There is a little cup of fate
Beside my trellised garden-gate,
A tiny cup most deftly made
With moss and lichen overlaid,
Wherein through all kits strands is wove
The golden innocence of love—
A little loving-cup of life
And joy for feathered man and wife.
And therein, while chaffinch sings,
A silent mother folds her wings,
Content to watch long hours apart
And [press her jewels to her heart—
Jewels one day to find a voice
And bid the Junetide earth rejoice.
She knows her treasure-house shall be
Filled with new life, new song, new glee,
And roofs with her brown back the home
Against all rain and winds that come.
Bravely she sits though men pass by,
Meets questioning gaze with fearless eye;
Unblenching though we giants stare,
Holds to her heaven-appointed care,
And shames us with a faith sublime
In life to be that keeps its time.
Far mightier powers than she has guessed
Bend like great angels o’er her nest:
The sun that rolls in royal state
Is with her watch confederate;
The punctual morn, the sequent eve,
Their spell about her casket weave,
Till sudden with a heart aglow
A mother’s triumph she shall know,
And life will fill the cup of fate
Beside my trellised garden-gate.
Ah! would to God with such a heart
Our English mothers bore their part,
With such self-sacrificing zest
Would guard the home and keep the nest!
(Poems at Home and Abroad, pp. 61-2)