FROM PRAIRIE ANEMONES, Writers Guild, Dodge City, Kansas, written by J. C. Denious.

"This little brochure, which presents the contributions of Southwestern Kansas poets, is worthy of a place in any library.
Always the people of the Southwest have had the faculty of expressing in an impressive way, the things they desired to say. Now they are expressing their sentiments rhythmically, charmingly, beautifully.
The influence of the Muse has been felt in the Southwest ever since the frontier days, but that influence has been broadened and strengthened with the march of years. The residents of the great plains area are observing this development with approval, for only poets can help us to reconstruct those glorious moments which time long since destroyed."

      The following poems have been selected, mostly, for their true portrayal of conditions as they existed in the early days on the western plains, in Ford County. The authors were members of the Dodge City Writers Guild and the Kansas Authors Club.


The lofty mountains not long could bar
The immigrant train on its westward way
Across the prairie and on to the coast
While the plains were left for the last frontier.

-Ida Ellen (Cox) Rath

      The Southwest lends itself particularly to those writers who can catch the glory of pioneer sacrifice and reflect it, undiminished, in grandeur, in the written word.

-Roy Buckingham




Amid the cracking of long-lashed bullwhips
And shouted orders of the wagon boss,
The wagon train sets out, as gallant ships
Within a convoy, wide, wild plains to cross.
Close up the line," the grizzled leaders plead;
The man that lags behind invites a flight
Of Indian arrows! And the train has need
Of every man to stand on guard at night.
Ho! You that drives the wagon in the van,
slow up a bit. Our teams will never last
to trail's end at such a pace, nor can
they climb the hills when far Fort Bent is passed
if jaded now. The trail is long, the way
Is dangerous and rough to Santa Fe."
copyright 1957

-Edw. E. Bill


The Indian and the Trapper trails
Have been replaced by shining rails;
No living buffalo remains
To wander free o'er Kansas plains.
What could resist the onward flow
Of men whose word was, "Westward Ho!"
All honor to the Pioneer,
Who caught a vision, shining clear,
Of fertile fields, of growing grain,
And thrifty towns upon the plain;
To men who would not know defeat,
Who found the fruits of labor sweet.
How well they planned, their deeds attest;
Behold the Empire of the West!
-Tessa V. Miller

      The memories of this sunny historical region of adventure [ways be nourished and kept green by oft relating and incidents, anecdotes, and doings of our courageous -hearted pioneers.

-O. H. Simpson


The sumac flashes crimson
In valleys here and there.
The blazing stars are purpling And create a vista rare.
All the sloughs and valleys
Are beds of pink and white
With ladies' thumbs and milkweed-A really charming sight.
There's a fresh and frosty fragrance
Fills dales and dips at eve,
While the insect world is thrumming In a peace song, I believe.
The bird world's winging southward
'Thwart skies bedimmed with haze;
While at autumn's shrine we worship
On these mellow, magic days.

-Kate Warner Krumrey


What of the coyotes
That each night howl,
On the rimrock banks
'Neath the mesquite's sway;
As the moon swings high
They steal and prowl,
Each calling to other
From far away.

Where do they go
As their voices hush,
When the rising sun
Fills the sky with light;
Back to their dens,
Near rock and bush
To scheme and plan
In Nature's fight?

-Jack Saunders


It was only a tender sapling
That had close by the river stood.
But he tenderly dug up the roots with care
And brought home the cottonwood.
Mother, he said, with eyes aglow,
I shall plant this tree for you.
And some day together beneath its shade,
We'll watch the clouds in the heavens so blue.
But God wanted another angel
And took my boy from me.
And now I watch the clouds alone
And I sit beneath the cottonwood tree.

-Fannie Morrow Hendricks


For ten years, we wandered, hand in hand
Down Magic Paths of Fairy Land,
Where Roses bloom and Violets sleep
In scented beds, the Fairies keep;
Where spiders weave the silken gowns
And dew-drops deck the glistening crowns
Of Fairy Queens, who sometimes hide
Within the Morning Glorys Deep inside!
Where Butterflies and Birds and Bees
Are messengers who bear the keys
Each morn; to open wide each flowered cup
And when Night comes-to lock them up!
For ten sweet years ! God's will be done !

The Fairies leave the shining sun
The Day grows dark and Night appears
With breaking hearts and bitter tears
To wreck the Dream that once was ours
O Little Fairy of the Flowers!

-Lester H. School


Beyond the tops of cottonwoods
My drouth-burned eyes can see
The old storm-woman of the clouds
Brewing her cup of tea.
Her campfire trails a smudge of gray,
Her kettle's snout steams white,
The dress she wears is somber blue
Her hair is black as night.
The old storm-woman of the clouds
Is brewing her cup of tea;
Oh, Lord, I am so starved for drink
Let a few drops fall on me

-Pauline Winkler Grey


These solid ghosts with dreams remain
Jed Smith searching up for rain,
The wagon-box to, bubble Cimarron Springs
On the de Muerti route where the sage still clings;
Carson mushing out through smothering snow,
Out from Taos because Fremont didn't know
the cedars under shaggy bark,
could be pyres across the dark.
Bill Hickok standing by a ballot box ...
Caravans wheeling away from Point of Rocks;
The Wagoneers dreaming while camp fires burn,
Dreaming of home and what they learn
through the grass and the sage and the tang
of a new world with waves that hang
in the air, and not a stone
to shatter the dream they're not alone.
He who hid in a buffalo's belly . . .
He who called out, "Have faith, Nelly!"
So while those solid ghosts remain
The furrows, the scars are not in vain.

-Rolland Jacquart



I sometimes think
That cattle love the wind, the boisterous wind
From the south and west-the kind that raves and
Snorts and picks up soil to hurl it far And cast it in a roadside ditch.

For I have seen
Cattle stand beside an empty tank,
First with mild mannered patience, later restless,
Pawing, showing earth. I have lain awake
At night hearing them and crept half fearfully
To see if they were breaking out.

I have seen the days
And nights make up a week when I would only sip
A mouthful from the wooden pail, then found
The sip was hard to swallow.
My anxious eyes
Had sought the great mill wheel, listless
And still.
My strained ears ached to catch
A stirring of the coming wind.

Yes, the cattle and I
Have known this maddening wait, not once
But so many times that gladly will I wipe the dust
A great wind brings for I know it lifts cool water
Three hundred feet-enough and plenty
For millions of cattle to drink!

-Ellen Drinkwater


The bread we break, the wine we drink
A sweet for-get-me-not!
We take as from that bounteous hand
Which our redemption bought.
"Remember Me," we hear Him say,
"It's only till I come."
"Show forth my death, and watch and pray,
For soon I'll call thee home."

-Wm. M. Allingham



Who was it when the skies were clear
And not a sign of rain was near,
Grass and crops in the hot sun dying,
Spoke words to comfort discouraged Father?
Why Mother ever cheering, pioneering.
Who was it when the crops were lean
And everything looked poor and mean,
Money scarce, and with hard times trying,
Sought ways to save to help poor
Father? Why Mother ever hoping, pioneering.

Who was it when the times were good
With peace and plenty, food and wood,
Happy plans in her mind for buying,
Found time to kneel beside our Father?
Why Mother ever praying, pioneering.

Who is it as her life nears its close
Comes here, goes there, to be with those
Loved ones, for her lot no sighing,
Finds balm for all our woes and Father?
Why Mother heaven nearing, pioneering.

-Ellen Drinkwater


Be not like a tumbleweed,
Tossed from place to place,
But like the modest violet
That sweetly keeps its place.
The tumbleweed is bold
Always is in view.
The shy violet must be sought,
And so should you.
So stay where you are,
be happy Like the violet,
modest and shy,
Not like the tumbleweed
Making trouble as you pass by.

-Bess Marie Stauth



Land of limitless distances, of gray reaches of short grasses;
Land of tintillating mirages, of gold and crimson sunsets;
Land of billowing wheat fields, of friendly, pulsing cities;
Land of romance of the plains, of enterprises and opportunity.

-C. C. Isely


From the east there came a people
Making homes upon the plain;
Driving wild life on before them
Banished from its own domain.
Happy homes and busy cities
Grew beneath the workman's hand,
Sons of fathers who had claimed it
Viewed as theirs the conquered land.
Conquered? Ah, we wonder!
True, they broke the sod;
Drove the Indians from their wigwams;
Said it was the will of God.
As the fields go past their windows
Turning daylight into night,
Are they conquerors or conquered
By the land where might makes right?

-Lola (Adams) Harper


I saw a leaf fall on its noiseless way
A red leaf that the pear tree dropped today;
Dying beauty is a tragic thing
Yet reincarnate in another spring.

-Helen Bray Price

      In prose as well as poetry, writers have told what happened in the early days of Kansas Territory, Ford County, and Dodge City. This is our heritage. Always with the author's permission, many of these articles live again in the History of Ford County, depicting events of the past until 1880. However, when the author could not find an article representing a certain facet of early day life, one of a later date was used. The author takes this opportunity to thank all the writers who have willingly and gladly given permission for the efforts of their research to enrich the pages of Early Ford County.


Return to the Early Ford County Index

Dodge City History