Poetry of Kansas

The Old Roller Towel

        The Kansas State Board of Health will not permit
the use of roller towels.

How sad to our hearts was the old roller towel,
    That hung on the walls at the hotel each day.
A place for the grime and the sweat of our bread
    It furnished for all who were passing that way.
It held all the suds of the hasty in washing,
    It showed that the blacksmith was boarding
        there yet
And we rolled it around and around in our efforts
    To get at a place not all covered with sweat.
        The old roller towel,
        The dirty old towel,
        The old greasy towel
        All covered with sweat.
How often at noon as we came for our rations,
    We grabbed and we tugged at this rag on the
Some hands that were clean and some more that
        'were never,
    Yet all of the hungry ones gave it a call.
Yes, sad to our hearts was this old dirty towel,
    But now it has joined those who cannot come
The black on its linen has proved its undoing,
    Like him the once hero, our old Jeffries Jack.
        So farewell old towel,
        You old roller towel,
        You dirty old towel,
        That cannot come back.

__Ed Blair.

Sunflower Siftings
Ed Blair
(Boston: The Gorham Press. 1914)
Page 164

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March 24, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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