Poetry of Kansas
 

Sunrise.

And now begins, with nature-wak'ning ray,
The universal autocrat of day, With all-observant eye
    His journey through the sky,
To see that all preserves its wonted way,
 
And ere we see his many-colored train
Sweep grandly down behind the Western plain,
    The joyous nuptial bell
    And funereal knell
Will publish earth's intensest bliss and pain.
 
As far as eye can see on every hand,
In billowy folds of undulating land,
    With nodding crests of green
    An ocean vast is seen,
For which the distant sky provides a strand.
 
From all the plain an anthem seems to swell,
Continually re-echoed from the dell;
    The early-risen swain
    Is jocund at the strain
Which joins the chorus from the breakfast bell,
 
From Nature's bounty now a share to ask,
The plowman takes again his humble task,
    To turn the fallow plot;
    Nor murmurs at his lot,
Because it wears not wealth's delusive mask.
 
The herd-boy whistles to his faithful dog
Ere yet the vale has parted with its fog;
    And down the beaten lane'
    Proceeds a solemn train
Intent to pasture by the neighboring bog.
 
With lofty head and self-important air,
And all the pomp the honored often bear,
    One grazer, in her pride,
    Assumes the role of guide,
Because, forsooth, the bell she haps to wear.
 
Now borne across the intervening plain
 Is heard the rumble of a distant train;
    Gigantic slave of man,
    Swift commerce caravan,
 With highway touching Mexico and Maine.
 
What means that group of massive brick and stone
 Which stands in solemn grandeur, vast and lone
    Oh, mournful to repeat,
    Yon castle gives retreat
To him whose reason abdicates her throne.
 
Now let the roving eye a moment rest
Where Washburn stands, in crimson glory drest___
    The rendezvous of youth,
    The garner-house of truth,
The young and rising Athens of the West.

Where roof and chimney indistinctly rise
And spire and turret struggle toward the skies,
    A city greets the sight,
    Whose shafts of laughing light,
Reflected from the east, entrance our eyes.

How manifold and motley the array
Of heart excises levied there to-day!
    How boundless is the scope !
    How keen despair and hope,
When through a city's throbbing pulse they play.

Above, beneath, before us and behind,
All Nature's myriad tongues are unconfined.
    Each has a different song,
    And yet the medley throng
Defy us one discordant note to find.

And now the heart, with ecstasy spellbound,
Believes no scene more charming can be found
    In all the wide domain
    Of Kansas glade and plain,
Than daybreak viewed in June from Burnett's
   Mound.

__Harry E. Mills.

The Sod House in Heaven
Harry E. Mills
(Topeka, Kansas.: Geo. W. Crane & Company. 1892)
Page 106-109

 
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July 28, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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