Category Archives: Poetry

HISTORY by ‘Ironquill’


Over the infinite prairie of level eternity,
          Flying as flies the deer,
Time is pursued by a pitiless, cruel oblivion,
          Following fast and near.

Ever and ever the famishing coyote is following
          Patiently in the rear;
Trifling the interval, yet we are calling it “History” —
          Distance from wolf to deer.

coyote_in_field

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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Poetry

THE WASHER WOMAN’S SONG ~ by Ironquill


  (this poem and photo are both by famous Fort Scott Kansas residents, from different times and backgrounds)

In a very quiet spot,

Photo by Gordon Parks

Photo by Gordon Parks

In a very humble cot,

     In the suds and in the soap,
     Worked a woman full of hope;
Working, singing, all alone,
In a sort of undertone
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

Sometimes happening, along,
I had heard the semi-song,
     And I often used to smile,
     More in sympathy than guile;
But I never said a word
In regard to what I heard,
     As she sang about her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Not in sorrow nor in glee
Working all day long was she,
     As her children, three or four,
     Played around her on the floor;
But in monotones the song
She was humming all day long:
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

It ‘s a song I do not sing,
For I scarce believe a thing
     Of the stories that are told
     Of the miracles of old;
But I know that her belief
Is the anodyne of grief,
     And will always be a friend
     That will keep her to the end.

Just a trifle lonesome she,
Just as poor as poor could be;
     But her spirits always rose,
     Like the bubbles in the clothes,
And, though widowed and alone,
Cheered me with the monotone,
     Of a Savior and a friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

I have seen her rub and scrub,
On the washboard in the tub,
     While the baby, sopped in suds,
     Rolled and tumbled in the duds;
Or was paddling in the pools,
With old scissors stuck in spools;
     She still humming of her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Human hopes and human creeds
Have their root in human needs;
     And I should not wish to strip
     From that washerwoman’s lip
Any song that she can sing,
Any hope that songs can bring;
     For the woman has a friend
     Who will keep her to the end.

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Filed under History, Kansas, Poetry