Poetry of Kansas

My Stalk of Corn.

Just a single stalk of corn,
    Nothing more;
Was there ever a stalk of corn
    Cherished so before?
 
On the window, where the sun
    Shines at noon,
And at eve, the tender light
    Of the moon.
 
Half a pint or so of soil___
    Hardly that,
Half enough to fill the crown
    Of baby's hat.
 
This it has to feed its life;
    This is all.
Yet I love this stalk of corn
    Best of all.
 
Best of all my pets in green
    Thou a vine,
By geraniums scented sweet,
    Doth entwine.
 
And I pet it tenderly,
    This stalk of corn___
Turn it kindly toward the pane
    Every morn.
 
How it thanks me for its life,
    How it grows!
In such thrift, its gratitude
    How it shows.
 
Still I watch and water it,
    Though I know,
The slender store of food it has
    Is wasting slow.
 
Never shall the breezes wane
    Its yellow hair;
Never tassle crown its top,
    Nor golden ear.
 
Just so much it has to feed,
    Then must die;
Who knows but that it may be so
    With you or I?
 
We know not our stock of life,
    Great or small;
But the one who keepeth us
    Knoweth all.
 
We live on, a careless life,
    Or fiercely toil.
While our only store may be
    Half a pint of soil.
 
Let us, like this stalk of corn,
    Do our best,
And to him who loveth us
    Leave the rest.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 196-197

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

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