Patriotic pieces from the Great War/My Son
God gave my son in trust to me;
Christ died for him, and he should be
A man for Christ. He is his own,
And God's and man's; not mine alone.
He was not mine to "give." He gave
Himself that he might help to save
All that a Christian should revere,
All that enlightened men hold dear.
"To feed the guns!" O torpid soul!
Awake, and see life as a whole.
When freedom, honor, justice, right,
Were threatened by the despot's might,
With heart aflame and soul alight,
He bravely went for God to fight
Against base savages, whose pride
The laws of God and man defiled;
Who slew the mother and her child,
Who maidens pure and sweet defiled.
He did not go "to feed the guns,"
He went to save from ruthless Huns
His home and country, and to be
A guardian of democracy.
"What if he does not come?" you say;
Ah, well! My sky would be more gray,
But through the clouds the sun would shine,
And vital memories be mine.
God's test of manhood is, I know,
Not "Will he come?" but "Did he go?"
My son well knew that he might die,
And yet he went, with purpose high,
To fight for peace, and overthrow
The plans of Christ's relentless foe.
He dreaded not the battle-field;
He went to make fierce vandals yield.
If he comes not again to me
I shall be sad; but not that he
Went like a man—a hero true—
His part unselfishly to do.
My heart will feel exultant pride
That for humanity he died.
"Forgotten grave!" This selfish plea
Awakes no deep response in me,
For, though his grave I may not see,
My boy will ne'er forgotten be.
My real son can never die;
'Tis but his body that may lie
In foreign land, and I shall keep
Remembrance fond, forever, deep
Within my heart of my true son
Because of triumphs that he won.
It matters not where any one
May lie and sleep when work is done.
It matters not where some may live;
If my dear son his life must give,
Hosannas I will sing for him,
E'en though my eyes with tears be dim.
And when the war is over, when
His gallant comrades come again,
I'll cheer them as they're marching by,
Rejoicing that they did not die.
And when his vacant place I see
My heart will bound with joy that he
Was mine so long—my fair young son—
And cheer for him whose work is done.
—Dr. James D. Hughes