The Soft Side of Don Marquis

Mother's Out of Jail

’Twas on the Eve of Christmas
A face against the pane
Peered in at the firelight;
’Twas worn with vice, and plain;
But all the children shouted:
“Mother’s home again!”

Mother’s out of jail, Dad!
Let us ask her in!
Make her Christmas merry,
With food and fire and gin!
Mother’s out of jail, Dad,
Let us ask her in!

She’s watching through the window
Her babes in happy play;
Do not call a copper
To club the Jane away—
Remember, ere you strike her,
That once her hair was gray!

Soon at some new night-club
She’ll be pinched again,
For Mother is so popular
With all the dancing men—
Invite her in to visit,
Mother’s home again!

She’s staring through the window
At the Yuletide glow!
Oh, do not throw the old wife
Back into the snow!
She bore you all your children,
And oft has told you so.

Mother’s in the street, Dad!
She is out of jail!
Put morphine in the needles,
And some ether in the ale,
Mother’s home for Christmas,
Mother’s out of jail!

From the 1928 Christmas issue of The New Yorker, written by the brilliant Don Marquis, shown below in 1903.

don marquis 1903


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