6.   Big Bluestem:  The King of the Prairie -
©  Anne B. Wilson 2010

In this tune, we sing praises to the economic, cultural and
biological significance of this signature Flint Hills species:  the tallest of the
warm season grasses that compose the tallgrass prairie.   The title comes
from the Greenwood County Conservation District's "King of the Prairie"
Contest for the tallest Big Bluestem plant (a recent winner was almost ten
feet high!).

Oh the Big Bluestem grows on the prairie's Great Plains
He can handle the heat and a month without rain
He blankets the pastures with tall purple stems
In the warm summer evenings they dance in the wind

In the warm days of April his first blades will show
And start drinking in sun to send carbon below
The roots take that energy to make the grass grow
In the cycle of life the Big Bluestem knows

He's the King of the Prairie; he's the tallest of all
He's green in the summer and red in the fall
He grows high on the ridge and in the meadows supreme
The cows and the calves love his kingdom of green   

He's the cattleman's favorite with his bushy green leaves
Those heifers and steers he surely can please
His roots go down twelve feet, his stems reach up nine
When they burn off the prairie, he grows back just fine

He has riches of rhizomes and ligules and blades
And he wears his crown low by the soil for shade
A turkey foot serves as his scepter so high
To carry his seeds for the next summertime     CHORUS

His roots are a fact'ry 'neath the ground of the plain    
They build up the soil and drink up the rain  
Those roots grip the ground in the flood and the storm
And hold the grass up to the sunshine so warm      CHORUS
Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky
Volume 1 Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills
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