The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

To the Mothers

Mothers of men, do you not know

What you gave to the world in your hour of woe?

Born of courage, and doomed to stress,

A man for the tasks of men -- no less!

Mothers of women, can you not feel

What all the signs of your life reveal?

You have brought forth love, with its sword and fire,

And love's high crown is the lost desire.

Mothers of men, have you not known

That the soul of the child is not your own?

If God has sealed him for palm and cross,

To hold him close were your bitter loss.

Mothers, mothers, will you not see

All that your gift to the world may be?

These who must fight a wrong abhorred

Are Michael's angels, who bear the sword.

Mothers of men, then loose your hold!

Love grants more than your arms enfold;

Under the Cross you stand apart,

With Mary's sword in your dauntless heart.