Poetry of Kansas

Down Stream.

I see a boat drift lightly by,
    The stream is wide, the current slow;
    No ripples break the sunbeam's glow;
Yet well I know that ceaselessly,
    The great fall thunders down below.
I see the boatman idly lean,
    With listless hand upon his oar,
    Unheeding that the summer shore,
With safe, still coves and b:mks of greeu,
    Recedes behind him more and more.
The sunlight gilds the golden hair
    That clusters round his stately head;
    A lurid flush, youth's rose instead,
Dyes rounded cheek and forehead fair,
    Caught from the wine cup's ruby-red.
I watch him, and I hold my breath!
    He seems like one wrapped in adream;
    While swiftly rolls the narrowed stream,
And, bending o'er yon gulf of death,
    I see the baleful iris gleam.
Why floats he so, like one asleep,
    While nearer sounds that awful roar?
    Awake, O friend! take up thine oar,
And stem the rapid's fatal sweep,
    Turn hither, hither, I implore.
I stretch my arms and loudly cry;
    I call until the welkin rings,
    At last he hears___the frail boat springs,
Trembles a moment doubtfully,
    Then slowly, landward swings.
Saved, saved at last! Adrip with spray,
    I see him stand upon the shore;
    And then my senses swim; the roar
Sounds like a murmur far away:___
    Would I might hear it never more!

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 93-94

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December 3, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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