Prayer for a New Mother
The things she knew, let her forget again-
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.
Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.
Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.
Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.
The Maid-Servant at the Inn
"It's queer," she said; "I see the light
As plain as I beheld it then,
All silver-like and calm and bright ---
We've not had stars like that again!
"And she was such a gentle thing
To birth a baby in the cold.
The barn was dark and frightening ---
This new one's better than the old.
"I mind my eyes were full of tears,
For I was young, and quick distressed
But she was less than me in years
That held a son against her breast.
"I never saw a sweeter child ---
The little one, the darling one! ---
I mind I told her, when he smiled
You'd know he was his mother's son.
"It's queer that I should see them so ---
The time they came to Bethlehem
Was more than thirty years ago;
I've prayed that all is well with them."