Poetry of Kansas

The Last Hour of the Year.

I sit me down to watch with thee, Old Year,
    E'en to thy last throe, for I have loved thee well;
And fain would at thy parting drop my tear,
    Though I may chant no requiem, toll no bell.
In thy soft spring time, in the summer glory,
    And when in autumn days each wooded hill
Stood crowned with flame, I've loved thee___old and hoary;
    With thy last moment's going, I love thee still!
Yes, I will watch with thee, while silence deep
    Reigns all around me, only tick by tack
The clock tells off the seconds, and the sweep
    Of this last hour is told by each low click.
I trim my midnight lamp, and sit and think.
    One questions Conscience at a deathbed, so here
I question mine, and ravel, link by link,
    My chain of words and deeds, that spans the year.
Would it were woven better! but in vain
    Are all regrets unless one gird the life,
Amid the sackcloth of repentant pain,
    With strength to conquer in a braver strife?
But while I cast a sober, backward eye,
    Above my low-bowed head the clock ticks on;
One moment only! swiftly, silently,
    This one moment goes___and now 'tis gone.
Twelve ringing, thrilling strokes! and now, I know,
    The chimes peal out from many a midnight bell;
Here but the night wind sighs above the snow,
    I've watched with thee___thou diest___so farewell!

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 211-212

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April 6, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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