The Two Prayers

By George Sterling

"O Christ of peace, grant that he live!" she cried—
    The widow-mother kneeling ere the day.
    "Oh! give thine angels charge upon his way,
Mine only son, my beautiful, my pride!
And grant him life, who for our sake hast died!"
    So through the lonely hours she knelt to pray,
    Where the poor candle cast its friendly ray
And overhead the dark lay dumb and wide.

Not so the midnight stood with him for whom
Her voice arose: there shrank the harried gloom
    From searchlights and the cannon's flaming breath,
        As he, slow writhing in the crimson slime
        Through the mad torment of delaying time,
Prayed with insatiable lips for death.

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