Copyrightę 2003,2004,2005,2006 All Rights Reserved.


A Prophecy About Sutton

The following poem, written by Adelaide Helen Burnham many years ago, was supplied
by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Ward. It is estimated that the poem was written about 1952.
It should be read left to right, top to bottom.

The day had been long and dreary
But the night had come at last,
And I sought my couch so weary,
With thoughts of the present and past
Of Sutton, the town I was born in
And lived the most of my life,
And I mourned for the little progress
She had made in this world of strife.
For twenty five years I looked backward
And I saw the same buildings then,
That today are standing unaltered
Though now owned by other men.
And the village called Sutton Corner
Has it forward or backward gone?
Has there been a change for the better?
As these years of time have rolled on?
The same old scenes are around me,
The store courts still convene
The same old brick church-schoolhouse
And the same white church on the green.
And my heart grew sick with sadness,
And deeper the shadows came
Till I cried aloud in my sorrow
Will it ever be the same?
Is there no better future for Sutton?
Is there nothing better than this?
Must we die as others before us?
Without seeing Sutton progress?
Then I held my breath in silence
For a Presence was in my room,
And light came through the darkness
Dispelling the deepening gloom.
And a voice that was more than human
Whispered close to my ear:
"Mortal, look forward, not backward;
And tell me now if you fear
For the future of Sutton your birthplace
One-fourth of a century hence?"
And the Presence pointed onward;
And I looked away from thence;
And I saw a magnificent city
Where Sutton Corner once stood;
And mansions of stone, brick, and mortar
Had replaced those houses of wood.
And the streets were all paved and crowded
It was rattle and hurry and push
For business of all kinds was booming
And everyone joined in the rush.
A sub-railway had entered the city
Where Frank Whipple's grain store had been
A department store towered high above it
And was run by Frank Holmes and his men.
To the left was a colossal building,
With letters engraved on the stone,
And I scarce could believe my senses
As I read "Switser's Hippodrome."
And I asked if the Switser was William
Whom all of us knew so well
And the answer came slowly and sadly
"It was he! but Alas! Poor Bill!
He grew weary of swapping horses,
And bottoming Holme's chairs
But little thought when he started this circus
He should climb the "Golden Stairs."
One day when the crowd was greatest,
And called for a "Star" to ride,
Bill mounted a milk-white courser
And dashed round the ring on his side;
And then, when they cheered him wildly
He tried to stand on his head
But lost his balance entirely
And fell from the horse and was dead.
And these are the words on his tombstone
"We miss him, and mourn his hard luck
But Alas! Poor Bill was too heavy
To ride a horse wrong end up."
Just then through the air came flying
A man with a pen in his hand
And he held a book open before him
While he spoke of a better land.
And as he approached me nearer
I saw it was H. A. Blake
And I asked if he, too, was an angel
But the answer was: "No, not yet;"
He is clerk of the town and the city,
But, in the new order of things
His feet were too slow for the business
And so they equipped him with wings."
Whiz! Whir! an airship comes sailing
With its canvas unfurled in space
And Herman Chapman is steering
With a beautiful smile on his face.
And the ship is loaded with cream cans
And headed toward the south
But disappears in the distance
As if shot from a cannon's mouth.
Next I saw, that for education
A structure nine stories high
One the site of the old brick schoolhouse
Rose towering toward the sky.
Way up near a ninth grade window
Miss Sadie Blake did stand
She was teaching the higher reading
And held a book in her hand.
And I heard her say quite plainly
To the class that was by her side
"We will read for our lesson tomorrow
From these poems by Freeman Hyde."
By one of the third grade windows
Was Fanny Hasting's face
She was toiling as hard as ever
To instruct the rising race
By all the latest methods
Their lessons to attain
And her many years of teaching
I knew had not been in vain.
On a ground floor in a doorway
Madge Burnham's form was seen
While all her little charges
Were sporting on the green.
Till a sweet toned gong recalled them
Back through the open door
While wee voices kept repeating
That two and two make four.
As I turned my gaze from the children
Something darkened the light
A monstrous moving object
Obscuring much else from sight.
What is it? Whence comes it> And wherefore
This creature that moveth in air
Belongs it to Earth or to Heaven
And what is its business here?
Great wings are above and around it,
Propeling it toward the town
Can it be that the winged horse, "Pegasus,
Has come from mythology down?
Behold! It has entered the city
The people with joy, do it hail,
For lo! On all sides of the monster
Is written "United States Mail."
And Charlie Joy sits in the center
His face is all drawn as in pain
From distributing tons of mail matter
And handling that great Aeroplane.
With a noise like the rushing of waters
A great crowd went hurrying by
They were entering the Sutton Temple
And I asked the reason why.
And was told that a famous speaker
Had just returned from abroad
And was to speak there that evening
To the eager, waiting crowd.
So I hurried in with the others,
While the strains of an organ grand
Filled all the place with music
From the touch of a master hand.
"Twas the hand of Miss Ethel Chapman
That was moving over the keys
And drew from the heart of the organ
Those strains of joy and peace.
But hush! The speaker approaches
And all is silent as death.
'Tis he! "Tis Herbert A. Burnham!
and the audience hished its breath.
Till he stepped to the front and bowing
To loud cheers that the silence broke
Then smiled his appreciation
And thes were the words he spoke:
"Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone
But when she got there the cupboard was bare
And so the poor dog he had none."
The applause to this was deafening
And hats and bouquets were thrown,
Again he bowed to thank them
And then in a hat, sat down.
Soon again the voice of the organ
Sweetly and softly rang
As Ruth and Abbie Chapman
Stepped to the front and sang
A duet of such thrilling sweetness
That the people all sat speelbound
Till the minister rose in his pulpit
Though he uttered not a sound.
Yet his face was strangely familiar
And although it was shaven clean
I knew that the face in the pulpit
Was the face of Johnny Dean.
And I saw many other faces
That I knew in the days of yore
And other scenes were passing
But I cannot tell you more,
For the vision is fading! fading!
And dim is growing the light
The Presence no longer is with me
It has vanished into the night.
Must I wake when the morn approaches?
No! No! The waking is pain!
Let me sleep forever and ever
Or behold that vision again.