Poetry of Kansas

Who Knows?

Philosophy assumes to tell
    How happened this, how happened that;
Reasons of sequence passing well,
    By process none may cavil at.
If this be true, then that must be;
    And so on, which seems very plain;
But what rules human destiny
    We ask and cannot ascertain.
The deeds we do, the words we say,
    May serve our purpose, or may not;
Some soul may be a wreck to-day
    Through some slight word, long since forgot.
"Mistakes," says Science; yet the wise,
    Whose far gaze tracks the rolling spheres,
Grope blindly through life's mysteries,
    And weep, with others, human tears.
Philosophy cannot forecast
    The workings of one human breast;
Nor trace the springs of actions past;
    Life is a riddle at the best.
We plan what we shall be and do,
    While bars of fate around us close.
That strain or stroke may not break through;
    We plan and purpose, but___who knows?

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 220

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

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