I sit and sew—a useless task it seems, My hands grown tired, my head weighed down with dreams— The panoply of war, the martial tred of men, Grim-faced, stern-eyed, gazing beyond the ken Of lesser souls, whose eyes have not seen Death Nor learned to hold their lives but as a breath— But—I must sit and sew. I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire— That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fire On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things Once men. My soul in pity flings Appealing cries, yearning only to go There in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe— But—I must sit and sew. The little useless seam, the idle patch; Why dream I here beneath my homely thatch, When there they lie in sodden mud and rain, Pitifully calling me, the quick ones and the slain? You need, me, Christ! It is no roseate seam That beckons me—this pretty futile seam, It stifles me—God, must I sit and sew?
An idle lingerer on the wayside’s road,
He gathers up his work and yawns away;
A little longer, ere the tiresome load
Shall be reduced to ashes or to clay.
No matter if the world has marched along,
And scorned his slowness as it quickly passed;
No matter, if amid the busy throng,
He greets some face, infantile at the last.
His mission? Well, there is but one,
And if it is a mission he knows it, nay,
To be a happy idler, to lounge and sun,
And dreaming, pass his long-drawn days away.
So dreams he on, his happy life to pass
Content, without ambitions painful sighs,
Until the sands run down into the glass;
He smiles—content—unmoved and dies
And yet, with all the pity that you feel
For this poor mothling of that flame, the world;
Are you the better for your desperate deal,
When you, like him, into infinitude are hurled?