To All Parents
I'll lend you for a little time
a child of mine," He said,
"For you to love the while he lives
and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years,
or twenty-two or three,
But will you, 'til I call him back,
take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you,
and shall his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories
as solace for your grief."
"I cannot promise he will stay,
since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd
life's lanes I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come
to call him back to me again?"
I fancied that I heard them say:
"Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
the risk of grief we'll run,
We'll shelter him with tenderness,
we'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known forever grateful stay;
But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand."