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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Burdick, Mary Livingstone
[Poem],   p. [4] PDF (188.8 KB)

Page [4]

From Eastern home was seen the shining vision
The wonderous vision of the state to be-
"Thou art the one", each listener heard whispered,
"Shalt help unveil the new land, wild and free".
So westward as the guiding star directed,
Were journeys from the hills or plains, or sea.
0 happy folk, who saw the waving prairies,
Green billow underneath June's azure skies,
And gaze with wonder at majestic forests
Where, in the future dome and spire should arise.
Who felt good mother earth grow warm with welcome,
And with each other learned to sympathize.
Ay, learned to share anothers grief or gladness,
To give from much or halve the scanty hoard;
To make the cabin's walls grow wide as mansions,
To welcome friends or strangers at the board
To break the sod for schoolhouse or for planting,
To raise a simple structure to the Lord.
They labored with a thoughtful, steadfast purpose
In serving plow of scythe, or loom or wheel,
They joined in quilting bees, and husking frolics,
And danced the plain old fashioned country reel;
They offered useful gifts at feasts or weddings,
They nursed the sick and helped with herbs to heal.
With broader thought New England's austere bearing
Grew gentle as around the wide hearth stone
They gave an orphaned child the warmest corner,
And held a "bound" boy, even as their own;
With hope they looked upon each life beginning,
In silent sorrow left their dead alone.
Their lives were hard-yes, very hard but joyous,
'Twas theirs to know the flush of nature's morn
To feel the peace of winter nights enfolding,
To greet each day with courage newly born;
Still theirs to gaze beyond at glowing sunset,
And find the beauty that could souls adorn.
Brave men and women-pioneers heroic;
We see times clock turn back its score of years,
And sound their hour of spirit sacrificial;
Of faith that showed the way and knew no fears;
So, on the altar lay we now a tribute;
Our heart's best love, of closest kin to tears.
                 -MARY LIVINGSTON BURDICK.
                                 John Bell Chapter.

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