The Mother Watch

She never closed her eyes in sleep till we were all in bed;

On party nights till we came home she often sat and read.

We little thought about it then, when we were young and gay,

How much the mother worried when we children were away.

We only knew she never slept when we were out at night,

And that she waited just to know that we’d come home all right

Why, sometimes when we’d stayed away till one or two or three,

It seemed to us that mother heard the turning of the key;

For always when we stepped inside she’d call and we’d reply,

But we were all too young back then to understand just why.

Until the last one had returned she always kept a light,

For mother couldn’t sleep until she’d kissed us all good night.

She had to know that we were safe before she went to rest;

She seemed to fear the world might harm the ones she loved the best.

And once she said: When you are grown to women and to men,

Perhaps I’ll sleep the whole night through; I may be different then.

And so it seemed that night and day we knew a mother’s care

That always when we got back home we’d find her waiting there.

Then came the night that we were called to gather round her bed:

The children all are with you now, the kindly doctor said.

And in her eyes there gleamed again the old-time tender light

That told she had been waiting just to know we were all right.

She smiled the old-familiar smile, and prayed to God to keep

Us safe from harm throughout the years, and then she went to sleep.

Edgar A. Guest

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