Monday, August 19, 2013

Poem: The Soldiers Mother 1861

The Smoky Hill and Republican Union

Junction, Davis Co., Kansas, Thursday, Dec. 26, 1861
The Soldiers Mother

By the low west window dreaming,
With the lingering sunlight gleaming
Softly on her saintly brow—
Of her boy to battle marching,
Heat and thirst the loved lips parching,
Dreams she in the twilight now.

Yet with rapid fingers knitting,
In the ancient arm-chair sitting,
Musing of her soldier son—
Pausing in her thoughts of sorrow,
Wond’ring if upon the morrow
She can have the blue socks done.

Thinking of the soldiers steading
As she saw them on the landing.
Thinking how they sternly drill them—
Back and forth the needles going
From the socks. God only knowing,
If or not his feet shall fill them.

But a sound her quick ear greeting
Starts her frightened heart to beating
With a troubled throb and surge,
For she hears the church-bell tolling,
And the solemn muffled rolling
Of slow music like a dirge.

Heeds she not the stitches falling,
As with eager accents calling
Some one passing by the door
All her wild forebodings masking,
And with lips unfalt’ring asking
Whom this mournful dirge is for?

But she strives her grief to smother,
‘Tis not meet a soldier’s mother
Thus should yield to sorrow vain.
Are there not a hundred others,
Stricken, desolated mothers,
Weeping for their brave one slain?

For their country still are bleeding
Soldiers brave who will be needing
Warm socks for their valiant feet—
Feet which ne’er before the traitors,
Like the feet of some bold praters,
Bent a cowardly retreat.

Other days have waned to twilight
Since the eve when such sad heart blight
Came down on that lonely one;
Yet beside the window sitting,
With her aged fingers knitting,
Dreams she still at set of sun.

On her brow a shadow resting,
And the sunset glory cresting
Like a crown the silver hair.
Back and forth the needles going,
Inch by inch the socks are growing,
And the tears her eyes o’erflowing
Are inwrought with silent prayer.

Could men see as see the angels,
These dumb socks, like sweet evangels,
Would a wond’rous tale unfold;
Every stitch would tell its story,
And each seam would wear a glory
Fairer that refiner’s gold.

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