Poetry of Kansas

Greenleaf.

'Twas midnight in a country town,
    Through old, dim trees the moon's cold light
On sloping eaves and roofs of brown
    Dropped trembling bare of silver white.
 
The village slept. Love nestled close
    In clasping arms, and on the breast
Of weary care, in deep repose,'
    Tired hands lay folded and at rest.
 
The village slept, and sleeping, dreamed;
    But one low roof, with moss grown wall,
Through whose bare panes tine moonlight streamed,
    Held one who slept nor dreamed at all.
 
A hermit, on a village street,
    Long had he dwelt, unloved, alone;
Closed was his door to passing feet;
    Only a dog to share his bone.
 
And while that night the village slept,
    A colder and a deeper sleep
At midnight to his pillow crept;
    With none to watch and none to weep.
 
Morn came, and noon, and passers by
    Began to wonder more and more;
What ailed the dog___so piteously
    He moaned and howled beside the door.
 
They forced the lock at last, and then
    The sunlight streamed across the dead.
Brown cheeks grew pale, and stalwart men
    Walked homeward with a heavy tread.
 
"Greenleaf is dead!"___the whisper went
    From street to street. A solemn knell
Peals mournfully; all stand attent,
    But no one weeps, while sobs the bell.
 
No sister, wife, no child, no friend!
    No eyes with tender tears grow dim.
A lonely life___a lonely end;
    What matter? It is naught to him.
 
Again the village sleeps___the bell
    Hangs speechless as tine breathless night;
Yet awe-struck watchers, whispering, tell
    Weird tales beside a form in white.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 242-243

 
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December 11, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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