An Epitaph for Little Children

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. 

More by Margaret Widdemer

To a Young Girl at a Window

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. 

If You Should Tire of Loving Me

If you should tire of loving me
Some one of our far days,
Oh, never start to hide your heart
Or cover thought with praise.

For every word you would not say
Be sure my heart has heard,
So go from me all silently
Without a kiss or word;

For God must give you happiness…
And oh, it may befall
In listening long to Heaven-song
I may not care at all!

Old Wine

If I could lift
    My heart but high enough
    My heart could fill with love:

But ah, my heart
    Too still and heavy stays
    Too brimming with old days.