down:
I'm a hitchin' up my hosses
    Agwine down to town.
Our groceries is a runnin' light,
    An' so I thought I'd go
An' lay in a new supply
    Afore they run too low.
 
Did you say you'd have a drink,
    The cup's thar on the shelf;
Our water's in the bar'l out thar,
    Jist go an' help yourself.
'Tis a little bit unhandy, sir,
    We've our water far to haul,
But we aim to dig a well
    Airly like this fall.
 
What brought, you say, an old man
    Like me, so far away out west?
The fact is I was ever larned
    To strive to do my best.
Besides, sir, I have three big boys,
    The pride of the old man's heart,
I've brought 'em hyar while the country's new,
    To help 'em get a start.
 
You know, back East the land is dear,
    An' taxes mighty high,
It's hard back thar to pay for a farm
    A workin' "wet and dry."
The land out hyar is free to all,
    An' craps grow;s most amazin;
The buffalo grass is a little short,
    But makes the best of grazin'.
 
We landed hyar in April,
    It rained for quite a spell,
We've had good showers 'long ever sense,
    An' stuff's a lookin' well.
We've 'leven acres in corn and truck,
    An' about three acres o' cane,
Which will supply our winter's needs
    If it comes another rain.
 
Whar ar' you from, stranger?
    Missouri! W'y I'm f'm thar,
Come rite into the shanty, mister
    We use that box thar fur a chair!
Bill, take his hoss, an' feed it;
    You're not goin' off to-day___
We'll show you whar's a fust rate claim,
    If you'll just say you'll stay.
 
I want to talk of things back thar,
    An' of all the folks you've seen:
Have a chaw'r terbacker, mister___
    Its the jinuine long green.
Bill, you can go to town to-day;
    I guess this man an' me will
Stay at home an' look around,
    And see what we can see.

__Richard S. Dunbar.

Poets and Poetry of Kansas
Thomas B. Herringshaw
(Chicago: American Publishers Association. 1894)
Page 190

 
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March 20, 2004 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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