Poetry of Kansas


Sunset; the river calm.
Afar, half-visible, the valley's cleft containers.
The whole, a scene of rest.
A mill, a bridge, a railway, trees, a river ?
What restful thing is there?
The mill?
A place of roaring waters,
Of belts that flap and clatter round their pulleys,
Of rollers crushing the germ of life
That those who strain to move its mangled weight
May strain the more.
The bridge?
A burden-bearer, that lately was
Crushed rock, and sacked cement, and twisted rods of iron
And lines upon a sheet of paper.
The railway?
Bald and stark manifestation
Of motion, weight, and grimy toil,
Where shovels, with ballast laden
And rhythmic striking mauls
Have served fire-gutted gods of steam and steel.
The trees?
Yes! fed on by insects,
Beat by the winds,
Robbed every year of light-transforming leaves,
Strangling their weak and small,
Strugglers___chained to their place till dead and rotted.
The river?
Bank-guawer, flood-begetter,
Carrier of filth and cannibalic life,
And mountains,
Riding toward the all-receptive sea.
A restful scene?
Yes, such throughout the world is peace and rest.

__Neale Carman

Contemporary Kansas Poetry
Helen Rhoda Hoopes
page 27
(Kansas City: Joseph D. Havens Company. 1927)

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February 21, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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