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

Carrie Williams Clifford, "Mothers of America" (1922)

A sonnet celebrating the heroism and valor of the women
of America, black and white , in the Great War
for world democracy, 1917-1918
Ye, Queen, who bear the birth-pangs of a world,
To whom the nations in this hour of stress,
For succor look, and for the ruth to bless,
Ye, great, whose fondled darlings, combed and curled,
Are in the shell-torn, foreign trenches hurled,
To stay the hellish Hun, who else would press,
The cup of degradation and distress,
To lips of men with freedom's flag unfurled--
Ye valiant mother-band who gladly gave,
The first-fruits of your riven wombs to save,
The world from horrors darker than the grave,
Ye are the Brave, who in your country's need
Did sow the trenches with your Precious Seed--
The greatest gift of war, and valor's noblest deed.

Published in The Widening Light, 1922

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