A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Remittance Men." by Norah M. Holland (1876-1925)
From: Spun-Yarn And Spindrift. by Norah M. Holland. London & Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918, pp. 75-76.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 75] 


SHE stands in peace by her waters,
  Our Mother, fair and wise,
And ever amid our dreaming
  We see her hills arise;
We, who have sold our birthright,
  Sons, who have failed at need,
Outcast, lost and dishonoured,
  We know her fair indeed.

Yes, we have sold our birthright–
  Well have we learned the cost–
Drink-sodden, hateful bodies,
  And souls forever lost;
We see the heights above us,
  The depths into which we fall,
And we turn from that sight in horror,
  Drinking to drown it all.

Lo, we have lost her forever!
  Exiled, unclean, alone;
Yet she was once our Mother,
  Once we were sons of her own;
We–who have failed her and shamed her,
  Cast from her shores so long,
Still in our dreams we see her,
  Noble and wise and strong.

[Page 76] 

Once in a far-off country
  We named her great and fair,
They mocked us with scornful laughter,
  "Lo, these are the sons she bare! "
Do we not feel our bondage,
  We, who have owned her name,
When we dare not whisper her praises
  Lest we whelm her in our shame?

Yet do the outcasts love her,
  Who once were bone of her bone,
Pray for her life and honour
  Who dare not pray for their own;
Out of the hell we have chosen
  Watch her, with longing eyes–
She, who was once our Mother,
  Excellent, just and wise.

[Page 77]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom