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Mother's Day
Mother's Day

Table of Contents

When Mother Sleeps

The Mother's Question

The Mother on
the Sidewalk

Mother's Excuses

Ma & The Auto

The Hand That
Rocks The Cradle

The Step Mother


A Mother's Love


Mother's Glasses

Mother's Day

To My Mother

A Woman's

The Mother

A Mother's

The Mother's Hope



When Mother Sleeps
Edgar Guest

When mother sleeps, a slamming door
Disturbs her not at all;
A man might walk across the floor
Or wander through the hall
A pistol shot outside would not
Drive slumber from her eyes
But she is always on the spot
The moment baby cries.

The thunder crash she would not hear,
Nor shouting in the street;
A barking dog, however near,
Of sleep can never cheat
Dear mother, but I've noticed this
To my profound surprise:
That always wide-awake she is
The moment baby cries.

However weary she may be,
Though wrapped in slumber deep,
Somehow it always seems to me
Her vigil she will keep.
Sound sleeper that she is, I take
It in her heart there lies
A love that causes her to wake
The moment baby cries.

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The Mother's Question
Edgar Guest

When I was a boy, and it chanced to rain,
Mother would always watch for me;
She used to stand by the window pane,
Worried and troubled as she could be.
And this was the question I used to hear,
The very minute that I drew near;
The words she used, I can't forget:
"Tell me, my boy, if your feet are wet."

Worried about me was mother dear,
As healthy a lad as ever strolled
Over a turnpike, far or near,
'Fraid to death that I'd take a cold.
Always stood by the window pane,
Watching for me in the pouring rain;
And her words in my ears are ringing yet:
"Tell me, my boy, if your feet are wet."

Stockings warmed by the kitchen fire,
And slippers ready for me to wear;
Seemed that mother would never tire,
Giving her boy the best of care,
Thinking of him the long day through,
In the worried way that all mothers do;
Whenever it rained she'd start to fret,
Always fearing my feet were wet.

And now, whenever it rains, I see
A vision of mother in days of yore,
Still waiting there to welcome me,
As she used to do by the open door.
And always I think as I enter there
Of a mother's love and a mother's care;
Her words in my ears are ringing yet:
"Tell me, my boy, if your feet are wet."


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The Mother on the Sidewalk
Edgar Guest

The mother on the sidewalk as the troops are marching by
Is the mother of Old Glory that is waving in the sky.
Men have fought to keep it splendid, men have died to keep it bright,
But that flag was born of woman and her sufferings day and night;
'Tis her sacrifice has made it, and once more we ought to pray
For the brave and loyal mother of the boy who goes away.

There are days of grief before her; there are hours that she will weep;
There are nights of anxious waiting when her fear will banish sleep;
She has heard her country calling and has risen to the test,
And has placed upon the altar of the nation's need, her best.
And no man shall ever suffer in the turmoil of the fray
The anguish of the mother of the boy who goes away.

You may boast men's deeds of glory, you may tell their courage great,
But to die is easier service than alone to sit and wait,
And I hail the little mother, with the tear-stained face and grave,
Who has given the flag a soldier--she's the bravest of the brave.
And that banner we are proud of, with its red and blue and white,
Is a lasting holy tribute to all mothers' love of right.

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Mother's Excuses
Edgar Guest

Mother for me made excuses
When I was a little tad;
Found some reason for my conduct
When it had been very bad.
Blamed it on a recent illness
Or my nervousness and told
Father to be easy with me
Every time he had to scold.

And I knew, as well as any
Roguish, healthy lad of ten,
Mother really wasn't telling
Truthful things to father then.
I knew I deserved the whipping,
Knew that I'd been very bad,
Knew that mother knew it also
When she intervened with dad.

I knew that my recent illness
Hadn't anything to do
With the mischief I'd been up to,
And I knew that mother knew.
But remembering my fever
And my nervous temperament,
Father put away the shingle
And postponed the sad event.

Now his mother, when I threaten
Punishment for this and that,
Calls to mind the dreary night hours
When beside his bed we sat.
Comes and tells me that he's nervous,
That's the reason he was bad,
And the boy and doting mother
Put it over on the dad.

Some day when he's grown as I am,
With a boy on mischief bent,
He will hear the timeworn story
Of the nervous temperament.
And remembering the shingle
That aside I always threw,
All I hope is that he'll let them
Put it over on him, too.

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Ma And The Auto
Edgar Guest

Before we take an auto ride Pa says to Ma:
    "My dear,
Now just remember I don't need suggestions
    from the rear.
If you will just sit still back there and hold
    in check your fright,
I'll take you where you want to go and get
    you back all right.
Remember that my hearing's good and also I'm
    not blind,
And I can drive this car without suggestions
    from behind."

Ma promises that she'll keep still, then off we
    gaily start,
But soon she notices ahead a peddler and his
"You'd better toot your horn," says she, "to let
    him know we're near;
He might turn out!" and Pa replies:  "Just
    shriek at him, my dear."
And then he adds: "Some day, some guy will
    make a lot of dough
By putting horns on tonneau seats for women
    folks to blow!"

A little farther on Ma cries: "He signaled for
    a turn!"
And Pa says:  "Did he?" in a tone that's hot
    enough to burn.
"Oh, there's a boy on roller skates!" cries Ma.
    "Now do go slow.
I'm sure he doesn't see our car."  And Pa says:
    "I dunno,
I think I don't need glasses yet, but really it
    may be
That I am blind and cannot see what's right
    in front of me."

If Pa should speed the car a bit some rigs to
    hurry past
Ma whispers:  "Do be careful now. You're
    driving much too fast."
And all the time she's pointing out the dangers
    of the street
And keeps him posted on the roads where
    trolley cars he'll meet.
Last night when we got safely home, Pa sighed
    and said:  "My dear,
I'm sure we've all enjoyed the drive you gave
    us from the rear!"


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The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Is The Hand That Rules The World
William Ross Wallace

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother's first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.


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The Step Mother
Susanna Moodie

Well I recall my Father's wife,
The day he brought her home.
His children looked for years of strife,
And troubles sure to come
Ungraciously we welcomed her,
A thing to scorn and blame;
And swore we never would confer
On her, a Mother's name

I see her yet a girl in years,
With eyes so blue and mild;
She greeted us with smiles and tears,
How sweetly too she smiled
She bent to kiss my sullen brow,
With woman's gentle grace;
And laid her tiny hand of snow
On my averted face

"Henry is this your son?  She said
"Dear boy he now is mine
What not one kiss?  " I shook my head,
"I am no son of thine! "
She sighed and from her dimpled cheek
The rosy colour fled;
She turned away and did not speak,
My thoughts were with the dead

There leaped from out my Father's eyes
A jet of swarthy fire;
That flashed on me in fierce surprise
I fled before his ire
I heard her gentle voice entreat
"Forgiveness for her sake"
Which added swiftness to my feet,
A sad and strange mistake

A year had scarcely rolled away
When by that hated bride;
I loved to linger half the day,
In very joy and pride;
Her voice was music to mine ear,
So soft its accent fell;
"Dear Mother now" and oh, how dear
No words of mine can tell

She was so gentle, fair and kind,
So pure in soul and free from art;
That woman with her noble mind,
Subdued my rebel heart
I just had learned to know her worth,
My Father's second choice to bless;
When God removed her from the earth,
And plunged us all in deep distress

Hot fever smote with burning blight
Stretched on a restless bed of pain;
I moaning lay from morn till night
With aching limbs and throbbing brain
Four weary weeks beside my bed,
She sat within a darkened room;
Untiring held my aching head,
Nor heeded silence cold and gloom

And when my courage quite gave way,
And fainter grew my struggling breath;
She taught my stricken soul to pray
And calmly meet approaching death
"Fear not God's angel, sent by Him,
The weary spirit to release;
Before the mortal eyes grow dim,
Floats down the white winged dove of peace"

There came a change but fingers small,
No longer smoothed my matted hair;
She sprang not to my feeble call,
Nor helped to lift me to my chair
And I arose as from the dead,
A life for her dear life was given;
The angel who had watched my bed
Had vanished into Heaven!

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Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)

The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.

Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouth of wonderful men!

But deep in a walled-up woman's heart
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part
Lo, there is the battlefield!

No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long
From babyhood to the grave.

Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.

Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and paise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.

O spotless woman in a world of shame,
With splendid and silent scorn,
Go back to God as white as you came
The Kingliest warrior born!


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A Mother's Love
Author Unknown

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a Mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.

For a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith
And a Mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.

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by Edgar Guest

Never a sigh for the cares that she bore for me
  Never a thought of the joys that flew by;
Her one regret that she couldn't do more for me,
  Thoughtless and selfish, her Master was I.

Oh, the long nights that she came at my call to me!
  Oh, the soft touch of her hands on my brow!
Oh, the long years that she gave up her all to me!
  Oh, how I yearn for her gentleness now!

Slave to her baby! Yes, that was the way of her,
  Counting her greatest of services small;
Words cannot tell what this old heart would say of her,
  Mother the sweetest and fairest of all.


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Mother's Glasses 
by Edgar Guest

I've told about the times that Ma can't find her pocketbook,
And how we have to hustle round for it to help her look,
But there's another care we know that often comes our way,
I guess it happens easily a dozen times a day.
It starts when first the postman through the door a letter passes,
And Ma says: "Goodness gracious me! Wherever are my glasses?"

We hunt 'em on the mantelpiece an' by the kitchen sink,
Until Ma says:  "Now, children, stop, an' give me time to think
Just when it was I used 'em last an' just exactly where.
Yes, now I know the dining room. I'm sure you'll find 'em there."
We even look behind the clock, we busy boys an' lasses,
Until somebody runs across Ma's missing pair of glasses.

We've found 'em in the Bible, an' we've found 'em in the flour,
We've found 'em in the sugar bowl, an' once we looked an hour
Before we came across 'em in the padding of her chair;
An' many a time we've found 'em in the topknot of her hair.
It's a search that ruins order an' the home completely wrecks,
For there's no place where you may not find poor Ma's elusive specs.

But we're mighty glad, I tell you, that the duty's ours to do,
An' we hope to hunt those glasses till our time of life is through;
It's a little bit of service that is joyous in its thrill,
It's a task that calls us daily an' we hope it always will.
Rich or poor, the saddest mortals of all the joyless masses
Are the ones who have no mother dear to lose her reading glasses.



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Mother's Day
by Edgar Guest

Gentle hands that never weary toiling in love's vineyard sweet,
Eyes that seem forever cheery when our eyes they chance to meet,
Tender, patient, brave, devoted, this is always mother's way,
Could her worth in gold be quoted as you think of her to-day?

There shall never be another quite so tender, quite so kind
As the patient little mother; nowhere on this earth you'll find
Her affection duplicated; none so proud if you are fine.
Could her worth be overstated?  Not by any words of mine.

Death stood near the hour she bore us, agony was hers to know,
Yet she bravely faced it for us, smiling in her time of woe;
Down the years how oft we've tried her, often selfish, heedless, blind,
Yet with love alone to guide her she was never once unkind.

Vain are all our tributes to her if in words alone they dwell.
We must live the praises due her; there's no other way to tell
Gentle mother that we love her.  Would you say, as you recall
All the patient service of her, you've been worthy of it all?


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To My Mother
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

BECAUSE I feel that, in the Heavens above,
   The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
   None so devotional as that of 'Mother',
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you
   You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
   In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother my own mother, who died early,
   Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
   And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
   Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.



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A Woman's Question
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above
A woman's heart and a woman's life
And a woman's wonderful love?

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win
With the reckless dash of a boy!

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me;
Now, stand at the bar of my woman's soul,
While I shall question thee.

I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft young cheeks one day
Will you love me then 'mid the falling leaves
As you did 'mid the bloom of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she's made a bride!

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life,
To be all you demand of me.

If you can't do this, a laundress and cook
You can hire with a little pay.
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way.


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The Mother
Robert Service

There will be a singing in your heart,
There will be a rapture in your eyes;
You will be a woman set apart,
You will be so wonderful and wise.
You will sleep, and when from dreams you start,
As of one that wakes in Paradise,
There will be a singing in your heart,
There will be a rapture in your eyes.

There will be a moaning in your heart,
There will be an anguish in your eyes;
You will see your dearest ones depart,
You will hear their quivering good-byes.
Yours will be the heart-ache and the smart,
Tears that scald and lonely sacrifice;
There will be a moaning in your heart,
There will be an anguish in your eyes.

There will come a glory in your eyes,
There will come a peace within your heart;
Sitting 'neath the quiet evening skies,
Time will dry the tear and dull the smart.
You will know that you have played your part;
Yours shall be the love that never dies:
You, with Heaven's peace within your heart,
You, with God's own glory in your eyes.


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A Mother's Dedication
Margaret Peterson

Dear son of mine, the baby days are over,
I can no longer shield you from the earth;
Yet in my heart always I must remember
How through the dark I fought to give you birth.

Dear son of mine, by all the lives behind you;
By all our fathers fought for in the past;
In this great war to which your birth has brought you,
Acquit you well, hold you our honour fast!

God guard you, son of mine, where'er you wander;
God lead the banners under which you fight;
You are my all, I give you to the Nation,
God shall uphold you that you fight aright.


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The Mother's Hope
Laman Blanchard

IS there, when the winds are singing

In the happy summer time,
When the raptured air is ringing
With Earth's music heavenward springing

Forest chirp, and village chime,
Is there, of the sounds that float
Unsighingly, a single note
Half so sweet, and clear, and wild,
As the laughter of a child?

Listen! and be now delighted:

Morn hath touched her golden strings;
Earth and Sky their vows have plighted;
Life and Light are reunited

Amid countless carollings;
Yet, delicious as they are,
There's a sound that's sweeter far,
One that makes the heart rejoice
More than all, the human voice!

Organ finer, deeper, clearer,

Though it be a stranger's tone,
Than the winds or waters dearer,
More enchanting to the hearer,

For it answereth to his own.
But, of all its witching words,
Those are sweetest, bubbling wild
Through the laugher of a child.

Harmonies from time-touched towers,

Haunted strains from rivulets,
Hum of bees among the flowers,
Rustling leaves, and silver showers,

These, erelong, the ear forgets;
But in mine there is a sound
Ringing on the whole year round,
Heart-deep laughter that I heard
Ere my child could speak a word.

Ah! 'twas heard by ear far purer,

Fondlier formed to catch the strain,
Ear of one whose love is surer,
Hers, the mother, the endurer

Of the deepest share of pain;
Here the deepest bliss to treasure
Memories of that cry of peasure;
Hers to hoard, a lifetime after,
Echoes of that infant laughter.

'Tis a mother's large affection

Hears with a mysterious sense,
Breathings that evade detection,
Whisper faint, and fine inflection,

Thrill in her with power intense.
Chidhood's honeyed words untaught
Hiveth she in loving thought,
Tones that never thence depart;
For she listens with her heart.


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Mathilde Blind

FROM out the front of being, undefiled,
A life hath been upheaved with struggle and pain;
Safe in her arms a mother holds again
That dearest miracle--a new-born child.
To moans of anguish terrible and wild--
As shrieks the night-wind through an ill-shut pane--
Pure heaven succeeds; and after fiery strain
Victorious woman smiles serenely mild.


Yea, shall she not rejoice, shall not her frame
Thrill with a mystic rapture! At this birth,
The soul now kindled by her vital flame
May it not prove a gift of priceless worth?
Some saviour of his kind whose starry fame
Shall bring a brightness to the darkened earth.


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John Chipman Farrar

THE birches that dance on the top of the hill
Are so slender and young that they cannot keep still,
They bend and they nod at each whiff of a breeze,
For you see they are still just the children of trees.

But the birches below in the valley are older,
They are calmer and straighter and taller and colder.
Perhaps when we've grown up as solemn and grave,
We, too, will have children who do not behave!

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© Beverly Schmitt 1997-2004, all rights reserved
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