Extensions of honor, four as one—
Perpetual bond, each a son
Of truths that flowed from parents’ care—
A mother strong, a father’s prayer.
The tributaries of years removed—
Immortal union, God approved
To stand against the heat of Hell,
The trials of men, a last farewell.
But when it came, the union swayed
And stumbled with what sadness weighed.
And now we’re three, one quarter less—
The vacancy, a bitterness.
How permanence can terminate,
How three can taste a brother’s fate,
Are questions left as ages go
Ahead to years we cannot know.
For doubt came home when Tommy died
And left us on the other side
Of life so often cruel to him—
And now we wait the interim.
For time is not what we have now
And not the days God might allow
For parents, wives and brothers dear
Who stay with us from year to year.
But time it seems is death and dust—
What’s gone before, our only trust.
Abiding love lives with us still,
But broken by eternal chill.
If sacred bonds can break and die,
Then what is life? A mocking lie.
I love the two that I have kept
And loved the one for whom I’ve wept.
And still I weep to see our end—
From three to two we shall descend,
And then to one—‘twill surely be—
I pray to God it won’t be me.