Poetry of Kansas

Night and Sleep.

The night is long, for I cannot sleep.
No midnight sorrow makes me weep,
But I "count a hundred" and then "count two,"
And no sort of use___for its wild tattoo
My pulse keeps beating. There must be
Something uncommon that's ailing me.
There's a rush and a tramp through my throbbing brain:
Such wonderful thoughts___in endless train___
Come in crowds, and, link into link,
They tangle so, while I think and think!
Now they march to some doleful rhyme,
And then with dizzying step keep time.
How loud the clock goes! tick, and tick,
With a little ring after every click;
And now it strikes___the hour is one___
Ah me, what a dolefully solemn tone!
Strange as it seems, I truly say
That I haven't heard it before, to-day.
There's a cricket singing shrill and long___
Was ever a cricket with voice so strong.
Without the night is deep and still;
The owl is not hooting on the hill,
No low of kine, no bleat of flock,
Only the cricket, and ticking clock!
The moon pours in with a cold white gleam
Through the window panes, a steady stream;
Slowly, slowly, it crosses the floor,
And lies in white at the farther door,
I fancy a ghost with silent feet
Crossing the room in a winding sheet!
Oh, blessings priceless, Night and Sleep!
Did never close the eyes that weep___
In the weary brain, where thoughts are ground,
Did a ceaseless wheel go round and round
With never a pause for sleep___Ah me,
How wearily long one's life would be!
The clock strikes three, and then ticks lower;
The feverish thoughts come slow, and slower;
My pulses fall to temperate time;
Drowsily floats the lazy rhyme;
Soothing visions my senses steep___
I think___I think___I'm going to sleep.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 174-175

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February 16, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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