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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Plains, The

The Little Lone Grave on the Plains

By John Brayshaw Kaye (1841–1909)

TWO days had the train been waiting,

Laid off from the forward tramp,

When the sick child drooped

And died, and they scooped

Out a little grave near camp.

Then clad in its scanty garments,

And wrapped in a threadbare shawl,

They laid it away

From the light of day,

Amid tears and sobs from all.

Then silently covered it over,

And heaped up the sandy ground,

And gathered a pile

Of small stones meanwhile,

And placed o’er the little mound.

God pity the poor young mother,

For her heart is wrung full sore,

And the fresh tears start

As she turns to part

From the grave forevermore.

Bereft of her heart’s young idol,

And robbed of a mother’s joy,

How could she but grieve

Forever to leave

The grave of her darling boy?

Oh, it was bleak and so lonely!

Oh, it was so sad and so drear!

Must her loved one sleep

There, where none could keep

A friendly vigil near?

Outside of civilization,

Far from the abodes of men,

Where the cactus blows

And the wild sage grows,

In the haunts of the wild sage-hen.

No tree in range of the vision,

No beautiful flowers bloom,

But a waste of sand,

In a desert land,

Surrounds the little tomb.

No birds are there to warble,

No sounds on the breezes float,

Save the vulture’s “caw,”

Full of dismal awe,

And the howl of the gray coyote.