Poetry of Kansas

The Drummer

"Good-bye, my love," and he kissed her again
    And the baby that nestled there.
The babe with the blue of the skies in its eyes
    And with soft and golden hair;
"Good-bye, my love, for I now must start."
And he hugged them again to his manly heart,
His darling babe and his old sweetheart,
    For they were his pride and care.
Out for a week, perhaps for a month,
    Only the fates could tell;
Hustling for trade with a buoyant smile
    No matter what befell.
Ever before him a picture fair,
Sweetheart and babe, such a lovely pair;
Well did he know they were lonely there,
    But he must stay and sell.
Taking the train at the midnight hour
    Bound for the town ahead,
Dozing away as the engine flew,
    Scarcely an hour in bed;
Off the next morn for a ten mile drive
After a sleep of from four to five,
A lunch counter breakfast to keep him alive,
    But he didn't mind that, he said.
Back into town for the "flyer" at noon;
    Luck was against him today;
You never would guess from the glow on his face,
    Happy, serene and gay.
A jolly he had with the fellow with "blues,"
And he did it so nice he could hardly refuse
To place a small order he scarcely could use.
    "So long," and he was away.
Pegging away all the week with his might,
    Longing for Saturday eve.
Telegram comes saying, "Billy, go quick
    And a misfortune retrieve;
The dealer you sold, by the name of John Schmidt,
Has a blue pencil line and his credit is 'nit,'
The cuss has sold out and forgot to remit;
    Go find what he has up his sleeve."
Bouncing around like a ball in a box,
    One that comes straight from the bat,
Making all corners while dodging around,
    But a level bead's under his hat.
Only one day that he isn't quite well,
Sunday___and he at a city hotel;
Cannot get home, but he writes "I am well,
    Cheer up, my love, and stand pat."
Some folks may think his job is a snap;
    He's welcome to it if it is.
A stranger to beds and to regular meals,
    Ever alert for the biz;
His smile blossoms there, though his heart may
    be sad,
And he keeps a cool head when most folks would
    get mad.
Wring a clam's right hand just as if he is glad.
    And keeps up his steam so 'twill sizz.

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Pages 78-79

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March 23, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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