Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Massachusetts Poets
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Massachusetts Poets.  1922.
 
The Returning
 
Sylvester Baxter
 
 
WE long for her, we yearn for her—
Yes, ardently we yearn
For her return.
Recalling those beloved days
(Days intimate with ways        5
Of friends so near to us
And life so dear to us),
We yearn unspeakably for her return.
 
And come she must…. Yet while we trust
We soon may see the passing of this agony        10
Which makes intrusive years still seem
A fearsome dream,
We know that when she comes
She really comes not back again.
 
She’ll come in other guise        15
And under fairer skies—
And yet to bitter pain!
 
That day she went away
Our homes with laughing youth were filled.
Where then was happiness        20
Is now distress,
The laughter stilled;
For when she left
Youth followed her—
We stay bereft.        25
 
So all our golden joy
For what she brings
Must carry gray alloy:
The sorrow that she can not lay,
The mysery that she can not stay—        30
While all the gladsome songs she sings
Must bear for undertones
Old sighs and echoed moans.
 
As they who go away
In flush of youth        35
May come quite worn and gray
And bringing naught but ruth—
So, when the strife shall cease,
And when she comes at last,
When all the armies vast        40
Shall at her feet
Kneel down to greet
Thrice welcome Peace,
This world will be so changed
(So many dear ones dead,        45
So many friends estranged,
So many blessings fled,
So many wonted ways forever barred,
So many coming days forever marred)
That then        50
She truly comes not back again—
She, the Peace we knew.
 
Yet how we long for her!
How ardently we yearn
For her return!        55
 

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