Poetry of Kansas

A Worn-Out Woman Rests

Poor, tired hands, that toiled so hard for me!
  At rest before me, now, I see them lying.
They toiled so hard, and yet we could not see
   That she was dying.

Poor rough, red hands, that drudged the livelong day,
  Still busy when the midnight oil was burning!
Oft toiling on until she saw the gray
   Of day returning.

If I could sit and hold those tired hands,
  And feel the warm life-blood within them beating,
And gaze with her across the twilight lands,
   Some whispered words repeating,

I think to-night that I would love her so,
  And I could tell my love to her so truly,
That, e'en though tired, she would not wish to go
   And leave me thus unduly.

Poor, tired heart, that had so weary grown,
  That death came all unheeded o'er it creeping!
How still it is to sit here all alone
   While she is sleeping!

Dear, patient heart, that deemed the heavy care
  Of drudging household toil its highest duty;
That laid aside its precious yearnings there
   Along with beauty!

Dear heart and hands, so pulseless, still and cold!
  (How peacefully and dreamlessly she's sleeping!)
The spotless shroud of rest about them fold
   And leave me weeping.

__Albert Bigelow Paine.

Kansas in Literature
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)

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April 17, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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