Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHEROKEE STRIP (THE RUN OF '93), by BESS TRUITT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CHEROKEE STRIP (THE RUN OF '93), by            
First Line: Heat! Glare! Thirst!
Last Line: Iron of endurance flows in their veins!
Subject(s): Pioneers

Heat! Glare! Thirst!
Pitiless lash of a southwest wind
Burning the restively shifting lines --
Land-hungry hordes, weary and worn,
Doggedly waiting the signal to go --
The sharp staccato of army carbines.

Dust! Heat! Glare!
Drumming of hoofs on the sun-baked earth;
Rumble and roll of many wheels;
Uproar of voices, excited and high,
A multitude charging in frenzied haste --
This pageant of hope and fear reveals.

Heat! Dust! Fear!
Smother of dust -- a galloping team --
A man and a woman, half-afraid;
A cluster of young-'uns, unkempt, forlorn,
A gaunt hound dog whose red tongue lolls
As he runs in the wagon's meager shade.

Glare! Dust! Heat!
Teams plunge on at maddening pace.
Eyes narrowed against the hot sunlight;
Ten thousand men are risking their lives
For a patch of sun-soaked prairie earth --
A "claim" in the "strip," before the night!

Dust! Din! Reward!
Out of the moil of dust and confusion
Emerging, a commonwealth on the plains --
Homes -- for the fearless frontier-fighters,
Pioneers all, scorners of ease,
Iron of endurance flows in their veins!

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