Saturday, December 31, 2011

POETRY BREAK #5: "WESTERN WAGONS" by The Benets

"Western Wagons" 
by the Benets

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1 
FRONTIER PARAPHRASE: 
"Now faith is being sure of what we’d hoped for and plum certain of what lies over the hill that we cannot see..."



They went with axe and rifle

Before the trails were blazed;
They went with goods and family

In the prairie-schooner days,

With banjo and with frying pan ---
Oh, Susanna, don't you cry!
For I'm off to California,
To get rich or to try!


We've broken land and cleared it,
But we're tired of where we are.
They say that wild Nebraska
Is a better place, by far.
There's gold in far Wyoming,
There's black earth in Ioway.
So pack up the kids and blankets,
For we're moving west today!

The meek ones never started
And the weak died on the road,
And all across the continent
The endless campfires glowed.
We'd taken land and settled,
But a wagon train passed by,
And we're going West tomorrow,
Lordy, never ask me why.

We're going West tomorrow,
Where the promises can't fail.
O'er the hills in legions, boys,
And crowd the dusty trail!
We shall starve and freeze and suffer,
We shall die and tame the lands.
But we're going West tomorrow,
With our fortune in our hands.





Rosemary 
and Stephen Vincent Benet

2 comments:

Oscar said...

I probably read this in high school English class, but don't remember it. A nice selection that states the feelings of the Westward movement.

Albie The Good said...

Oscra I really like Benet's work nowadays. When I was in college [in the '80s] he was really looked down upon as writer of mere populist verse... but I have come to really appreciate his style and ability to turn a truly amazing phrase now an then.

Thanks for commenting :)