The Sod School-House.An earthen mound on the prairie's swell,
The work of new settlers' hands,__
An uncouth temple for learning made,
Its walls of the rudest earth-squares laid,__
The lone sod school-house stands.
Not a tree in sight from the open door,
Not a shrub on the landscape's face,
But a sea of grass fills all the view,__
Its waves are of emerald's sparkling hue,
And above, cloud-shadows race.
I hear the sound of a tinkling bell,
The teacher's signal sweet;
There's a drowsy hum from a score of lips,
There's a smothered laugh at some dullard's slips,
And a noise of restless feet.
Do they think, as they tread the earthen floor,
Those children gathered there,
How near to Nature's true heart they stand,
Their tear-stained cheeks by their light breath fanned,
Their eyes on her features fair?
Do they hear the notes, forever new,
That the limitless prairies sing?.__
'Tis a nobler strain than books have told,
Than choirs have breathed or organs rolled,
Or silver chimes can ring.
They say: "Be pure as our morning dew,
Be firm as our leagues of earth,
Be kind as our breezes that gently blow,
Be bright as our far sunset's glow,
Be gay as our song-bird's mirth.
"Look up to the light like the spears that wave
O'er all our stretching miles;
Let the flowers that dimple our bosom cast
A spell of beauty that shall at last
Tinge all thy years with smiles."
And the peaceful haze at yonder rim,
Just kissing the prairie sea,
Has a soft refrain for the song of life,__
It whispers: "Beyond this earthly strife
Lies the Glorious Rest to be."
Can the youthful ears but catch the hymn,
Can the hearts its lessons glean,
With what wealth of soul to the world they 'll go
From that earth-walled school-room, cramped and
On the plains of lustrous green!
__Charles Moreau Harger
Kansas in Literature
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)