When The War Is Over. A Christmas Lay.

Margaret J Preston 1820 (Milton, Pennsylvania, ) – 1897 ( Baltimore, Maryland, )



I.
  
Ah! the happy Christmas times!
Times we all remember; -
Times that flung a ruddy glow
O'er the gray December; -
Will they never come again,
With their song and story?
Never wear a remnant more
Of their olden glory?
Must the little children miss
Still the festal token?
Must their realm of young romance
All be marred and broken?
Must the mother promise on,
While her smiles dissemble,
And she speaks right quietly,
Lest her voice should tremble: -
  
"Darlings! wait till father comes -
Wait - and we'll discover
Never were such Christmas times,
When the war is over!"
  
  
II.
  
Underneath the midnight sky,
Bright with starry beauty,
Sad, the shivering sentinel
Treads his round of duty:
For his thoughts are far away,
Far from strife and battle,
As he listens dreamingly,
To his baby's prattle; -
As he clasps his sobbing wife,
Wild with sudden gladness,
Kisses all her tears away -
Chides her looks of sadness -
Talks of Christmas nights to come, -
And his step grows lighter,
Whispering, while his stiffening hand
Grasps his musket tighter: -
  
"Patience, love! - keep heart! keep hope!
To your weary rover,
What a home our home will be,
When the war is over!"
  
  
III.
  
By the twilight Christmas fire,
All her senses laden
With a weight of tenderness,
Sits the musing maiden:
From the parlor's cheerful blaze,
Far her visions wander,
To the white tent gleaming bright,
On the hill-side yonder.
Buoyant in her brave, young love,
Flushed with patriot honour,
No misgiving, no fond fear,
Flings its shade upon her.
Though no mortal soul can know
Half the love she bears him,
Proudly, for her country's sake,
From her heart she spares him.
  
- God be thanked! - she does not dream,
That her gallant lover
Will be in a soldier's grave,
When the war is over!
  
  
IV.
  
'Midst the turmoil and the strife
Of the war-tide's rushing,
Every heart its separate woe
In its depths is hushing.
Who has time for tears, when blood
All the land is steeping?
- In our poverty we grudge
Even the waste of weeping!
But when quiet comes again,
And the bands, long broken,
Gather round the hearth, and breathe
Names now seldom spoken -
Then we'll miss the precious links -
Mourn the empty places -
Read the hopeless "Nevermore,"
In each other's faces!
  
- Oh! what aching, anguish'd hearts
O'er lone graves will hover,
With a new, fresh sense of pain,
When the war is over!
  
  
V.
  
Stern endurance, bitterer still,
Sharp with self-denial,
Fraught with loftier sacrifice,
Fuller far of trial -
Strews our flinty path of thorns -
Marks our bloody story -
Fits us for the victor's palm -
Weaves our robe of glory!
Shall we faint with God above,
And His strong arm under -
And the cold world gazing on,
In a maze of wonder?
No! with more resistless march,
More resolved endeavor,
Press we onward - struggle still,
Fight and win forever!
  
- Holy peace will heal all ills,
Joy all losses cover,
Raptures rend our Southern skies,
When the war is over!
Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on April 21, 2023

2:46 min read
7

Quick analysis:

Scheme abcbdefexgxghiei xbaB jeiekicilakmxbxb xbeB bgmgxbxbnbxbcoxo xbxB lpcjxjxpdgxgxqfq xbxB rixixexenbhbxbrb xbxB
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 2,847
Words 544
Stanzas 10
Stanza Lengths 16, 4, 16, 4, 16, 4, 16, 4, 16, 4

Margaret J Preston

Margaret Junkin Preston was an American poet and author. more…

All Margaret J Preston poems | Margaret J Preston Books

0 fans

Discuss the poem When The War Is Over. A Christmas Lay. with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "When The War Is Over. A Christmas Lay." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/56119/when-the-war-is-over.-a-christmas-lay.>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    May 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    2
    days
    2
    hours
    37
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    Who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry?
    A Mona Van Duyn
    B Sara Teasdale
    C Edna St. Vincent Millay
    D Edith Wharton