Poetry of Kansas

The Snow Blockade.

Blocked is our castle,___sudden siege
    We did not count on. All our doors
    Are barricaded: loudly roars
The savage wind, and tries its wedge___
Its wedge of ice, with sharpened edge___
    Seeking to pierce some open crack.
But, storm our fortress as you may,
    And heap the snow with fingers black,
Ye demons,___'tis but idle play.
    Gather your forces, fierce and strong;
    We toss you back defiant song.
 
You cannot enter here___nor yet
    Can we get out. You've got us there!
    No human things to-night would dare
To pass the bounds the storm has set,
    And yet, beleagured as we are,
This lamp-lit room serene and still,
    Seems like some green and peaceful isle,
Set in a wild and heaving sea.
    Strong are our bolts; our oak-wood fire
    Beats back the cold. The night is dire
With the black storm, but what care we,
Fenced in our calm security'?
 
Two days and nights:___the storm is done.
    The wearied winds have sunk to rest,
    Spent with their strife. Earth's frozen breast
Lies heaped with hills beneath the dawn,
The demons of the blast are gone___
    Their work remains. Tile rising sun
Pours forth its light___pale, cold and chill___
Across a waste all dead and still.
No moving thing, no tinkling bells
    Forewarn of coming steed and sleigh.
No sign of life, save smoke that swells
    From chimney-tops then floats away
Still gripes the cold, with grasp so chill,
    We shiver, hug the fire and say,
    "No mortal can break roads to-day."
 
The cars are blocked as well as we,
    No distant roar of passing train
    Comes to our ears across the plain.
Silence unbroken! Can it be
    That all the world has gone to sleep?
No news___and shut in four square walls!
    We wonder how the fight goes on
In yonder legislative hails.
    And what they do at Washington.
We wonder what new taxes, steep,
    It is decreed that we must pay,
    Who earn their bread from day to day.
 
At length the seige is raised,
    Past rural palace, past the hovel,
The way is cleared. His name be praised'
    Who made that blessed thing a shroud'
Here comes the mail___a basket full,
Now we shall know what wires they pull;
What party rebels bolt the track,
Who smiles with hope, whose brow is black.
 
Ah, here is what we hoped to see;
    Reform has risen pure and strong,
And tossed her weight upon the scales
    Where Right was weighed against the wrong
    And lo, another victory!
Send out, send out exultant song
    Across Wisconsin's hills and vales,
Sing out the sordid Regency;
    Sing out Back Pay and Press Gang Law
    Sing in the pure___hurray, hurrah.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 73-76

 
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June 9, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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