The Mother

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IN the sorrow and the terror of the nations,  
In a world shaken through by lamentations,  
 Shall I dare know happiness  
 That I stitch a baby’s dress?  

So: for I shall be a mother with the mothers,  
I shall know the mother’s anguish like the others,  
 Present joy must surely start  
 For the life beneath my heart.  

Gods and men, ye know a woman’s glad unreason,  
How she cannot bend and weep but in her season,  
 Let my hours with rapture glow  
 As the seams and stitches grow.  

And I cannot hear the word of fire and slaughter;  
Do men die? Then live, my child, my son, my daughter!  
 Into realms of pain I bring  
 You for joy’s own offering.  

© Nettie Palmer