In praise of johnny appleseed

Vachel Lindsay
From: In Praise of Johnny Appleseed(Born 1775; died 1847)

I. Over the Appalachian Barricade

  In the days of President Washington,
  The glory of the nations,
  Dust and ashes,
  Snow and sleet,
  And hay and oats and wheat,
  Blew west,
  Crossed the Appalachians,
  Found the glades of rotting leaves, the soft deer-pastures,
  The farms of the far-off future
  In the forsest.
  Colts jumped the fence,
  Snorting, ramping, snapping, sniffing,
  With gastronomic calculations,
  Crossed the Appalacians,
  The east walls of our citadel,
  And turned to gold-honored unicorns,
  Feasting in the dim volunteer farms of the forest.
  Stripedest, kickingest, kittens escaped,
  Caterwauling "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
  Renounced their poor relations,
  Crossed the Appalachians,
  And turned to tiny tigers
  In the humorous forest.
  Chickens escaped
  From farmyard congretions,
  Crossed the Appalachians,
  And turned to amber trumpets
  On the ramparts of our Hoosiers' nest and citadel,
  Millennial heralds
  Of the foggy mazy forest.
  Pigs brokw loose, scrambled west,
  Scorned their loathsome stations,
  Crossed the Appalacians,
  Turned to roaming, foaming wild boars
  Of the forest.
  The smallest, blindest puppies toddled west
  While their eyes were coming open,
  And, with misty observations,
  Crossed the Appalacians,
  Barked, barked, barked
  At the glow-worms and the marsh lights and the lightning-bugs,
  And turned to ravering wolves
  Of the forest.
  Crazy parrots and canaries flew west
  Drunk on May-time revelations,
  Crossed the Appalachians,
  And turned to delirious flower-dressed fairies
  Of the lazy forest.
  Haughtiest swans and peacocks swept west,
  And, despite soft derivations,
  Crossed the Appalachians.
  And turned to blazing warrior souls
  Of the forest,
  Singing the ways
  Of the Ancient of Days.
  And the "Old Continentals
  In their ragged regimentals,"
  With bard's imaginations,
  Crossed the Appalacians.
  A boy
  Blew west,
  And with prayers and incantations,
  And with "Yankee Doodle Dandy,"
  Crossed the Appalacians,
  And was "young John Chapman,"
  "Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Appleseed,"
  Chief of the fastness, dappled and vast,
  In a pack on his back,
  In a deer-hide sack,
  The beautiful orchards of the past,
  The ghosts of all the forests and the groves-
  In that pack on his back,
  In that talisman sack,
  To-morrow's peaches, pears and cheeries,
  To-morrow's grapes and red respberries,
  Seeds and tree-souls, precious things,
  Feathered with microscopic wings,
  All the outdoors the child heart knows,
  And the apple, green, red, and white,
  Sun of his day and his night-
  The apple allied to the thorn,
  Child of the rose.
  Porches untrod of forest houses
  All before him, all day long,
  "Yankee Doodle" his marching song;
  And the evening breeze
  Joined his psalms of praise
  As he sang the ways
  Of the Anchient of Days.
  Leaving behind august Virginia,
  Proud Massachusetts, and proud Maine.
  Planting the trees that would march and train
  On, in his name of the great Pacific,
  Like Birnam wood to Dunsinance,
  Johnny Appleseed swept on,
  Every shackle gone,
  Loving every sloshy brake,
  Loving every skunk and snake,
  Loving every leathery weed,
  Johnny Appleseed, Johnny Appleseed,
  Master and ruler of the unicorn-ramping forest,
  The tiger-mewing forest,
  The rooster-trumpeting, boar-foaming, wolf-ravening forest,
  The spirit-haunted, fairy-enchanted forest,
  Stupendous and endless,
  Searching it perilous ways
  In the name of the Ancient of Days.

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