Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 9/Broken toys

Illustrated by Matthew James Lawless.


Broken Toys (Lawless).png

I have bow’d beneath the stroke, and the storm is passing o’er:
I will walk, and will not murmur, though my lips may smile no more.
The world is quite forsaken—
My beautiful is taken
To the dim eternal shore.
I have learn’d to watch the little spot of earth that is my boy’s,—
But scarcely yet I dare to touch his broken toys.

’Mid the shadows of the evening, in the blackness of the night,
That struggle and that piteous look come back upon my sight;
Until I cry, “Thank Heaven,
Short was thy fearful levin,—
Not longer was the fight.”
And I recall the resting limbs, the peaceful, smiling face,
Sunlit, as if of pain it ne’er had known a trace.

I have gather’d up his few small books,—they stand beside my bed;
I have folded up for treasures the clothes from which he fled:
The cambric shirt, with stain
Of blood from the blue vein
Of his arm when he was bled.
I can bear these suffering tokens,—but not those of his joys;—
A mother’s heart is broken by these broken toys.

How weak I am! how changeful, how desolate, how lone!
Bear with my faithless grief, O Thou, to whom all grief is known!
I will think upon Thy story;
I will think upon his glory
Who from my arms is flown;
And try to figure to myself the bliss that is my boy’s:—
But my heart is well-nigh broken by these broken toys!