Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOTHER SAINTED, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE MOTHER SAINTED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fair girl, fond wife, and dear
Last Line: And -- wait the end.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Death; God; Mothers; Saints; Dead, The


FAIR girl, fond wife, and dear
Young mother, sleeping here
So quietly, --
Tell us what dream is thine --
What miracle divine
Is wrought in thee!

Once -- was it yesterday,
Or but one hour away? --
The folded hands
Were quick to greet our own --
Now -- are they God's alone?
Who understands?

Who, bending low to fold
The fingers as of old
In pressure warm,
But muses, -- "Surely she
Will reach one touch to me,
And break the charm!"

And yet she does not stir; --
Such silence lies on her
We hear the drip
Of tear-drops as we press
Our kisses answerless
On brow and lip.

Not e'en the yearning touch
Of lips she loved so much
She made their breath
One with her own, will she
Give answer to and be
Wooed back from death.

And though he kneel and plead
Who was her greatest need,
And on her cheek
Lay the soft baby-face
In its old resting-place,
She will not speak.

So brave she was, and good --
In worth of womanhood
So like the snow --
She, smiling, gave her life
To blend the name of wife
With mother. -- So,

God sees in her a worth
Too great for this dull earth,
And, beckoning, stands
At Heaven's open gate
Where all His angels wait
With welcoming hands.

Then, like her, reconciled,
O parent, husband, child,
And mourning friend, --
Smile out as smiles the light
Of day above the night,
And -- wait the end.





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