Mother, a Magic Word

The older we grow the more precious become the recollections of childhood’s days, especially our memories of mother. Her love and care halo her memory with a brighter radiance, for we have discovered that nowhere else in the world is such loving self-sacrifice to be found; her counsels and instructions appeal to us with greater force than when we received them, because our knowledge of the world and our experience of life have proved their worth.

The pity of it is that it is by our own experience we have had to gain this knowledge of their value, then when we have learned it in the hard school of life, we know that mother’s words were true. So, from generation to generation, the truths of life are taught by precept and generation after generation we each must be burned by fire before we will admit the truth that it will burn.

We would be saved some sorry blunders and many a heart-ache if we might begin our knowledge where our parents leave off instead of experimenting for ourselves, but life is not that way.

Still mother’s advice does help and often a word of warning spoken years before will recur to us at just the right moment to save us a misstep. And lessons learned at mother’s knee last thru life.

But dearer even than mother’s teaching are little, personal memories of her, different in each case but essentially the same—mother’s face, mother’s touch, mother’s voice:

Childhood’s far days were full of joy,
So merry and bright and gay,
On sunny wings of happiness,
Swiftly they flew away.
But oh! By far the sweetest hour,
Of all the whole day long,
Was the slumber hour at twilight
And my mother’s voice in song—
“Hush my babe, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed,
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently resting on thy head.”

Tho our days are filled with gladness,
Joys of life like sunshine fall,
Still life’s slumber hour at twilight
May be sweetest of them all.
And when to realms of boundless peace,
I am waiting to depart
Then my Mother’s song at twilight
Will make music in my heart,
“Hush, my babe, lie still and slumber,
Hold angels guard thy bed.”—
And I’ll fall asleep so sweetly,
Mother’s blessings on my head.*

*Perhaps on of Laura’s own poems.

“Mother, a Magic Word”, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Missouri Ruralist, September 1, 1921

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One comment on “Mother, a Magic Word
  1. Sadie says:

    Not sure about the poem itself, but the song verse quoted within it is from “Cradle Hymn,” by Isaac Watts.