Portrait of Lincoln's Second Mother

(Sarah Johnson Lincoln)

December Planting

Tall and strong she was, her gray-blue eyes

Held steadiness and kindness, firmness too.

Before Tom Lincoln's cabin in surprise

She noted how the wind could whistle through

The chinks between the logs, and saw no door

To close against December--just a hole

Wide gaping; moist foot-printed earth, the floor.

Why had she come? As panic touched her soul,

She turned and saw young Abe: A wordless pleading

Was in her face. His eyes, deep-set and gray,

Hungry for mothering sought hers. Love-heeding,

She sensed Divinity had marked her way.

Holding him close, there on the frozen sod,

She knew her task: to keep him close to God.

April Promise

Abe lay in silvered quietude, the moon

Of promise shining through the attic door;

For love and willing work had wonder-strewn

His world. Light footsteps on the new pine floor

Below intoned the stillness. Reverent

He touched the softness of his feathered tick--

"Not corm husks, Ma", he whispered. "You should see

Our cabin now, all whitewashed, with a thick,

Smooth door from our own pines ... But best of all

She loves us, Ma, and keeps us near to you.

She says some day when I am strong and tall

God has a work for me--Can this be true?"

Asleep when Sarah came and smoothed his head,

He dreamed of angels by his prayer-sweet bed.

Golden Harvest

Sarah was regal still, and Abe full grown

Stood towering above her. Awed, in pride,

She viewed the harvest from her seeds, love-sown:

A man of God! When Thomas Lincoln died

And Abe, his arms about her, gently said,

"Ma I'll take care of you," in his embrace

Again she felt his greatness; once more read

The prophecy within his craggy face.

Fulfillment came: The Nation's President!

Her Abe! Once more as long ago--in tears--

His eyes sought hers and found, with wonderment,

The mother love that had enriched his years.

Through her had God prepared him? Need she ask?

Enough to know she had fulfilled her task.