Saturday, January 5, 2013


Posting a slightly revised version of my poem "To Kansas." I drafted this quite some time ago, probably after reading an article about members of the right-wing fundamentalist members of the Westboro Baptist Church (of Topeka, KS) and one of their hateful protests. They were just in Annapolis recently to protest Marylanders' approval of same-sex marriage. I didn't make it to the counter-protest, but it got me thinking about revising this poem, which in part remembers a time when Kansas was progressive.


O Kansas! You were once
a beacon of freedom
in the heart of the nation.
You made the slave masters quake with rage and fear.
What are you now?
Homeland of reactionaries;
those who would deny freedom;
those who would close the books to truth,
shout down individuality,
and suppress free thought,
just like the slave masters against whom
our pioneer fathers fought.

Sons and daughters of Kansas,
sons of John Brown and of Lawrence,
daughters of Free Soilers and Jayhawkers,
heirs of the abolitionist spirit—
to all Progressives with roots in the rich Kansas soil:
Take back Kansas!
Take back Kansas!

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