Poetry of Kansas

The Whip-po-wil.

When softly over field and town,
    And over yonder wood-crowned hill,
The twilight drops its curtain down,
    'Tis then we hear the whip-Po-wil'
From the near shadows sounds a call,
    Clear in its accents, loud and shrill,
And from the orchard's willow wall
    Comes the fain[ answer, "Whip-po-wil."
The night, creeps on; the summer morn
    Whitens the roof and lights the sill;
And still the bird repeats his tune,
    His one refrain of "Whip-po-wil."
We hear him not at morn or noon;
    Where hides he then so dumb and still?
Where lurks he, waiting for the moon?
    Who ever saw a whip-po-wil?
Where plies his mate her household care?:
    In what veiled nook; secure fro m ill,
Builds she the tiny cradle, where
    Nestles the baby whip-po-wil?
I cannot tell, yet prize the more
    The unseen bird, whose wild notes thrill
The evening gloom about my door,___
    Still sweetly calling, "Whip-po-wil."
Asleep through all the strong daylight,
    While other birds so gayly trill;
Waking to cheer the lonely night___
    We love thee well, O whip-po-wil!

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 101

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June 17, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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