MOTHER, the poplars cross the moon;
The road runs on, so white and far,
We shall not reach the city soon:
Oh, tell me where we are!”
“Have patience, patience, little son,
And we shall find the way again:
(God show me the untraveled one!
God give me rest from men!)”
“Mother, you did not tell me why
You hurried so to come away.
I saw big soldiers riding by;
I should have liked to stay.”
“Hush, little man, and I will sing
Just like a soldier, if I can—
They have a song for everything.
Listen, my little man!
“This is the soldiers’ marching song:
We’ll play this is the village street—”
“Yes, but this road is very long,
And stones have hurt my feet.”
“Nay, little pilgrim, up with you!
And yonder field shall be the town.
I’ll show you how the soldiers do
Who travel up and down.
“They march and sing and march again,
Not minding all the stones and dust:
They go, (God grant me rest from men!)
Forward, because they must.”
Mother, I want to go to sleep.”
“No, darling! Here is bread to eat!
(O God, if thou couldst let me weep,
Or heal my broken feet!)”