Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

What I Have Seen #1


I saw a mother give wine to her boy-
The rain-drops fall and fall:
The pride of his parents, a household joy,
A mother's blessing, her all.

I saw the cheek of the youth grow red-
The rain falls over the lea:
The light of his eye shone like jewels, they said:
It spoke of ruin to me.

I saw the youth drink again and again-
The rain falls heavy and fast:
I saw the mother's brow furrowed with pain,
She was reaping her harvest at last.

I saw the youth go staggering by-
The rain-drops beat and beat:
Dulled was the light of his beautiful eye;
I saw him fall in the street.

I heard the rabble cry, 'Shame! oh! shame!'
The rain-drops sob and sob:
I heard the drunkard's once-honored name
Shouted aloud by the mob.

I saw the youth carried home to his door-
The rain-drops sob and sigh:
Saw the friends shun him, who sought him before,
Saw him sink lower, and die.

I saw the stone that bore only his name-
The rain-drops mutter and rave:
I saw the mother with sorrow and shame
Bowed to the brink of the grave.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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