Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Mother of Sons
By D. H. Lawrence
 
THIS is the last of all, then, this is the last!
I must fold my hands, and turn my face to the fire,
And watch my dead days fusing into dross,
Shape after shape, and scene after scene, from the past
Sinking to one dead mass in the dying fire,        5
Leaving the grey ash cold and heavy with loss.
 
Strange he is to me, my son, whom I waited like a lover;
Strange as a captive held in a foreign country, haunting
The shore and gazing out on the level sea;
White, and gaunt, with wistful eyes that hover        10
Always upon the distance, as his soul were chaunting
The dreary weird of departure away from me.
 
Like a young bird blown from out of the frozen seas,
Like a bird from the far north blown with a broken wing
Into our sooty garden, he drags and beats        15
From place to place perpetually, and seeks release
From me, and the hound of my love that creeps up fawning
For his mastership, while he in displeasure retreats.
 
I must look away from him, for my fading eyes
Like a cringing dog at his heels offend him now,        20
Like a toothless hound pursuing him with my eyes,
Till he chafes at my cringing persistence, and a sharp spark flies
Into my soul from the sudden fall of his brow
And he bites his lip in pain as he hears my sighs.
 
This is my last—it will not be any more—        25
All my life I have borne the burden of myself,
All the long years of sitting in my husband’s house,
And never have I said to myself, as he closed the door:
“Now I am caught—you are hopelessly lost, O self;
You are frightened with joy, my heart, like a frightened mouse.”—        30
 
Three times have I offered my soul—three times rejected—
It will not be any more—no more, my son, my son!
Never to know the glad freedom of obedience, since long ago
The angel of childhood kissed me and went. I expected
A man would take me, and now, my son, O my son,        35
I must sit awhile and wait and never know
A bridegroom, till ’twixt me and the bright sun
Death, in whose service is nothing of gladness, takes me.
For the lips and the eyes of God are behind a veil,
And the thought of the lipless voice of the Father shakes me        40
With fear, and fills my eyes with tears of desire;
But the voice of my life is dumb and of no avail,
And the hands in my lap grow cold as the night draws nigher.
 
 
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