The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

They Who Return

To Mrs. Weigall

Into the stricken house who steals on quiet feet

And sudden brings the sunshine it used to wear?

Whose is the tender whisper that turns the bitter sweet?

Whose kiss is on your forehead, whose breath in your hair?

Who sits down beside you in the firelight glow?

Who leans on your shoulder like the boy of old?

Whose is the arm about you that you used to know,

Drawing the sting from your wound, your heart from cold?

Like the rustle of dead leaves in the autumn gloam

Running like little feet on a wind-swept road,

They are coming home so sweetly all the roads of home,

Very flesh of your flesh who belong to God.

The horse in the stable whinnies by the door,

The dog of a sudden is wild with delight.

Who is this he welcomes, long waited for?

Who smiles in the shadow, so dear, so bright?

Mercy of God, they are given, not taken away!

There's a face in the doorway, a foot on the floor.

They sit down beside us in the shadows grey,

Lay their heads on our breasts as oft before.