Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Home-Coming


My boy's come back; he's here at last;
He came home on a special train.
My longing and my ache are past,
My only son is back again.
He's home with music, flags and flowers;
With peace and joy my heart's abrim;
He got here in the morning hours
With half the town to welcome him.

To hush my grief, night after night,
How I have digged my pillow deep,
And it would be the morning light
Before I sobbed myself to sleep.
And how I used to stare and stare
Across the harbour's yeasty foam,
Thinking he's fighting far out there . . .
But now with bells my boy's come home.

There's Mrs. Burke, she has her Ted,
But less the sight of his two eyes;
And Mrs. Smith - you know her Fred -
They took his legs off at the thighs.
How can these women happy be,
For all their bravery of talk,
One with a son who cannot see,
One with a boy who'll never walk.

I should be happier than they;
My lad came back without a scar,
And all the folks are proud they say,
To greet their hero of the war.
So in the gentle eventide
I'll give God thanks my Bert's come home. . . .
As peacefully I sit beside
His tiny mound of new-turned loam.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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