Poetry of Kansas

Memorial Day

Nature, sweet mother, loving all
    With equal heart, forgetful twines
Her beauty round the battered wall,
    And hides with flowers the battle lines.

In languid dream o'er vale and hill
    The daisies sentinel her dead;
Heedless for what they fought and fell,
    Or by what banner they were led.

Her children were they all, dear boys–
    For something good each heart beat true;
Brothers, yet at the bugle's voice,
    To battle marched in gray and blue.

Now in her arms the foes lie still;
    She grants them gracious covering;
With quarrel done, their sweet good-will
    The happy birds forever sing.

Oh, days of blood and jealous pain,
    You hurt our hearts full deep and long,
That still the bitter thoughts remain,
    Resentful of the costly wrong!

Oh, noble heart, whose sacrifice
    Sealed gloriously the nation's cause,
Whose thoughts benevolent and wise
    Are reverenced as the nation's laws;

How have we imitated thee,
    Redeemed thy large and liberal word,--
If malice banish charity,
    With hands still ready for the sword!

May incense of these roses fair
    That die in this sweet death of May,
With breath of balm load all the air
    To heal the hearts of blue and gray!

'Tis holy fragrance, fraught with fate
    Grander than dwells in steam or steel;
And builds the fabric of a state
    Worth all the woe that bought its weal.

So shall our heroes peaceful sleep,
    While love and honor, flowers and stars,
Through centuries their vigils keep--
    Till love and honor banish wars.

__A. A. B. Cavaness.

Kansas in Literature
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)
Pages 87-88

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

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