If I could clasp my little babe
Upon my breast to-night,
I would not mind the blowing wind
That shrieketh in affright.
Oh, my lost babe! my little babe,
My babe with dreamful eyes;
Thy bed is cold; and night wind bold
Shrieks woeful lullabies.
My breast is softer than the sod;
This room, with lighter hearth,
Is better place for thy sweet face
Than frozen mother earth.
Oh, my babe! oh, my lost babe!
Oh, babe with waxen hands.
I want thee so, I need thee so--
Come from thy mystic lands!
No love that, like a mother's, fills
Each corner of the heart;
No loss like hers, that rends, and chills,
And tears the soul apart.
Oh, babe--my babe, my helpless babe!
I miss thy little form.
Would I might creep where thou dost sleep,
And clasp thee through the storm.
I hold thy pillow to my breast,
To bring a vague relief;
I sing the songs that soothed thy rest--
Ah me! no cheating grief.
My breathing babe! my sobbing babe!
I miss thy plaintive moan,
I cannot hear--thou art not near--
My little one, my own.
Thy father sleeps. He mourns thy loss,
But little fathers know
The pain that makes a mother toss
Through sleepless nights of woe.
My clinging babe! my nursing babe!
What knows thy father--man--
How my breasts miss thy lips soft kiss--
None but a mother can.
Worn out, I sleep; I wake--I weep--
I sleep--hush, hush, my dear;
Sweet lamb, fear not--Oh, God! I thought--
I thought my babe was here.
Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].
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