Toward the Gulf
The laughers and dancers and choppers
Who climbed the crests of the Alleghenies,
And poured themselves into Tennessee, Ohio,
Kentucky, Illinois, the bountiful West.
But the river never sleeps, the river flows forever,
Making land forever, reclaiming the wastes of the sea.
And the race never sleeps, the race moves on forever.
And wars must come, as the waters must sweep away
Drift-wood, dead wood, choking the strength of the river--
For Liberty never sleeps!
The lion of Tennessee sleeps!
And over the graves of the hunters and choppers
The tramp of troops is heard!
There is war again,
O, Father of Waters!
There is war, O, symbol of freedom!
They have chained your giant strength for the cause
Of trade in men.
But a man of the West, a denizen of your shore,
Compact, clear-eyed, nerved like a hunter,
Who knew no faster beat of the heart,
Except in charity, forgiveness, peace;