Poetry of Kansas

To Mary.

My heart is back in the past, to-night,
    As I sit in the twilight dim and pale;
The wide, brown prairie is vanished quite,
And another land steals on my sight,
    With wooded hill-top and sheltered vale.
Down in the hollow a village lies,
    With its peaceful dwellings white and brown;
And I see, as I scan it with loving eyes___
Save here and there some slight surprise___
    But little change in the dear old town.
Yet some dear faces 1 see not there___
    Faces of friends that I used to know___
Some that were dark and some that were fair.
I miss them sore, and I question where
    Are those that I loved, long, long ago.
Up on a hillside, near the town,
    In a silent city, with portals low,
Under creeping grasses, now sear and brown.
Under soft, gray mosses, that long have grown,-
    Here lie some that I used to know.
And you___O, friend, whom I loved so well,
    Whom still I have loved, through all these years!
Your heart has bled, while a sorrowful knell
Slowly throbbed from the old church bell,
    You have shed in loneliness bitter tears.
And how fare you now? Is life still sweet?
    When the sun set did the stars arise?
Are the paths made smooth for your willing feet?
Are you strong the allotted task to meet?
    Has the smile returned to your lips and eyes?
Would I could see you, and clasp your hand,
    And look in your face as I used to do!
But swollen rivers, mighty and grand,
And many and many a league of land,
    Between us lie, while I question you.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 28-29

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

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