You think I cannot understand. Ah, but I do…
I have been wrung with anger and compassion for you.
I wonder if you’d loathe my pity, if you knew.
But you shall know. I’ve carried in my heart too long
This secret burden. Has not silence wrought your wrong-
Brought you to dumb and wintry middle-age, with grey
Unfruitful withering?-Ah, the pitiless things I say…
What do you ask your God for, at the end of day,
Kneeling beside your bed with bowed and hopeless head?
What mercy can He give you?-Dreams of the unborn
Children that haunt your soul like loving words unsaid-
Dreams, as a song half-heard through sleep in early morn?
I see you in the chapel, where you bend before
The enhaloed calm of everlasting Motherhood
That wounds your life; I see you humbled to adore
The painted miracle you’ve never understood.
Tender, and bitter-sweet, and shy, I’ve watched you holding
Another’s child. O childless woman, was it then
That, with an instant’s cry, your heart, made young again,
Was crucified for ever-those poor arms enfolding
The life, the consummation that had been denied you?
I too have longed for children. Ah, but you must not weep.
Something I have to whisper as I kneel beside you…
And you must pray for me before you fall asleep.