He, born of my girlhood, is dead, while my life is yet young in my heart
by John Le Gay Brereton
Ere the breasts where his baby lips fed have forgotten their softness, we part.
We part. He was mine, he was here, though he travelled by land and by sea,
My son who could trample on fear, my babe who was moulded in me.
As I sat in the darkness, it seemed I could still feel his touch on my head;
He came in the night as I dreamed, and he knelt at the side of my bed;
He murmured the words I had taught when his lips were the lips of a child,
Ere the strength of his arm had been bought and the love that upheld him defiled;
Then my faltering spirit grew bold, and my heart had forgotten its drouth,
And I crooned little songs as of old, till I woke at his kiss on my mouth.
Now waking and sleeping are pain. Nevermore will he kiss, nevermore
Shall I hear his low whistle again at the gate, or his step on the floor,
For to-night he was here while I slept, and this is the end of it all.
Now that welter of darkness has swept us apart, can he come if I call?
Can he come, little chap with the eyes that brought light out of heaven to earth?
Can he come, though the soul of me cries for the joy that I bought by his birth?
I can see but the horror that bids the heart of the mother despair,
The vision that burns on my lids, the face that will always be there,
For he holds out his hands to me, red, and his eyes tell the truth as he stands.
He is dead. He is dead. He is dead. He is dead, with the blood on his hands.