Portrait of Lincoln's Second Mother
(Sarah Johnson Lincoln)
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.
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.
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.