Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Her Letter


"I'm taking pen in hand this night, and hard it is for me;
My poor old fingers tremble so, my hand is stiff and slow,
And even with my glasses on I'm troubled sore to see. . . .
You'd little know your mother, boy; you'd little, little know.
You mind how brisk and bright I was, how straight and trim and smart;
'Tis weariful I am the now, and bent and frail and grey.
I'm waiting at the road's end, lad; and all that's in my heart,
Is just to see my boy again before I'm called away."

"Oh well I mind the sorry day you crossed the gurly sea;
'Twas like the heart was torn from me, a waeful wife was I.
You said that you'd be home again in two years, maybe three;
But nigh a score of years have gone, and still the years go by.
I know it's cruel hard for you, you've bairnies of your own;
I know the siller's hard to win, and folks have used you ill:
But oh, think of your mother, lad, that's waiting by her lone!
And even if you canna come -- just write and say you will."

"Aye, even though there's little hope, just promise that you'll try.
It's weary, weary waiting, lad; just say you'll come next year.
I'm thinking there will be no `next'; I'm thinking soon I'll lie
With all the ones I've laid away . . . but oh, the hope will cheer!
You know you're all that's left to me, and we are seas apart;
But if you'll only say you'll come, then will I hope and pray.
I'm waiting by the grave-side, lad; and all that's in my heart
Is just to see my boy again before I'm called away."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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