Poetry of Kansas

The Old Timer.

        You've built up quite a city here, with stately
business blocks, and wires a-running far and near
and handsome concrete walks. The trolley cars
go whizzing by, and smoke from noisy mills is
trailing slowly to the sky, and blotting out the
hills. And thirty years ago I stood upon this same
old mound, with not a house of brick or wood for
twenty miles around. I'm mighty glad to be alive,
to see the change you've made; it's good to watch
this human hive, and hear the hum of trade!
        I list to the moans and wails
              Of your town, with its toiling hands,
          But O for the lonely trails
              That led to the unknown lands l
        I used to camp right where we stand, among
these motor cars, and silence brooded o'er the land
as I lay 'neath the stars, save when the drowsy cat-
tie lowed, or when a broncho neighed; and now
you have an asphalt road, and palaces of trade.
We hear the clamor of the host on every wind that
blows, where people take the time to boast of how
their city grows! I do not doubt that you will rise
to greater heights of fame, and maybe paint across
the skies your city's lustrous name!
          I list to the ceaseless tramp
                  Of the host, with its hopes and fears;
          But O for the midnight camp
                  And the sound of the milling steers l

__Walt Mason.

A Book Of Kansas Poems

Willard Wattles
(Lawrence: The World Company. 1914)
Pages 118-119

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September 29, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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