Yes, I know it’s Father’s Day today, but I’m posting a poem for a mother. I’ve recently been discovering and enjoying the poetry of Henry Kirke White whose work was written in the opening years of the nineteenth century. Though he died at just 21, he left behind some wonderful poems. The one that has most caught my attention so far is “Sonnet to My Mother.” In recent months I have spent a lot of time studying and writing about the fifth commandment, and this seems a fitting complement to The Commandment We Forgot.
And canst thou, Mother, for a moment think
That we, thy children, when old age shall shed
Its blanching honours on thy weary head,
Could from our best of duties ever shrink?
Sooner the sun from his high sphere should sink
Than we, ungrateful, leave thee in that day,
To pine in solitude thy life away,
Or shun thee, tottering on the grave’s cold brink.
Banish the thought!-where’er our steps may roam,
O’er smiling plains, or wastes without a tree,
Still will fond memory point our hearts to thee,
And paint the pleasures of thy peaceful home;
While duty bids us all thy griefs assuage,
And smooth the pillow of thy sinking age.
You can, and perhaps should, check out more of his poems here.