Poetry of Kansas

A Housekeeper's Question.

While autumn tints fleck yonder wood,
    And lazy winds are sleeping,
I feel a speculative mood
    Come slowly o'er me creeping.
A strong desire within me stirs,
    To see some questions settled,
On which the great philosophers
    Have long and fiercely battled.
Calm reason now shall have its say,___
    (Dear me; my bread is burning;
And I am wanted right away,
    To see about that churning.)
I sit me down again to think,
    Commencing at creation.
I fain would follow, link by link,
    The long stretch of graduation.
But that's the trouble___where to find
    The first stitch of beginning.
The tangled thread who can unwind
    To where commenced the spinning?
What laid first that primordial egg?
    From whence came life unending?
(Do, some one, answer this, I beg,
    While I___do up my mending.)
Philosophy, that swayed and bent,
    Through many a revolution,
Now, calmly settled, spreads its tent,
    And rests at Evolution.
But Doubt stands gravely at the door
    And puts its puzzling queries.
This question asks (and many more):
    What did commence the series?
Did something out of nothing grow?___
    (That soup is boiling over!
On soup depends the peace of home___
    I'll just take off the cover.)
Things are; and on this world, we know,
    Dwells quite a population;
But how came mice and men to grow___
    I give up that equation.
Some other problems stagger me.
    Yon graceless scamp is growing
To just what he was born to be;
    His father set him going;
How far is he to blame if Fate
    Has botched his constitution?___
(There comes a beggar at the gate,
    And wants my contribution.)
Still other things I want to know;
    Why evil tongues are longest,
Why deeds of darkness prosper so;
    Why wicked men are strongest.
And why must life, e'en with the best,
    Be but a constant battle,
With secret foes that never rest
    Until the last death rattle?
Why are the good so sore beset?
    Why is man born a sinner?
(But there's a nearer question yet:
    What shall I get for dinner?)

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 65-66

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November 27, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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