A Broken wagon wheel that rots away beside the river,
A sunken grave that dimples on the bluff above the trail:
The Larks call, the wind sweeps, the prairie grasses quiver
And sing a wistful roving song of hoof and wheel and sail,
Pioneers, pioneers, you trailed it on to glory,
Across the circling deserts to the mountains blue and dim.
New England was a night camp; Old England was a story,
The new home, the true home, lay beyond the rim
You fretted at the old hearth, the kettle and the cricket,
The fathers' little acres, the wood lot and the pond.
Aye, better storm and famine and the arrow from the thicket,
Along the trail to wider lands that glimmered out beyond.
Pioneers, pioneers, the quicksands where you wallowed,
The rocky hills and thirsty plains--they hardly won your heed.
You snatched the thorny chance, broke the trail that others followed,
For sheer joy, for dear joy of marching in the lead.
Your spirit stalks the valleys where a restive nation teems.
Your soul has never left them in their sowing, in their reaping.
The children of the outward trail, their eyes are full of dreams.
Wagon Train Attack
The dangers on the dusky ways no man has ever gone.
They look beyond the sunset where the better countries beckon,
Pioneer Homestead, Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina, USA
With old faith, with bold faith to find a wider dawn!
images courtesy of all posters