Poetry of Kansas

Who Does Not Love

The Man
I left the farm, and worked night and day in the city
To make the necessary nest egg
So Agnes and I might marry.
She was a high strung, tempestuous girl,
And, in a moment of fancied neglect,
Married another suitor.
Twenty years passed; I remained unmarried;
Finally I met, and thought I loved Lorain___
But my heart still clamored for Agnes.
To be sure of myself, I visited the old home again,
. . . To see those corn flower eyes,
And hear that lilting voice.
I knocked at the back door: (We farmers use the front for funerals
A slattern opened it;
Filthy dress, scraggly hair, feet in old overshoes;
But the corn flower eyes still bloomed in all that muck of neglect!
In a flash I knew Lorain had no rival.
Agnes did not recognize me; so I inquired the way to the nearest
    section line road,
And swiftly left:
Freed of a love hang-over of twenty years.
The Woman
He came today; thank God he did not know me;
It was butchering time, and I was cleaning hog guts
For sausage casings.
I am a broken toothed hag at thirty-eight.
Had I waited and married him
I should have bloomed into beauty___
My best would have come forth___
! should have touched the stars___
For Love is a builder.
Deterioration claims the wife
Who does not love.

__Nell Lewis Woods.

Contemporary Kansas Poetry
Helen Rhoda Hoopes
Pages 132-133
(Kansas City: Joseph D. Havens Company. 1927)

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December 5, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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