Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOURNING MOTHER, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MOURNING MOTHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Dost thou weep, mourning mother
Last Line: Wait on, thou mourning mother.
Subject(s): Death - Children; Mothers; Death - Babies

(Of the Dead Blind)


DOST thou weep, mourning mother,
For thy blind boy in the grave?
That no more with each other,
Sweet counsel ye can have?--
That he, left dark by nature,
Can never more be led
By thee, maternal creature,
Along smooth paths instead?
That thou canst no more show him
The sunshine, by the heat:
The river's silver flowing,
By murmurs at his feet?
The foliage by its coolness;
The roses, by their smell;
And all creation's fulness,
By Love's invisible?
Weepest thou to behold not
His meek blind eyes again,--
Closed doorways which were folded,
And prayed against in vain--
And under which, sate smiling
The child-mouth evermore,
As one who watcheth, wiling
The time by, at the door?
And weepest thou to feel not
His clinging hand in thine--
Which now, at dream-time, will not
Its cold touch disentwine?
And weepest thou still ofter,
Oh, never more to mark
His low soft words, made softer
By speaking in the dark?
Weep on, thou mourning mother!


But since to him when living
Thou wast both sun and moon,
Look o'er his grave, surviving
From a high sphere alone.
Sustain that exaltation,
Expand that tender light,
And hold in mother-passion
Thy Blessed in thy sight.
See how he went out straightway
From the dark world he knew,--
No twilight in the gateway
To mediate 'twixt two,--
Into the sudden glory,
Out of the dark he trod,
Departing from before thee
At once to light and God!--
For the first face, beholding
The Christ's in its divine,
For the first place, the golden
And tideless hyaline;
With trees, as lasting summer,
That rock to songful sound,
While angels, the new-comer,
Wrap a still smile around.
Oh, in the blessed psalm now,
His happy voice he tries,
Spreading a thicker palm-bough,
Than others o'er his eyes!
Yet still, in all the singing,
Thinks haply of thy song
Which, in his life's first springing,
Sang to him all night long;
And wishes it beside him,
With kissing lips that cool
And soft did overglide him,
To make the sweetness full.
Look up, O mourning mother,
Thy blind boy walks in light!
Ye wait for one another,
Before God's infinite.
But thou art now the darkest,
Thou mother left below--
Thou, the sole blind,--thou markest,
Content that it be so,--
Until ye two have meeting
Where Heaven's pearl gate is,
And he shall lead thy feet in,
As once thou leddest his.
Wait on, thou mourning mother.

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