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?
God washes clean the souls and hearts of you,
His favored ones, whose backs bend o’er the soil,
Which grudging gives to them requite for toil
In sober graces and in vision true.
God places in your hands the pow’r to do
A service sweet. Your gift supreme to foil
The bare-fanged wolves of hunger in the moil
Of Life’s activities. Yet all too few
Your glorious band, clean sprung from Nature’s heart;
The hope of hungry thousands, in whose breast
Dwells fear that you should fail. God placed no dart
Of war within your hands, but pow’r to start
Tears, praise, love, joy, enwoven in a crest
To crown you glorious, brave ones of the soil.