The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition


(For Lord Kilhacken)

That which I saved I lost

And that I lost I found,

And you are mine, oh tender little ghost,

Whose grave is holy ground.

That which I kept is flown,

So fast the children grow,

The only child I keep to be my own

I lost long years ago.

The little ones that stayed

Slip from me while I cry:

Oh, not so fast, so fast, you golden-head.

Swift as the wind they fly.

Not two days are the same.

To-morrow will not see

To-day's young children, crested like a flame,

Gathered about my knee.

One day a day will dawn

Will see me dispossessed --

An empty nest whence singing-birds have flown.

Who shall refill the nest?

The years run out like sand

To strip me of my pride;

Then in my hand will steal a clinging hand.

I keep the child who died.

God gives and does not lend

This one lamb of the fold;

And he will need his mother to the end

And never will grow old.