Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Mother's Birthday

"Mother's Birthday" by H. S. Graham First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of eleven poems featured within the Loving and Living section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

Mother's Birthday
by H. S. Graham

(When the author told the "Padre" that this piece seamed only doggerel, he said it didn't matter if it was.)

It was good to be alive on mother's Birthday,
It was good to shake off sleepiness and rise,
It was good to throw the legs across my pony
And to drink the morning sunlight with the eyes.

It was good to take the road on mother's Birthday
As old "Bob" kicked up his heels and ran away,
It was good to trot him back into his stable
And to play with "Ginger" till he got his hay.

It was good to have my bath on mother's Birthday
And to swill the water cold all down the back,
It was good to shave and wash and put on khaki
And kneel and ask that mother has no lack.

It was good to up and out on mother's Birthday,
And to join the merry fellows in the mess.
It was good to toast the bread for early breakfast
And enjoy myself a little none the less!

It was good to see the works on mother's Birthday
And to have a look how things were going on,
It was good to see the carpenters and sawyers
And the engines and the horses pulling strong.

It was good to see the shops on mother's Birthday,
And the blacksmiths at the anvil and the forge,
And the fitters and the masons and the plumbers,
Busy tradesmen, trusty soldiers of King George.

It was good to see the field on mother's Birthday,
It was good to feel the sunshine and the breeze,
It was good to see the water in the river,
And the flowers and the sparrows and the trees.

It was good to think of men on mother's Birthday,
Just the men you have to govern and to serve,
And to say that this must not be done or must be,
So that every man may offer every nerve.

It was good to walk the line on mother's Birthday
To the Hospital - along and back again,
It was good to see the nurses and the doctors
And to breathe a silent prayer for dying men.

It was good to drill the men on mother's Birthday,
All the company in column in the field.
It was good to see their arms were clean and steady,
And to see them marching firmly as they wheeled.

It was good to pay the men on mother's Birthday,
And to give them but an earnest of their due,
And to see them playing Footer in the evening,
Just to keep their bodies manly, strong, and true.

It was good to have a rest on mother's Birthday,
In the evening when the daytime's work was done.
It was good to sit and look across to mother,
And to contemplate the rest when it is won.

It was good to go to sleep on mother's Birthday,
And to let the tired body take its ease,
And to dream of dreamy, long-forgotten spring days
When a little body lay on mother's knees.

Only every man has not a mother's Birthday,
No one ever had a mother just like mine!
It was good to be alive on mother's Birthday,
Son of Mary - Mother, gentle and divine.

The "Blue Max" was a reference to the prestigious German Pour le Merite medal.

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Muse in Arms

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