African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Augustus M. Hodges, "The Mother's Question" (1901)

As visions of the past, by memory led,
From every opening vista crowd the mind,
Till all our present duties fade---have fled,
And Time rolls back to years far, far behind;
If, by some strange enchantment we could be
Then winged from matrons, back again to youth,
Would we return once more to girlhood's glee
Would we return? I ask. Pray, speak the truth!
      Would you return?

Would you recall to earth, from peaceful sleep .
Fond parents; have them break their heavenly rest,
To toil again, to watch, to mourn, to weep
O'er cares and troubles, only you know best?
Would you return to fleeting youth again,
And hush the prattle in your baby's cot
Aft' all these years of care, of toil, of pain?
A mother's feeling tells me I would not
       Would you---return?

Published in Colored American Magazine, June 1901

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