From the Rock Island Argus, March 20, 1915. By W. D. Nesbit.
Bother to man, and to beast, and bird,
Bother to grass and trees—
This is my saying; this is my word;
I have been all of these.
Out of me, back of me, year by year,
Journey the maids and men;
Treading me, tossing me there and here—
Then to my arms again.
Look at me, laugh at me! Yet I hold
Red of the rose’s heart,
Red of the laughing lips, that, bold
Smile with a maiden’s art.
Helpless and void of a sign of life
Here on the king’s highway—
Still, I have babbled of love and strife;
I was a king one day!
Gray in the twilight, and white at dawn—
Walk on me—me, a thing!
What have I been in the days agone?
Beggar, and priest, and king!
I have been a flower, and brute, and bird,
I have been maids and men.
Spurn me, and—brother, you have my word—
We shall change place again!