Treasure Island

Mary Eliza Perine Tucker Lambert

(1838-1938 / the United States)


My muse is in the sulks to-day,
I've tried in vain to find
A subject fit for rhyme and song,
Just suited to my mind.
I called last night upon the stars,
To-day upon the sun,-
My muse would leave me in the lurch,
With just a line begun.
I tried to work, I tried to sing,
And then I tried to play;
And then I took my knitting up,
To while the time away.
And then the flashes of quick thought,
With bliss thrilled all my soul;
With every stitch did fancy's hand,
A saddening page unroll.
The dullest of the dullest work,
So tiresome, and so slow!
To knit, and knit, the live-long day,
And still small increase show.
But as I knit, a fairy web
My brain wore in its dreaming,
And in each stitch my fancy saw
Some bright poetic gleaming.
And stitch by stitch the work goes on,
For some proud soldier brave,
Who may, perchance, these stitches wear,
Into a soldier's grave.
Far away from mother, sister-
Aye, from wife and daughter true,
With their feet all bare and bleeding,
And their hearts all bleeding too.
Now, perchance, one may be lying
Wounded on the cold earth damp,
While so feebly, faintly burning,
Is the last light of life's lamp.
Bright visions of the happy past,
Move slow before his eyes-
And then the mocking present comes
To taunt him ere he dies.
The glorious future once so bright,
To him has now grown dim-
Alone he dies, while song-birds sing
The solemn funeral hymn.
Ah! in some distant cottage,
His dear wife knitting there,
Is sending with each stitch she takes,
An earnest, heartfelt prayer.
She little thinks, as, in her pride,
She rolls the finished pair,
that his loved feet are cold and still,
And his body free from care.
God grant that in the future,
The bliss may be in store,
That they may meet in heaven above-
Aye, meet to part no more.
Fond mother, cease your knitting,
For your boy with curly hair
Is dead upon the battle-field,
So cold, and, oh, so fair!
Poor child, why did they send him-
Too young, and yet so brave,
To be a bullet's shining mark,
And fill a soldier's grave?
Bend gently o'er him, comrades-
Drop on his curls a tear-
Write on his rude-carved head board,
A mother's pride sleeps here.
A mother's joy-her treasure,
A widow's only son,
Has gained the life eternal.-
Death's victory is won.
Around his noble brow is twined
The laurel wreath of fame,-
The mother's darling boy has now
A never-dying name.
I will not say, I will not think,
Knitting is dull, again;
For, from steel needles sparkling thoughts
Will fly into the brain.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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