The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

"Dick."-May, 1915

HE lived! deep in my heart I held him,

Son, all my own-just for a little while;

Fond mem'ry cherishes his doings,

His cheerful hurry, and his slow, shy smile.

How fled the years! How vainly I begrudged them,

Their claim upon the hours I craved as mine;

Yet given that he might be prepar├ęd

To take his place, when came the hour, the sign.

There came, oh all too soon, the call of Empire;

Give back your sons, ye mothers of the race!

Among the first my son responded, gladly;

And proudly I, his mother, gave him place.

Gone were the years I watched him; in the darkness

I strove to picture this, his unsought life;

Would courage hold! nay, could the monsterterror

Rise up and wound him in this hellish strife?

And whiles I prayed-as mothers do in secret-

Although their hands are busy otherwise;

And whiles I grieved, as mothers must-in secret,

Yet none who knew me did my fears surprise.

He died! ah yes, he fell in action,

My boy who gave his life that truth mightlive;

And though my feet must ever tread more softly,

Since him I see no more and yet must live;-

He lives! deep in my heart I know it:

The life he knows is not of earthly span,

It is the life by sacrifice attain├ęd,

Of God ordained ere yet the world began.