Poetry of Kansas

The Old Farmhouse.

A crystal spring, a sunny hill,
A gray old house with mossy sill,
    Hemmed in by orchard trees,
With massive trunks of age untold,
Whose luscious fruits, like mounds of gold
When autumn nights grow crisp and cold,
    Lay heaped about their knees.
And when the trees, bare, gaunt and grim,
Tossing aloft each naked limb,
    Breasted the sleety rain;
When the summer sounds were heard no more,
When birds had sought a southern shore,
When flowers lay dead about the door,
    And winter reigned again:
Then met the household band beside
A clean swept hearth, a chimney wide,
    Where roared a maple tire.
When all the streams were fettered last,
    When fiercely blew the wintry blast,
And clouds of snow went whirling past.
    The logs were piled the higher.
How fondly memory recalls
The cheer within those old gray walls,
    Beside that shining hearth.
0 peaceful scene of calm content!
Where happy faces came and went,
And heart with heart was closely blent,
    In sadness as in mirth!
I see them all: the aged sire
Deep in some book; the glowing fire
    Gleams on his silver hair.
The mother knits; her loving eye
Smiles on the children flitting by;
Her needles, clicking as they fly,
    Tell of her household care.
A group of stalwart boys I see,
Brimful of mirth___as boys will be___
    When evening tasks were done:
And___least of all___a little maid,
Her small head crowned with auburn braid,
Who, when the merry games were played,
    Was foremost in the fun.
How gay we were! what songs we sang,
Till the old walls with echoes rang,
    While the wind roared without.
Again we sat, wild-eyed and pale,
And listened to some ancient tale___
How witches rode upon the gale,
    Or white ghosts roamed about.
'Twas long ago; those days are o'er:
    I hear those songs no more, no more,
    Yet listen while I weep.
Time rules us all. No joys abide.
That household band is scattered wide,
And some lie on the green hillside,
    Wrapped in a dreamless sleep.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 192-193

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

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