Kansas Poems
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An Expatriate Kansan Rides -- by Tom Reynolds


Home -- Karen Cerio

Flint Hills -- Elisabeth Birky


In Passing -- by Lee Mick


Kansas Flint Hills -- by Russett Stubbs




Night Skies -- Frances Enloe


Old Roads -- Bev Lethem Davis

Prairie Churchyard -- Mel Hebert


Riches -- Greta Isaac



 New Poems Last Added: 12-28-13

Flint Hills

by Elisabeth Birky


Sun-drenched palette

Rolling hills


Beyond a cloudless horizon

Like a giant quilt.


An artistís motif

Colorful wildflowers


Waving gently to the baton

Of the perpetual breeze.


Rich and varied grasses

Of every shade and hue


As with open palms

To these majestic flint hills.



Old Roads
by Bev Lethem Davis


We packed a thermos full of coffee

for the trip to Philly.  Not THE Philly,

but what Phillipsburg High graduates

now call their hometown.We called

it the Burg.  Lately, when you eat

at the Third Street Bakery, you can

get a Phillipsburger. It's big,

it's well-done and it's covered in goop

on a huge bun of white flour meal.  Not a lick

of fiber in the thing.  But it fills you up.

We think weíll try one on arrival.


On the way to Philly, we drive the old roads,

the two lanes.  281 out of Russell, home

of former Senator and Presidential candidate,

Robert Dole.  And through Plainville,

boyhood home of Jerry Moran.  Both men are

Republicans.  We arenít. Itís Republican Country,

this home state we share with them. This

doesnít keep us from returning the wave 

we receive as we meet friendly

farmers in mud-covered pickups

traveling along the highway.  The

wave is of the first finger, barely lifted off

the steering wheel.  A sort of tip-your-hat

greeting along a lonesome road amidst

rolling Kansas plains dried

auburn under winter's sky.


My husband calls our old Durango

the lumber wagon as it lumbers

along carrying supplies and paint

to help my recently widowed sister

redo her full-to-the-brim house

of memory.  Maybe it will help loosen

her chain of pain and move her to more

comfortably remodel her very different life.

Losing Larry changed us all.


When the redo is done,

my husband and I will slide furniture back

against the walls, hammer  in nails to hang

photos of old memories

but leave room for new.


Afterwards, we'll take the interstate home,

slide in the Prairie Rose Wranglers cd

to cover our quiet thinking

so we don't miss  the Phillipsburger

we didn't try,  one-fingered waves,

two-lane roads, or our brother-in-law.



An Expatriate Kansan Rides
               the Train of Remembering

by Tom Reynolds


My trip into the vanished past

is prodded by springs in my seat,

cracked vinyl scraping an elbow,

and thirst for water, not truth.


This train ainít bound for glory,

just a slow sixty miles down country,

through thickets and shorn fields,

weaving on unsafe tracks.


Todayís train ainít no showpiece,

just an engine and three rusted cars,

soot seeping through cracks,

till I wonder what I was thinking


traveling into Kansas this way,

my life there on that Oswego farm

surrounded by woods and trees,

the slow trickle of a muddy creek,


crags below the wooden bridge,

a black hawk circling the hedge,

the farmhouse beyond the hill,

and despite all, enduring love.


I should have gone first class.




By Greta Isaac


The wheat field, green and low,

Is tipped with ice. Sunshine

Lights each emerald row.

A pheasant, slow and fine

Meets the silvery green,

A solemn, flashing king.

Behind him, his brown queen

Steps high. The finches sing.


Five shining pages trail

This regal pheasant pair.

No plane, no car, no sail,

Can match the beauty there.

The hunters did not find

Each flying radiant thing.

I catch the glory, bind

It tight. The finches sing.


In Passing
by Lee Mick


Just East of the Miltonvale turn off

Nestled between a narrow strip of old highway 24

And the smooth, gray ribbon of the new two-lane,

Lies a little, well manicured patch

Of native Kansas grass.


Positioned one above the other,

Two small, white gravestones.

Their identical appearance

Suggesting a past sharing of the two lives.

A oneness ofÖ

Time? Affiliation? Family?


I stopped only once amongst my hurried passings,

To try and answer the questions that overcome me

Each time the two come into view.

But with the darkening evening hour

The detail that had worn soft upon the little, white, stone faces

Escaped the straining of my tired eyes.


Eventually I will set aside the time

To try again... to discover

Truth behind the stones.

Until then I will be content

To smile

Upon the mindís manifestationÖ


Two small prairie daughters

Of identical blonde curls and white cotton dresses,

Who pause their endless game of tag

To wave with delight

As I pass by

In constant self-serving haste



by Karen Cerio


Flat lands, oceans of wheat,

harvest hands, fields all neat

friendly folks, warm smiles,

country jokes, at home style,

family fun, 4th of July,

summer sun, stars in the sky,

county fair, carnival lights,

first place mare, dances at night,

drive-in features, friends for life,

old teachers, help in strife,

tornado warnings, siren blasts,

Sunday morning, faith that lasts,

skies of blue, thunder clouds,

grass with dew, funeral shrouds,

simple food, gathering eggs,

city dudes, bowed legs,

hand shake deals, respect of man,

prayerful kneels, God and land,

parents and home, love and laughter,

thoughts roam, forever after

to Kansas.


1987 kc

Originally Published in Life's Dusty Roads,

copyright 2012 by Karen Cerio, all rights reserved

Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC

Purchase this book online at Amazon.com or Tate Publishing  


by Russett Stubbs 

Winters, dark and lonely. 
Springs, burnt blacken grass. 
Summers, lush and green. 
Falls, rust and brass. 
Horizons, miniature mountains. 
Sunrise, Sunsets, bold storms. 
Lovely,  Kansas Flint Hills. 
Wondrous, yearly norm. 


A  Prairie Churchyard

by Mel G.Hebert


Itís a hot, summer day in the land of my birth.

here to visit my parents resting Ďneath a cover of earth.

In a lone Kansas churchyard dating back to the past,

when the territory first settled in the hopes it would last.

Itís a relic of history, built so long past gone,

near a pioneer town flattened by a prairie cyclone.


Lines of thin, fleecy clouds float idly by,

traveling ever so slowly Ďneath the pale blue sky.

A merciless sun is bent on spreading its heat

oíer the vast, waving fields of ripe, golden wheat.

Scanning the grave stones defining this plot,

I note sadly the number has grown quite a lot.


Yonder! There are the graves of my parents.

Nearby my grandparents too.

There. There. And there - kinfolks before them,

some that I never knew.

Uncles, aunts, cousins and more,

schoolmates and friends who Iíll see nevermore.


I wander about. Skyward motion catches my eye,

as a raucous crow caws noisily by.

Melancholy floods me and I wonder why

such creatures live when so many folks die.

The spell is broken.  ItĎs time to take leave.

Iíve visited my people. Itís past time to grieve.


At the gate, I look back with longing, each eye with a tear,

as a soft, muffled sound of shuffling feet reaches my ear.

Itís those generations before me marching on to their due,

and the generations behind me taking their place in that queue.

Then a hushed, whispering chorus says ďDonít weep. Be now of good cheer!

Weíre waiting - -  and lovingly will greet you when your time is here!Ē  



Night Skies       

by Frances Enloe

Grandma would tell us

her people

said Europe's

starry sky

doesn't compare with

the night sky of



In the deep blue sky of

Evening or at midnight's

Darkest, the prairie

stars sparkle like

Christmas lights

glittering on a trans-

parent background.


All poetry on this page
© by
their authors - 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013




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