Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There Once was a Girl Named Kate Shelley

And an amazing heroic girl she was. Near Boone, Iowa Kate risked life and limb to save the lives of a trainful of travelers. So incredible was she that one Eugene J. Hall was moved to write a poem about her.  Here are a few of the more colorful lines:

She was only eighteen, but a woman in size,
With a figure as graceful and lithe as a doe,
With peach-blossom cheeks, and with violet eyes,
And teeth and complexion like new-fallen snow; (Obviously her photos do not do her justice.)
The scream of a whistle; the rush of a train!  
A rumble! a roar! shrieks of human affright! This is the second use of the word 'shrieks' in the poem.)
She reaches the river--the water below
Whirls and seethes through the timbers.
She shudders again;"The bridge!
To Moingona, God help me to go!"

This (and much much more) appears in the book Poems Teachers Ask For which is available in its entirety online from the folks at Project Gutenberg.  The romantic nature of the poem threw me off but I have nothing but respect for Kate Shelley herself.  She's like Iowa's Amazon.  Only with more clothes.
Kate Shelley and the midnight express, a biography written for children.

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