Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


the sonnet-ballad

Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover's tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.
He won't be coming back here any more.
Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew
When he went walking grandly out that door
That my sweet love would have to be untrue.
Would have to be untrue. Would have to court
Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange
Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)
Can make a hard man hesitate—and change.
And he will be the one to stammer, "Yes."
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?

Credit


From "Appendix to The Anniad: leaves from a loose-leaf war diary" in Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks, published by Harper. © 1949 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Author


Gwendolyn Brooks

Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks, who wrote more than twenty books of poetry in her lifetime, was the first black woman appointed Poet Laureate of the United States.

Date Published: 1949-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/sonnet-ballad