Poetry of Kansas


She bluffed, I thought, so I'd not doubt she loved him
yet despite
His meanness; bickering at all that softened living:
oysters Sunday night;
Or Katie's cap and bib; clean things when old would
do. I never quite
Made out his sneaking-up upon my childhood days;
appearing, gnomelike,
In dark summer streets to find my tryst with village
His uncanny market mind (land he bought would turn
out coal
Or well spout oil) would not prevent his salting down
the cash. He'd go
To greater length that night to scan household
expense. "What! Roll
In luxury, when without Christ each minute heathen
His strange explosive gifts of furs, a car, could not
make me forget
He'd read my letters once. My charm for men evoked
a father's pride
Which quickly turned to anger when a bird came
down. He ever met
My sword with sword .  .  .  And if my mother cared
I could not tell.
She'd only laugh, "What do you care?" .  .  .  I
thought she bluffed right well.
But came that day in church we thought her dead. My
father jumped
Across a pew and held her close. Such wild sweet
quivering passionate things
I've never heard from lover. His eyes burned blue.
His gray-tinged hair all humped
Askew, waxed mustache-ends twitched frightfully. As
if wings
Were lent, his small slim figure bore her lighter weight
out to the air.
Those words! My God! (What if he knew he said
them!) Had such stuff
Been offered me by John I'd married him long since.
Does life quite dare
Hold such romance? And all my days I thought her
smile a bluff!

__Margaret E. Haughawout.


Sheep's Clothing
Margaret E. Haughawout
Pages 20-21
(Pittsburg, Kansas: __. 1929)

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

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