Mother’s Question

by Edgar A Guest

When I was a boy and it chanced to rain
Mother would always watch for me;
she used to stand by the window pane,
worried and troubled as she could be.
And this was the question I used to hear,
the very minute that I drew near
the words she used, I can’t forget:
“Tell me, my boy, if your feet are wet.”

Worried about me was Mother dear –
as healthy a lad as ever strolled
over a turnpike, far or near –
‘fraid to death that I’d take a cold.
Always stood by the window pane,
watching for me in the pouring rain;
And her words in my ears are ringing yet:
“Tell me, my boy, if your feet are wet.”

Stockings warmed by the kitchen fire
and slippers ready for me to wear;
seemed that Mother would never tire
giving her boy the best of care,
thinking of him the long day through
in the worried way that all mothers do;
whenever it rained she’d start to fret,
always fearing my feet were wet.

And now, whenever it rains, I see
a vision of mother in days of yore,
still waiting there to welcome me,
as she used to do by the open door.
And always I think as I enter there
of a mother’s love and a mother’s care;
her words in my ears are ringing yet:
“Tell me, my boy if your feet are wet.”

From his book Just Folks
©1917 by the Reilly & Britton Co

As you read this poem, bear in mind that Edgar Guest was born in 1881, about 60 years before antibiotics were available to treat ENT infections and pneumonia. Mothers in those days saw first-hand why “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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