COME up from the fields, father, heres a letter from our Pete;
And come to the front door, motherheres a letter from thy dear son.
Lo, tis autumn;
Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohios villages, with leaves fluttering in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang, and grapes on the trellisd vines;
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately buzzing?)
Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent after the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautifuland the farm prospers well.
Down in the fields all prospers well;
But now from the fields come, fathercome at the daughters call;
And come to the entry, motherto the front door come, right away.
Fast as she can she hurriessomething ominousher steps trembling;
She does not tarry to smoothe her hair, nor adjust her cap.
Open the envelope quickly;
O this is not our sons writing, yet his name is signd;
O a strange hand writes for our dear sonO stricken mothers soul!
All swims before her eyesflashes with blackshe catches the main words only;
Sentences brokengun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, taken to
At present low, but will soon be better.
Ah, now, the single figure to me,
Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its cities and farms,
Sickly white in the face, and dull in the head, very faint,
By the jamb of a door leans.
Grieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown daughter speaks through her sobs;
The little sisters huddle around, speechless and dismayd;)
See, dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.
Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may-be needs to be better, that brave and
While they stand at home at the door, he is dead already;
The only son is dead.
But the mother needs to be better;
She, with thin form, presently drest in black;
By day her meals untouchdthen at night fitfully sleeping, often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep longing,
O that she might withdraw unnoticedsilent from life, escape and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dear dead son.