Poetry of Kansas

Down Below.

They say that, under the ocean waves,
    At the feet of the rocks where ships go down,
There are halls of silence___peaceful caves,
    Where lie the sailors whom tempests drown,
Where monsters sleep, and mermaids fair
Comb forever their pale green hair.
There is surf and foam when fierce winds blow,
    There is rush of billows and thunderous roar,
Still in those chambers down below,
    There is calm forever and evermore.
No wind, no wave; the sunk ship's mast
Is out of the tempest's reach at last.
Life is a sea___so the poet says___
    And yet the deepest of human souls
Shows smoothest surface in stormiest days.
    Far underneath the wild tide rolls
Through hidden caverns in surging flow,
As the gusts of the tempest come and go.
Underneath, perchance, a careless smile,
    The sorest heartache lies fathoms down;
And laughter is oft but a trick of guile
    To hide the pricks of a thorny crown,
In direst conflict no sound is heard,
And the deepest grief hath never a word.
So, a great, strong soul___when truth is said___
    Is a sea whose heavings are out of sight;
It buries deepest its best loved dead,
    And sends out bravely its "song in the night."
There are throbs of anguish, terrible throes,
Veiled by a surface of calm repose.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 140-141

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February 11, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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