Poetry of Kansas


I saw an urchin with a pipe of clay
    Held to his rosy lips; a rippling brook
Kissed his bare feet, then, singing, sped away.
    His cheek was dimpled, mirth was in his look.
The child was blowing bubbles. One by one
    The tiny globes of rainbow, frail and fair,
Sailed upward, glittered in the morning sun,
    Trembled and swung upon the summer air.
Then one by one I saw them burst. Some fell
    Upon the stream that gurgled swiftly past.
Broke, ami were gone forever. Balanced well,
    Some stayed a moment, but all burst at last.
I saw them vanish, and I sadly thought,
    With tear-wet eyelid and with quivering lip,
That such was history___thus frailly wrought,
    Men's lives are bubbles, Fortune blows the pipe.
A drop, a breath___no more___is place and power.
    The crowd that cries to-day, "Long live the King"
To-morrow spurns its creature of an hour,
    And lays him low___a scorned and hated thing.
I see how men go up and men go down;
    I see the high and noble sink to shame;
I see the high exile's ban succeed the crown;
    I see vile Slander dog the steps of Fame.
So must it be; the brightest bubbles burst;
    To grasp them is to clutch at empty air.
Is naught, then, certain? is all good accurst?
    Is this life all? Proclaim it, ye who dare!
God's Truth abides. We turn and veer about;
    We clasp our idols, and they fall to dust;
Our faith is weak___we plunge in seas of doubt___
    Yet there is still the Rock; and God is just.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 120-121

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February 10, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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