Poetry of Kansas

The First House .

The old log house, a landmark,
      Has been leveled to the ground;
Now scarce a sign or token
      Of its presence here is found.
'Twas rudely built, bark covered logs,
      Of every shape and size;
That it should boast a shingled roof,
      Occasioned some surprise.
One thought at once some gentleman
      To city born and bred,
Has reared this humble dwelling__
      A shelter for his head.
The dusky savage watched its rise
      Upon the treeless plain;
And who can say, that ruthless hut
      Was all unmixed with pain.
Here he had watched his camp-fire glow,
      Here smoked the pipe of peace;
Here now, the white man comes to dwell,
      All Indian joys must cease.
'Twas a page in Kansas history,
      Of the romance and the woe,
The hopes and fears, the loves and hates,
      Of twenty years ago.
The pioneer its shelter sought,
      And many called it home;
Whom fickle fortune's caprices
      Had forced this way to roam.
'Tis said the gorgeous palace
      Oft shelters hearts so sad;
Mayhap these humble people
      Had much too make them glad.
Long years ago the builder
      Was laid. beneath the sod,
Where wave the maple branches__
      His spirit safe with God.
No graven image marks the spot
      To tell inquiring eyes,
That one of Nature's noblemen
      Here waits the call to rise.
Close by the spot where he had lived,
      Dame Nature gave him soon;
The rose and lily, side by side,
      Well mark the Kansas tomb.

__Kittie E. Squier.

Poets and Poetry of Kansas
Edited by Thomas W. Herringshaw
(Chicago: American Publishers' Association. 1894)
Pages 85-86

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August 31, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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