Poetry of Kansas

The News in Meadow Township

"Here's the Sunrise County Mirror.
     Fresh from press__a chatty guest.
Willie, draw your chair up nearer;
     Read me, while I knit and rest"

Willie reads while Grandma, rocking
     Gently, listens as she knits.
Grandma always has a stocking,
     Knitting, while she, resting, sits

"Read me Meadow township column."
     Willie quickly finds the place.
Grandma soon looks very solemn;
     Saddened is her sweet, calm face.

For the Meadow news is shocking;
     Grandma scarce believes her ears;
Rest the needles in the stocking;
     Moved is she almost to tears.

Brown has had an altercation
     With a neighbor, newly come.
With a fistic consummation.
     And disjointing of a thum.

Wilkins, while intoxicated,
     Tumbles on a massive stone,
Driving home, at night, belated,
     Fracturing his collar bone.

Jake McCoy, with dire unkindness,
     Leaves his mother, lone and sad,
Grieving at the moral blindness,
     And deep baseness of the lad.

Jimmie Leland fights his teacher;
     Mosely quarrels with his wife;
Jockey Jones defrauds the preacher;
     Haley threatens Dillon's life.

News of this kind is related,__
     Worded kindly, it is true,
Euphemistically stated,
     As the papers often do.

Grandma's heart is filled with sadness,
     And she asks, almost in fright:
"Has the world succumbed to badness
     And does virtue fail us quite?"

Hearing what the printed news is
     Quite upsets her placid mind,
And she sits and sadly muses,
     Worried much o'er humankind.

Soon a guest comes, tripping lightly.
     Breezy, buoyant, wirey, small.
Grandma likes to have the sprightly
     Aunt Jane Crossman come to call.

Seated cozily together,
     Long they talk of this and that;
Now their friends, and now the weather
     Is the theme of pleasant chat.

Aunt Jane's calls are ever cheering,
     Shedding radiance, like the sun;
All her speech is kind, endearing
     Her, in love, to everyone.

Aunt Jane always holds her glasses
     To reflect the better traits
Of men, women, !ads and lasses.
     And whate'er to them relates.

Every thoughtful act that blesses,
     And kind word and gentle deed,
Whate'er soothes the soul's distresses,
     And supplies the sufferer'a need:-

Things of this sort please her ever__
     Such the news she loves to know;
Such the news she tells, and never
     Has her gossip made a foe.

Forty minutes in her presence
     Fixes Grandma's thoughts anew.
Aunt Jane's moral incandesence
     Brightens up her moral view.

Somehow, news of her relating
     Makes one think the world is kind;
That in loving, not in hating,
     Men their chief employment find.

Meadow news is really decent,
     Seen from Aunt Jane's point of view.
Here are some transpirings, recent,
     Heard in Grandma's interview:

Scroggins helps a sickly neighbor
     Cut his crop and mend his fence,
Charging nothing for the labor,
     Though it swells his own expense.

Widow Jenkins has a fever,
     And the neighbors all come round,
Each one eager to relieve her,
     Till she's well, again, and sound.

Doctor Jones brings blessed healing
     To a poor man who is ill;
And, at last, with Christly feeling,
     Tells him there will be no bill.

Lame and deaf Josiah Buell
     Finds, one morning, in his shed,
Not the usual scanty fuel,
     But great piles of wood instead.

Grandma smiles and gladly listens,
     While good news like this she hears,
And a tear in each eye glistens;__
     Smiles, 'tis true, oft garnish tears.

By the good news, thus related,
     Grandma's heart is reassured;
Faith and hope are reinstated;
     Pessimistic doubt is cured.

Reader, learn from this narration,
     In the wicked world to find
Something worth your commendation,
     Something loving, something kind.

Do not think that all is madness,
     And the world all warped askew;
There are goodness, love and gladness,
     Honest deeds and motives true.

__John E. Everett.

Quillings in Verse
(Smith Center: 1912)
Pages 63-67

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August 6, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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