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My Son!

From The Birmingham Age Herald, February 7, 1915.

Yes, sir, I know; and your words are kind, an’ I tell you, sir, I’ve tried
To think we can find the things we’ve lost, when we get to the other side.
I’d give all I’ve got, sir, to know ’twas true, but I can’t, I just can’t see
How some of those lost, those dear lost things’ll ever come back to me.
I shall see her there; I know she stands right close to the pearly gate,
Waitin’; and soon I too’ll be there; she won’t have long to wait,
But when she asks for the boy—our boy—‘at she left when she went away—
Asks all those questions a mother will—Oh, what am I going to say?
Well, as I know he’s been dead this many and many a year,
Do you think I’d dare to ask up there, “What! haven’t you seen him here?”

God gives men power for good or ill that ain’t for this world alone;
They can lift a soul to the gates up there in the light of the great white throne,
Or sink it low as they sunk my boy—such beautiful eyes he had—
Brown like his mother’s—you’d never have thought such eyes could have turned out so bad.
An’ he wern’t bad either, but true and good, but—perhaps you know the rest—
There was only one for to bring him up, and I tried to do my best;
But the world, an’ the flesh, an’ the drink are strong an’ some men’s hearts are stone,
An’ I tell you it seemed sometimes as if I was fightin’ ‘em all alone.
For them as’ll lift their fellowmen there’s waitin’ a starry crown,
But honor and power and wealth is got by them as’ll pull ‘em down.

Most men they hope for the crown sometime, but they want it the shortest way,
An’ they do their best an’ their hardest work for a different sort o’ pay.
So, the world spins on at its rattlin’ gait as hard as ever she can,
An’ it don’t much matter that boys are lost if they belong to some other man.
One night—dead drunk—they brought him home—my boy—an’ I laid him there,
The blood of a street fight on his face, an’ the gutter mud in his hair.
He never knew me nor spoke again, drunk an’ asleep he died,
An’ I prayed that his mother’d never know how we laid him by her side.
Yes, the golden streets an’ the jasper walls—I’ve read of ‘em all—but then
Do you believe, sir, that over there I shall find my boy again?

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