Graphic from the book for the top of odd-numbered pages

My Sage-Brush Girl


Under a cross in a rainless land my Sage-brush Girl
          is sleeping
    Her beautiful eyes shine out no more;
          her cheeks have shed their bloom
The cactus pierces her dreamless heart and I have
          ceased from weeping,
    My eyes are dry as the stunted sage that parches
          o'er her tomb
 
The years have withered my flesh like grass, I and
          filled my heart with knowing;
    I, who was desert born and reared, have I won to
          the garden lands.
Where the earth is robed in a rug of green
          and the barley blooms are blowing,
    And the dewdrops blaze where the stalks of maize
          hold up their heavenly hands.

Deep in the dust of a desert waste my Sage-brush
          Girl reposes
    Her beautiful eyes - shine out no more; her lips have
          bloomed and died;
A gypsum bed in the desert dead has won her cheeks'
          red roses;
    And the day of our dream is a sinking sun dipped
          under the Great Divide.
 
I know who wielded the flaming sword that drove
          my tribe before me
    Into the dusty desert wide where all the flowers
          are dead;
Know why we met in a rainless land when the dream
          of dreams came o'er me;
    We were the disinherited kin of the lords of meat
          and bread.
 
We were the poor outside the door of the Garden
          of Singing Water;
    The poor who scurry like hunted things to the arid
          wastes to hide.
So I was born to the desert sands and she
          deserts daughter--
    But I have won to the garden lands, while she in
          the desert died.
 
Those yearning days were a drama dear the the drop
          of the curtain closes.
    Her beautiful eves shine out no more, her lips have
          ceased to glow.
A gypsum bed in the desert dead has won her cheeks'
          red roses
    But I have seen from a hillside green the black
          hawk drifting slow.
___C. L. Edson
 
Sunflowers, A Book of Kansas Poems
Selected by Willard Wattles
pages 71-72
(Chicago: A. C. McClurg. 1916)
 
August 7, 2004 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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