This poem was written two days after her last child, Mollie, was married, leaving the household without children for the first time.† This was also less than two months before her husband of 39 years died.
by Elizabeth Mary Hester Parsons Hayman
As I passed through the woods in Springtime
I passed by a Mother birdís nest
And she looked so peaceful and happy
With her brood tucked under her breast.
She cast her gentle eye upward
To see if her birdlings Iíd harm.
By leaving I quietly assured her
I would do her babies no harm.
As I passed by each day I noted
The care she took of her young
While the helpful mate with a loveís instinct
Around the nest as a guard still hung.
One day while softly passing
I heard the Mother Birdís cry
And looked to find out the trouble.
The birds were merely trying to fly.
I watched and waited and listened
As she tried to teach them to fly
And shrilly she warned them of the danger
When she saw that it was nigh.
Again I passed by the home-nest
And all was quiet and lone.
The nest still swung on the green bough
But the swell of the little birdies was gone.
Gone from that soft nest forever
To make their nest of their own
And the Mother Bird cared not for the home-nest
Since all of her birdlings had flown.
Since then my birdlings I have gathered
Around my own home nest.
In sickness and health I have watched them
And held them close to my breast.
I have guided their first tottering footsteps,
As fearful they would stumble along.
By patience, love, and encouragement
Taught them to walk and be strong.
But the years have flown all too swiftly
They to men and women have grown,
And we who taught them their first steps
Sit now in the old home, alone.
And tonight, how lonely the home seems
Since all my birdlings have flown.
The last one who left me this morning
Has chosen a mate of her own.
But we have had our morning
Our noon and our evening tide
And soon the day will be dawning
For us on the other side.
On the other side of deathís portals
We shall be forever at rest
And there we hope to gather
Our children again to our breast.
-- Mary Hester Hayman
††† September 11, 1908