My head is aching, and I wish
That I could feel tonight
One well-remembered, tender touch
That used to comfort me so much,
And put distress to flight.
There's not a soothing anodyne
Or sedative I know,
Such potency can ever hold
As that which lovingly controlled
My spirit long ago.
How oft my burning cheek as if
By Zephyrus was fanned,
And nothing interdicted pain
Or seemed to make me well again
So quick as mother's hand.
'Tis years and years since it was laid,
In her own gentle way,
On tangled curls of brown and jet
Above the downy coverlet
'Neath which the children lay.
As bright as blessed sunlight ray
The past comes back to me;
Her fingers turn the sacred page
For a little group of tender age
Who gather at her knee.
And when those hands together clasped
Devout and still were we;
To whom it seemed God then and there
Must surely answer such a prayer,
For none could pray as she.
O buried love with her that passed
Into the Silent Land!
O haunting vision of the night!
I see, encoffined, still, and white,
A mother's face and hand.