Poetry of Kansas

To Ironquill.

Ho! Ironquill! friend Ironquill,
Why don't you start your rhyming mill? 
How can you keep the old thing still, 
          I'd like to know? 
And, if the water ran up hill, 
          I'd make her go. 
I have not seen a strain of rhyme
Fresh from your pen for this long time; 
I '11 wage a nickel 'gainst a dime, 
          You're thinkin' strong; 
And ere we think, you'll make us climb, 
          To hear your song. 
As Burns once said, we're stringin' verse:
That's bad enough, but might be worse; 
Though 't puts no penny in our purse, 
          We scribble on; 
We'll ne'er abuse so kind a nurse__
          And be alone. 
You 're, maybe, overhead in law,
(For other folks,) a dull old saw 
You're used to drawing__yea, you draw
          Quite well, I s'pose; 
(But flattery is not worth a straw, 
          As one well knows.) 
 I like your "Washerwoman's Song";
"Kriterion's" measures glide along 
With cadence sweet__with thought so strong,
          It shows the will; 
I think, my friend, you do us wrong, 
          By keeping still. 
I trust you will Pegasus stride,
And cut the rope wherewith he's tied, 
Give the old nag a lick, and ride 
          To win new bays, 
Away up steep Parnassus' side 
          These latter days! 
The wildest flowers oft may bring
The sweetest scent at christening; 
The shooting star sometimes may fling 
          A radiant light; 
The bird, untaught, may often wing 
          The grandest flight ! 
Friend Ironquill, ring out your lay,
And help us sing of later day; 
Tune up your harp and give it sway, 
          And strike it soon; 
Give us your merriest roundelay__
          A Kansas rune! 
___John W. Beebe
Beebe, John W.
Prairie Flowers
(Topeka: Geo. W. Crane & Company. 1891)
page 84
January 10, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

Blue Skyways Kansas on the Net   Visit the Home Page for Kansas
  A service of the Kansas State Library