When the Railroad Comes
by Irene Welch Grissom

Raw and new lies the prairie town,
In the light of a blazing sun.
An idle wind goes drifting down
The dusty street, where children run
And shout, and play their joyous games.
There is no beauty to be seen:
Around frame buildings still remain
Stray boards and bricks; there stands a team
All wet with sweat, with shaggy limb.
Their sun-burned master wears a smile
For this raw town means much to him.
It cuts the haul, by many miles,
Of crops grown on his fertile lands.
It brings world markets to his door.
Where that new depot lonely stands
His eyes see beauty that is more
Sublime to him than marble halls
That long freight train just pulling in
Fills him with joy; he loudly calls
A greeting to the crew, and grins
At their response he dimly hears
Through clanging bells and grinding wheels.
The sounds are music to his ears;
And standing there contentment steals
Through every chamber of his mind.
For that unpainted prairie town
He sees a future great unwind.
He casts his vision far on down
Through years to come, and sees paved streets
And noble trees, great, gray stone blocks
And countless homes loom through the heat.
A kingdom lies with doors unlocked.

[IRENE WELCH GRISSOM, Author of "The Passing of the Sagebrush, etc."]