Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, UNKNOWN, by ARTHUR CHAPMAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

UNKNOWN, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: I have come back to my mother's land
Last Line: That I have returned unknown?
Subject(s): Soldiers; Unknown Soldier; War

I have come back to my mother's land—
I was long, too long away.
She shades her eyes with a blue-veined hand
In the sunlit upland day
And looks at my saddle, my horse, my gun—
For my haunts were not the strown ...
My Western mother has murmured, "Son!"
So why am I called Unknown?

I have come back to my mother's land,
Where the yellow pine glades are;
The cypress flutters, by breezes fanned,
And the rose scent floats afar;
There's a splash of oars on quiet streams,
And a bright hued bird has flown
Like those that colored my youthful dreams
Ere they called me the Great Unknown.

I have come back to my mother's land,
Where the surf's like distant drums,
And the fishing craft makes bright the strand
And a kindly neighbor comes—
For such is the way of the village folk
When a woman is left alone ...
It's of me they talk when she doffs her cloak,
So why am I called Unknown?

For I belong to them—Mothers All—
From the seas to the plains of sage,
From the hills that rock to the snowslide's fall
To the desert gray-lined with age.
And my tomb shall vibrate with messages
All couched in that mother tone
Which stirs the heart. Ah, then, who says
That I have returned Unknown?

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