The peaceful moonbeams fall athwart the floor;
The cool wind steals in softly, and tine sky
Curtains soft sleep, but she___she sleeps no more!
She sleeps no more. A tossing sea of pain
Lashed into madness, rolls its swollen tide
Like red-hot lava, through her heart and brain;
And at her feet a dark gulf opens wide.
O sisters pity! Other, lower deeps
Yawn to engulf her- will ye thrust her down
Into their seething depths? Look how she weeps,
And will ye drive her mad with your sold frown?
O woman, take thy foot from off her neck!
Uncurl thy lip of scorn! Drop but one tear
Of sweet compassion for the mournful wreck
Of the youth and loveliness that crouches here!
Knew ye what writhing serpents of remorse
Twist their sharp fangs amid her tangled hair___
Knew ye her agony beneath the curse
That rests on her youag head, so hard to bear___
Ye could not to the tempter turn and smile;
And wi'th a cruel foot that tempted spurn!
Ye could not kiss the hand that struck, the while
Ye scathe the victim with your heartless scorn!
Once, long ago, in a self-righteous crowd,
Far backward, mamy a long-lapsed century,
Stood One who pitied and forgave___ye, proud
In untired strength, are ye more pure than He?
__Ellen P. Allerton.
Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)