28th February 2014: Somebody’s Mother

    The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day.

The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.

Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.

Nor offered a helping hand to her –
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir

Lest the carriage wheels or the horses’ feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;

He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go.”

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,

He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.

“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow,

“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,

“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”

And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”

– ‘Somebody’ s Mother, Mary Dow Brine

I had read this poem in fourth grade, or maybe it was fifth – I don’t remember exactly when, but I remember being mesmerized by it. By the simple association that we should treat people with the same love and care as we would to our family members, because they are someone’s family. I always felt that world peace could be achieved quite easily if everyone was to believe in this simple principle. I am sure terrorists would think thrice before bombing innocent people if they considered the pain they would be inflicting upon the families of the bereaved! But maybe world peace is too big an aim. I would be happy applying it to my everyday life. I do try to.

Maybe that is why I gave my seat up to an elderly lady in the crowded train, in the hope that someday someone might do the same for my mother.

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