Ray Eldred. Eldred was a missionary of the Disciples of Christ who
perished while swimming a treacherous branch of the Congo. See "A Master
Builder on the Congo", by Andrew F. Hensey, published by Fleming H.
The Santa Fe Trail
I asked the old Negro, "What is that bird that sings so well?" He
answered: "That is the Rachel-Jane." "Hasn't it another name, lark, or
thrush, or the like?" "No. Jus' Rachel-Jane."
I. In which a Racing Auto comes from the East
# To be sung delicately, to an improvised tune. #
This is the order of the music of the morning:--
First, from the far East comes but a crooning.
The crooning turns to a sunrise singing.
Hark to the _calm_-horn, _balm_-horn, _psalm_-horn.
Hark to the _faint_-horn, _quaint_-horn, _saint_-horn....
# To be sung or read with great speed. #
Hark to the _pace_-horn, _chase_-horn, _race_-horn.
And the holy veil of the dawn has gone.
Swiftly the brazen car comes on.
It burns in the East as the sunrise burns.
I see great flashes where the far trail turns.
Its eyes are lamps like the eyes of dragons.
It drinks gasoline from big red flagons.
Butting through the delicate mists of the morning,
It comes like lightning, goes past roaring.
It will hail all the wind-mills, taunting, ringing,
Dodge the cyclones,
Count the milestones,
On through the ranges the prairie-dog tills--
Scooting past the cattle on the thousand hills....
# To be read or sung in a rolling bass,
with some deliberation. #
Ho for the tear-horn, scare-horn, dare-horn,
Ho for the _gay_-horn, _bark_-horn, _bay_-horn.
_Ho for Kansas, land that restores us
When houses choke us, and great books bore us!
Sunrise Kansas, harvester's Kansas,
A million men have found you before us._
II. In which Many Autos pass Westward
# In an even, deliberate, narrative manner. #
I want live things in their pride to remain.
I will not kill one grasshopper vain
Though he eats a hole in my shirt like a door.
I let him out, give him one chance more.
Perhaps, while he gnaws my hat in his whim,
Grasshopper lyrics occur to him.
I am a tramp by the long trail's border,
Given to squalor, rags and disorder.
I nap and amble and yawn and look,
Write fool-thoughts in my grubby book,
Recite to the children, explore at my ease,
Work when I work, beg when I please,
Give crank-drawings, that make folks stare
To the half-grown boys in the sunset glare,
And get me a place to sleep in the hay
At the end of a live-and-let-live day.
I find in the stubble of the new-cut weeds
A whisper and a feasting, all one needs:
The whisper of the strawberries, white and redDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>