Poetry of Kansas

The Last Hour.

Only another hour. The night creeps by
    The same as other nights. No dying moans?
Disturb the darkness; only mournfully
    The winter rain drips slowly o'er the stones.
The whole house sleeps, I only watch and wait,
    Through the last hour of the hoary year,
To con the last line of this leaf of fate,___
    This record, blotched and blurred by many a tear.
The leaf shall turn at midnight; nevermore
    Shall human deed or passion mark its face.
And none may change it, though repenting sore,
    We write at will___ah, would we might erase!
Come, good resolves. This hour is left to make
    Strong promises to cast out every sin,
And solemn vows great things to undertake;___
    But there's the year ahead to break them in.
We all are weak; yet, counting on our strength,
    We lay our plans like Titans,___we, so small!
We seek to execute, and find at length,
    We do but pigmies' work___or none at all.
Well, be it so. Better to strive in vain
    Than to sit, idle; better that we fall
In hidden pitfalls, time and time again,
    Than cling like cowards to some sheltering wall.
The years grow shorter; youth slips fast away;
    I see upon my brow the prints of care;
My step is growing sober, and to-day
    I plucked some threads of silver from my hair.
We all are growing old___like time. 'Tis well
    If we gain wisdom as our locks turn gray.
No room for pride; only a slab shall tell___
    And that shall crumble___of our little day.
The o'clock strike. So the old year dies,
    And so the new is born. I list in vain
For sound or speech___for groans or natal cries;
    I hear only the dripping of the rain.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 218-219

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April 3, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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