Katharine Tynan

(23 January 1861 - 2 Apirl 1931 / 23 January 1861 – 2 April 1931)

The Only Son - Poem by Katharine Tynan

His mother died last year and yet
She wearied Heaven with fear and fret,
Wanting the son she left behind,
And God was patient, being kind.

He was so beautiful, so young,
Slender as a tall tree, wind-swung;
Innocent, gay: she went in fear
Something might hurt him, lacking her.

She heard amid the starry mirth
Rumour of dreadful things on earth.
Of sweet youth slain and beauty marred
Beyond all balm and spikenard.

Oh, had she visions of his plight
Lying in the red rain at night
Amid the piteous heap of slain,
That she was wild with fear and pain?

God gives His angels. But she went
Uncomforted and discontent.
Because no angel ever knew
The way to love that mothers do.

And so she wearied Heaven with prayer,
Her knees for ever on God's stair,
Her troubled thoughts for ever abeat
Like wings about the Mercy-Seat.

At last God heard her. Swift as the wind
His messenger went forth to find
Her son and bring him to her breast
So that at last her heart might rest.

She died a year ago and still
Her cup of Heaven's untasted till
God's messenger returns to say:
'He fell in action yesterday.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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