Imágenes de páginas

God frightens me. He's strange. I know

Him not.

And all my usual prayers I have forgot:

I remember now!

had a son
You are not Mary of the virgin brow!
You agonized for Jesus! You went down
Into the ugly depths for him. Your crown
Is my crown! I've seen you in the street,
Begging your way for broken bread and


I've seen you in trams, in shops, among old


Young eyes, brave lips, broad backs, in all the places

Where women work, and weep, in pain, in


Your hands were gnarled that held him when he died!

Not the fair hands that painters give you, white

And slim. You never had such hands: night And day you laboured, night and day, from


To woman. You were never soft and mild, But strong-limbed, patient, brown-skinned from the sun,

Deep-bosomed, brave-eyed, holy, holy One! I know you now! I seek you, Mary! Spread Your compassionate skirts! I bring to you my dead!

This was my man. I bore him. I did not


Then how he crowned me, but I felt it so. He was my all the world. I loved him best When he was helpless, clamouring at my breast.

Mothers are made like that. You'll understand

Who held your Jesus helpless in your hand
And loved his impotence. But as he grew
I watched him, always jealously, I knew
Each line of his young body, every tone
Of speech; his pains, his triumphs were my


I saw the down come on his cheeks with


And soon I had to reach to hold his head " And stroke his mop of hair. I watched his eyes When women crossed his ways, and I was


For him who had no wisdom. He was young, And loathed my care, and lashed me with youth's tongue.

Splendidly merciless, casual of age, his scorn Was sweet to me of whom his strength was born.

[ocr errors]

Besides, when he was more than six foot tall

He kept the smile he had when he was

[merged small][ocr errors]

And still no woman had him. I was glad Of that - and then O God! The world ran


Almost before I knew, this noise was war; Death and not women took the son I bore...

You'll know him when you see him: first of all

Because he'll smile that way when he was small;

And then his eyes! They never changed from blue

To duller grey, as other children's do,

But like his childish dreams he kept his


Vivid, and deeply clear, and vision wise. Seek for him, Mary! Bright among the


Of other women's sons he 'll star those hosts Of shining boys! (He always topped his class

At school!) Lean forward, Mary, as they


And touch him! When you see his eyes you'll weep

And think him your own Jesus! Let him sleep

In your deep bosom, Mary, then you'll


His lashes, how they curl, so childishly

You'll weep again, and rock him on your heart

As I did once, that night we had to part.
He'll come to you all bloody and be-mired,
But let him sleep, my dear, for he'll be tired,
And very shy. If he 'd come home to me
I would n't ask the neighbours in to tea..
He always hated crowds. . . I'd let him

[ocr errors]

And then perhaps you'll take him by the hand

And comfort him from fear when he must


Before God's dreadful throne; then, will you


[ocr errors]

That boy whose bullet made my darling fall, And take him by the other hand, and say "O God, whose Son the hands of men did slay,

These are Thy children who do take away The sins of the world. . . ."

Irene Rutherford McLeod


EVERY week of every season out of English ports go forth,

White of sail or white of trail, East, or West, or South, or North,

Scattering like a flight of pigeons, half a hundred home-sick ships,

Bearing half a hundred striplings—each with kisses on his lips

Of some silent mother, fearful lest she shows herself too fond,

Giving him to bush or desert as one pays a sacred bond,

Tell us, you who hide your heartbreak, which is sadder, when all 's done, To repine an English mother, or to roam, an English son?

You who shared your babe's first sorrow when his cheek no longer pressed

On the perfect, snow-and-roseleaf beauty of your mother-breast,

In the rigor of his nurture was your woman's mercy mute,

Knowing he was doomed to exile with the savage and the brute?

1 By permission of the author, Robert Underwood Johnson. From Saint-Gaudens and other Poems. Copyright, 1908, by Robert Underwood Johnson.

« AnteriorContinuar »