The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Missing

THE soldier boys are marching, are marching past my door;

They're off to fight for Freedom, to wage and win the war;

And yet I cannot cheer them, my eyes are full of tears--

My son, who should be with them, is dead these many years.

I've missed his boyish laughter, I've missed his sunny ways,

I've lived alone with sorrow through endless empty days.

But now my bitter longing dims all the grief before--

His boyhood friends are marching, without him, past my door.

I've envied happy mothers the children at their knee;

Their very joys seemed given to mock my grief and me.

Time healed those wounds, but this one will pain me while I live--

When Freedom called her warriors, I had no son to give.

And still the boys are marching, are marching toward the sea,

To suffer and to conquer, that all men may be free.

Be glad for them, O mothers! and leave to me the tears--

My son, who should be with them, is dead these many years.