Poetry of Kansas

"And Your Old Men Shall Dream Dreams"

The old men sit by the fire and doze
    And dream to their souls' content.
They were gallant enough in their time, God knows!
    But the gold of their youth is spent.
They were rovers, daring and eager then,
    In their manhood's radiant dawn;
They are rovers still for their souls at will
    Go venturing on and on.
The length and breadth of the Hebrides,
From the far north fields to the southern seas,
Past the austere Pillars of Hercules,
    Venturing on and on.
They stir uneasily in their sleep,
    They shuffle their hearth-bound feet;
While the visions last they must hold them fast
    For the dream is sweet, is sweet!
The old wives sit by the fire and knit
    And dream of their girlhoods gone;
But the souls of the old men seek the lands
    They never have trod upon.
For the languid beauty of tropic shores,
Through the shrouding mists of the far Azores,
Past the frozen cliffs that are Labrador's,
    Venturing on and on.
We, too, shall sit by the fire some day,
    When our blood runs chill and thin;
And our once swift feet are no longer fleet
    For wandering out and in.
We, too, shall sit where the old wives knit
    And the old men doze and yawn,
As bent and gray and as spent as they
    When the flower of our youth is gone.
We shall nod and dream as the years drift past,
Till we come to the one great dream, the last,
And then, with our hands on our hearts locked fast,
    Go venturing farther on.

__Ester M. (Clark) Hill.


The Call of Kansas and Other Poems
Esther M. (Clark) Hill
(Cedar Rapids: Torch Press. __)
Pages 57-58

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November 5, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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