Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A KANSAS SAGA, by JOHN BLAIR



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A KANSAS SAGA, by            
First Line: In the dawn of kansas history
Last Line: Sought and fought for gold in vain.
Subject(s): Kansas


In the dawn of Kansas history
To Quivira, land of mystery,
Came the adventurer -- proud and bold,
Fired with stories often told
Of the seven famous cities paved with gold.
After hunting -- long and weary,
After wandering -- sad and dreary,
All he found on his foray
Were villages of yellow clay
Instead of cities rich and gay.
Breathing curses loud and froward --
On the sun that burned his face,
On the grass that checked his pace,
On rolling prairies -- bare and bleak,
On the wind that seared his cheek,
On the hot and shifting sand,
On the endless, trackless land,
On the flaming, setting sun,
On each day when it was done,
On his comrades' sorry plight,
On coyotes howling in the night,
On the lazy, sullen streams,
On his shattered hopes and dreams,
On the soft and tender sky,
On thunder clouds when riding high,
On the Indian's treacherous lead,
On the buffaloes' stampede,
On the mirage's stark delusion,
On his company's sad confusion,
The unhappy wanderers wended homeward.
Devoid of hope and vaunted boast
The leader of this sorry host
Cursed his luck till he was old
Because he knew no wealth but gold.
The Kansans came from sturdy stock
Whose sires had pledged at Plymouth Rock
To keep truth and honor in the van
And build a brotherhood of man.
By persistent, arduous toil
They wrested wealth from the virgin soil;
When they saw their harvests disappear,
They grimly planned for another year;
Their riches grow from Nature's store --
Of fields that wave like seas of gold,
Of wheat the granaries cannot hold,
Of abundant gas for light and heat,
Of bread the hungry millions eat,
Of sheep that graze upon the hills,
Of products of the whirring mills,
Of sorghum grasses -- new and strange,
Of cattle fattening on the range,
Of sugar from the best of beets,
Of salt that flavors choicest meats,
Of mines with latent wealth untold,
Of oil a thousand centuries old,
These grow and yield forevermore
Where avaricious men from Spain
Sought and fought for gold in vain.





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