Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Mother - Nettie Palmer

In the sorrow and the terror of the nations,
In a world shaken through by lamentations,
  Shall I dare know happiness
  That I stitch a baby’s dress?

So: for I shall be a mother with the mothers,
I shall know the mother’s anguish like the others,
  Present joy must surely start
  For the life beneath my heart.

Gods and men, ye know a woman’s glad unreason,
How she cannot bend and weep but in her season,
  Let my hours with rapture glow
  As the seams and stitches grow.

And I cannot hear the word of fire and slaughter;
Do men die? Then live, my child, my son, my daughter!
  Into realms of pain I bring
  You for joy’s own offering.

Nettie Palmer (1885 – 1964) Australia
Source: The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse, complied by Walter Murdoch. H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1918

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