Poetry of Kansas

The Children.

Do you love me, little children?.
Oh, sweet blossoms that are curled
(Life's tender morning glories!)
   'Round the casements of the world,
Do your hearts climb up toward me,
   As my own heart bends to you,
In the beauty of your dawning
   And the brightness of your dew?
When the fragrance of your faces,
   And the rhythm of your feet,
And the incense of your voices,
   Transform the sullen street,-
Do you see my soul move softly
   Forever where you move;
With an eye of benediction
   And a guarding hand of love?.
Oh, my darlings, I am with you,
   In your trouble, in your play;
In your sobbing and your singing,
 In your dark and in your day;
In the chambers where you nestle,
   In the hovels where you lie;
In the sunlight where you blossom,
   In the blackness where you die.
Not a blessing broods above you
   But it lifts me from the ground;
Not a thistle-barb doth sting you
   But I suffer with the wound;
And a chord within me trembles
 To your lightest touch or tone,
And I famish when you hunger,
   And I shiver when you moan.
I have trodden all the spaces
   Of my solemn years alone;
And have never felt the cooing
   Of a babe's breath near my own;
But with more than father-passion,
   And with more than mother-pain,
I have loved you, little children__
   Do you love me back again?

__Richard Realf.

Kansas In Literature__Part I. Poetry
Introduction by William Herbert Carruth
(Topeka: Crane & Co. 1900)
Pages 41-42

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November 22, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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