To the Editor:
The following poem was written by Edward Syrek, who was a member of the Northern Illinois University art faculty from 1960 to 1987. He was an accomplished artist, poet, musician, teacher and athlete. He died in 1996.
A Mother’s Wish
If I could be with you a little while, my son;
If I could only see you standing here,
And look upon your shining face again,
My empty heart might not possess this fear.
If I could hold you in my arms again,
And hear you tell me that I’m still your girl,
I might not hurt so much to know you died,
Fighting evils of a troubled world.
So many years ago, it seems
Somehow, I see you in your tiny bed.
Then, tears of joy would fill your mother’s eyes;
And now just tears, my son, because you’re dead.
It was to me you came with little hurts,
And looked for pity for each tale of woe,
I’d smile with pride and hold you to my heart;
And so it was when you were called to go.
Somehow I felt it would be our last.
It hurt to smile and hide the many tears.
If I would send you off a happy lad,
Then I must not reveal a mother’s fears.
As I felt it would, it came at last.
This telegram, my son cannot replace
The precious moments of a happy past;
The memory of your sweet, your boyish face.
I’ll place it with the note that was your dad’s.
He never saw you. He, too, went to war.
For these are all I’ve left of all I used to have.
My treasures lie beneath some foreign shore.
It’s growing late, and I am slowly growing old.
It’s hard to be the last, the lonely one.
Somehow, the time is coming soon, I know;
When I will be with you again, my son.