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If Mary Had Known

Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874 (New London, Prince Edward Island) – 1942 (Toronto)

If Mary had known
When she held her Babe's hands in her own­
Little hands that were tender and white as a rose,
All dented with dimples from finger to wrist,
Such as mothers have kissed­
That one day they must feel the fierce blows
Of a hatred insane,
Must redden with holiest stain,
And grasp as their guerdon the boon of the bitterest pain,
Oh, I think that her sweet, brooding face
Must have blanched with its anguish of knowledge above her embrace.

But­ if Mary had known,
As she held her Babe's hands in her own,
What a treasure of gifts to the world they would bring;
What healing and hope to the hearts that must ache,
And without him must break;
Had she known they would pluck forth death's sting
And set open the door
Of the close, jealous grave evermore,
Making free who were captives in sorrow and darkness before,
Oh, I think that a gracious sunrise
Of rapture had broken across the despair of her eyes!

If Mary had known
As she sat with her baby alone,
And guided so gently his bare little feet
To take their first steps from the throne of her knee,
How weary must be
The path that for them should be meet;
And how it must lead
To the cross of humanity's need,
Giving hissing and shame, giving blame and reproach for its meed,
Oh, I think that her tears would have dewed
Those dear feet that must walk such a hard, starless way to the Rood!

But­ if Mary had known,
As she sat with her Baby alone,
On what errands of mercy and peace they would go,
How those footsteps would ring through the years of all time
With an echo sublime,
Making holy the land of their woe,
That the pathway they trod
Would guide the world back to its God,
And lead ever upward away from the grasp of the clod,
She had surely forgot to be sad
And only remembered to be most immortally glad!

If Mary had known,
As she held him so closely, her own,
Cradling his shining, fair head on her breast,
Sunned over with ringlets as bright as the morn,
That a garland of thorn
On that tender brow would be pressed
Till the red drops would fall
Into eyes that looked out upon all,
Abrim with a pity divine over clamor and brawl,
Oh, I think that her lullaby song
Would have died on her lips into wailing impassioned and long!

But ­if Mary had known,
As she held him so closely, her own,
That over the darkness and pain he would be
The Conqueror hailed in all oncoming days,
The world's hope and praise,
And the garland of thorn,
The symbol of mocking and scorn
Would be a victorious diadem royally worn,
Oh, I think that ineffable joy
Must have flooded her soul as she bent o'er her wonderful Boy!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:30 min read
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Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE, called "Maud" by family and friends and publicly known as L. more…

All Lucy Maud Montgomery poems | Lucy Maud Montgomery Books

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    "If Mary Had Known" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/26224/if-mary-had-known>.

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