Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
VI. Consolation
My Child
John Pierpont (1785–1866)
    I CANNOT make him dead!
    His fair sunshiny head
Is ever bounding round my study chair;
    Yet when my eyes, now dim
    With tears, I turn to him,        5
The vision vanishes,—he is not there!
    I walk my parlor floor,
    And, through the open door,
I hear a footfall on the chamber stair;
    I ’m stepping toward the hall        10
    To give the boy a call;
And then bethink me that—he is not there!
    I thread the crowded street;
    A satchelled lad I meet,
With the same beaming eyes and colored hair;        15
    And, as he ’s running by,
    Follow him with my eye,
Scarcely believing that—he is not there!
    I know his face is hid
    Under the coffin lid;        20
Closed are his eyes; cold is his forehead fair;
    My hand that marble felt;
    O’er it in prayer I knelt;
Yet my heart whispers that—he is not there!
    I cannot make him dead!        25
    When passing by the bed,
So long watched over with parental care,
    My spirit and my eye
    Seek him inquiringly,
Before the thought comes, that—he is not there!        30
    When, at the cool gray break
    Of day, from sleep I wake,
With my first breathing of the morning air
    My soul goes up, with joy,
    To Him who gave my boy;        35
Then comes the sad thought that—he is not there!
    When at the day’s calm close,
    Before we seek repose,
I ’m with his mother, offering up our prayer;
    Whate’er I may be saying,        40
    I am in spirit praying
For our boy’s spirit, though—he is not there!
    Not there!—Where, then, is he?
    The form I used to see
Was but the raiment that he used to wear.        45
    The grave, that now doth press
    Upon that cast-off dress,
Is but his wardrobe locked—he is not there!
    He lives!—In all the past
    He lives; nor, to the last,        50
Of seeing him again will I despair;
    In dreams I see him now;
    And, on his angel brow,
I see it written, “Thou shalt see me there!”
    Yes, we all live to God!        55
    Father, thy chastening rod
So help us, thine afflicted ones, to bear,
    That, in the spirit land,
    Meeting at thy right hand,
’T will be our heaven to find that—he is there!        60

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