Poetry of Kansas

Unbelief.

O ye who stand aloft on Pisgah's mountain,
    And view with kindling gaze far fields of bliss,
Condemn not him who sits at Marah's fountain,
    Or wanders blindly through the wilderness.
 
And ye who sail, calm hands of faith uplifting,
    By chart and compass, with your port in sight,
O! pity him who floats, bewildered, drifting,
    Upon an unknown sea, amid the night.
 
A glorious thing is faith___that scales the mountain:
    That rides secure where unbelief must sink.
Ye say there pours for all a ceaseless fountain;
    Yet___pity him that thirsts and cannot drink.
 
Ye offer him your creed; he asks "Whence is it___
    From heaven, or of men?" and to your grief,
He doubts and questions, and at last denies it.
    Is he to blame? Can one compel belief?
 
Condemn him not. His feet are bruised and weary
    With wandering, to and fro; his aching- breast,
So sore with longing; in the darkness dreary
    He gropes for light, and prays in vain for rest.
 
But, if he say: I will stop here, and hither
    Will I bring all my blocks and build my tower.
And will not, henceforth, wander any-whither___
    He rests___but ceases thinking from that hour,
 
Better to wander, still, a little season___
    Better to drift at night on unknown seas___
Than rest in creeds untried by test of reason___
    Better the doubter's pain than stagnant ease.

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Page 186

 
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February 24, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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