The Poor Old Soul plods down the street,
        Contented, and forgetting
How Youth was wild, and Spring was wild
        And how her life is setting;

And you lean out to watch her there,
        And pity, nor remember,
That Youth is hard, and Life is hard,
        And quiet is December. 

This poem is in the public domain.

These, fast asleep in such a little room,
The tawdry grave-wreaths crackling over them,
Might have been men who would have moved the world,
Might have been women, mothers of a race
More great than we can know. The could not live:
We have to build great armaments to fight
Forests of things half man, half animal,
Far in the islands that our trading needs:
We have to build high palaces to keep
White childless women merry and content:
We have no money left to save for these,
These, only little children, only poor,
Life in the heats; we have no place to spare
That they could play in….Yet we need not grieve,
Not more than they, asleep. We need not grieve
Even for those of them who have not died,
For they, made warped and blind by circumstance
Shall live their round from stupid day to day,
Too dull to know a need; and they shall bear
Dull, blinded folk to rule this world of ours
We shall have died from. Do not mourn for these:
Mourn for that sorry world that still shall be,
Made by our careless hands that make today
These little children so to live or die. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Smiling dolly with the eyes of blue,
Was it lovely where they fashioned you,
Were there laughing gnomes, and did the breeze
Toss the snow along the Christmas trees?
Tiny hands and chill, and thin rags torn,
Faces drawn with waking night and morn,
Eyes that strained until they could not see,
Little mother, where they fashioned me.

Gold-haired dolly in the silken dress,
Tell me where you found your loveliness,
Were they fairyfolk who clad you so,
Gold wands quivering and wings aglow?
Narrow walls and low, and tumbled bed,
One dim lamp to see to knot the thread,
This was all I saw till dark came down,
Little mother, where they sewed my gown.

Rosy dolly on my Christmas tree,
Tell the lovely things you saw to me,
Were there golden birds and silver dew
In the fairylands they brought you through?
Weary footsteps all and weary faces
Serving crowds within the crowded places,
This was all I saw the Christ-eve through,
Little mother, ere I came to you. 

Smiling dolly in the Christmas-green,
What do all these cruel stories mean?
Are there children, then, who cannot say
Thanks to Christ for this his natal day?
Ay, there’s weariness and want and shame,
Pain and evil in the good Lord’s name,
Things the peasant Christ-child could not know
On his quiet birthday long ago!

This poem is in the public domain.

The House of Ghosts was bright within,
     Aglow and warm and gay,
A place my own once loved me in,
     That is not there by day:

My hound lay drowsing on the floor:
     From sunken graves returned
My folk that I was lonely for
     Sat where the hearth-fire burned.

There was no lightest echo lost
     When I undid the door,
There was no shadow where I crossed
     The well-remembered floor.

I bent to whisper to my hound
     (So long he had been dead!)
He slept no lighter nor more sound,
     He did not lift his head.

I brushed my father as I came;
     He did not move or see—
I cried upon my mother’s name;
     She did not look at me.

Their faces in the firelight bent,
     They smiled in speaking slow
Of some old gracious merriment
     Forgotten years ago.

I was so changed since they had died!
     How could they know or guess
A voice that plead for love, and cried
     Of grief and loneliness?

Out from the House of Ghosts I fled
     Lest I should turn and see
The child I had been lift her head
     And stare aghast at me!

This poem is in the public domain.

Where have you been the long day through, 
      Little brothers of mine?
For soon the world shall belong to you,
Yours to mar or to build anew—
Have you been to learn what the world shall do,
      Little brothers going home?

We have been to learn through the weary day
Where the great looms echo and crash and sway—
The world has willed it, and we obey,
      Elder brother.

What did you learn till set of sun,
      Little brothers of mine,
Down where the great looms wove and spun,
You who are many where we are one
(We whose day is so nearly done),
      Little brothers toiling home?

We have learned the things that the mill-folk said,
How Man is cruel and God is dead…
And how to spin with an even thread,
      Elder brother.

What did you win with the thing they taught,
      Little brothers of mine,
You whose sons shall have strength you brought,
Fashion their lives of the faith you bought,
Follow afar the ways you sought,
      Little brothers stealing home?

Shattered body and stunted brain,
Hearts made hard with the need of gain,
These we won and must give again,
      Elder brother.

How shall the world fare in your hand,
      Little brothers of mine,
When you shall stand where now we stand?
Will you lift a light in the darkened land
Or fire its ways with a burning brand,
      Little brothers creeping home?

What of the way the world shall fare?
What the world has given the world must bear…
We are tired—ah, tired—and we cannot care,
      Elder brother!

This poem is in the public domain.