Poetry of Kansas

The Beauty

I took a trip this fall to Kansas City.
Hill top and hill side bloomed in ordered loveliness.
All the beautiful sleek houses purred on velvet grasses.
All the well trained flowers grew as they were taught to grow,
Lawns, foliage, and houses___washed and brushed and polished,
Well fed and important. Even the trees grew
Just as they were planned to grow___or seemed to,
So cunningly had the people used them.
Its smoothness, its refinements, all its cleverness
And all its ponderous wealth quite took my breath away.
It overawed me! It enshrined me! Then it cloyed!
"And after this, what next?" something kept saying.
Then I came back to Kansas___back to the prairies,
Back to the flat lands, where the earth undresses,
Stretches herself and rests, dazed but undaunted.
No artifice here is used___no aid to beauty.
Here she is unadorned___Beauty or Slattern?
Sunburned and wind blown, weed grown and dusty,
Now in this autumn time she rests exhausted.
All the potential promise of her sex she yielded.
Food for the greedy world she brought forth in travail.-
Sun tortured wind torn___agonized for water,
Still she gave forth, full grown, the seed she had nurtured.
Now she is resting___torn but triumphant.
Even so, she gathers strength___strength for the winter
So that thru the coming year___thru cold and hunger___
So she can carry in her great womb the new harvest.
Grain for the greedy world___for all those cities
Where beauty grows and glows, sweet but unfertile.
No amorous sighs for her___sunburned and roughened.
Yet as we know her well, who says she's unlovely ?
Serene in the consciousness of the great need of her
Mothering all the world at her great bosom,
There is no cloying here___no soft arms nor silken draperies.
Here she is unadorned___God, what a Beauty!

__Helen Griffith McCarroll

Contemporary Kansas Poetry
Helen Rhoda Hoopes
Page 79
(Kansas City: Joseph D. Havens Company. 1927)

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December 14, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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