Poetry of Kansas

Tragedy and Farce.

Sweetly the summer-sun is shining
    Out from the dome of the sapphire sky;
Green are the pastures, the wheat-fields golden;
    Calmly the river goes rolling by.
Peace at the center and on the border___
    Hum of industry everywhere___
Teams afield___the clatter of reapers___
    Songs of harvesters on the air.
Blithe are the sounds of the summer-morning;
    But stay -the songs cease suddenly:
The lift of a hand___the crack of a pistol___
    And cheeks turn pallid from sea to sea.
A dim, hushed room-a sick man lying
    Fainting with weakness, racked with pain;
Rosy bulletins, morning and evening,
    Raising our hopes to be dashed again;
Week after week of weary waiting;
    Trembling millions on bended knee;
Later, a still form, pallid, pulseless,
    There in the cottage by the sea.
Thus it is ended___the long, slow torture;
    Ended our hopes, our doubts, our fears.
Towns and cities are draped in sable ___
    A mighty nation sits drowned in tears.
*         *         *         *         *  
Crowded court-room, Judge and jury;
    Ghastly farce, where the high and low,
Master and servant, maid and mistress,
    Come together to see the show.
Blood-stained wretch, as leading actor,
    Blusters and rants in his brutal way;
Browbeats witnesses and lawyers,
    Just as he wills it to run the play,
Beautiful ladies, plumed and jeweled
    (They wept for his victim), calmly sit,
Soft cheeks dimpling with covert laughter;
    Judges smile at his insolent wit.
How long, how long, shall these scenes continue,
    While the whole world looks on in scorn?
How many pages must stain our annals,
    For children to blush at, yet unborn.
Sadly we watched o'er a good man dying,
    And shed our tears o'er the murdered dead:
With cheeks scarce dry, shall we speak no protest
    While the murderer stars it where he bled?
For very shame, cut short, O Justice!
    Drop the curtain! put out the light!
Through all the land we are weary___weary;
    Hide this monster away from sight!

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 208-209

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June 16, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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