I had a Mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every child has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the child’s heart brings —
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth and Theodore Roosevelt (editors), The Desk Drawer Anthology: Poems for the American People, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1938, pp. 117-118
Douglas Lurton (editor), My Mother’s Bible: A Scrapbook Treasury of Verse and Wisdom, [New York?]: Wilfred Funk, 1941, p. 75
Notes by Andrew Guild:
Strickland Gillilan was born in 1869 in Ohio (USA), and died in 1954.
As today is Mother’s Day (being the second Sunday in May), this seemed like an appropriate poem to publish for the occasion.