Frank L.] [Chaney.

Gleanings among the Kansas sheaves .. online

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And worked, and dressed, and prayed, and loved
In the good, old-fashioned way.

He wore his mat of long, gray hair,

Done up in antique cue;
Knee-breeches and stock did he also wear,

And silver buckled shoe.
His plow was little better than sharpened stick;

With sickle he cut his grain,
And stacked it in an old-fashioned rick.

Well roofed to shed the rain.
With flail he threshed on the granary floor,

In bins stored it away;
The grist to mill on horseback bore,

In the good old-fashioned way.

His good wife spun and wove and knit,

Wore a linsey-woolsey gown;
Before the fire-place, on a spit.

She did her roasts up brown;
Within the ashes hoe-cake baked,

Nor deigned to use a stove.
Yet, strange to say, on coarse hoe-cake

This thrifty couple throve.
The Bible was their only book,

And seldom they read that.
And, as no newspapers they took,

Supposed the world was flat.


Contentedly this Darby and Joan,

In chimney corner snug,
Smoked and recalled days long gone,

And sipped from cider mug.
For they were made of different stuff

From people of to-day,
And dozed and gossiped, and took snuff.

In the old-fashioned way.

To raisin's, huskin's and parties,

About the country side,
To log roUin's, quiltin's and parin' bees

Both on one horse would ride.
And when the youngsters formed a set,

With air gallant and gay,
They'd tread the stately minuet.

In the old-fashioned way.

And so this antiquated pair

Lived on for many a day,
With nothing to their comfort mar.

As blithe as birds in May.
And much I doubt if people are

As free from care to-day
As was old Farmer Granger,

In his old-fashioned way.



'Twas whispered abroad, one sweet day in spring,

That a musical convention would be held in a grove,
And each insect and bird in turn there should sing — ■

Thus their right to a claim of precedence prove.
Master Crow, with a "caw," called the meeting to order;

King Eagle sat musing on his throne in a tree;
Owl, Bat and Mole as judges presided —

To judge and judge fairly, one should not see.
Whippoorwill sang his song that was loudly applauded;

All the birds clapped their wings in the wildest of glee,
But, at a glance from stern Eagle, were at once gently folded,

As arose on the air the clear hum of the Bee.
Clerk Wren called next, in his stateliest manner, —

By remarks the judges might prejudiced be —
To the front, with a bow, came a bright Yellow-Hammer,

Who warbled in turn his tweedle-de-dee.
The Cricket sang next his song, loud and long.

Of the luck he would bring to the lowliest hearth.
And was joined by the whole of the gay insect throng,

Who chimed in a chorus to his innocent mirth.
Then Cat Bird, and Martin, and Blue Bird, and Swallow,
The Bain Crow, Bob White, and sweet Meadow Lark,
The Robin, and Wren, and Pe-dee strove to follow.

And kept up the concert till long after dark.
The Mocking Bird rose, at the close of the meeting,

And begged as a favor his friends would allow
Him the privilege of each insect and bird's note repeating.
And bore off the prize, with his stateliest bow.



A fleet of clouds, with sail-like pennons flying,

Changed into misty veils of gossamer.
Then formed a ruin old, in broken columns lying,

Ere to the canvas I could their forms transfer.

1 launched my boat upon the restless ocean.
Whose waves with gentle murmurs spurned

The sands with peaceful, gliding motion;
But ere I could set sail, the tide had turned.

A gorgeous rainbow spanned the dome of heaven,
Resplendent with the many hues that rainbows wear.

But ere I counted e'en its colors seven,

It melted quite away and vanished in thin air.

I cried, " O changing cloud, and tide, and rainbow,
And winds which o'er the changeful earth so widdy

Change and decay are on all below;
This is indeed a world of change.''




Pressed in the fold of school-book old,

This faded, yellow leaf
Kecalls sweet Mays of other days,

In life's bright spring-time brief.

It calls to mind the teacher kind,

Who soothed our childish woes
With fragrant spray of sweetest May

That e'er in garden grows.

The rows of stiff-backed benches there,
The blackboard's chalky showing.

The crops of tangled flaxen hair
That plainly needed mowing.

The daily plunge of Thomas Y — ng's,

Into his A — er B — er,
With shuffling feet, sent to his seat,

To study long on — er.

Then Emmy Jones' pathetic tones,

Thick as a winter's fog.
Telling how "at the red man's heelths,

Still hawked the white manth's dawg."

Or Sophie Lawson's broken speech,

Warning "der lettla mousa
To fly beyond Tietta kot's reach,

Who searched her tro' de housa."

Mischievous Minn's cute, knowing grins
• Plainly before me rise,
Informing the school, from the dunce's stool,
That she loathed dried apple pies.

There "Barbara Fritchie's" virtues shone;

There "Kosciusko" rose and fell;
With the ''Gladiator's" dying groan

Mingled Moore's "Evening Bell."

And through the mists of vanished years.

Gome back my last school day;
Its memory to my heart endears

This withered leaf of May.



Walking along through the crowded street,

Motley's the wear of the people you meet.
Here comes a barouche, dashing along,

The gay liveried coachman humming a song;
Pompously inside sits swell millionaire,

Home from a meeting, horse race or fair.
Here a sleek dandy, in smart English fly,

Driving two-forty, comes dashing by.
Now comes a phaeton, with young girl so sweet,

Under a new bonnet, natty and neat;
Mater beside her, looking out well

A mate for her daughter in rich Broadway swell.
Then there's the dog-cart, with two blooming girls;

How the fresh bandoline shines on their curls.
In two-wheeled red cart, on shady by-street.

Two precious children and burro we meet.
Here comes the street car, with sharp, jingling bell —

Out of the way ! they are coming, pell-mell.
Out of the way with that peanut cart !

Look out! that dray horse is going to start.
Heavy truck wagon, lumbering 'bus.

Everywhere noise, rush, rustle and fuss.
Clear the track! slow and steady, hush laughter and curse.

Make room for that dark-plumed, slow-going hearse.
Here's an old woman with fresh vegetables.

Here a young farmer has brought in his culls,
Here's a young girl with basket of flowers,

Standing alone on the corner for hours.
«' Black yer boots! Shine 'em up!"

Shouts the ragged small boy.
<' Here's yer Times ^ Daily News!

Who will buy ? " newsboys cry.
t'Pity the poor blind man,"

Cries the blind organ-man.
"Here's your milk! fresh milk!"

Shouts the man with his can.
Shouting, jostling, hurrying along,

Pushed liere and there by the careless throng,
Everyone on his own business intent.

Elbowing our way through the city we went.



Look forward and not back,

Look out and not in,
Look up and not down,

Lend a hand —
Mottoes are of the Daughters of the King.

Look forward to the time,

When men shall clearly see
Woman's weak, inferior mind

By use can strengthened be.

Look out on the broad fields
Which awaits the fearless band,

With love emblazoned on their shields,
Not afraid to lend a hand.

Look upward to the skies.

Where dark oppression's clouds

Before the car of progress flies,
Which our sun of glory shrouds.

Onward, upward, downward never,
Shout the Daughters of the King.

In His name we triumph ever.
In Hie name bring ofiering.

Let the pride and pomp of power

By true love supplanted be.
And our united sisters' dower

Be friendship, love, fraternity.

Sail on, mighty car of progress.
Let truth guide aright thy helm.

Manned by faith, and love, and friendship,
Nothing can our bark o'erwhelm.

Into ports of peace and pleasure,

Thee the winds of heaven will bring,

Who are sailing 'neath the colors
Of the Daughters of the King.

A QUERY. 213


Tell me, gaudy sunflower,

Where your gold mint lies.
And what cunning artist's hand

Mixed your amber dyes!
Have you hidden forces,

Working under ground ?
What in heart of mother earth

Cherished secrets found ?

Spake the yellow sunflowers,

Hanging heavy heads:
''Deep in Kansas' bosom hid.

Lie rich, undiscovered beds;
Beds of salt and mineral,

Beds of purest anthracite,
Hidden under beds of slate,

Waiting for the light.
Beds of richest mineral,

Silver, gold, and iron, and lead,
Lying within the reach of all.

Safely hid in rocky bed."

Tell me, plumey golden rod,

Where you got your gold
That above the Kansas sod

Feathery plumes unfold!
Tell me, what famed artist's hand

Tints thy gorgeous hue,
That throughout the sun-bright land

There be none like you!

Spake the plumey golden rod,

Gleaming in the sun,
*'He who hath turned Kansas sod,

Golden harvests won.
Well doth she deserve her name,

'Golden Sunflower State.'
In her heart or in her sod,

Lieth treasures great."



Restlessly with the reeling world we're rolling,
Never at rest until our funeral bells are tolling.

Changing ever,

Quiet never.

Surging like the sea,

We poor mortals be.

Grasping yet a little more, reaching out still further,
Though our coffers full of shining dollars, grasping yet

In search of wealth,

Shatter health,

Cheat a mother,

Rob a brother.

Such are we.

Poor humanity.

Looking forward to the time
When we will be contented.
Letting present pleasures glide by us unlamented.

Living in the past.

Looking to the future

For joys that never last —

Poor human nature.

Filling the big, wide world,
In our own estimations.
For our birth laying God
Under lasting obligations.

Pass away,

Forgotten in a day.

Planted 'neath the sod,

Perhaps go to God.

FLEUll-DE-LiS. 21


Why dost thou hide in reedy pool,

In untrod meadow ways,
When in the garden, sweet and cool,

Your scepter you might raise.

' Neath shady bank, mid rushes tall,
Thy feet the soft waves kiss,

Your realm's a kingdom, free to all,
O fair, blue Fleur-de-lis.

Did Flora, goddess of the flowers,
Seek out the loneliest glen,

And banish thee from garden bowers,
Far from the haunts of men?

Was it for real or fancied sin,
That thou wast doomed to dwell

In somber shade of woodland dim,
And quiet, lonely dell?

No, little modest flower of blue.
Your heart holds purest gold;

I'll ne'er believe a thought untrue
Your pure, blue petals hold.



Gold is king! Gold is king!

We eagerly list to its welcome ring.
Tliey may prate of love and passion ever,

But the love of gold outweighs all other.

See the miser gloat o'er his golden store,

Counting his treasure o'er and o'er,
Till the light in his eye is hard and cold,

And his heart's as hard as his heaps of gold.

And the dream of the bloated millionaire
Is to gain for himself the lion's share;

To his glittering hordes still adding more,

Though widow and orphan are turned from his door.

How we chase its phantom till youth is spent.
Till with age our forms are worn and bent,

Nor pause in the race as we grow old.
In pursuit of the ignis fatims^ gold.

Gold is king! Gold is king!

Outlasting love, passion, everything.
The dream of youth, the staff of the old,

''Hard food for Midas," glittering gold.



Did you ever, on an antumn eve,

When the moon was at its full.
By a kind little fairy be granted leave

To attend a grasshoppers' ball?

Shall I tell how mosquitoes in pairs,

All humming the latest airs,
Come out 'neath the trees in nature's ball room,

To dance by the light of the moon?

How anxious mammas bring their girls.

Bedecked in old laces and pearls,
For the hearts and hands of big bugs to sue,

At the ball to make their debut.

The beetles have sewed for weeks,

Until wasted and hollow their cheeks,

But they must be there, broken wings to sew.
And to sprinkle the floor with dew.

Cricket, katy-did, and bumble bee

All played until red in the face.
And an old green frog, with a "jug-jug-jug,"

Came in with a sounding bass.

Shall I tell of the chagrin and spite
Of the little bugs there that night?

How they buzzed together, with angry frown,
At katy-did's new green gown?


And called Miss Fly a sad flirt,

And spider meaner than dirt,
And of big bugs ' doings, ah, well.

They knew more than they cared to tell.

Of the loves and moonlight strolls.

In glens, over grassy knolls,
Now 'neath fern in conservatory,

Was told over the old, old story.

How daddy long-legs and spider, his pet.

On a leaf danced a minuet.
How a merry old frog to his bosom hugged

The toad, as they danced a clog?

Must I tell how a bright butterfly
l^lew into the glow-worm's light.

And singed her wings till she must die,
Which broke up the ball that night?



What shall my theme be — lov6 and its blandishments,

The nut-brown hair and Cell-blue eyes
Of love-lorn maids, at ivied casements,

Heaving the same old love-laden sighs?

Shall I unearth a dead and gone passion,
Rattle the dead bones of a long buried love,

Sigh, moan, and groan, in poetic fashion.

Till my grief would the heart of a nether-stone move ?

Love is exhausted, worn quite threadbare;

Pine trees and rivers are rubbish and stuff;
Pastoral landscape, meadow lark, field-fare.

Blue skies and apple blooms have figured enough.

Then ring down the curtain on love and its glamour;

Give domestic unhappiness a show.
Family jars, and children's loud clamor;

Show up the ports where courtships go.

Love in a. cottage looks pretty on paper;

Cash is the oil that keeps the flame bright;
Set love burning the midnight taper

For daily bread, then extinguished its light.

Look where love flies out at the window.
When poverty knocks at the cottage door.

At its approach, away loves and doves go —
Love seldom is found in the huts of the poor.

Love cannot live without cash to back it;

Cash rules the court, the camp and the grove;
Unhappy the wedded pair who lack it;

Cash cements firmly true conjugal love.


What the world needs is a new set of subjects;

A bee that can buzz in a different key;
Not that discordant notes ye worldlings detects

In the cheerful bass voice of the old bumble bee.

But change is the basis on which we are living,
Change, constant change, in all nature we see;

Change is the object for which we are striving — ■
I move for a change in the authors' stale bee.

Change in the plot and style of their stories,
Change in their heroes' and heroines' fates.

Not changed in the cradle, nor strangled by Tories,
Nor wrangling forever o'er lost estates.

Ivy-hung castles are glutting the market,
Beauty seldom is seen outside of a book.

That author, I think, would make a rare hit.

Who'd give us a heroine who knew how to cook.

A natural woman, instead of an iceberg,
Conversing on subjects by woman tabooed.

Hurling all manner of ologies at you.

Not even by the authors themselves understood.

Then ring on the changes, let fall the drop-curtain,
Present to the public a play that is new.

A change in the base will come sure and certain
To all who are wearing the stockings of blue.



The kettle sings on the polished hoD;

Right merrily chirps the cricket;
The fire log to the andirons nod,

As the farmer closes the wicket.
The housewife bustles out and in,
Adding her voice to the merry din
Preparing the dainty evening meal
Of cranberry sauce and leg of veal;
Preserve of juicy pear and quince,
Flakey cruller and pie of mince.
The firelight glancing over all,
Casting shadows along the wall,
Then back o'er the grimy rafters did creep
To farthest corner, where cheep! cheep! cheep!
Chirruped the noisy cricket.

"Bless the cricket," the farmer cries;

"111 luck to the hearth where a cricket dies!

For I've often read and heard it said,

That ' The luckiest thing in all the earth

Is a cricket on the hearth.' "

"I hold it sacred," said his wife,

" I will never take a cricket's life;

So cheerful and joyous its roundelay.

It drives from our hearth dull care away.

How can cold, heartless creatures say

To the world they are nothing worth ?"

Spring has come, and the farmer goes
Up and down the green corn rows,
Heaping the furrows around the corn.
Busy and cheerful, both night and morn.
The orchard and pasture lot must be plowed
The millet and wheat and oats be sowed.
"But what has dulled this sharp scythe so?
This pitchfork handle is eaten through!
My coat is eaten by crickets, too.
Drat the pesky crickets!


I'd kill them all if I had the pluck,
But fear if I did I'd have bad luck."

'Tis then the housewife's task begins,

Sorting the apples in all the bins;

Armed all day with broom and mop,

Cleaning the house from bottom to top.

But what has invaded the strong clothes-press,

And eaten holes in her Sunday dress ?

The carpet, too, is a sight to see.

''I'll lay that cricket out," said she;

" Confound a squeaking cricket."

When darkness o'er the brown earth steals
The farmer leaves his thrifty fields

And seeks his happy home;
But as he crossed the threshold o'er
A sadness he ne'er felt before

His feelings overcome.
A small black form lay on the hearth,
Where once its voice in joyous mirth

The farmer's dwelling filled.
'Mong gray, cold ashes, there it lay.
Forever hushed its roundelay;

The cricket's voice was stilled.

That year the corn was a poor crop;
The wheat failed in the pasture lot;
A blight fell on the oats and rye,
The millet came up but to die;
And oft that sad-faced farmer sighed,
"Alas for the day the cricket died."
This life of ours is mostly prose;
The poetry in it we " suppose."
Good luck may come to me or you.
But with it crickets have naught to do.

If farmers searched the lieavens for signs
They'd know which way their luck incline^
On Jupiter their crop depends,
For lucky showers he yearly sends.



Erect and alert all the summer day,
Near his dug-out the prairie dog sits;

If a stranger comes nigh he skurries away,
Nearly frightened out of his wits.

Into the ground he goes with a bound,

A ki-yi and a lurch,
Startling the snake till his rattles sound

And the owl falls oflp his perch.

Like a picket guard, quick to give alarms,

Is this little brown wary granger.
In a pitiful way he holds up his arms.

Saying plain as dog could, a * 'Truce, stranger."

'Tis the Red Man he fears, as he stealthily nears

His adobe village so peaceful;
Ere he is aware he's caught in a snare,

Or lariat thrown easy and graceful.

I wonder are these underground villagers rife

With gossip and spite and slander i
Is the head-ruler there afraid of his life i

Have they civil or lynch law, I wonder ?

Are the ladies of dog town on a strife
Over who is the sleekest or youngest ?

Are they all jealous there of the mayor's wife
Or the one whose bark is the strongest ?

If no petty strife mars the prairie dog's life,
If peace and content rules their dwelling.

The brutes are above the rest of creation:
To yield them the palm I am willing.



A rustic bridge, whose rafters old and gray,
Eeflected, lie upon the water far below;

Low, drooping boughs shut out the light of day,
From glen where dripping waters murmur low.

Along the bank brown cat's-tails sway

And bend their heads as evening zephyrs pass;

On swaying bough a brown thrush chants her lay,
And shy quails hide amid the tall, rank grass.

From leafy shade a twitter, low and sweet,

Creeps out upon the quiet night;
In fold secure the sheep for lambkins bleat,

And echo answers back a pert bob-white.

Across the fields comes scent of new mown hay;

The kine moo gently at the pasture bars;
The tired farmer homeward wends his way.

As one by one shine out the twinkling stars.

As falls the night, the cuckoo's voice is heard;

The river shines a silver thread beneath the moon;
Along the hedge rows chirp the nesting birds.

And night shuts out the twilight all too soon.

LOVE. 225


What is love, my darling?

Come, sit here on my knee
The while I am explaining

Its mysteries to thee.
Love is a subtle essence,

Absorbed by heart and brain
Much as the fertile, fruitful earth

Absorbs the healing rain —
A fairy realm of fancy

Wherein the blind god roams;
A towering, cloud-built city,

Begirt with gleaming domes;
A fair and fragrant garden.

Exhaling sweet perfume
From countless beds of flowers

That in its borders bloom.
Upon the smoking funeral pyre

The faithful martyrs trod,
And placed their hands in scorching fire,

Inspired by love of God.
O'er bleeding, wounded comrades,

The reckless soldiers tread
Up to the belching cannon's mouth

By love of country led.
The sculptor's chisel carves in stone

For him a deathless name-
With life the artist's canvas glows.

All through his love of fame. , ^

The poet's pen, the conqueror's sword.

Alike wage ceaseless wars.
To carve and write their names with love,

Among the fadeless stars.


Love is the powerful lever

Which moves the reeling earth.
All love compared to mother's love

You'll find but little worth.
Fair spoken words of lovers' vows,

The love of sisters, brothers, fathers,
Compare as darkness unto day

When balanced 'gainst a mother's.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,

Through love hath angels fell.
Beware, my daughter, lest thou love

!Not wisely but too well.




Dainty maiden, of nut brown hue,

Reclining tliere in your case of glass,
From whence or whither camest thou?

And where from this world didst thou pass?
What was your tribe? either Creek or Choctaw,

Pequod, Powhattan, or Shawnee,
Apache, Blackfoot, or Chippewa,

Arapahoe, Iroquois or Cherokee?
Tiny moccasins, beaded fine.

Cling to your shriveled, blackened feet.
Did they furnish instead golden slippers to climb,

And to walk with the blest the golden street?
Did you 'broider your deer-skin leggins with beads ?

The leather looks wondrously fresh and new;
While their owner, from being so very long dead,

Looks like an old sunburnt leather shoe.
Or did some ingenious Yankee whittle you out

Of wood or leather, and leave you rough,
And paint you brown within and without,

And pass you off as genuine stufi"?
No, I believe you to be of pure quill,

A genuine Indian maiden mummy;
The paint is red on your warped cheek still;

To think that a woman should paint — how funny!
Maj^be you married a famous chief —

Massasoit, Iroquois or Tecumseh,
Rain-in-the-Face, Uncas or Wamsutta,

King Phillip, Black Hawk or Shabbona.
How many ponies and buffalo hides,

Besides dozens of hatchets and arrows, mayhap
Deer skins and wampum and beads and knives,

For you did the chief to your shrewd pa swap ?


Perhaps you strapped your papoose to a board,

And carried the round eyed elf on your back;
Or paddled your birch tree canoe well stored

With warrior and tepee, a goodly pack.
Did you die, believing the great spirit had power

To bear you to the happy hunting ground?
Come, tell me truly, did your freed spirit soar

To the Isles of the Blest where angels abound?
Or did it return with your form to the earth,

To mingle with dust and darkness for aye.
I'd give ten of the best years of my life,

To know that our spirits are not made of clay.
Speak up! and tell us the secrets that be

In herbs, by your cunning medicine man found.
Explain the inexplicable mystery

Encompassing your happy hunting ground.
You may have nob-a-nobbed with Columbus or Penn,

Sighted the Mayflower or DeSoto's fleet;
Or may have scalped French and Englishmen

And cherished their scalp-lock as trophy sweet.
Silent as sphynx you still sit there,

Answering naught that I question you;
Hands idly folded, your long, raven hair

Fallen like veil down over you.
Bright eyed deer and bufl'alo gaze

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Online LibraryFrank L.] [ChaneyGleanings among the Kansas sheaves .. → online text (page 13 of 14)