Nettie Palmer (1876)
IN the sorrow and the terror of the nations,
In a world shaken through by lamentations,
Shall I dare know happiness
That I stitch a baby’s dress?
So: for I shall be a mother with the mothers,
I shall know the mother’s anguish like the others,
Present joy must surely start
For the life beneath my heart.
Gods and men, ye know a woman’s glad unreason,
How she cannot bend and weep but in her season,
Let my hours with rapture glow
As the seams and stitches grow.
And I cannot hear the word of fire and slaughter;
Do men die? Then live, my child, my son, my daughter!
Into realms of pain I bring
You for joy’s own offering.
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