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'If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.' ~ Charles Darwin

The Liberty & Property Legends are littered with poetry, song and literature references. From the classic verse of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to beloved cowboy songs, from lively discussions on Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and the time-honored works of Jane Austen to flirtatious celebrations of Walt Whitman, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Shakespeare. Philosophers, modern and old world, too. 

It’s difficult to imagine a world without computer-driven tech, without television or radio. Once, poets, writers and composers, their books and music, defined the hearts and souls of nations and their peoples. Touched people profoundly, right to the core, gave them identity. Spoke about who they were, and who other nations were. The world celebrated cultural identity and embraced ideas from around the globe. 

The richness of what has been left to us is beyond measure. As human beings we haven’t changed, but we are not able to stop creating, so we march on with thousands of newly created things and ideas every day; but when we look back, spend time in the past, we see where they came from and our creative and cultural connection to history.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The following poems by HWL

enrich the pages of the Legends

so far...


The Courtship of Miles Standish

A Psalm of Life

The Children's Hour


The Cross of Snow

The Song of Hiawatha

My Lost Youth


The Clock on the Stairs

Emma & Eginhard

Song: Stay at Home

The Light of Stars


Interlude: The Student's Tale

The Two Rivers


To the Avon


It Is Not Always May

The Spanish Student

Something Left Undone

The Rainy Day

The Meeting

The Golden Legend

The Baron of Castine

Portrait of Longfellow.PNG

Hast ever been in Omaha

Where rolls the dark Missouri down,

And four strong horses scarce can draw

An empty wagon through the town?

Where sand is blown from every mound

To fill the eyes and ears and throat -

Where all the steamers are aground

And all the shanties are afloat?

Where whiskey shops the livelong night

Are vending their poison juice:

Where men are often very tight,

And women deemed a trifle loose?

Where taverns have an anxious guest

For every corner, shelf and crack;

With half the people going west,

And all the others going back?

Where theaters are all the run

And bloody scalpers come to trade;

Where everything is overdone

And everybody underpaid?

If not, take heed to what I say:

You'll find it just as I have found it;

And if it lies upon your way,

For God's sake, reader, go around it!


Harper's Magazine, 1869

Omaha 2.JPG

in 'Leaves of Grass ' by Walt Whitman


O you whom I often and silently come where you are that I may be with you,

as I walk by your side or sit near,

or remain in the same room with you,

little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is playing within me.

southern couple.PNG

We often hear couples say, 'that's our song'! It's not long after sheriff Cliff Ryan and feisty young  reporter Emmaline Roberts meet in EMPIRE FOR LIBERTY Dangerous Lullaby that the pair find they have 'a poem' which gives some form of expression to their 'relationship'. It is Love's Philosophy by Shelley. As Cliff says, it is 'considered to be one of the most romantic poems in English literature'. While Emmaline is struggling to foil his advances, the poem happens to be one of her favorites. Here it is in full.

Love's Philosophy

by Percy Bysshe Shelley



The fountain mingles with the river,

And the rivers with the ocean

The winds of heaven mix forever

With a sweet emotion.

Nothing in the world is single

All things by law divine

In one another's being mingle

Why not I with thine?


See the mountains kiss high heaven

And the waves clasp one another

No sister flower would be forgiven

If it disdained its brother:

And sunlight clasps the earth

And the moonbeams kiss the sea

What is all this sweet work worth

If thou kiss not me?


(published in The Indicator, 1819,

 by Leigh Hunt)


Traditional Cowboy Songs


My Home

by Kelley Diana Keaton

penned at age 15

In HEARTLAND, Kelley has written the poem below, and she reads and shows it to her Mama, Amy Keaton, who promptly tells Kelley that her penmanship is improving and all her letters are slanting the same way. The pragmatic tone of Amy Keaton's response comes from my own experience. Anyone else have a similar experience? 


Oh, heart's desire, come, for

I have waited long,

My majestic mountain land.

My winter wonderland

of snow and ice.

My summer land rich in pasture,

Sustaining peoples past and present.

My eternal place,

where end of land

and edge of sky

meet to dance together in timeless ritual to the song of constant wind.


My river land,

where a diamond-studded snake hugs the road from the gorge below,

or sweeps away at its own bidding,

absorbing color from the sky

and brilliance from the sun.

Come be in my heart and in

my soul for ever more.

Excerpts from:

The Good Morrow

by John Donne   (1572 - 1631)

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, til we lov'd? were we not wean'd till then?


If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee.

​And now good-morrow to our waking soules,

Which watch not one another out of feare;

For love, all love of other sights controules,

And makes one little roome an everywhere.


Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.


Whatever dyes, was not mixt equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

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