Poetry of Kansas

Out West.

"Westward ho!" comes ringing from the throat of "The
    Pioneer"___
A paper run by the railroads out on the great frontier.
Wanted, a mighty army to settle the rolling fiat,
That lies, like a garden of Eden, along the beautiful Platte.
 
Wanted, women and children, bearded and stalwart men,
From stern New England hillside, from rugged and rocky
    glen;
From steeps of the Alleghanies, where bleak winds fiercely
    blow,
And down whose slopes of hard-pan roil storms of sleet and
    snow.
 
Wanted___to settle the prairies! and still the call is heard___
Irish, Norwegian, German___but Yankee blood preferred.
Wanted___and who would linger on patches stony and steep.
When a wide realm lies before him, with soil both rich and
    deep?
 
Good Pioneer, Sir Railroad, all that you say is true,
And wondrous fair the picture that you are holding up to
    view;
But is it straight and honest, and is it fair and right,
That only the good is shown us, and the bad left out of
    sight?
 
'Tis true, a careless mention of the "hopper" here is made,
As something rare and seldom, like are, or Indian raid:
But naught of the summer droughts, and not the faintest
    breath
concerning the western "blizzard," that awful blast of
    death.
 
No record how the farmer, amid the rush and roar.
All blinded and bewildered, sinks down beside his'door;
Sinks freezing at his threshold with unavailing moan___
For the voices of the tempest outspeak Ills dying groan___
 
If the half we are to credit of the shuddering settler's tale,
Of the tempest swift and sudden, of the icy, blinding veil,
Then, to a western blizzard, with its rush and its deadly
    sting,
A storm of the Alleghanies is the flap of a pigeon's wing.
 
A Spectre stalks the prairies, a spectre gaunt and grim,
Scattering woe and famine, and waste of cheek and limb,
There is freezing, there is starving, while rings the cheery
    call,
Wanted___five hundred thousand!"___Do they think us id-
    lots all ?

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 42-43

 
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December 1, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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