Poetry of Kansas

The Man Behind The Gun

There are many to sing of the noble deeds of Kansas' favorite
The men who stood in the early days so manfully by their guns;
Who shed their blood at the Nation's call for the martyr-state's
And led her out of the depths of war and into the ways of peace.
I honor them all, but I honor, too, the Infinite Wisdom's plan
Of putting a man behind the gun, and a woman behind the man!
The men of the days of Old John Brown___Lord love them,
        every one!___
Each is a hero in Kansas' eyes, and each is a favoriteson.
But I venture to say that you'd find, if you got right down to
        the truth of things,
They were mostly held to their duty's post by a couple of apron
        strings !
For who could waver, or who could fail in the struggle in
        Freedom's name,
When woman's courage and woman's faith were backing him in
        the game?
Our dear fore-mothers! who lived and loved in the days when
        the State was young,
(And many have gone to their last long rest, unhonored, un-
        known, unsung.)
For Woman rose to the needs of the hour when the dear-
        bought peace was won,
And backed up the man at the plough as well as she'd backed
        up the man at the gun!
He gave his strength for the land's increase, his voice to the
        new State's good,
But back of his every word and deed some valiant woman stood.
There are men at the front in our State today, and back of each
        one stands
Some dauntless woman with loving heart and ready and will-
        ing hands.
I do not ask for her, Equal Rights, nor a place at your polls
        as yet,
(For Heaven knows I am anything but a rampant suffragette !)
But give her a place in your Halls of Fame, along with your
        honored ones;
Let Kansas' favorite daughters rank as high as her favorite sons.
        I pledge you loyally, heart and hand, as only a Kansan can,
A toast:
              To the Man who is at the front ___ and the Woman
                      behind the Man!

The Call of Kansas and Other Poems
Esther M. (Clark) Hill
(Cedar Rapids: Torch Press. __)
Page 6

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November 4, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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