Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake
At Devlin's Siding
What made the porter stare so hard? what made the porter stare
And eye the tall young woman and the bundle that she bare?
What made the tall young woman flush, and strive to hide her face,
As the train slid past the platform and the guard swung in his place?
What made her look so stealthily both up and down the line,
And quickly give the infant suck to still its puny whine?
Why was the sawmill not at work? why were the men away?
They might have turned a woman from a woeful deed that day.
Why did the pine-scrub stand so thick? why was the place so lone
That nothing but the soldier-birds might hear a baby moan?
Why doth the woman tear the child? why doth the mother take
The infant from her breast, and weep as if her heart would break?
Why doth she moan, and grind her teeth, and weave an awful curse
To fall on him who made of her a harlot-ay, and worse?
Why should she fall upon her knees and, with a trembling hand,
Clear off the underbrush and scrape a cradle in the sand?
Why doth she shudder as she hears the buzz of eager flies,
And bind a handkerchief across the sleeping infant's eyes?
Why doth she turn, but come again and feverishly twine,
To shield it from the burning sun, the fragrant fronds of pine?
Why, as she strides the platform, does she try hard not to think
That somewhere in the scrub a babe is calling her for drink?
Why, through the alleys of the pine, do languid breezes sigh
A low refrain that seems to mock her with a baby's cry?
Seek not to know! but pray for her, and pity, as the train
Carries a white-faced woman back to face the world again.
Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (At Devlin's Siding by Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
- A Homage To The Freedom Fighters Of India, Raja Basu
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns
- All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
Poem of the Day
- The victory of peace and truth., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- Festival for unity(Republic -Day Celebra.., Aftab Alam
- Love Note 5, Michael P. McParland
- Attempts for peace., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- THE GREAT UNKNOWN - Determined the world, sEaN nOrTh
- A Small Rest 2, Michael P. McParland
- Corrective body for peace., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- आं थाबायो सिगांजोँ, Ronjoy Brahma
- ~Red Lights~, E Nigma
- I Am Happy To Walk Home Alone Slowly, Shalom Freedman