Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
“Are the children at home?”
Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838–1912)
EACH day, when the glow of sunset
  Fades in the western sky,
And the wee ones, tired of playing,
  Go tripping lightly by,
I steal away from my husband,        5
  Asleep in his easy-chair,
And watch from the open door-way
  Their faces fresh and fair.
Alone in the dear old homestead
  That once was full of life,        10
Ringing with girlish laughter,
  Echoing boyish strife,
We two are waiting together;
  And oft, as the shadows come,
With tremulous voice he calls me,        15
  “It is night! are the children home?”
“Yes, love!” I answer him gently,
  “They ’re all home long ago;”—
And I sing, in my quivering treble,
  A song so soft and low,        20
Till the old man drops to slumber,
  With his head upon his hand,
And I tell to myself the number
  At home in the better land.
At home, where never a sorrow        25
  Shall dim their eyes with tears!
Where the smile of God is on them
  Through all the summer years!
I know,—yet my arms are empty,
  That fondly folded seven,        30
And the mother heart within me
  Is almost starved for heaven.
Sometimes, in the dusk of evening,
  I only shut my eyes,
And the children are all about me,        35
  A vision from the skies:
The babes whose dimpled fingers
  Lost the way to my breast,
And the beautiful ones, the angels,
  Passed to the world of the blest.        40
With never a cloud upon them,
  I see their radiant brows;
My boys that I gave to freedom,—
  The red sword sealed their vows!
In a tangled Southern forest,        45
  Twin brothers bold and brave,
They fell; and the flag they died for,
  Thank God! floats over their grave.
A breath, and the vision is lifted
  Away on wings of light,        50
And again we two are together,
  All alone in the night.
They tell me his mind is failing,
  But I smile at idle fears;
He is only back with the children,        55
  In the dear and peaceful years.
And still, as the summer sunset
  Fades away in the west,
And the wee ones, tired of playing,
  Go trooping home to rest,        60
My husband calls from his corner,
  “Say, love, have the children come?”
And I answer, with eyes uplifted,
  “Yes, dear! they are all at home.”

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