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To Kansas

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by Arthur Graves Canfield

 
Not for thy outward charms of form and face,
Careful to leave no feature unexpressed,
As if for beauty's sake we loved thee best,
We bring thee praise; nor for thy pride of race,
Nor for thy wealth that waxeth apace,
Nor will we vaunt, with low and swinish zest,
The milky richness of thy mother-breast,
Like unweaned babes that know no higher grace.

Shall we be lured by these things? Are we not

A something more than mouth and eyes and ears,
To eat and look and listen life away?
More than these skin-deep beauties must thou be
To win and keep our homage through the years;
Yea, fair in more transcendant wise than they.

And fair thou art, as we would have thee be,
Fair even in this more transcendant wise;
The light of high communings on thee lies;
Thy touch the bond abide not, but are free,
Thy look is gracious, holy; none but thee,
Smiled on howe'er she be by happy skies,
Hath power to still the hunger of our eyes,
Unsated by the mountains and the sea,

For thou art Freedom's daughter, and thy birth

Was through the pain of Righteousness's wars,
Thy cradle song, the battle's roar and din.
Therefore thy beauty hath the greater worth
Of noble thoughts; so art thee fair within,
And claimest thine the pathway of the stars.

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July 1, 1997 / John & Susan Howell / howell@kotn.org

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