Kansas Poems
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As winter sneaks over the prairie -- by Kathryn Browne


Happy Thirteenth Birthday -- by Martha Adams Meek


Houses Past -- by Paul Goldman


I too am Kansas -- by Saundra Harris


Keep It Safe -- by Dan Pohl


Rising Hope -- by Karl Detrich 


Semi-Precious -- by Stella Robbins


Sod House Green -- by William J. Karnowski


Sons and Daughters of Kansas -- by Martha Adams Meek 

Sounds of Lawrence -- by Tom Mach




The Sod House Green

by William J. Karnowski


attached to the wind

is the west wing

of the sod house green

while planting in the spring

I used to say

oh look momma

the sun is rising as the moon is going down

then      look poppa

stop behind the plow

that cloud looks like momma

and like the summer rains

she has gone again

just the growing remains

everything I love

smells like Kansas sod

grown up now

still behind the plow

I kiss the earth

as she rolls over

dark damp and steaming

dinner bell ringing

for the water lost seagulls 

Read More Willam Karnowski Poems


Keep It Safe
by Dan Pohl


All Ad Astra folk should

Share, of course, what they

Know of sleepy small towns

Hidden in state, cut away from the

Arteries of blacktop highways

And tell about red-dirt streets

That spill into Kansas farmlands,

Un-choked prairies, filled with

Wind moved milkweed

Trilling Meadowlarks, and

Lip numbing Snake Root.


From tractors, we see them

Handicapped, out-of-state

Travelers who stop and stand

And stare into the open plains

As into a crystal ball to divine

The mystic secrets of the place

            For a moment, they attempt

            To look for that which we

Have eaten over years

Absorbed by willing skin


They pressure the moment with little time

To stay, overnight maybe, and they feel they

Must rush to the other side, to what

They think is a better state, the next

Diversion, so they squint hard for the

Answer, hard enough to stamp lines

Onto the outside corners of their eyes


As winter sneaks over the prairie  
by Kathryn Browne

Strings of waterfowl
throw themselves at the sky --
congregations whipped to a frenzied flight.


Borne on a bitter wind
their urgent calls, like prayers in the night 
whisper through cracks to pierce the dogs’ dreams.


Off the water a great flurry of wings rises
shots snap through electric air;
flakes of first snow dance with feathers as they fall.



 by Paul Goldman ©

At first glance the old farmhouse

appeared like a forgotten lean-to;

left to experience her own slow death—

accelerated now by the spring rite of restrained

burning of the prairie tallgrass.


This was not some sod-house sally,

rather a grand dame used to both

soirees and perils.  She was equal

to the task of either one.


Though her Flint Hills bones creaked

in the constant wind, she had survived

these past one-hundred and fifty years

on more than sheer grit.


Spirit rose within the wooden fibers

of her being.  Ask any rancher around

these parts about the sound beneath

the crackle of fire and whisper of wind.


He will be happy to share with you more

than you may want to know— of houses

past and Spirit present.  



by Martha Adams Meek ©


You've jackknives in your pockets

And guns upon your wall,

You've bows and arrows on the shelf;

Man!  You're walking TALL.


The Kansas skies gleam in your eyes,

You rope a horse right well,

You're growing up to be a man

And Dad's so proud to tell...


"Yeah, Sam shot the deer he saw

As it bolted from the brush;

And when it hit the ground, I swear,

My knees were weak as mush!"


All poetry on this page
© by
their authors - 2009


I too am Kansas
(Inspired by Langston Hughes’ I Too Sing America )

by Saundra Harris


I am in the shadows waiting for her glance.

My eyes bright like Langston’s

Wondering as I wander whispering for her

I am the voice of many singing to the stars through difficulties

I am the honey hands of Gordon’s mother

Returning him home to rest

Mother land of Barack

I stand in defiance to wrongs.

I am the dark clouds brewing in the east carrying the tears

I carry her flag – proud but troubled

I remember the fear the rejection still 

I am the Buffalo Soldier returning from II

I am the eyes of Linda Brown tiny in Topeka

Walking to school

I am her native Son born of her cities

My legs run in her green grass with Maurice faster

Than any man

I stand in the shadows waiting for her glance.

I am the endless night skies of the plains.

One day she will see me and say how beautiful I am

And be ashamed


I too sing Kansas



by Stella Robbins

That winter we spent in a cabin

   on  a lake

      in the middle

         of the prairie

sits in my soul like an uncut gem,

reflecting but a hint

   of all that’s within:

the colors we found in each other,

words pried open and explored,

nights as deep as time;

the sentinel song of geese,

the mantra of coyotes stoned

   on stars,

snow falling on snow.

I remember how ice would groan,

winds would roam in herds

and old cottonwoods keel over---

unpolished memories

I haven’t moved in years,

gathering dust and ozone,

and moonlight.  



Sounds of Lawrence
 by Tom Mach

Voices are ghosts too,

still here to haunt us.

Quantrill’s order to

burn the Eldridge

are embedded in stone

and a boy’s scream

from a flying bullet

may be hidden in a

Watkins Museum rifle.

Frazier Hall holds the words

Of Susan Anthony’s speech

While the applause for

Jane Addams and her talk

at the Bowersock Theater

are now buried somewhere

in the mortar of Liberty Hall.

The Pinckney School playground

holds the frustrated tears of a youngster

named Langston Hughes

and somewhere in the soil

of a Lawrence cemetery

are more voices, past and future…

     some who have spoken

     and some who have yet to speak.


              Originally published  in the

                         Lawrence Journal-World


Rising Hope
by Karl Detrich


Blackbirds have gathered to feast in the fields.

Rising in a wave from the concealing grain

the great flock wheels as if of one mind

before settling to perfectly-spaced perches

on power lines above.


What secret signal, what inner trumpet

calls them from their business to their rest,

calls them to rise

as we will one day rise,

on a thousand little wings?


Sons and Daughters of Kansas

by Martha Adams Meek   (C) Sept. 9, 2000 


Kansas skies are smiling,

Fields nod with amber grain;

It's the golden days of harvest,

Now autumn's here again.


The rains of spring have come and gone,

They brought a blessing sweet;

For birds are singing, flowers bloom,

And calves run and leap.


The river rises with the flood

And flows on to the sea;

These all sing a song of love

That fills the heart of me.


The dear flint hills of Kansas

Are home sweet home to me;

There's no other place on God's green earth 

That we would rather be.


For we are sons of Kansas,

We love beyond compare;

The streams and hills of Kansas,

And her daughters sweet and fair.





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