Poetry of Kansas

Dick and I.

I had a lover once___'twas long ago___
I must have been some eight or nine, or so,
And he perhaps was ten. He had blue eyes,
And hair like cotton-weed, that floats and flies,
Or___better, like a hand of bleachen flax,
He was not handsome___but, I'm telling "fax,"
And must be acurate. A "poets lie"
May always be aesthetic___reason why___
The poet paints from out his own invention;
While I___I've only facts to mention.
 
I loved him, if all else were homely prose,
There's poetry in that. A bright red rose
Creeps through a cranny in a naked wall,
And blossoms there;___it is a rose for all.
My rose bloomed early and its growth was quick___
Much like a mushroom's. Ah, white-headed Dick!
If this should meet your eye. you will remember
One rainy day___'twas in the gray November.
 
A monstrous kettle hanging from the crane,
With steam clouds rolling up to meet the rain;
A great old fireplace, with open maw;
Two children sucking cider through a straw;
Such was the tableau; as the night closed in,
The firelight with the darkness fought to win,
Pushing the shadows back against the walls.
Where bacon hung, dried apples, coats and shawls.
 
The night grew darker. Still the autumn rain
Beat with its wet on the window pane;
But we two liked it well. We put together
Our two small heads, and sagely on the weather
Exchanged congratulations. No moonlight.
The steady rain___sure, Dick must stay all night.
 
We had it settled, and we went to play.
"Blindfold," "I spy," and even "Pull away,"
Came on in turn, The evening was near spent,
And nought had troubled our complete content,
But perfect happiness___we grasp it, fold it,
Thinking it ours, alas! we never hold it
For any length of time. It slips and quivers,
And something hits and knocks it into shivers.
And this is what hit ours___this the shock
That fell upon our peace at nine o'clock.
Fate lifted up its hand so hard and grim,
And struck this blow: Dick's mother sent for him!
 
He cried, and so did I. Ah well,
It is a simple story that I tell,
And you may laugh, perchance___yet it is real,
And serves to show the griefs that children feel,
Which grown folks do not count on. I have seen
Since then some sorrow, some pangs sharp and keen;
Have even dreamed I stood at Heaven's door,
And saw it shut on me forever more.
Yet that one night, so gloomy and so wet,
With rain and tears, I've not forgotten yet.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 87-89

 
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December 3, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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