To A Child In Death
You would have scoffed if we had told you yesterday
Love made us feel, or so it was with me, like some great bird
Trying to hold and shelter you in its strong wing: —
A gay little shadowy smile would have tossed us back such a solemn word,
And it was not for that you were listening When so quietly you slipped away
With half the music of the world unheard.
What shall we do with this strange summer, meant for you, —
Dear, if we see the winter through What shall be done with spring — ?
This, this is the victory of the grave; here is death's sting.
That it is not strong enough, our strongest wing.
But what of His who like a Father pitieth?
His Son was also, once, a little thing,
The wistfullest child that ever drew breath,
Chased by a sword from Bethlehem and in the busy house at Nazereth
Playing with little rows of nails, watching the carpenter's hammer swing,
Long years before His hands and feet were tied
And by a hammer and three great nails He died,
Of youth, of spring, Of sorrow, of loneliness, of victory the King,
Under the shadow of that wing.