Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A DEAD MOTHER, by GORDON BOTTOMLEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A DEAD MOTHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: White-faced mother, what fragrant things
Last Line: "to watch till my child appears."
Subject(s): Abortion; Mothers

"WHITE-FACED mother, what fragrant things
Do you lay in the chest apart?"
"They are little birth-shifts made long ago
For the baby under my heart."

"But why do you fold them with such tears
That patter a pitiful rain?
Bearing-time is a joyous time,
And no one grieves for its pain."

"I have carried death in my breast a month
Where baby hands would cling:
Something sucks my life away
And creeps where milk should spring.

"Though I shall see my baby's face,
Its words I shall not hear;
I wait with a heart-break for its sake
On death ere the dawning year.

"Three nights agone, woe-drenched, foredone,
Sleep lent me a little grace,
And I dreamed that it and I had met
In a quiet happy place.

"So dreams a bird in the dark that night
Pales fast and day is nigh,
And sings, and wakes at its song to find
That night has still to die.

"When I think of my two lyings-in,
The birth-bed and the tomb,
I wish my baby were buried with me --
At breast or in my womb.

"I would rather lie in my grave all dead
Through still, eventless years
Than stand alone at Heaven's gate
To watch till my child appears."

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