The War Widow

A poem by Alfred Noyes

I.

Black-veiled, black-gowned, she rides in bus and train,
With eyes that fill too listlessly for tears.
Her waxen hands clasp and unclasp again.
Good News, they cry. She neither sees nor hears.

Good News, perhaps, may crown some far-off king.
Good News may peal the glory of the state--
Good News may cause the courts of heaven to ring.
She sees a hand waved at a garden gate.

For her dull ears are tuned to other themes;
And her dim eyes can never see aright.
She glides--a ghost--through all her April dreams,
To meet his eyes at dawn, his lips at night.

Wraiths of a truth that others never knew;
And yet--for her--the only truth that's true.


II.

Good News! Good News! There is no way but this.
Out of the night a star begins to rise.
I know not where my soul's deep Master is;
Nor can I hear those angels in the skies;

Nor follow him, as childhood used of old,
By radiant seas, in those time-hallowed tales.
Only, at times, implacable and cold,
From this blind gloom, stand out the iron nails.

Yet, at this world's heart stands the Eternal Cross,
The ultimate frame of moon and star and sun,
Where Love with out-stretched arms, in utter loss,
Points East and West and makes the whole world one.

Good News! Good News! There is no hope, no way,
No truth, no life, but leads through Christmas Day.

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