Kansas City Star
Articles in database from Kansas City Star: 1
By Ewing Herbert
...Sol Miller, editor of the Troy Chief, was the first poet to reach the State of Kansas. A great many of his early poems were political hits and lost force after a campaign. In 1860, he wrote his "Invocation to the Ground Hog." He always observes the day. His humor is broad, his rhyme of the homely kind. He admires Hood enough to write somewhat like him. He loves to write poetry, but hides his work. If he prints a poem, he does not claim it. For this reason, few people have found him out....He has a most remarkable memory. He reads his exchanges so closely that he knows all about people he has never seen. He hurts people often -- but with the stern, old-fashioned weapon of truth. Of his poems, he likes "Pawpaws Ripe" best. It begins:
"The sunny plains of Kansas dozed, In soft October haze; The wayside leaves and grass disclosed, Scarce signs of autumn days. The cornstalks bent their ears of gold, To list the cricket's din; And fields of sprouting wheat foretold, The farmer's laden bin."
It is quite long and tells of an emigrant who was coming back from the West to Missouri because pawpaws were ripe. As the movers drive on, he says:
"I watched them till all were blent, With distant haze and fog: As the blue smoke heavenward curled, Up from his corn cob pipe. He dreamed not of the better world; For here pawpaws were ripe."
One poem is much liked by the newspapers, and as the birthday of the state nears, year after year, they print it. He calls it the "Homes of Kansas," and first speaks of the modest cabin, the sod built homes, the dugout homes, the lowliest of them all; then he refers to the splendid homes of Kansas, closing with:
"God bless the homes of Kansas, From the poorest to the best; The cabin of the border, The sod house of the West; The dug-out, low and lonely, The mansion grand and great; The hands that laid their hearthstones, Have built a mighty state."
...Sol Miller is the poet of plain people. He has not made the babbling brook tumble down in print; he has not tamed the wild, untrained note of the bird. The old willows that so idly stand on mossy banks and flirt with the river that flows on forever have not been disturbed by him; but he has recalled sweetly pure memories and given us again and again the perfume of flowers that faded long ago; he has given us sentiment that has softened the hard lines of real life and made brighter the plain working day.