Built like a palace, with fair, stately halls,
Where all things pure and beautiful did dwell,
And sat at peace within its lovely walls.
And oft a voice, tuned like a sweet-toned bell,
In strains of throbbing music rose and fell.
A home of harmonies___a gentle throng!
A home of rest and peace; and yet there came___
Sudden and swift and dark___a day of shame.
Henceforth an end of peace, an end of song.
Henceforth a crowd of demons come and go,
And range all the chambers, high and low.
The house is haunted. Shadows dark as night,
With ghostly footfalls stalk from room to room;
And voices doleful as the cries of doom,
Shriek in the darkness, then anon a light
Flashes athwart the windows, fierce and fell,
And red and lurid as the flames of heft.
Alas! the wreck, the ruin that befalls!
Alas! the shaking, crumbling, and decay!
The very vines let go the tottering wails;
The very dogs take flight and flee away,
Appalled by sounds and sights so strange and dire___
The shrieks, the laughter, and the lurid fire.
An awful thing of terror, weird and wild;
A thing to gaze upon in speechless fear.
And yet to wring perforce the pitying tear.
This stately palace, ruined and defiled,
Waxing more foul and ghastly year by year;
Where peace and purity lie prone and slain;___
This haunted house___is but a crazed brain.
__Ellen P. Allerton.
Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)