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GOD & TEXAS: A Texas Poet

A poem about Texas:

Where the wild bluebonnets grow - That's Texas.

Where the breezes softly blow - That's Texas.

Where the sun shines warm and bright

Over field and mountain height.

Where the cotton fields are white - That's Texas.

Where you hear the Bob White call - That's Texas.

Where there's room enough for all - That's Texas.

Where the skies are deepest blue,

Where the heart beats warm and true,

Where we always welcome you - That's Texas.

Where there's time for work and play - That's Texas.

Where we always find a way - That's Texas.

Where we move on steady feet,

Where despair is obsolete,

Where we never own defeat - That's Texas!

This wonderful poem by native Texan Whitney Maxwell Montgomery was published in 1932. Montgomery was born in 1887 in Navarro County, near present day Eureka. Whitney grew up farming the land with his father Prosper King Montgomery, Jr. Prosper was an avid student of classical literature. Whenever he and Whitney farmed, fished, or walked through the woods, the elder Montgomery quoted lengthy passages of the Bible and poets like Shakespeare, Byon, and Burns.

At a young age, Whitney began to write original compositions and contributed his poems to various publications. In 1927, Montgomery married Vaida Stewart Boyd, a gifted poet in her own right. Together, they purchased a printing press and produced a monthly magazine called “Kaleidoscope,” which was renamed “Kaleidograph.” For over 30 years they presented many of their writings through the Kaleidograph periodical.

Both writers received many professional awards, and their poems are still popular today. Whitney was an organizer of the Poetry Society of Texas and served as the vice president for many years. He was also a member of the Poetry Society of America and was president of the Texas Institute of Letters in 1940. In 1956, Southern Methodist University conferred upon Whitney an honorary doctorate for his accomplishments as a poet, editor, and publisher.

Vaida died in 1959, and Whitney lived until 1966. Together, they left behind a treasure-trove of stimulating poetic verse that speaks of their love of Texas and commitment to God. Because scripture was sown in his heart as a youth, many of Whitney’s poems reflected the love and wisdom of God.

One poem that strikes the heart was written by Whitney as he stood in a rural cemetery awaiting the grave-side service to begin. No doubt he had Isaiah 1:18 in mind: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Whitney wrote:

“Here they are sleeping, through the long night,

Souls that were crimson, souls that were white,

Here bloom above them, row upon row,

Blossoms of scarlet, blossoms of snow.

I cannot say, I cannot say, the blood of Christ was red.”

The Good News is that the Blood of Christ still cleanses from every sin (1 John 1:7-9).

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