Poetry of Kansas
 

Her Fourth Son Or Ex-
Changed

A French boy aviator above the
fields of France,
Gave chase in battle and brought
down a Zeppelin, by chance,
And as the wounded German boy
looked up in deep despair,
He handed him his bible and a lock
of mother's hair,
And he said, "I'll never see my home
and my dear native land,
In the Bible is my mother's prayer,
please read, you'll understand,"
The French boy took the Bible and
he found these words within,
"My last boy I am sending forth to
battle, 'Baby Jim,'
My oldest boy went forth to fight, it
was the first advance.
He met the enemy and died on the
battlefield of France,
My second boy I then sent out, my
Frederick, brave and grand,
He ne'er returned, but bravely died
for home and Fatherland,
My baby Jim, my last support, Oh,
Father, may it be,
That when at last the world has
peace, he'll return to me,
So son, remember how they strove to
ever stand the test,
And in all things whate'er betide,
they ever did their best,
Be brave and strong in battle as
you've been kind to me,
And may our Father guard you, this
is thy mother's plea."
As the French boy read this message,
his heart was filled with love
For the mother that could give her all
and trust to One above,
 
To guard him and though painful, a
task before him lay,
To tell the death of that last son to
the mother, far away.
That 'twas bis hand that brought him
down, he knew she'd understand,
That he was fighting also for his own
dear native land.
But not for mother, she had died so
many years ago, crave, she never could bestow,
"Forgive me 'twas my duty as it was
the chance of strife,
And I am left to mourn the deed and
offer you my life,
To guard you ever and to be your
staff when war is done,
If I can be of comfort, please com-
mand me as your son."
The answer came "Please come to me
and be my son in place
Of those I lost in battle, for I long
to see your face,
And caress you as I would my own
for you are not to blame.
War's chances lay between you, 'twas
war my son has slain.
And you are free to come to me, I'm
waiting here for you
And you'll receive a welcome that is
loyal, kind and true.
I'll be a mother to you and you can
be my own,
And peace and joy may come to us
in a little love built home,
No more of battle may we know
when world's wide peace is
given
We'll all be one grand brotherhood
with one Father, hope and
heaven."

__Nettie Squire Sutton.

A Book of Poems
Nettie Squire Sutton
(Minneapolis, KS: Messenger Press. n.d.)
Pages 38-39
 

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July 15, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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