Poetry of Kansas

A Wayside Tree.

I passed to-day through a forest
    In somberest sombre drest;
Furled were the blood-red banners,
    Quenched was each flaming crest.
The wind swept through the branches;
    The clouds hung low and gray,
Bearing storms in their bosoms,
    Stealing the sun away.
The roar far back in the forest,
    The crackling above my head,
As the crisp leaves shook and quivered,
    Filled me with nameless dread.
Like the leaves, I shook and shivered
    As the cold wind colder blew,
And the tread of advancing tempests
    Sounded the deep woods through.
Was there nothing left of the summer?
    Naught of the autumn show?
Nothing bright for the winter
    To fold in its sheets of snow?
Behold! by the dreary roadside,
    Towering fair and green
In the midst of its sombre sisters,
    A single oak is seen.
Touched with spatters of crimson,
    Bordered with fiery bands,
Across its resplendent garments
    The sun and the frost clasp hands.
I look at the tree in wonder!
    It seems like some ancient sage,
Wearing his youthful freshness
    Along with the frosts of age.
Oh! the life must be pure and noble
    That can keep, as the seasons go,
Its June and its rich October
    Till falleth the winter snow!

__Ellen P. Allerton.

Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)
Pages 114-115

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November 22, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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