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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Adeline Dutton Train Whitney (1824–1906)

Our Mother

BROKEN and worn. For years we saw her so;

Dropping from strength, from time detaching slow;

And scarcely could we know

How earth’s dark ebb was heaven’s bright overflow.

“She is so old,” we said. The cloud and pain

Half hid her, till we sought with loving strain

Her very self in vain.

Her very self was growing young again!

She has come back! The cloud and pain are o’er;

The dear freed feet but touched that other shore

To turn to us once more

The nearer, like her lord who went before.

Our young, strong, angel mother! From the years

Triumphant life its shining garment clears,

And all its stain of tears

And weariness forever disappears.

Old—broken—weak? ’Twas but the shattering might

With which a grand soul broke toward the light;

Rending its bands of night

That it might stand full-statured in God’s sight.

The calyx burst that it might loose the flower;

We saw the mist but by the sunbeam’s power;

The dusk that seemed to lower

Was of the morning—not the midnight hour.

And so a birth, not death, we stand beside;

Our own fast-gathering years come glorified;

And braver we abide

That we have seen heaven’s great door flung awide.