Poetry of Kansas

The Lesson of the Graves

    Two graves lay side by side;
Six feet apart they lay, no more;
    Two deacons' graves were they,
And each a lofty tombstone bore.
    The deacons, quiet now,
Two doughty deacons once had been,
    And oft in pious strife
Had argued how God deals with sin,
    And if he just foreknew
Or foreordained all human deeds;
    And many other things
Not yet quite settled by the creeds.
    Full well each fought his fight___
Of words as well as faith___then died;
    And___was it foreordained?___
Their peaceful graves lay side by side.
    Their monumental shafts
Were genial comrades night and day,
    And ceaselessly did point,
Month in and out, the selfsame way.
    'Till once, by lightning struck,
Each shaft to each did seem a brother;
    For each, upset, did bend
To touch and lean upon the other.
    The quiet graves are wise;
The teaching of the shafts is true:
    Men should not strive because
They differ in religious view.
    If unto heaven our hearts
E'er point, like monumental spires,
    Our strifes shall stricken be
Before love's chastening, heavenly fires.

Quillings In Verse
John Edward Everett
(Smith Center: ___. 1912)
Pages 20-21

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December 30, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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