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Poems About Kansas

Table of Contents

  1. Kansas by Lottie Brown Allen
  2. Sunflowers by Lottie Brown Allen
  3. A Wheat-Field Fantasy by Harry Kemp
  4. The Promise of Bread by C. L. Edson
  5. Kansas Day by Lottie Brown Allen
  6. Kansas by Harry Kemp
  7. Out of the Kansas Dust, excerpt by George T. and C. L. Edson
  8. Doin' Things In Kansas by Ed Blair
  9. Ode to Kansas by Walt Mason
  10. Kansas, The Prairie Queen by Ellen P. Allerton
  11. Serenade of the Sunflowers by Harry Edward Mills
  12. The Sunflower and the Pea by Arthur Sheldon Peacock
  13. An Ode to the Kansas Sunflower by Ed Blair
  14. The Planting of the Cottonwood Tree by Ed Blair
  15. When She Was Born Upon That Kansas Hill by William Herbert Carruth
  16. The Song of the Kansas Emigrant by John Greenleaf Whittier
  17. Kansas by Nicholas Vachel Lindsay
  18. Pine Trees in Kansas by Rose Morgan
  19. The Cabin Days of Kansas by Ed Blair
  20. The Sod House on the Prairie by Ellen P. Allerton
  21. My Pioneer Home In Kansas by Ed Blair
  22. The Kansas That Was by Albert Stroud

  1. Kansas

    by Lottie Brown Allen

    Do you know where the sun shines brightest
    Out in the golden west;
    Do you know where the snow falls whitest
    The land that I love the best;
    Do you know where the skies are bluest
    Bending above the plain;
    Do you know where the hearts are truest
    Bidding you come again?

    Do you know where the flowers are fairest
    Crimson, purple and gold;
    Do you know where the fruits are rarest
    Bestowing a wealth untold;
    Do you know where the birds sing sweetest
    Ever along the way,
    Bespeaking a joy the completest
    Caroling all the day?

    Do you know where the waving sunflower
    Nods to the passer by;
    Do you know where the prairie sunset
    Flames over earth and sky;
    Do you know—but ah, you have guessed it
    And do not need to be told;
    'Tis Kansas! your eyes have expressed it,
    The land that will never grow old.

  2. Sunflowers

    by Lottie Brown Allen

    Up from the wayside damp and cold
    Cut of the early Kansas mold
    Blossomed the sunflowers, green and gold,

    Eastward turning at dawn’s first light
    Hourly drinking the sunbeams bright
    Westward waving a fond goodnight.

    Kissed by the sunshine and the dew
    Under the Kansas skies of blue
    Like unto sunflowers, the children grew.

    Bright eyes greeting the sun’s first ray
    Small hands eager for work or play
    Young hearts singing the livelong day.

    Kansas sunflowers happy and free
    Men and women that grew to be
    Builders of Kansas destiny.

  3. A Wheat-Field Fantasy

    by Harry Kemp

    As I sat on a Kansas hilltop,
    While, far away from my feet,
    Rippled the lights and shadows
    Dancing across acres of wheat,

    The sound of the grain as it murmured
    Wrought a wonder with me—
    It turned from the voice of the Prairie
    Into the roar of the sea.

    And I saw, not the running wind-waves,
    But an ocean that washed below
    In ridging and crumbling breakers
    And ceaseless motion and flow;

    Then, as a valley is flooded
    With opaline mists at morn
    Which momently flow asunder
    And leave green spaces of corn—

    There burst the strangest vision
    Up from that ancient sea.—
    'Twas not the pearl-white Venus

    'Twas the bobbing ears of horses
    And a head with a great hat crowned
    And a binder that burst upon me
    Sudden, as from the ground—

    And the waves gave place to the wheatlands
    Myriad-touched with gold—
    Then my soul felt century-weary
    And untold aeons old;

    For a rock-ledge sloped beside me
    And the lime-traced shells it bore
    Had plied that ancient ocean
    Each with a sentient oar.

  4. The Promise of Bread

    by C. L. Edson

    Out on the frozen uplands, underneath the snow and sleet,
    In the bosom of the plowland sleeps the Promise of the Wheat;
    With the ice for head-and-footstone, and a snowy shroud outspread
    In the frost-locked tomb of winter sleeps the Miracle of Bread.
    With its hundred thousand reapers and its hundred thousand men,
    And the click of guard and sickle and the flails that turn again, And drover's shout, and snap of whips and creak of horses' tugs,
    And a thin red line o' gingham girls that carry water jugs;
    And yellow stalks and dagger beards that stab thro' cotton clothes,
    And farmer boys a-shocking wheat in long and crooked rows,
    And dust-veiled men on mountain stacks, whose pitchforks flash and gleam;
    And threshing engines shrieking songs in syllables of steam,
    And elevators painted red that lift their giant arms
    And beckon to the Harvest God above the brooding farms,
    And loaded trains that hasten forth, a hungry world to fill—
    All sleeping just beneath the snow, out yonder on the hill.

  5. Kansas Day

    by Lottie Brown Allen

    O, Kansas Land! Fair Kansas Land!
    We come thy birthday morn to greet,
    To fling fresh laurels at thy feet.
    O, central gem of our great land,
    Loved spot of the united band;
    We hail this day, our Kansas Land.

    Thou art our pride, dear Kansas Land,
    Sweet peace and liberty are ours.
    O, land of luscious fruits and flowers,
    Of peaceful homes on hill and plain,
    Of lowing herds and waving grain,
    Of cities fair, on every hand.

    As now in joy and pride we stand,
    May we, thy children not forget,
    But treasure in fond memory yet,
    The awful price that has been paid,
    The bitter tears that have been shed
    For thy broad acres, Kansas Land.

    And unto Him whose guiding hand
    With sorrow's tears did christen thee
    And shape thy glorious destiny,
    Let there from us today arise
    Melodious anthems to the skies
    From out thy borders, Kansas Land.

  6. Kansas

    by Harry Kemp

    Give me the land where miles of wheat
    Ripple beneath the wind's light feet,
    Where the green armies of the corn
    Sway in the first sweet breath of morn;
    Give me the large and liberal land
    Of the open heart and the generous hand.
    Under the widespread Kansas sky
    Let me live and let me die.

  7. Out of the Kansas Dust, excerpt

    by George T. and Charles L. Edson

    Out of the dust of Kansas,
    In old, primeval days;
    Out of the shroud of a drifting cloud
    Across its grassy ways
    Flaunting the flag of the prairie dust,
    The shaggy bisons graze,
    Over a landscape red with rust
    The herds emerge from the Kansas dust.

  8. Doin' Things In Kansas

    Kansas Farming
    Kansas Farming
    by Richard Haines
    by Ed Blair

    We're raisin' cane in Kansas,
    But not the Cain of old;
    We're raisin' corn in Kansas,
    That turns to yellow gold;
    We're raisin' wheat in Kansas,
    And we've a lot to spare
    (Two hundred by four hundred
    Will grow wheat anywhere.)

    We're raisin' hogs in Kansas,
    Yes, raisin' 'em on hay—
    Alfalfa in the meadows
    Has come with us to stay—
    And cattle browse the pastures
    Where the wild buffalo
    Were roamin' in the desert
    Not fifty years ago.

    We're pumpin' oil in Kansas,
    And sendin' it away;
    We're lightin' up the cities,
    With gas, as bright as day.
    And hens lay eggs and cackle
    (No better payin' crop),
    And separator butter
    Sells at the very top.

    A feller died in Kansas,
    And went to Heaven's door,
    And asked to gain admission,
    To stay forever more.
    "From Kansas?" said St. Peter,
    "Your brain sure has a crack,
    Y' better oil yer motor,
    Git in and hike right back."

  9. Ode to Kansas

    by Walt Mason

    Kansas: Where we've torn the shackles
    From the farmer's leg;
    Kansas: Where the hen that cackles,
    Always lays an egg;
    Where the cows are fairly achin'
    To go on with record breakin',
    And the hogs are raising bacon
    By the keg!

  10. Kansas, The Prairie Queen

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    In the heart of the country we love so well,
    Two mighty oceans midway between,
    On grassy plain and on billowy swell,
    Sits in her beauty the Prairie Queen.

    She hears not the song of the solemn sea,
    Nor the roar of cataracts mountain-born:
    No lofty peaks, rock-ribbed has she,
    With white hoods piercing the clouds of morn.

    No white sails glide over lakes asleep;
    She boasts no placers of golden sands.
    Her ships are the "schooners" that westward creep,
    And her richest mines are her fertile lands.

    For aught she lacketh—this Prairie Queen—
    Aught of mountain, or lake or sea,—
    There are wide, wine plains and billows green—
    Room for uncounted hosts has she.

    Her soil is deep and her winds blow free;
    There are belts of timber and quiet creeks;
    And rivers at brow, at breast, and knee,
    Fed by the snows on western peaks.

    God made the land, and man makes the State.
    As the hand of the Maker has made her fair,
    So honest labor has made her great,
    And wrought the robes she was barn to wear.

    There was once a time—not so long ago—
    When all this land was a grassy sea,
    Shook by the tramp of the buffalo,
    Trod on by savages flerce and free.

    Another time. On the winds was born
    A cry for help—when the settlers stood
    Battling for freedom—when, rent and torn,
    She was christened with fire and biptized in blood.

    Flame, and rope, and bullet, and knife
    Did their work, while the world locked on;
    But the fair young State came out of the strife
    Famous, glorious—or Freedom won.

    There were heroes then; and we see to-day
    What a rich growth sprang where their blood was sown—
    Why slavery trembled—for these were they
    Who drove the wedge that toppled her throne.

    Dark days and stern! remembered still
    By pleasant fireside, by peaceful stream,
    As one remembers with shuddering thrill
    The horror and fright of some evil dream.

    With "Bleeding Kansas" how fares it now?
    Her cup of plenty, her smile serene,
    She sits at peace with untroubled brow.
    She is rich, she is great, she is crowned a Queen!

    Her prairies are decked with peaceful homes,
    Nestled, like dove-cotes, in clumps of green;
    Fair cities rise with their spires and domes,
    And reaches of railway streched between.

    The cattle by thousands that dot her plains,
    The stacks, like tents, on her bosom borne;
    The grain sacks, heaped on the loaded wains;
    Her stately forests of ripening corn;

    Her quarries, where palaces, towers and spires
    Wait but the hands and the skill to form;
    The masses of coal, which feed the fires
    That drives her engines and keeps her warm:—

    All these are wealth; yet a greater wealth
    She holds in her children—her boys and girls—
    Their faces bright with the tints of health,
    With their laughing eyes and their tossing curls.

    The country boy with the bare, brown feet,
    Tripping to school with his books and slate,
    May climb some day to the highest seat—
    In some great crisis may save the state.

    Little he thinks, at his books or play,
    While the warm blood mantles his "cheek of tan,"
    Of the work of the years that stretch away;
    Yet the careless boy is the coming man.

    And the little girl, with her dimples sweet,
    Her red lips fresh as the morning dew,
    Her silvery laugh, and her dancing feet,
    Is the coming woman, tender and true.

    The boy, the girl, in their childish grace
    Conning their school tasks, day by day—
    These are they who shall take our place,
    When we are at rest and laid away.

    We are proud of Kansas, the beautiful Queen,
    And proud are we of her fields of corn;
    But a nobler pride than these, I ween,
    Is our pride in her children, Kansas born!

  11. Serenade of the Sunflowers

    by Harry Edward Mills

    We are the original settlers,
    And this is our commonwealth
    We ever shall claim
    Both the name
    And the fame
    Which the squatter has taken by stealth.

    We came with the elk and the cactus
    Not yet was the Indian here
    And still we remain
    Though the grain
    Of the plain
    Has banished the bison and deer.

    We never would yield to invasion,
    Though enemies thickened around.
    When corn, wheat and rye
    Raised their high
    Battle cry
    We laughed at their blusterous sound.

    We cheered when the plowman attacked us:
    His furrows we hailed with delight.
    Wherever he trod
    Every rod
    Of his sod
    We seized as a prize of the fight.

    The Sun is our gallant defender;
    We thrive in his furious glow
    Then withers the maize
    In the blaze
    Of his rays,
    But we only flourish and grow.

    They wanted a title for Kansas,
    A title resplendent and great
    A name
    That should shame
    Every claim
    To her fame
    So they called her the Sunflower State.

  12. The Sunflower and the Pea

    by Arthur Sheldon Peacock

    Good Kansans all, of every sort,
    Come join with me in song;
    And if we find the meter short
    We cannot sing it long.

    We'll sing the praise of prairie plants
    That grow our fields among,
    And here relate the circumstance
    And burden of our song:

    Ould Ireland has her shamrock green
    And praties fine galore,
    Auld Scotia has her thistle keen
    Aboon the Solway shore;

    The Bay state has her brown-baked bean
    In Boston by the sea—
    But Kansas boasts her sunflower's sheen
    And eke the black-eyed pea.

    The sunflower grows so very tall
    And branches out so free;
    That where there's nothing else at all
    It seems quite like a tree.

    'Twas one of these Sir Francis climbed
    And filled his heart with pride,
    As peeping o'er Sierra's crest
    Pacific first descried.

    The sunflower's good as any wood
    That grows upon the plain;
    'Tis proof to drouth or winds of south,
    And seldom hurt by rain.

    The black-eyed pea is victual good,
    And here we all agree,
    The Kansan eats no other food—
    When nothing else has he.

    Then join with me the glad refrain
    And sing it full and free;
    Without her patron flower and grain
    What would this country be?

  13. An Ode to the Kansas Sunflower

    by Ed Blair

    Oh sunflower! The queen of all flowers,
    No other with you can compare,
    The roadside and fields are made golden
    Because of your bright presence there.
    Above all the weeds that surround you
    You raise to the sun your bright head,
    Embroidering beautiful landscapes
    Your absence would leave brown and dead.

    Oh queen of the September morning
    You watch for the first ray of sun,
    And salute the bright orb as it travels
    Till the bright day of autumn is done.
    Tho' sickles may slay in the pasture,
    And the plowman destroy in the field,
    Yet, still will the corners and by-ways
    The seed for the future years yield.

    Then, Sunflower, peep over the fences
    And cover the hillsides with gold,
    And out in the cornfields, if tempted,
    Again take thy claim as of old;
    Salute, too, and nod to the stranger,
    Who travels the dusty highway,
    He'll worship the sun crown you're wearing
    And love you for brightening his way.

    So, Sunflower, grow tall in the meadow
    And spread to the breezes your arms,
    No matter if some do molest you
    And try to destroy on the farms,
    Let thy stalk all the season still gather
    The sunbeams that come dancing by;
    And then in September unfold them
    To dazzle with splendor the eye.

  14. The Planting of the Cottonwood Tree

    by Ed Blair

    The building of the cabin home,
    The planting of the trees,
    The breaking of the virgin soil—
    What tender memories!
    What stories, told of other days,
    Come drifting back to me,
    I think this one the best of all,
    The planting of this tree.

    A little sprout she carried there
    When first the home was bought,
    For mother said "a treeless home
    Was such a lonely spot."
    And by the door where summer's breeze
    Would tune its leaves to song
    She planted it and nourished till
    Its roots grew firm and strong.

    Dear cottonwood, so lovely then,
    How wide and tall it grew.
    What joy to those long absent when
    Its top first came to view!
    A sentinel it seemed to be
    That stood majestic there,
    And guarded those who dwelt within
    That dear old home so fair.

    'Twas mother's tree! And it has stood
    For thirty years or more,
    Where loving hands had planted it
    Beside that cottage door.
    The song-birds came and nested there,
    And 'neath its cooling shade,
    The boys and girls that blessed the home
    Their first playhouses made.

  15. When She Was Born Upon That Kansas Hill

    by William Herbert Carruth

    When she was born upon that Kansas Hill
    Soft April tiptoed through the prairie grass,
    Bidding the early meadow-larks be still
    And listen for the coming soul to pass.
    It came with soundless music from the deep,
    Fulfilled with superhuman harmony
    That charmed the waiting Easter-bells to sleep
    And made them dream of mornings yet to be,
    When she should romp that hill and greet the sun
    With her clear treble and drink the spicy air
    And pulse in time with all the life begun
    In that soft season of what is sweet and fair.
    Oh, there was joy enough that April morn
    Over the Kansas Hill where she was born!

  16. The Song of the Kansas Emigrant

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    We cross the prairies as of old
    The Pilgrims crossed the sea,
    To make the West, as they the East,
    The homestead of the free.

    The homestead of the free, my boys,
    The homestead of the free,
    To make the West, as they the East,
    The homestead of the free.

    We go to rear a wall of men
    On Freedom's Southern line,
    And plant beside the cotton-tree
    The rugged Northern pine.

    We're flowing from our native hills,
    As our free rivers flow;
    The blessings of our mother-land
    Is on us as we go.

    We go to plant her common schools
    On distant prairie swells,
    And give the Sabbaths of the wild
    The music of her bells.

    Upbearing, like the ark of old,
    The Bible in her van,
    We go to test the truth of God
    Against the fraud of man.

    No pause, nor rest, save where the streams
    That feed the Kansas run,
    Save where our pilgrim gonfalon
    Shall flout the setting sun.

    We'll tread the prairies as of old
    Our fathers sailed the sea;
    And make the West, as they the East,
    The homestead of the free.

  17. Kansas

    by Nicholas Vachel Lindsay

    O, I have walked in Kansas
    Through many a harvest field
    And piled the sheaves of glory there
    And down the wild rows reeled:

    Each sheaf a little yellow sun,
    A heap of hot-rayed gold;
    Each binder like Creation's hand
    To mould suns, as of old.

    Straight overhead the orb of noon
    Beat down with brimstone breath;
    The desert wind from south and west
    Was blistering flame and death.

    Yet it was gay in Kansas,
    A-fighting that strong sun;
    And I and many a fellow-tramp
    Defied that wind and won.

    And we felt free in Kansas
    From any sort of fear,
    For thirty thousand tramps like us
    There harvest every year.

    She stretches arms for them to come,
    She roars for helpers then,
    And so it is in Kansas
    That tramps, one month, are men.

    We sang in burning Kansas
    The songs of Sabbath-school,
    The "Day-Star" flashing in the East,
    The "Vale of Eden" cool.

    We sang in splendid Kansas
    "The flag that set us free"—
    That march of fifty thousand men
    With Sherman to the sea.

    We feasted high in Kansas
    And had much milk and meat.
    The tables groaned to give us power
    Wherewith to save the wheat.

    Our beds were sweet alfalfa hay
    Within the barn-loft wide.
    The loft-doors opened out upon
    The endless wheat-field tide.

  18. Pine Trees in Kansas

    by Rose Morgan

    The cottonwood, own child of radiant spring,
    Stands all aflutter in its shimmering green,
    As not of Earth but of some realm serene
    Where Winter never comes, and Light is king,
    Whither its leafy pinions quivering,
    Its upflung boughs in their soft silver sheen,
    Seem ready to transport it when the keen
    Arctural blasts stop its brief bourgeoning.
    Behind it rise the pines in dull array,
    Dark wintry aliens in a sunbright land;
    Yet winter s strength their level boughs display,
    Strength fitted winter's tempests to withstand;
    And on them rests a glory past compare—
    The fulfilled hope of those who set them there.

    "We go to rear a wall of men
    On freedom's southern line,
    And plant beside the cotton tree
    The rugged northern pine."

    – John Greenleaf Whittier
    The Song of the Kansas Emigrant
  19. The Cabin Days of Kansas

    by Ed Blair

    In the cabin days of Kansas,
    Oh! 'twas great to live here then,
    When we heard the morning cackle
    Of the prairie chicken hen;
    And the drum like noise of roosters,
    Coming from the prairie near,
    In the early days of Kansas—
    Days that always will be dear.

    How we visited with neighbors,
    Living miles and miles away,
    In a bobsled or a wagon,
    For the trip, the entire day.
    How we welcomed all the strangers,
    As they drove up to the yard,
    And they shared our every comfort,
    Though the best sometimes was hard.

    In the twilight father's "fiddle"
    Used to pour the music sweet
    Of the "Devil's Dream" and others,
    While the foot ne'er lost a beat.
    And the "Sweet Tobacco Posey,"
    Alabama's dearest rose,
    Always came in for a feature
    Ere the evening would close,

    Oh! the old time songs he gave us—
    Could a child of his e'er roam?
    "Bobbie Burns," his favorite ballads,
    Best of all, "No Place Like Home."
    And the songs of war-time heroes,
    In each line a thrill of love
    For the Union Flag forever,
    On the ramparts far above.

    How the music soothed a youngster,
    As the creaking trundle bed,
    Cuddled me between the comforts,
    And the "Good Night" words were said,
    And I lay there drifting, dreaming,
    On the wings of peaceful sleep.
    With no thought of stern tomorrow's
    Climbing up Life's Hill so steep.

    "Turn your backs" would come the warning,
    As the women left the hearth,
    (Breaking up the happy circle
    'Round the fireplace) for their berth.
    Then the last was father's winding
    Of the old Seth Thomas clock,
    Like the katydid's false warning.
    Latch string in. Asleep his flock.

  20. The Sod House on the Prairie

    The Homestead and Building of the Barbed Wire Fence
    The Homestead and Building of the Barbed Wire Fence
    by John Steuart Curry
    by Ellen P. Allerton

    A low sod house, a broad green prairie,
    And stately ranks of bannered corn;—
    'Twas there I took my dark-eyed Mary,
    And there our darling boy was born.

    The walls were low, the place was homely,
    But Mary sang from morn till night.
    The place beneath her touch grew comely;
    Her cheerful presence made it bright.

    Oh, life was sweet beyond all measure!
    No hour was dull, no day was long;
    Each task was easy, toil was pleasure,
    For love and hope were fresh and strong.

    How oft we sat at eve, foretelling
    The glories of that wide, new land!
    And gayly planned our future dwelling—
    For low sod house, a mansion grand.

    Alas! we little know how fleeting
    The joy that falls to human lot.
    While unseen hands were dirges beating,
    We smiled secure and heard them not.

    One day Death came and took my Mary;
    Another, and the baby died.
    And near the sod house on the prairie
    I laid my darlings, side by side.

    I could not stay. My heart was weary,
    And life a load too hard to bear.
    That low sod house was dreary, dreary,
    For love and hope lay buried there.

  21. My Pioneer Home In Kansas

    by Ed Blair

    I am weary and must go
    For my mind it seems to stray,
    Back again to boyhood's home
    On the prairie far away.
    Where barefoot I rambled far
    List'ning for old Brindle's bell,
    And then slowly brought the cows
    As the twilight shadows fell.

    None but those who once have dwelt
    Where the prairies stretch away,
    From the pioneer's new home,
    E'er can feel as I today.
    How I long to see the flowers
    Nature planted for me there,
    And to hear the larks sweet song
    Swell out on the balmy air.

    Then at evening from the fields
    O'er our cabin to their nests,
    Swift the prairie chickens flew
    Without hunters to molest.
    And at noon "Bob White" would ring
    Sharply on the summer air,
    To be echoed by a boy
    Listening with rapture there.

    And in Autumn, Oh! how oft
    Have I watched the prairie fire
    From our cabin home at night.
    Yet I never seemed to tire,
    Watched until it spread away;
    Over hills and vales and mounds,
    'Till the line of fire seemed but
    Musketry of battle grounds.

    Take me back—yes, take me back,
    To the cabin on the wild,
    To my trundle bed once more,
    Where I slept when but a child.
    Take me to my cabin home
    'Mong the blue stem far away,
    Out upon the prairies wild
    To my Kansas home today.

  22. The Kansas That Was

    by Albert Stroud

    There was a state called Kansas, it's a place I used to know,
    And I'd like right well to see it if I knew which way to go;
    Its prairies they were level and as far as eye could see
    There wasn't any house but ours, and not a fence or tree.
    We had a field of second sod where tumble weeds would grow
    And in the fall when they were dry I liked to watch them blow.
    They made the nicest herd of cows for little girls and boys
    Who didn't have—and didn't need—a lot of costly toys.
    We hadn't any berries so we made sheep-sorrel pie;
    We sliced our pumpkins into strips and hung them up to dry,
    And in the winter they were fine, cooked with a hunk of meat;
    Those were the days when anything seemed mighty good to eat.
    The sunsets out in Kansas were not clouded o'er with smoke
    And when we went to take a walk there was no dust to choke;
    I could name a hundred reasons, as I live those times again,
    Why Kansas was a paradise for women folks and men.
    I ought to go back there once more, I thought I heard you say;
    Why, sure, I'd like to do it—but I never moved away.

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