Poetry of Kansas


A strange and a wonderful thing is our mortal life!
Strange it's its troubled joy, in its secret strife;
Strange in its helpless groping for hidden light,
With each step forward only a step in the night.
Hope is a siren that lures with a deceitful smile,
Warbles bewitching strains with her lips of guile,
Sings of to-morrow's pleasure, to-morrow's gain;
But the gain oft proves but loss, and the pleasure pain,
Caught is many a foot in a silken snare;
Ploughed is many a heart by a golden share;
Many a harvest of pain is in pleasure sown,
Watered by secret tears and in silence mown.
A curse may lurk in the palm of a soft white hand;
Many a life is wrecked on a gleaming strand.
Fair is the Danger Isle, with her emerald shore;
But the ship that treads her rocks returns no more.
Fair is the sail that floats o'er a rippling sea;
Sweet is love's thrilling strain, sung tenderly;
But dire the wreck that parts on the pitiless wave,
And the sad song that is sung at an open grave.
Bright is many a morn that soon clouds o'er;
Dark is the sullen noon, with its angry roar;
Dark is the sullen noon, and the night is black;
And our stricken treasures lie in the lightning's track.
Vainly we seek to pierce the dark Unknown;
Vainly implore of Silence an answering tone;
Vainly we ask of Fate her scroll to lend;
One thing only is sure___that death is not the end.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 146-147

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

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