Poetry of Kansas


Some monstrous moralist lays down this rule
    Among the maxims: "Always wear a smile.
He must have learned it in some Jesuit school,
    Where deepest wisdom is but deepest guile.
Who would obey must set himself the task___
A hateful one___to always wear a mask.
Your constant smiler is a hypocrite,
    'Tis evil that must hide, not honesty.
He whose expression always wears a bit,
    A very prince in wickedness may be.
"A man may smile and be a villain still;"
And he who always smiles, be sure he will.
A smile is lovely when, through lip and eye,
    The sunny sweetness of a soul shines out,
Like a quick glimpse of glory; 'tis a lie
    When inner darkness it but wraps about.
Night rules us all at times; shall we, the while,
Hide our sad midnight with a morning smile?
Our faces are our windows. Is it meet
    That one should always keep his curtains down
When smiles are but the draping of deceit,
    Better, far better, were an honest frown.
By semblance falsely sweet sin hides its art___
Only from men___God looketh on the heart.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 55

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February 7, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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