The Great War

from November: Poems in War Time, an electronic edition

The Stay-at-Home

AS a woman that is with child, my soul already fosters

A life conceived within me, secret as yet and sacred,

As though the herald, Gabriel, in a sudden-shining shaft

Had bidden me glory in this I nourish for men's joy.

At the clamour of drums without or bidding of voices within

Can I abandon This? Can I resume my soul?

Am I also free to go, one with the millions

Descending at Freedom's call to the camp and the yonder field,

Spending themselves for Her, as I fain myself would spend?

He is not free to go who hath already gone:

To give himself afresh who hath already given.

Assigned already my place, I cannot leave it and go:

Mine to stay, to abide, as a woman that is with child.--

And I continue at home, contented, as one without

Trammel, if he should run in the race, runs not but remains.

I see them go: my heart, going not, is one with their heart,

Shares in their gladness going, that now to the uttermost

Farthing they have responded with all that is theirs, as I

Also wholly respond, with all that I am endowing

The intangible hope within me, that is not other than theirs,

The unborn joy I was bidden foster and bring to a birth.