The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

The Woman's Toll.

O MOTHER, mourning for the son who keeps

His last dread watch by unfamiliar streams,

Or for that other, gay of heart, who sleeps

Where the great waters guard his secret dreams,

Amid your tears take comfort for a space:

They showed them worthy of their island race.

O Wife, who heard across the wintry sea

Death's trumpet shrill for him who goes no more

Riding at dawn with that brave company

Whose fellowship no morning shall restore;-.

In its dark heart your bitterest hour shall bring

Sweets from the scattered petals of the Spring

O Maid with wondering eyes untouched of grief,

War's dreadful shadow spares your innocent years;

Yet shall you deem the ways of sunshine brief,

Paying, long hence, your toll of hidden tears

For love which perished ere the web was spun,

And children who shall never see the sun.

(The Nation, (My 15th, 1915.)