Mother

O Mother, what are all these flowers
Across the meadow hill,
So yellow in the golden breeze
And rolling in the swell?

             They are the souls of lovers, dear.
             They find life’s greatest bliss,
             The fine extremity of which
             Is briefer than a kiss.
             Their fate is as the flower,
             A brief and glorious thing
             That withers as it blossoms, dear,
             And blossoms every spring.

O Mother, on my hair and cheek
I feel a gentle breeze,
Invisible sweet zephyrs.
O Mother, what are these?
             The souls of all care givers, dear.
             With hearts of charity,
             When life defeats us, as it will,
             They come to you and me.
             In age, disease, and darkness,
             In earthquake, fire, and flood,
             They are the blessed comforters,
             The nearest souls to God.

O Mother, what are all these stars
Across the long night sky?
             The souls of the believers, dear,
             Who know that men must die.
             They hope for something more-than-man
             In a world so fine,
             Something everlasting,
             Perhaps something divine.
             They search the world over
             And they find that “something more,”
             Not in the world around them, dear,
             Deep in their own heart’s core.

O Mother, what are all these stones
That in the churchyard stand?
             They are the souls of dead men, dear,
             Priests their fates command.
             The church may call them sinners,
             But for most their only crime
             Is not to learn the metaphors
             Covert in space and time.
             This world is made to signify.
             Find what the meanings are,
             And salvation is as clear as
             Any flower or breeze or star.