Poetry of Kansas


Once a lonely-looking urchin,
      Lost in a deep morass,
With crippled foot.and wing,
      Pleaded for a ride as I did pass.
My steeds were dapple-gray,
      The harness it was silver-trimmed;
The sun's meridian ray
      'Round my equipage it swimmed.
With kindly care I helped him up
      On to a cushioned seat of gold:
He gave a sort of "cluck,"
      As o'er the road we rolled.
I had some liniment, you see,
      With which I bathed his foot and wing;
He had a bow and quiver free,
      But disordered was the string.
Not far upon the road
      This urchin he grew talkative;
And his merriest laughter flowed
      Like water through a sieve,
Till all at once he ceased to speak,
      And moody grew of mind;
A tear went trickling down his cheek
      The cause it puzzled me to find.
Said I: "My little man,
      What trouble now doth flow?"
"Pray help me if you can,
      For useless is my bow;
You see, kind sir,
      The string it is misplaced;
There are some birds astir,
      With it I could fill thy bag in haste."
Mine was a hunting rig,
      Fine as fine could be;
I didn't care a fig
      For any rival's archery.
I put upon his bow a string,
      And keyed it up with care;
He took an arrow fr'om his sling
      And shot me with it fair.
The painful point within my heart
      Found lodgement true:
He vaulted from my cart
      And went laughing out of view.
My horses frightened they became,
      The lines fell flapping in the wind;
The wound was driving me insane,
      I howled, and cursed, and sinned.
For many a rod my horses ran,
      Free where'er thcy chose;
Till sudden they did stand
      Where a river darkling flows.
Here a water-witch was seen
      To sweep like a vision by;
She was ugly, lank, and lean,
      With a vicious-looking eye.
But she took the Shaft away
      Out of my heart so wounded, 01
And this simple line did say,
      "Never fix a broken bow."

__John P. Campell.

Poets and Poetry of Kansas
Edited by Thomas W. Herringshaw
(Chicago: American Publishers' Association. 1894)
Page 89

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August 17, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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