IN Volhynia the peasant mothers,
by Sir Lewis Morris
When spring-time brings back the leaves,
And the first swallows dart and twitter
Under the cottage eaves,—
Sit mute at their windows, and listen,
With eyes brimming over with tears,
To the broken sounds which are wafted
To their eager watching ears.
And throw out bread and honey
To the birds as they scintillate by ;
And hearts full of yearning and longing,
Borne out on the wings of a sigh.
For they think that their dear lost children,
The little ones who are gone,
Come back thus to the heartsick mothers
Who are toiling and sorrowing on.
And those sun-lit wings and flashing
White breasts, to their tear-dimmed eyes
Bring visions of white child -angels
Floating in Paradise.
And again to the sounds they hearken.
Grown silent while incomplete,
The music of childish laughter,
The patter of baby feet.
Till the hearts which are barren and childless,
The homes which are empty and cold :
The nests whence the young have departed,
Are filled with young life as of old.
Thus each spring, to those peasant mothers,
Comes the old Past again and again ;
And those sad hearts quicken and blossom,
In a rapture of sorrowless pain.