American Poetry 1922/Mater in Extremis
MATER IN EXTREMIS
I stand between them and the outer winds,
But I am a crumbling wall.
They told me they could bear the blast alone,
They told me: that was all.
But I must wedge myself between
Them and the first snowfall.
Riddled am I by onslaughts and attacks
I thought I could forestall;
I reared and braced myself to shelter them
Before I heard them call.
I cry them, God, a better shield!
I am about to fall.